Massively Overthinking: The best and worst MMORPGs of E3 2016

    
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With E3 taking up so much head-space this week, we thought it only right to discuss how MMOs in particular fared at the convention. What was the very best showing for an MMO at the event — and what was the biggest disappointment? I posed both questions to our writers for this edition of Massively Overthinking. Guess which one they dodged?

Andrew Ross (@dengarsw): I’m the guy on the floor, but I’m mostly in meetings, and I haven’t finished. However, I’m going to take a gamble and say Sea of Thieves. I got to talk to a dev, and it’s sounding like Destiny but possibly more MMO-y. Wait for a write-up!

Brianna Royce (@nbrianna, blog): I never expect much from E3 anymore, not on any front. MMORPG studios don’t go because it’s too expensive, especially for indies and older games, which is the vast majority of them. Standard gaming studios have started opting out of a flashy, overpriced booth because an industry-only event isn’t really the best use of their money compared to an event like PAX. I know E3’s showrunners say they are still going strong, but it seems to me that gamer-friendly events like Gamescom and PAX just have more to offer everyone — press and player alike — in 2016.

That said, Elder Scrolls Online nailed it with One Tamriel and confirmation of player housing. I have my eye on Sea of Thieves and Dual Universe, sure, and I know Final Fantasy XIV and PWE did put in some effort, but Bethsoft carried the show for our breed of gamer. Well done.

Eliot Lefebvre (@Eliot_Lefebvre, blog): Best of show is pretty easy; while I’m definitely more personally invested in other titles, The Elder Scrolls Online really put itself front-and-center with some solid stats and news. Good on the team for supporting it and moving forward.

Biggest disappointment, meanwhile, is going to head out to Undead Labs, which has been teasing more MMO stuff for years without ever actually delivering. I recognize that State of Decay 2 is going to have more online features, but that’s really not the same thing; I want a competently designed game that’s more than “survive zombies for five seconds, then get shot by other players” (looking at you, H1Z1).

Justin Olivetti (@Sypster, blog): I was holding on to the hope that State of Decay 2 would be a lot more multiplayer than it was revealed to be. Easily, this game could trounce H1Z1 if it only expanded into the massively multiplayer category. Alas.

Larry Everett (@Shaddoe, blog): I found E3 overall this year to be kind of lackluster even on the single-player game side. If I were to choose the best out of the very limited MMO related news, I’d really have to say Elder Scrolls Online stole the show, but the only reason it did anything was because it was the only one to really show up. So that means the biggest disappointment at E3 wasn’t any specific game but rather every other MMORPG out there. I like my storytelling MMORPGs. I’m glad to see that The Division is launching a new DLC; that means Ubisoft hasn’t given up on the game, yet. And State of Decay will have a mulitplayer co-op that will only add to over-cooked zombie-survival genre. What else is there to choose from?

The Elder Scrolls Online, despite much of games press wondering why there was even time devoted to it in the presentation, gave a solid showing from my perspective — much better than Star Wars: The Old Republic’s three seconds. On top of the brief presentation at the Bethesda press conference, I thought the other bits of news that trickled out over the week gave the fans of the game and fans of the genre the impression that ZeniMax devs still deeply care about the game and want to show off what they are doing. Good on them.

To nearly every other online RPG in the works: Where were you? You’re going to let a two-year-old game with minimum appeal to the general gaming populace show you up. There was a point when studios couldn’t wait to announce their latest innovation in online gaming at E3. Not only is it not a thing anymore, but this year it really seemed like studios were actively trying to hide it. I just don’t understand that. I guess we will have to turn to indie studios to get our innovations in MMORPGs. To be fair, indies have been the most innovative for a very long time.

I think that’s more votes for ESO than anything else — your turn!