As 2015 comes to a close, the Massively Overpowered team crams into the recording booth to share their own thoughts on the year and our annual awards. It’s a rollicking good time with 450% of your RDA dose of outspoken personalities!
It’s the Massively OP Podcast, an action-packed hour of news, tales, opinions, and gamer emails! And remember, if you’d like to send in your own letter to the show, use the “Tips” button in the top-right corner of the site to do so.
Everyone who has listened to my rantings for an extended period of time knows that I did not like the Zodiac Weapon quests in Final Fantasy XIV
much from inception to conclusion. Really, the only part of it I liked were the weapon models… and even that
was touch and go. Put bluntly, they were pretty bad. So here we are again with another line of weapon quests, and the obvious expectation is that I’m probably just as annoyed with this line as I was with the previous one.
But I’m not. In fact, I’m pretty much fine with the Anima Weapons being what they are.
I’m not saying that I’m sure any and all future developments will be absolutely fine, mind you. It’s entirely possible that the next set of quests will make me very angry or annoyed. But as things stand? Yeah, this doesn’t bother me. So why was one a terrible thing and this one I think is all right?
Yesterday, we announced our award for MMO of the Year — it went to Final Fantasy XIV. But we deliberately expanded the category to include MMOs that launched before 2015, primarily in the hopes of avoiding a repeat of our 2014 “nothing” vote, which was depressing.
So what about just the new games of 2015? Which one is the best if we whittle it down to only those MMOs that actually launched — either fully or into a paid early access or endless open beta version — in 2015?
You can help us answer that question in today’s Leaderboard poll below.
Massively OP’s end-of-the-year awards conclude today with our award for MMO of the Year.
In 2014, we couldn’t reach consensus on an MMO of the year. In fact, enough of us voted “nothing” that “nothing” is exactly what won, which was a depressing way to end the year. I’m pleased to say that this year, the choices were a bit easier, in part because we took readers’ advice and opened this category up to all MMOs, provided they did something noteworthy this year.
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, and congratulations to all of this year’s nominees and winners.
The Massively OP staff pick for MMO of the Year is…
For as long as Massively Overpowered exists, this will be one of the most memorable years in our site’s history. It was the year that, after seven year of operation, old Massively got abruptly shuttered by AOL along with Joystiq and WoW Insider. It was also the year that the community rallied around us and Kickstarted the hell out of a new site, giving us the chance to create MOP as an independent MMO entity.
2015 will no doubt be remembered for a lot of other things too, of course. I don’t think anyone could have predicted all of the craziness and unexpected turns that happened in our genre over the past 12 months. Let’s take a walk back through the year-that-was to cover the biggest, strangest, and most exciting stories that we covered.
Getting a level-appropriate weapon in Final Fantasy XIV
is not terribly difficult at the moment, but that’s not the same as having a weapon to upgrade as part of a project. Patch 3.15 brings in the long-running weapon upgrade projects in the form of the new Anima Weapons.
You can accelerate the process of earning your Anima Weapon through the use of an existing Zodiac Weapon, but it’s not necessary, just a way to save some time and resources.
The patch also contains a new series of side-story quests along with new rewards for beast tribe dailies and a variety of new items. While it’s intentionally vague on what players will need to do in order to upgrade their Anima Weapons, it seems clear that this is a project to keep players occupied for some time, so expect to be slashing your way through enemies well into the new year. Who doesn’t enjoy something to do?
Massively OP’s end-of-the-year awards continue today with our award for best MMO update or expansion of the year.
Last year was a bit heavier on MMO updates and thin on expansions since that was the trend, so the award was expanded to include both, and it was won by Guild Wars 2’s April feature pack patch. This year, we had expansions and patches aplenty!
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 Update or Expansion of 2015 is…
Have you ever noticed that every single holiday celebration in Final Fantasy XIV
goes wrong? There’s never a year when player characters are not tasked with fixing something messy. This year’s Starlight Celebration is coming
, and wouldn’t you know it, the holiday celebration is going wrong again and it’s up to players to ensure that everyone enjoys the magic of wearing fake beards and reindeer antlers on their heads.
Is that not the real meaning of the Starlight Celebration? Because it should be.
Aside from the fake beard and antlers, players can also pick up hooves, gloves, and a hat for cosmetic rewards, along with a Starlight tree and wall decorations for the house. The event starts up on December 18th and runs until December 31st, so players should have plenty of time to save Starlight yet again. One wonders if Eorzea’s residents would ever have another holiday without players.
I realize that this is arguably a little early. We’ve still got a couple of weeks left in 2015, after all, and patch 3.15 is going to be dropping later this week so that we all have new stuff to undertake for weapons. But you know, I feel confident evaluating Final Fantasy XIV
now. I feel as if it’s in a state wherein there’s more to see, but not more that needs to be seen for a report card, so to speak.
Everyone who plays the game (and even several people who do not) knew at the start of the year that this would be a big year. It was the game’s first expansion, it involved the wrap-up of the previous storylines, and it was up against several other big high-profile launches. So how did the game do for its second full year of post-relaunch operation? Assuming you’ve forgotten all of the columns I wrote about how it was doing along the way, I mean.
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.