Massively Overpowered’s end-of-the-year 2017 awards continue today with our award for Worst MMO Business Model, a dishonor bestowed upon Star Wars The Old Republic last year in this award’s inaugural year. As a counterpart to yesterday’s award for the best business model of the year, this “award” is intended to recognize an MMORPG of any age that has demonstrated a particularly awful business model specifically in 2017, regardless of its past performance. We expanded this award to include pre-launch MMOs with launched business models as well. 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 Worst MMO Business Model of 2017 is…
Andrew Ross (@dengarsw): I still can’t get back into ArcheAge because of its business model. Subscriptions, lockboxes, non-instanced land grabs, and server merges make for the perfect storm for keeping me away from a game. Runner up: SWTOR, mostly because its housing is instanced and therefore a bit safer compared to AA.
Brendan Drain (@nyphur): Star Citizen. Holy shit Star Citizen. Selling fake land in a game that doesn’t exist yet for real money. Enough said.
Brianna Royce (@nbrianna): I don’t cavort with the trolls who insist Star Citizen is a knowing scam, nor do I think the studio is operating on its last penny. I also can’t knock the idea of crowdfunding, given that Massively OP wouldn’t be here without it. But the slow pace of this game’s development coupled with the incessant drip of paid and arguably pay-to-win pixel ships — and now pixel land claims — all from a multi-million-dollar company whose combined crowdfund all by itself is currently bigger than all the other crowdfunded MMORPGs put together? It has worn on my very last nerve.
Eliot Lefebvre (@Eliot_Lefebvre): Boy, this was just the year of Star Citizen doubling down on “sell something that doesn’t exist yet but we promise will at one point exist,” huh? Systems that aren’t even yet in obvious development can now be bought in advance for a bunch of money! This isn’t shady at all! Runner-up: Guild Wars 2 and the amzing mount-skin lockbox.
Justin Olivetti (@Sypster): Star Citizen. The longer that time goes by without a full game release, the more ridiculous it seems to be “selling land on the moon” (or pretend spaceships) that fans can’t fully enjoy right now. The expansion of this model to selling land claims was truly ridiculous and highlighted one of the big problems with many of these early access and crowdfunded MMOs.
Larry Everett (@Shaddoe): As much as I’d like to give this award to Star Wars: Battlefront 2, that doesn’t exactly qualify. But I can still say that EA has some of the worst business practices in all of video games. It shows in Star Wars: The Old Republic. Although SWTOR says it’s free-to-play, there is no good way to play the game for free, and every addition to the game seems to try to suck every dime from its fans and its developers. I’d like to see EA give BioWare a bigger budget and a bit more control over the business practices. Make a great game first, and monetize it after is my advice.
MJ Guthrie (@MJ_Guthrie): I don’t know that any game will ever topple SWTOR’s free-to-play for worst business model ever. If you don’t sub, you probably shouldn’t really bother playing. You either pay through the nose for each little tiny thing or you really just have a really poor experience. I am grateful I can avoid the worst of it on the “preferred” level, but I’d never log in if I had the base F2P plan.
Tina Lauro Pollock (@purpletinabeans): I have to echo the Star Citizen here because it really tops my naughty list of worrisome features in a business model: It stacks payment mechanics on like they’re sprinkles and the tiers and access is further convoluted by its early backer roots. I can’t see how its system doesn’t just boil down to rather confusing pay to win flashiness, in all honesty.
Star Citizen took our award for Worst MMO Business Model of 2017. What’s your pick?
Reader poll: Which MMORPG had the worst business model in 2017?
- Star Citizen (59%, 1,294 Votes)
- Star Wars The Old Republic (12%, 270 Votes)
- ArcheAge (6%, 125 Votes)
- Guild Wars 2 (1%, 20 Votes)
- RIFT (3%, 56 Votes)
- Pokemon Go (1%, 12 Votes)
- Elder Scrolls Online (1%, 28 Votes)
- Black Desert (2%, 34 Votes)
- Neverwinter (1%, 19 Votes)
- EVE Online (1%, 22 Votes)
- Revelation Online (0%, 9 Votes)
- Riders of Icarus (0%, 0 Votes)
- EverQuest II (0%, 6 Votes)
- Secret World Legends (1%, 13 Votes)
- World of Warcraft (1%, 18 Votes)
- Final Fantasy XIV (0%, 9 Votes)
- Star Trek Online (1%, 11 Votes)
- Destiny 2 (4%, 77 Votes)
- Blade and Soul (0%, 2 Votes)
- WildStar (0%, 3 Votes)
- Shroud of the Avatar (2%, 36 Votes)
- TERA (0%, 4 Votes)
- Chronicles of Elyria (0%, 6 Votes)
- Skyforge (0%, 7 Votes)
- Warframe (0%, 3 Votes)
- Ashes of Creation (0%, 4 Votes)
- ARK Survival Evolved (1%, 20 Votes)
- Crowfall (0%, 3 Votes)
- Camelot Unchained (0%, 4 Votes)
- Lord of the Rings Online (1%, 16 Votes)
- Elite Dangerous (1%, 27 Votes)
- Nothing (1%, 14 Votes)
- Something else (tell us in the comments). (1%, 24 Votes)
Total Voters: 2,196