Massively OP’s end-of-the-year awards continue today with our award for the best MMO trend of 2015.
Last year, we chose sandbox and social gameplay as the awardee in this category. This year, all trends were back on the table. All of our writers were invited to cast a vote, but not all of them chose to do so for this category. Don’t forget to cast your own vote in the just-for-fun reader poll at the very end.
The Massively OP staff pick for Best MMO Trend of 2015 is…
Last week, when the Massively staff was debating internally which MMO company deserved our best MMO studio of 2015 award, I argued that overseas studios like Square-Enix have a much easier time impressing playerbases here in the West than home-grown studios. Square in particular has the benefit of being literally far away, delaying update info for the English-speaking audience, skimping on press releases, and occasionally sending a much-beloved Naoki Yoshida out onstage to make people fall in love with Final Fantasy again (it works, too). But Blizzard, ArenaNet, Daybreak, Trion? They’re expected to man a dozen different forms of forums and social media, show up on Twitch, and coddle Reddit day in and day out, and so even their minor screw-ups are utterly public.
I’m not saying Square has never screwed up (hi, Final Fantasy XIV 2010) or that it doesn’t deserve the award (it does, particularly for its classy handling of Final Fantasy XI’s maintenance mode), but there are a lot of other great studios out there that work their communities too. So which MMO studio maintains the best community presence?
Now that we’re into the thick of December, I’ve given myself permission to finally turn the radio station over to the all-Christmas-all-the-time channel for the duration of the month. I love Christmas music — love it — but I also try not to overdose on it and by so doing ruin it for years to come. So one month of the year I give myself permission to gorge on sleigh bells and drummer boys, and for the remaining 11 months, I try hard to forget it exists.
One disadvantage of the radio station, however, is that it generally plays the same 40 songs by the same 40 artists, eschewing newer and different tunes. I don’t like that, which is why I’ve been trying to expand my Christmas music collection to include such deserved hits like “Christmas Vacation” and “Toy Packaging.” Another aid in my collection quest? MMOs and their propensity for churning out lovely holiday tracks.
Today, let’s sit back with a hot cup of cocoa and sip on these seasonal serenades.
You know one of the reasons I like writing this column? Because one of these days I’m going to be able to make a list of the best characters from Transformers and Bree isn’t going to stop me. But I also like the fact that we all know the column is completely subjective, so that when people read this they do not think that this is a carefully researched piece wherein I can prove that a given game is the best free-to-play title on the market using, like, numbers.
I hope that’s true, anyhow.
But moving along, it’s the holiday season, so you probably want a new game to play, but you both need to avoid buying games (someone might have bought one for you) and you don’t have much money (because you bought everyone some random thing already, let’s just say Combiner Wars Ultra Magnus). So here are the 10 MMOs that I think make for the best free-to-play options on the market right now based on completely subjective reasoning.
Massively OP’s end-of-the-year awards continue today with our award for the best MMO studio of the year.
Last year’s award was won by SOE, you’ll recall, a choice that seems almost quaint from here at the end of 2015. We asked our writers to consider major MMO studios in 2015, not just their pet favorites, and judge the studios on what they did this year specifically.
All of our writers were invited to cast a vote, but not all of them chose to do so for this category. Don’t forget to cast your own vote in the just-for-fun reader poll at the very end.
The Massively OP staff pick for Best MMO Studio of of 2015 is…
Massively OP’s end-of-the-year awards continue today with our award for the most improved MMO of 2015.
All MMOs, regardless of release date, were eligible for this award, provided they made improvements this year. Last year’s award, you’ll recall, went to Final Fantasy XIV.
Don’t forget to cast your own vote in the just-for-fun reader poll at the very end.
The Massively OP staff pick for Most Improved MMO of 2015 is…
One of the most common questions I see floated out on Reddit, forums, and Twitter in relation to MMOs is, “What should I play?” It seems as though people are always looking for recommendations past the one or two titles they might know.
