mop 2016 in review

MMO Year in Review: Turbine gave the ring to the eagles (December 2016)

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.

Meanwhile, gamers paid tribute to Carrie Fisher, Hero's Song went belly up, Star Citizen launched Star Marine, Elder Scrolls Online teased housing, and Nostalrius relaunched.

And we rolled out our annual MMORPG awards, plus our blooper awards, weirdest stories, and other meta roundups.

Read on for the whole list!

Read more

MMO Year in Review: New Eden free-for-all (November 2016)

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.

Early in November, EVE Online's Ascension expansion ushered in a new free-to-play chapter for the sci-fi sandbox (no matter how much they tried to get us to use "clone state"!) and boosted its concurrent numbers back over 50k.

Meanwhile, BlizzCon gave us a clearer picture of Blizzard's anemic-but-better-than-usual plans for Diablo III and its relatively rapid cadence plans for World of Warcraft in the post-Legion era. The Nostalrius saga reared its head again too as the emulator made plans for a relaunch. RIFT's Starfall Prophecy expansion also rolled out to players.

Read on for the whole list!

Read more

MMO Year in Review: One foot in One Tamriel (October 2016)

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.

The Elder Scrolls Online's long-awaited One Tamriel expansion, which level-scaled nearly all of the content in the game and busted down racial and level gates, rolled out to the game this month, followed by housing teases that almost but not quite suppressed annoyance with the impending lockboxes.

Also in October, Final Fantasy XIV announced the Stormblood expansion, EVE Online outlawed in-game gambling organizations, the voice actor strike gripped the industry, and somehow all the big MMORPGs managed to do pretty darn well in the eyes of Superdata.

Read on for the whole list!

Read more

MMO Year in Review: A whole New World (September 2016)

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.

Everyone knew that Amazon Game Studios was working on an MMO, but not many people truly believed the game would be a true sandbox called New World, complete with the unapologetic MMORPG label attached. Surprise!

Meanwhile, the community reeled over the retirement of Blizzard's Chris Metzen, rioted over ARK: Survival Evolved's attempt to sell an expansion from its early access corner, and revolted over Chronicles of Elyria's bid for more dough.

Read on for the whole list!

Read more

MMO Year in Review: We are Legion (August 2016)

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.

World of Warcraft ran away with the month of August in spite of not launching Legion until its tail end, but many MMORPG players were busy tussling over Black Desert business model shenanigans and No Man's Sky's no man's multiplayer mess, plus we learned EVE Online was destined for the free-to-play market.

Read on for the whole list!

Read more

MMO Year in Review: Pokemon madness (July 2016)

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.

Everyone saw Pokemon Go coming, but few people anticipated just how huge it was going to be this summer. We actually resorted to daily roundups of Pokemon Go news as mainstream media, never mind gaming sites, began covering it as a cultural phenomenon around the clock.

Meanwhile, July also saw WoW Legion rumblings, the launch of Guild Wars 2's third living story season, and another panic moment for Firefall.

Read on for the whole list!

Read more

MMO Year in Review: The Landmark and WildStar Steam parade (June 2016)

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.

Both Landmark and WildStar launched on Steam in June of this year, Landmark emerging out of early access for the very first time and WildStar hoping for a second wind on a new platform. Neither one quite got what they wanted.

Meanwhile, the world had a(nother) laugh at the MMO players' expense thanks to the Warcraft movie, Jack Emmert took up residence at Daybreak's Austin studio, and CSE opened up a satellite studio in Seattle to speed up work on Camelot Unchained.

Read on for the whole list!

Read more

MMO Year in Review: Carebear tears of Elyria (May 2016)

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.

Overwatch may have captured the attention of the mainstream gamer in May, but core MMORPG players had eyes on indie startup Soulbound Studios and its sandbox Chronicles of Elyria, which ran the biggest MMORPG Kickstarter of the year amid concerns over its PvP design and business model.

Meanwhile, the WoW legacy server battle raged on, and WildStar capped off a new patch with a series of downers, losing lead devs and clout alike.

Read on for the whole list!

Read more

MMO Year in Review: WoW's legacy server snarl (April 2016)

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.

There's nothing for it: The legacy server debate consumed the month of April, at least in MMORPG land. Beginning with the cease-and-desist-prompted sunset of the popular World of Warcraft vanilla emulator Nostalrius server, we were dragged along from petitions and meetings to "pristine servers" and even Mark Kern in a saga that continues still in December.

EVE Online was also beset by World War Bee, which actually began back in March but had all but played out by the end of April.

Read on for the month's whole review!

Read more

MMO Year in Review: EverQuest Never (March 2016)

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.

March was pretty much the worst month of the entire year, and March 11th was a particularly bad day: It was the day that EverQuest Next was canceled, WildStar was slammed with layoffs, Colin Johanson announced he was leaving the Guild Wars 2 team, and Zahrym left the WoW team. Our Week in Review summary that week is just called "Sadface." In retrospect, I can see why MMORPG players were shaken to the core. I'm so sorry if March 11th was your birthday.

The rest of March wasn't much better; Revival was more or less canceled, there was that whole Ghillie suit thing, and Guild Wars 2 ended development of legendary weapons.

March was also the month a dev team coined "shitstorm matrix," so there was that.

Read on for the curated list of our favorite posts from the month of doom.

Read more

MMO Year in Review: A wild Black Desert approaches (February 2016)

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.

February, abbreviated as it was, was still a packed news month for MMOs. Two games dominated the headlines as they racheted up their test schedules: the Korean import Black Desert and the much-delayed Ubisoft shooter hybrid The Division. We also saw ArcheAge and RIFT try to outdo each other with player-alienating business model changes. Meanwhile, we were still scoping out the brand-new Blade & Soul.

February was also the month the site got a much-needed back-end upgrade. Read on for the whole list of our favorite stories that month!

Read more

MMO Year in Review: Blade & Soul reaches western shores (January 2016)

December's many article roundups and awards always remind us that it's hard to remember what happened last month, let alone what happened way back at the beginning, so this year (as last year), we decided to poke through our MMO coverage, month by month, to hit the highlights and frame our journey before we launch into 2017.

January 2016 was dominated by the launch of NCsoft's Blade & Soul in the west, but we also got our first teases of Guild Wars 2's gliding, mourned The Repopulation's engine switch, watched Firefall continue to unravel, peeked into Black Desert's beta, and saw Smed announce Hero's Song only to abruptly cancel the Kickstarter not long afterward.

Read on for the whole list!

Read more