Leaderboard is a weekly feature in which the Massively Overpowered staff pitch a poll to the readership. [Follow this feature’s RSS feed]
Age of Conan’s Saga of Zath server officially launched yesterday, drawing fresh attention back to the game that Funcom maintenance-moded by proxy last year but apparently just isn’t done with. Zath has a ruleset similar to the base PvE server’s, only you have to create a new toon to zip through a “saga quest,” which will give you special rewards that you can then take with you back to Crom when the time limit is up.
According to the comments on our articles so far, Age of Conan hasn’t got quite the traction RIFT (to say nothing of WoW) has with the expansion-progression server or vanilla server idea, but then, this isn’t exactly like those; it’s a little bit more like Diablo III’s seasonal servers, right down to keeping all your loot at the end, but it’s still something new for fans of the original Conan MMO. Future saga servers, Funcom has said, will come with ruleset tweaks.
Let’s take it to the polls for another Leaderboard: Will you be playing Age of Conan’s new server?
Last week, Trion Worlds announced a bold move for its MMORPG RIFT: Debuting this spring will be a brand-new server for the game with a business model that differs from the base game’s. The so-called RIFT Prime server will be a fresh start progression server with a subscription model that doesn’t have lockboxes and has only a minimal cash shop “with more of the current store-based items obtained through gameplay (or removed entirely).” The server has a few other perks that borrow from other games with such servers, including scaling content/loot and participation rewards usable back on “home” servers.
Based on our comments from last week, quite a lot of people are intrigued by the game, having been turned off in the past because of its business model, so this is a good chance to put your sub money where your mouth is, so to speak. Other people are done with the game and nothing’s gonna bring them back.
Let’s poll it out: Will you be playing RIFT’s new server?
It’s tradition around here to take stock of Daybreak’s MMO offerings every year, thanks to the fact that one of the first big stories we did after moving from Massively-that-was to MOP centered on Daybreak’s massive transition from SOE and then round upon round of layoffs, way back in 2015. Last year, we counted it out: Daybreak has now shut down approximately 16 games, most of them in the last few years – more than most studios will ever launch.
In 2015, you all thought Dragon’s Prophet was the most vulnerable game in the stable. You were right; it shut down, at least on this side of the pond, that same year. Last year, however, you suspected PlanetSide 2 was most likely to crumble, but instead, the game is still going and picked up a largish patch toward the end of the year. How about this year? Has anything changed with the company that once won best studio four years in a row thanks to its one-time reputation for keeping beloved MMORPGs going? Which Daybreak MMO do you think is most vulnerable now?
A few weeks ago, we posted our pick for best not-so-Massively game of 2017. Warframe narrowly won our award, firmly validated by the reader poll where Warframe came close to sweeping.
Of course, that award was open to all NSM games, not just those that made some sort of effort to launch something playable this year. What if we cut the pool down to just those? What was the best new NSM game in 2017?
Those of you who’ve been following Massively OP for a while know that many our writers have a fondness for old MMORPGs – that’s how we got into the hobby in the first place. My little secret is that I still maintain one of my original Ultima Online accounts with a house and gardens and a stable of toons (mostly bards!).
And yet come awards season, classic MMOs rarely win awards, which hardly seems fair. Yes, some of them have graphics that have fallen by the wayside, but most have mechanics that can stand toe to toe with anything made in 2017.
Thanks to commenter Agemyth, who suggested this topic last year, we’re going to put it to a vote, again this year including a wide range of “gracefully aging” MMOs that could reasonably be considered classics based on the era of their launch. No, we didn’t include blockbusters like World of Warcraft that are still winning awards in 2017, nor did we list any closed games (the Asheron’s Call games were sunsetted this year, alas). Onward to the future where the past lives on in the present!
Polls are a quantitative sort of magic that we don’t often get from our other articles – at least when they aren’t being brigaded – which is why I love our Leaderboard column.
Let’s take a look back at our best MMO polls of the year! And if you want a few more, you can look back at our polls from 2016 and 2015 too.
Mobile MMOs have a bad reputation among core MMORPG players here in the West; people are absolutely convinced they can’t possibly compare (even when they do). But in 2017 in particular, we’ve been deluged with more mobile MMOs than we’ve ever seen, for a bunch of reasons: the rise of the MMOARG, the influx of imports from popular Korean franchises, and mobile ports from existing cross-platform games. For today’s Leaderboard, let’s put it to a vote: What was the best mobile MMO of 2017?
