Massively OP’s Best of 2016 Awards: Biggest MMORPG Story of 2016


Massively Overpowered’s end-of-the-year 2016 awards continue today with our award for Biggest MMORPG Story of 2016, which was awarded to the SOE/Daybreak formation drama last year. This isn’t an award based on popularity as measured by hits or comments, and it’s not for a single article; it’s an award for an ongoing narrative or event of deep importance and significance for the genre in 2016. 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 Biggest MMORPG Story of 2016 is…



Andrew Ross (@dengarsw): Black Desert’s karma changes. I realized quite soon into the game’s development that it wouldn’t be as “hardcore” as EVE or Darkfall, but still, the change was significant in terms of PvP mentality. On the one hand, it made the game more inclusive for PvE fans, which actually helps PvP fans by ensuring that there’s more money rolling in. However, the wolf types really don’t like hearing news like that. Runner up (and probably winner) is the death of EverQuest Next. The amount of potential content generated, not directly by developers, but triggered by player actions and advanced AI seemed like the stuff of dreams.

Brendan Drain (@nyphur): EQ Next’s cancellation. There were a lot of big stories this year, including Blizzard’s fight with Nostalrius over emulated vanilla World of Warcraft servers, but the biggest story has to be EverQuest Next’s cancellation. EverQuest is one of the genre’s oldest and most proven IPs, and years of development had already been spent on EQ Next, but Daybreak found that the game just wasn’t fun and decided to pull the plug. The unexpected cancellation even sparked speculation that we may be seeing the end of big-budget blockbuster MMOs entirely, right up until Amazon Game Studios waded into the genre with the announcement of its upcoming sandbox MMO New World.

Brianna Royce (@nbrianna, blog): The death of EverQuest Next hit every traditional MMORPG fan hard this year, even the folks who saw it coming. That said, it didn’t matter as much as I thought it would, probably since it was never truly born to begin with — it was always just a dream. I think a lot of us saw it as a serious blow to the MMORPG industry, but instead, it looks more like Daybreak’s last gasp, which is a different sort of tragedy altogether.

Eliot Lefebvre (@Eliot_Lefebvre, blog): EverQuest Next’s demise. I don’t think this came as a huge surprise to anyone, but at the same time it’s the sort of thing that has a big impact. If you were really still holding on to the idea that Daybreak was going back to the well and coming out with a classic game – or even a game at all – this was pretty heartbreaking, and if you were just casually watching the game from afar it was still disappointing because there was stuff that looked really cool with the game. It’s gone now, and while bits and pieces might show up again, I think this is kind of a nail in the coffin for a certain portion of the old guard.

Justin Olivetti (@Sypster, blog): Daybreak gives up on EverQuest Next. This was a huge punch in the gut to any fan of this longtime MMO studio that was holding out hope that EQN would be the next big thing on the scene. It seemed like it had some great ideas and artwork, but nope, Daybreak threw in the towel and went back to fiddling with its seventeen versions of H1Z1.

Larry Everett (@Shaddoe, blog): Everything that is Pokemon Go – from people walking off cliffs to being mugged to actually getting MMO players out of the house. Whether we think that Pokemon Go was great or horrible as a game, we can’t deny that its impact on gaming media will last a long time. If it has to be an MMORPG, then it’s all the stuff with Daybreak this year. But mostly it’s the silence from Daybreak. Smed has a new project, another president has stepped down without a word, and there has been no real word about the future of the games that have not already launched.

MJ Guthrie (@MJ_Guthrie, blog): The death bells ringing for EverQuest Next. ‘Nough said. If I were to say more it would be that I feel this had an effect on the industry, as if saying innovation will always fail, so stick with the tired old things you already have.

Tina Lauro Pollock (@purpletinabeans): I am unsure whether or not it was the biggest story of the year in terms of general noise created (though not far south of 300,000 related petition signatures tells me that there is considerable traction behind this particular story), but for me, the biggest story in terms of precedent and impact on the genre has to be the Nostalrius vs. Blizzard saga. This epic back and forth has taken up the bulk of the year and has divided opinions everywhere, especially now that Nostalrius is being reborn on December 17th as Elysium. The legalities and surrounding debate is the most interesting side of the saga, but I also appreciate how Blizzard has been put under pressure to present legitimate legacy offerings to the playerbase and has had to manage the cease and desist and follow-up negotiations with Nostalrius’ team in such a public way.

The death of EverQuest Next won our award for Biggest MMORPG Story of 2016. What’s your pick?

Reader poll: What was the biggest MMORPG story of 2016?

  • The death of EverQuest Next (38%, 406 Votes)
  • Nostalrius, Blizzard, and legacy WoW (11%, 119 Votes)
  • Pokemon Go's hoopla (6%, 68 Votes)
  • Daybreak's drama in general (3%, 32 Votes)
  • Black Desert PvP karma changes (0%, 5 Votes)
  • The resurgence in MMORPG expansions (0%, 4 Votes)
  • The launch of Legion (2%, 26 Votes)
  • EVE Online goes free-to-play (4%, 46 Votes)
  • Elder Scrolls Online's One Tamriel (10%, 110 Votes)
  • Neverwinter and Star Trek console expansion (1%, 11 Votes)
  • Chris Metzen's retirement (3%, 31 Votes)
  • The No Man's Sky multiplayer scandal (8%, 84 Votes)
  • Amazon goes into MMOs with New World (6%, 65 Votes)
  • The major influx of eastern MMORPGs (1%, 7 Votes)
  • Camelot Unchained opens a second studio (1%, 7 Votes)
  • Jagex sold to the Chinese (0%, 5 Votes)
  • Nothing (2%, 21 Votes)
  • Something else (tell us in the comments) (1%, 11 Votes)

Total Voters: 1,058

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Poll options include all stories nominated plus several other major stories from this year.

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