Massively OP’s Best of 2017 Awards: Biggest MMO Story of 2017

    
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Massively Overpowered’s end-of-the-year 2017 awards continue today with our award for Biggest MMO Story, which was awarded to the death of EverQuest Next 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 2017. 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 MMO Story of 2017 is…

THE GREAT LOCKBOX/LOOTBOX DEBATE

Andrew Ross (@dengarsw): This whole lootbox situation. We as a genre have been dealing with it about as long as mobile games have. The fact that western AAA companies latched onto it after the recorded history of its issues in Asia is downright embarrassing. Maybe it’s my American pride, but I keep feeling like our industry should have come up with something better by now, rather than taking gambling and putting it in a digital dress. Runner up to this whole Marvel Heroes stuff. It was a game I kept trying to get my brother and other friends to jump into ’cause I keep hearing good things. Not only has the game been executed, but it was rushed through the system to put it down. Yeesh!

Brendan Drain (@nyphur): Last year I predicted that law enforcement and governments around the world would be forced to finally start tackling gambling in online games accessible by children and vulnerable adults, and I’m happy to see it finally happening. It was inevitable when the CS:GO Lotto story broke last year, but the issue finally made waves in the mainstream media this year thanks to the backlash to Star Wars Battlefront 2’s abusive loot box mechanics. Now multiple countries are seeking to regulate loot boxes and virtual gambling, hopefully we’ll see more progress on it in 2018.

Brianna Royce (@nbrianna): When people weren’t gaping at Star Citizen this year, they were happily chewing on the lockbox debate. No story has been bigger for our genre this year, and I’m actually relieved that somebody other than die-hard MMORPG players is finally paying attention to the growing problem we’ve been complaining about helplessly for years.

Eliot Lefebvre (@Eliot_Lefebvre): The thing is that no MMO hit anything nearly as bad as the Star Wars Battlefront II mess, but MMOs have had lockboxes of various forms kicking around since forever. This year was just the year when lockboxes started to become a bigger deal all across the board. And that’s why this is important, because the way this discussion goes now is going to have a long-term impact on lockboxes in the future. In other words, it wasn’t something that’s blindsiding us; it’s something that’s going to change the landscape in the long-term.

Justin Olivetti (@Sypster): WoW Classic’s announcement. Few things got me bouncing up and down in my chair when I saw Blizzard fully and publicly embrace a vanilla server for the future, and I’m far from the only one who had to have my jaw surgically reattached afterward. The shockwaves of this announcement are still being felt throughout the World of Warcraft community, probably for a long time to come.

Larry Everett (@Shaddoe): I think the biggest story is related to Marvel Heroes and Gazillion shutting down. I am just an MMO blogger, so I do not have the expertise to speak extensively on the topic. But there were a lot of things happening behind the scenes at Gazillion that started to come out of the woodwork after the shutdown announcement, and it also shows the relationship between corporate giants and small independent studios. There is just so much to unpack; I cannot get to is all in this little post.

MJ Guthrie (@MJ_Guthrie): Although I know lockboxes is a major ongoing story that’s sweeping the votes here, I am actually going to say Marvel Heroes. Going from seemingly doing well (although PC was getting ignored much of this year) to gone is something, but it is all the little added bits to the story in between that make the story bigger. Problems with alleged improprieties of the CEO (that’s part of a huge story that’s blowing up all over entertainment), dead silence from devs (who were gagged), an unannounced shutdown way earlier than the announced one (that we only learned about because devs leaked it), and the firing of everyone and shutting down of the company was a blow. Not only did we lose a game, we lost a studio. Along with that we lost more trust in the gaming genre. I mean, when suits are quick to screw over the devs that make our games, what hope do we have to not get screwed over as well?

Tina Lauro Pollock (@purpletinabeans): I couldn’t possibly select anything else other than lockboxes here, especially after ArenaNet chose to dip its toe into the incredibly murky waters with the new, highly coveted mount skins and faced quite a bit of backlash due to that. This goes far beyond my favourite MMO, however, and there are far bigger lockbox stories to come out of studios developing within the genre. I’ve been really interested in the legalities as well as the morality behind lockboxes, and I also am surprised that the genre is heading in this direction when we have so many historical examples of player backlash due to similar mechanics.

