Massively Overpowered’s end-of-the-year 2016 awards continue today with our award for Biggest MMORPG Industry Blunder of 2016. Last year, we called the Star Citizen melodrama the biggest blunder of the year, as we criticized the poor behavior of certain players, developers, and press regarding the sci-fi game. This isn’t an award we particularly enjoy giving, but I think it’s a fitting complement to praising trends and big stories: We must consider the mistakes of the year so we don’t make them again.
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
The Massively OP staff pick for Biggest MMORPG Industry Blunder of 2016 is…
Andrew Ross (@dengarsw): VR in general, and I say this as someone who literally owns an Oculus Rift. It’s such cool technology, but it’s mostly being used to pump out more of what we already have. It does add more immersion in some games, but it just doesn’t feel like it’s enough yet.
Brendan Drain (@nyphur): EverQuest Next’s cancellation. The biggest industry blunder this year has to be the cancellation of EverQuest Next and the ensuing drama surrounding Landmark. We’re talking about a studio with veteran game developers working on one of the biggest and most iconic IPs in the MMORPG genre, who reportedly cancelled the game because they couldn’t make it fun, if that’s not a colossal industry blunder then I don’t know what is. The whole thing was handled quite poorly, especially as many people bought into EverQuest Next Landmark on the understanding that it would help with EverQuest Next’s development.
Brianna Royce (@nbrianna, blog): Stop trying to make virtual reality happen. It’s not going to happen. I love tech. I love shiny things. But people don’t want extravagantly expensive VR with heavy, sweaty devices and vertigo barfing and internet turdballs groping them in 3-D. They want a goddamn holodeck. And we’re nowhere near it. I’m glad that absurdly rich people are pouring money into innovating VR, I am – but the mid-tier gaming studios trying to clamber on the back of the bandwagon-to-nowhere-fast are making a huge mistake and gambling in the wrong direction.
Eliot Lefebvre (@Eliot_Lefebvre, blog): Perhaps this isn’t entirely fair, but after all of WildStar’s hard work to move into a free-to-play model and build excitement back up, Carbine Studios went on to do nothing with it. Nothing was capitalized upon. Nothing good was developed. Nothing moved forward. It was an enormous waste of potential, and looking back I just find myself staring and shaking my head at the fact that this game keeps getting shots at the big time and keeps flubbing them.
Justin Olivetti (@Sypster, blog): Going All-In on VR. I still think it’s too early for VR, and that its price, selection of games, and reputation set it outside of the interest of the mainstream gamer. Too many studios are banking on this being the next big thing… and it’s probably only going to be the next middling thing.
MJ Guthrie (@MJ_Guthrie, blog): Dang, you said MMORPG, so my answer of Studio WildCard bringing Jeremy Steimetz’s involvement into the open and letting him take the public reins (to which I thoroughly attribute the downfall of ARK) ineligible. I seriously feel like it was the moment that he went “Now I can openly do what I want” that the game began its terrible descent from what was studio of the year for me in 2015 to the disappointing mess it is now. But since it has to be MMORPG, I give this to Black Desert for removing trading from game! Seriously, removing the ability for groups of friends and guilds to band together to accomplish goals (such as gathering and crafting) and you take away the whole point of having an MMORPG. Instead, you are forced into the self-reliant mode instead of the interdependent mode. Personally, one of my favorite things to do in game is to gather materials and deliver them to crafting friends. Black Desert made doing that impossible. Heck, you can’t even help a friend out buy trading them a bit of pet food in the middle of your adventures. So, why are there other people around? Top that off with the fact that prices are forced on you in the market, and you can’t buy any item you want but are forced to buy the cheapest on the list, and you effectively have killed economy and commerce in any meaningful way.
Tina Lauro Pollock (@purpletinabeans): Nothing was as gut-wrenching in 2016 as the cancellation of EverQuest Next, was it? I believe that all the work that went into the project was and still is salvageable, and I hope that from the ashes of EQN comes something even more amazing to replace what could have been. The decision to cancel fall into the blunder category for me because I believe that reacting better to early feedback, more frequent and realistic self-checking of each development milestone in terms of deliverability and playability, and more consistent communication with the playerbase could have prevented the project from its failure to launch.
The VR Obsession won our award for Biggest MMORPG Industry Blunder of 2016. What’s your pick?
Reader poll: What was the biggest MMORPG industry blunder of 2016?
- MMO studios' virtual reality obsession (12%, 112 Votes)
- EverQuest Next's cancelation and Landmark mess (44%, 405 Votes)
- WildStar's failure to capitalize on free-to-play momentum (5%, 42 Votes)
- No Man's Sky's lies and misleading advertising (19%, 178 Votes)
- ARK's new old bossman (1%, 5 Votes)
- Lack of trade in Black Desert (3%, 24 Votes)
- ArcheAge's perpetual clownshow (9%, 85 Votes)
- Letting Daybreak publish LOTRO and DDO. (4%, 41 Votes)
- Nothing, this is fine. (2%, 16 Votes)
- Something else (tell us in the comments!) (2%, 22 Votes)
Total Voters: 930