It’s no secret that The Secret World had a rough year in 2016. I just really wish I could say differently. And it’s especially sad because I had such hopes for my favorite game. Granted, I knew it wasn’t going to miraculously get the funding and staff to give me all the story and things my heart so desired, but I did anticipate a bit more than what we actually got. When 2016 dawned, I pieced together our available clues to try and draw a map of where the year was going. A cartographer I apparently am not, and Google maps won’t be hiring me anytime soon. Perhaps for this year I shall consult with the Magic Eight ball? Here’s a look at the scorecard for my 2016 predictions, and a modest list of 2017 hopes, dreams, and predicted happenings. (We’ll just have to wait to see how those ultimately pan out!).
This year? The 10th anniversary means 10 wishes, baby!
It’s shaping up to be quite an interesting and exciting year for LOTRO. I’ve seen friends coming back to the game thanks to the recent news and the promise of the expansion into Mordor. It’s almost like we need periodic reminders that, “Oh yeah, that game is still running! And it’s pretty darn good!”
But what would I like to see changed, added, or created for the MMO this year? Whether or not the devs ever get around to these, any of them would make my day.
Did you know that Massively OP’s Justin Olivetti is co-host to the first and only MMORPG music-themed podcast? It’s true! The show’s called Battle Bards and has been running since 2013 with Justin, Steff, and Syl at the helm, discussing and demoing music in your favorite gaming genre. Here’s look back at their efforts from 2016 — maybe you’ll find something to make you dance!
We’ve now published 429 podcasts since the very dawn of Massively: 331 on the old site, 98 on the new. Justin and I have now been co-hosting together for five years, to say nothing of the years of earlier casts on which we’ve built our modern legacy.
That is a lot of talking. Fun fact: The first show I was on was #109, and I was petrified!
We’d like to thank the many thousands of you who listen to us every week, especially those of you who chip in to Patreon to listen a day early. Let’s take a look back at the most popular Massively OP Podcast episodes of 2016!
As we did in 2014 and 2015, today I’m going to recap our annual awards and other meta articles from the end of 2016. We gave out 19 formal awards this past year, seven of them more or less new to the site and proposed by readers, all in addition to dozens of other recaps, roundups, listicles, predictions, bloopers, oddities, polls, provocations, and retrospectives. It was easily our biggest content dump to date, and I’m pretty proud of it. In fact, I’m already planning December 2017!
Following our deep-dive into our awards and the attached reader polls, I’ll be recapping all of the end-year articles in one convenient place in case you missed something over the holidays. This sucker’s gonna be long. Let’s do this.
One of the frustrating bits about our end-of-the-year content rollouts is that sometimes predictions and story roundups can come across as negative. It’s way too easy to assume that if someone is predicting game X will flop, she wants it to happen and is gleefully steepling her fingers and cackling madly over its future demise. Which is just not so! I never steeple my fingers.
But all the same, for tonight’s Massively Overthinking, we’d like to take a moment to set aside our fears and expectations and just talk about our hopes and wishes for 2017 in an MMORPG context. That was what we think will happen. This is a summary of our most optimistic daydreams.
Have you ever had a year that you looked back on and all you could really say was, Hey, I made it through. I’ve had years like that, when many things either go wrong, go a totally different way than hoped/planned, or just don’t really go anywhere at all. But you know what? Not going anywhere is better than going away! It may seem sometimes like the only thing to celebrate is the fact that you are are actually still here, but that is reason enough to cheer.
The Secret World seems to have had just such a year. And by golly, it deserves three cheers just for hanging on. It may not have been the best year filled with fulfilled dreams and wishes, but it could have been worse. It could have been way, way worse: It could have not made it to 2017! So even though there were hiccups and disappointments, I am super glad I still have TSW to log into and play. And I am looking forward to 2017!
Sometimes you have to exclude something from a list. I could, for example, praise World of Warcraft: Legion for being a really good expansion yet again… but I already did that. Heck, we already did that. It won an award and everything. And it deserves that award, but let’s be real, we did not suffer at all from a paucity of updates over the past year. So it’s time to honor some of the other updates that were great this past year that haven’t gotten enough recognition.
Of course, this is my own curated list, so if you’re looking for objectivity combined with a subjective rating like “best,” you may be looking for love in all of the wrong places. Let’s take one last look through 2016 at all of the really cool game updates that made the onslaught of deaths and tragedy at least slightly more pleasant.
Some people believe that 2017 will be the last year for SWTOR, but I choose not to believe that either. I think that SWTOR has made a strong showing and continues to make the studio money, despite my best effort to discourage the purchase of lockboxes.
Since the game will still carry on in 2017, let me give my predictions for it. But first, let’s talk about last year’s predictions.
Last week, we posted a rundown of the most popular MMORPG articles of 2016, calculated strictly by the number of pageviews they got. Today, we’re going to take a look at the most popular articles of 2016 as measured by comments, which provides an entirely different overview of the year and the genre. The other list was stuff you clicked on, but this? This is the stuff you cared enough about to comment on — and boy did you ever.
We’re counting down Massively OP’s weirdest MMORPG stories of 2016!
And the #1 weirdest MMORPG story of 2016 is…
… that time when Richard Garriott sold his blood for Shroud of the Avatar, as we wrote in a pair of articles over the summer.
The real story is a little bit more complicated, of course. Shroud of the Avatar’s Richard “Lord British” Garriott and Starr “Darkstarr” Long donated their blood to be used in 10 pieces of “blood reliquary” artwork created by Steve Brudniak; the artwork was then put on Ebay for an initial bid of $5000, though they were moved to the game’s website following what was likely an issue with Ebay’s rules. The price has increased as each one sells, and they do indeed sell; as I write this, in December, only one Lord British reliquary remains for sale (at $13,000), while two Darkstarr pieces remain (at $12,000 and $13,000).
Proceeds from the sales benefit both the game and a designated medical charity, which is actually pretty cool.
One of my favorite recurring posts we do is on the healthiest MMORPGs in the genre, partly because it reminds me that we do have a pretty deep bench here, and partly because it brings people out of the woodwork to say “you forgot X,” which actually means the bench is even deeper than that.
But we can’t help but still wonder which one is the best. That’s the question reader Squidgod has posed us today — one “both simple and maddeningly complex”:
“Which upcoming MMO do you believe will not only last for more than a decade, but also provide the most consistent gameplay experience throughout its lifespan?”
So let’s have it out. Which MMORPG is most likely to keep on landing on the “healthiest” list for years and years to come? Is it the obvious answer or have the tides finally turned? Which MMORPG has the brightest future?
This year, we’re taking a time-machine back through our MMO coverage, month by month, to hit the highlights and frame our journey before we head into 2017.
Ah, December: The month of endless annual awards… and end-year studio catastrophes. This round, all eyes were on venerable MMO studio Turbine as it announced it had spun out a new indie studio to take over Lord of the Rings Online and Dungeons and Dragons Online, as published by none other than Daybreak. Lost in the shuffle? The Asheron’s Call franchise, which will sunset in January 2017.
Read on for the whole list!