Recommending a game to others is tricky without knowing exactly what the person likes, but I would never have a problem winging someone at Lord of the Rings Online or WildStar for starters. Or RIFT, or Trove, or even Final Fantasy XIV, if he or she is cool with the subscription model. Marvel Heroes is a solid bet, and Guild Wars 2 is an incredible deal for someone just starting out in the genre.
What would you recommend to others — and why?
Raptr recently released its most played games list for October 2015. MMOish titles featured heavily in the list, with Star Wars: The Old Republic posting big gains and World of Warcraft maintaining a comfortable position in the top five. Guild Wars 2 climbed by 10.87% over the previous month, securing the 12th spot in the rankings, while Final Fantasy XIV dropped five spots and 24.31% of monthly game time.
MMO-likes ARK: Survival Evolved and Warframe are also present and accounted for, while MOBAs Dota 2 and League of Legends continued their world domination.
I haven’t forgotten the fact that there were people on the first day of Heavensward
early access sporting level 50 Machinist and Dark Knights. There was a period when the new jobs absolutely dominated low-level roulettes. Heck, they’re still
more common than the others in leveling content. But even with all that having been said, being level 60 on one of the new jobs is no longer a badge of honor. You just are
, at some point, after sufficient leveling.
So where does that leave Final Fantasy XIV‘s three new additions?
None of the new jobs introduced with the expansion is unusual at this point, but they all still occupy a unique place in player culture simply because they are new. Beyond that, however, all three of them have an odd place in player minds that may just be there until we get another set of new jobs with the next expansion. So let’s take a brief and highly unscientific look at where these jobs are as we steamroll toward the new year.
Every year, we lodge our predictions for the next. Funny, strange, and deadly serious, these predictions are a glance back on the naïvetés of 2014 and a chance to reflect on the last 365 days before launching into a new round of predictions and awards. In this week’s Massively Overthinking, we’ll be doing just that: Scoring last year’s predictions for 2015, counting both the hits and the misses, cheering when we got it right and giggling like fools with perfect hindsight when we whiffed at bat.
Note, the predictions naturally include notes from two former writers, both of whom now work for game studios, but they’re fun and we love them, so we’re including them!
Veterans of Final Fantasy XIV
know that the weaponsmith Gerolt is perhaps the most talented smith in Eorzea. That’s a good thing, since there’s no other reason in the world why anyone would deal with the cantankerous drunken jerk. He’s going to be dealing with players again, however; the upcoming Anima weapon quests
will center around working with Gerolt and a scholar from the Near East to create even greater weapons than those that have existed before. It’s a big part of what players can expect going into patch 3.15.
The interquel patch will also introduce a new set of side story quests centering around the Saint Endalim’s Scholisticate, the most notable seminary in all of Ishgard. Revelations at the end of the Heavensward story leave the future clergy of the Holy See in quite a state, and player characters will be the ones to start sorting out the situation. No word yet on when 3.15 will be available, although even money would place it not too far removed from the next Letter from the Producer LIVE.
We’ll assume since you’re a savvy gamer reading Massively OP that you’re already well aware of the world’s best MMO podcast. But what do you do with your other 167 hours after you’re heard the new episodes? Communicate with other people like a chump? Perish the thought!
On a recent episode of the Massively OP Podcast, we received a listener email asking for other podcast recommendations. While we gave a few on the air, the truth is that there are plenty out there to hear, although you might not be quite as aware of them. To help you fill the audio void in your life, here are several other podcasts that tackle our favorite hobby.
If you’ve been taking a little time away from Final Fantasy XIV
but still want to get in on the additions from patch 3.1, you have a chance with the game’s new free login campaign
. While previous opportunities to log in for free after a patch were generally restricted to a single weekend, the new promotion is offering players nothing but time, as the campaign is running from December 1st to December 31st.
Lest you think this is an entire free month for the game, there are more restrictions in place. Former players can log in at any point during the campaign and enjoy four days’ worth of access to the game, meaning that it’s not tied to a single four-day period but still lasts for just four days. Accounts used to log in also need to have been inactive for at least 30 days before being eligible. So you can’t hop in if your subscription just ran out, but if you’ve been away from the game for a little while you could take a step back in to say hello.