Every year for the last many years, we’ve done some sort of award for the most underrated MMO, or even the year’s sleeper hit. And every year, someone points at our pick and says that it’s actually highly overrated. Like clockwork, that’s exactly what happened this year when we chose Black Desert and Secret World Legends as our most underrated.
So for our 300th poll since the start of the new site (wheeee!), let’s hash it out and figure out just what was the most overrated MMO of 2017!
One of the common tropes held by MMORPG players is that PvP, particularly free-for-all environments prone to ganks, generates the worst type of behavior. But while it may be more common for PvP, I have also witnessed absolutely wretched behavior from all types of players, including psychological abuse from roleplayers, to say nothing of plane-jumping, ninja-looting, and greed from PvE gamers. The problem in my mind isn’t PvP as much as it is conflict and competition, which is something most game types engender. I bet you’ve seen the same.
Making that point is a story from PCGamesN this morning, which reports on a World of Warcraft player who’s apparently been DDOSing teammates to ensure himself a raid spot in the well-known raiding guild Limit. Limit has since booted the player.
The most peculiar comment thread erupted in MJ’s recent post about Secret World Legends’ Krampusnacht. In response to the casual note that the holiday event rewards had been announced by the community manager in Funcom’s Discord channel, MMO readers expressed furious annoyance that details of that sort were being disseminated in obscure chats instead of through official channels accessible to everyone.
MOP commenter Greaterdivinity rather colorfully requested that developers stop using chat channels “for delivering information to the community at large,” not out of specific dislike of Discord but because studios must surely know that they’re reaching only the tiniest sliver of their full audience that way. The alternative “doesn’t even need to be a forum,” commenter Styopa chimed in. “Forums are for interacting and dialogue. I would be happy if they just had a single reliable go-to source for current game information. Like, say, an official web page?”
Now don’t go getting all reasonable! Save that for the polls! How should MMORPG studios communicate to players? Choose all that apply in today’s Leaderboard:
So this morning I’m dishing out cheese crackers for my kid, who was up all night barfing. (If my posts have typos today, it’s because I’m running on just caffeine and gumption.) Anyway, I realize that the Cheez-It box is one whole advertisement that uncomfortably edged into my work-and-fun wheelhouse. It’s Cayde-06 (Nathan Fillion) from Destiny 2, promising me MEGA XP FREE WITH EVERY BOX. All I have to do is text my receipt for my crackers to Bungie’s agents and then I get a code for MEGA EXPIES. I can do this for Pringles, Rice Krispies Treats, Pop-Tarts, and some sort of fruit candy thing that is not actually food. Nathan Fillion wants me to do it, so I probably should, yeah?
That’s not even the only way Destiny 2 is trying to seep into our lives, as apparently Bungie is hyping its new Amazon Alexa tie-in, which I actually thought was a joke when I first read it. It is not.
Earlier this month, Black Desert GMs ran a live in-game event. I was super excited to hear about something like that in a newer MMORPG until I saw some of the complaints. Apparently, the event amounted to a “mysterious stranger” played by what I assume is a GM, who arrived on Valencia 6 and started “gathering souls,” i.e., murdering everyone in sight with a scythe, until players took him down.
To me, that’s not really a live event. That’s the sort of obnoxious thing GMs used to do in classic EverQuest, inhabit sand giants and just start massacring newbs (less funny back when deaths cost you experience).
I’m jaded; I’ve seen live events in Ultima Online for so long that my bar is way higher than just powertripping GMs on a god character. I expect a long-running storyline, discussion, choices, a purpose to the interaction that elevates it above, well, a world boss. What do you expect out of live MMORPG events in 2017?
Feeling that ol’ MMORPG ennui this autumn? Looking for a brave new world to plunder? Trove
might just fit the bill, especially after next week’s content update.
The Adventures expansion is slated for November 14th, bringing a whole host of changes and additions to this wacky sandbox MMO. There’s a lot going on with this update, too, such as a massive overhaul to the club (guild) system, a brand-new Asian-themed Forbidden Spires biome, unlimited mastery leveling, leaderboard rewards, and special Framework recipes with pre-built designs.
Trove’s Adventures will simultaneously release on PC, Mac, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One next Tuesday. Get caught up on several of the new systems by watching the dev discussions on the Adventures updates after the break!