The lockbox debate won our award for Biggest MMORPG Story of 2017. What’s your pick?

Reader poll: What was the biggest MMO story of 2017?

  • The lockbox-lootbox debate. (46%, 332 Votes)
  • The death of Marvel Heroes. (15%, 111 Votes)
  • The WoW Classic announcement. (17%, 125 Votes)
  • Secret World Legends' reboot. (4%, 27 Votes)
  • The rise of battle royale clones. (2%, 15 Votes)
  • The influx of MMORPG expansions. (1%, 7 Votes)
  • Star Citizen alpha 3.0 drama. (4%, 26 Votes)
  • Ashes of Creation's record-setting Kickstarter. (3%, 19 Votes)
  • MMO sunsets other than Marvel Heroes - like Asheron's Call. (2%, 11 Votes)
  • The arrival of new MMOs like Destiny 2, Kritika, Revelation Online, and Albion Online. (1%, 4 Votes)
  • Nothing (4%, 29 Votes)
  • Something else (tell us in the comments) (2%, 12 Votes)

Total Voters: 718

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Poll options include all stories nominated plus a few others we thought had a chance!

MOP’S 2017 AWARDS (SO FAR)

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Malachi Shoffner

How about the fact that not a single good MMORPG came out this year?

Reader
Thomas

Something else…

The fact that nobody is making a new Guild Wars 1-type game.

It’s amazing to me that the best online multiplayer game ever made (GW1) has yet to be surpassed for sheer, glorious excellence — not even by its own “sequel”, GW2.

Reader
Vincent Clark

What is interesting is that the loot-box mess has now infested older, niche games like LotRO. While not as brazenly nefarious as other games, SSG has decided that after 10 years it was time to actively bleed dry what remaining players they have left. Worse, the continuing outcry on the forum and in-game has been met with complete silence from the executive producer (and a few closed threads by the CM). It’s a shame.

Reader
George

This was a very good year for gamers, as they stood still against some terrible practices with the only weapon they have: their wallet. Hope it lasts.

miol
Reader
miol

I hope this is another moment in history, where consumers are finally fed up by greed once again!

Just like it happened around the time of Atari’s E.T. game in the 80’s, or the burst of the speculation bubble with comics in the 90’s, that was catered by most comicbook publishers, like selling dozens of only slightly different versions of the same release (platinum version; with hologram; with extra certificate; different added posters;…)!

Yes, another shake-out in this industry can hurt deeply, but it also opens up so many new opportunities!
Nintendo would have never existed without that and comics as a medium would have never matured that fast!

Worth to watch:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atari:_Game_Over

http://www.amc.com/shows/robert-kirkmans-secret-history-of-comics/full-episodes/season-01/episode-06/image-comics-declaration-of-independents

Reader
Robert Mann

The surge of various ideas outside AAA with regard to MMOs, whether we like them or not. Loot/lockboxes are a big thing to talk about, yes, but in terms of greatest likely impact on the genre the continual push for new ideas, or revisiting old ideas, in a stagnant field for so long is huge.

Reader
qweazdak

the lockbox debate has been going on for a while now, so I didn’t choose it. The recent surge just came up due to star wars (of course not on the list, but IMO the biggest news story). Instead, I chose the death of Marvel Heroes. I think the sudden death was a surprise, not of it closing.

Reader
Jason Clearwater

Asheron’s Call biting the dust.

Reader
Utakata

Lockboxes/lootboxes where also the main subject of many Mr. Schlag’s editorial memes. In fact, there is a fine example of such further down the comments below! <3

Pepperzine
Reader
Pepperzine

Vote for classic WoW from me. The lockbox debate has been a series of unfolding events, so rather than a story its been multiple stories united by a single topic. And even then, until we see results that impact some of the MMORPG titles on a global level (instead of isolated areas), it’s still developing.