Massively OP’s Best of 2017 Awards: Biggest MMO Industry Blunder of 2017

    
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Massively Overpowered’s end-of-the-year 2017 awards continue today with our award for Biggest MMO Industry Blunder of 2017, which we awarded to the industry’s VR obsession last year, and I just need to point out that some of you mocked us for that pick, but we’re feeling mighty vindicated this year, and you’ll soon see why. 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 and so we can be prepared for how they’ll affect us in the future.

The Massively OP staff pick for Biggest MMO Industry Blunder of 2017 is…

CCP’S DRAMATIC VR PULLOUT & EVE ONLINE LAYOFFS

Andrew Ross (@dengarsw): I was going to say Chris Roberts saying he was tired of giving 3.0 release estimates (which is my runner up pick), but instead go with Star Citizen asking people to buy land well before the game’s out. This isn’t just bad for the MMO industry but the Kickstarter industry as well. Star Citizen can really bring faith to Kickstarter fans with patience or (more likely) remind bitter old gamers like myself that it should be an option best left to smaller teams with partially finished projects in need of capital to help them cross the finish line. With the way the genre’s looking and some of the past stories with not just Kickstarters but Early Access in general, the cash grab after already selling so many ships seems to have fallen to the same level as their former contractors (illFonic, which went on to cancel Revival). Roberts also probably shouldn’t have voiced his frustration with being asked when the game would be essentially ready for the public. Maybe if he’d done a song and dance instead it would have gone down better and possibly raised them another million dollars. Maybe Richard Garriott will do that instead of selling blood art.

Brendan Drain (@nyphur): EVE Online firing its entire community team when pulling out of VR. While pulling out of VR was ostensibly a business decision for CCP, the way CCP handled it was deplorable. Once again it seems that the studio financially over-extended itself and had no plan for failure other than to panic and fire a lot of staff. The worst part was the fact that they unexpectedly let go all but two members of the EVE community team and the entire Atlanta office. The entire thing came just days after EVE Vegas 2017, where the Sparc and Valkyrie devs were all proudly talking about the future of their games and the EVE community team announced ambitious plans for future Fanfests. Nobody there had any idea they’d be looking for a new job at the end of the month.

Brianna Royce (@nbrianna): I don’t even play EVE Online anymore and I’m horrified at the way CCP dumped the entire community team over its VR misjudgments while telling the press and the players that everything was fine, situation normal – that EVE Online wouldn’t be affected. Any studio that truly believes — or thinks we’re dumb enough to believe — that a game of EVE Online’s magnitude (and frankly, toxicity level) will be just fine without a solid global community team is in trouble indeed. Seems like we’re in a “killing the goose that lays the golden egg” situation with the Reykjavik company.

Eliot Lefebvre (@Eliot_Lefebvre): CCP Games and the Incredible Layoffs and Shutdowns. I spend a fair amount of time making fun of Jagex, chiefly because Jagex makes RuneScape but falls down horribly when trying to make anything else. CCP Games is like a version of Jagex that apparently can’t even manage making its one game at this point. Gutting the EVE Online community team to the point of killing community events indicates that there’s a whole lot of disconnect going on at the most fundamental level. On some level, this is a “blunder” that predates 2017. Heavy investment in VR was a dumb idea when it first happened. But the chickens came home to roost this year, and so here we are.

Justin Olivetti (@Sypster): ArcheAge server merge/wipe. While the final result was probably the smoothest server merges that the game has done yet, the truth is that ArcheAge is a game that guts itself anytime it does one of these “evolutions” that wipes out player progress and asks its community to do a land grab all over again. There had to be a better way to go about this.

MJ Guthrie (@MJ_Guthrie): I feel the biggest blunder this year that has been making a negative impact on games is the whole focus on making all development decisions as to what is best for PvP. For instance, ArcheAge mergers were obviously needed to boost up PvP, but was it the best for the game as a whole? I know a sizeable chunk of folks who enjoyed the game’s other features (trade, farming, housing) who quit over the housing wipe. I left, taking all three of my subs with me. Even the trade system was changed up to encourage more travel in PvP areas. And now lets talk about ARK: There have been so many changes to the game because of PvP and PvP exploits that made everything worse for PvE servers that I couldn’t even begin to list them!

Tina Lauro Pollock (@purpletinabeans): I have to get on the CCP train too: Brendan and I live together and have spent plenty of time discussing this as the news rolled out to everyone, and he was very upset by the development team accounts he’d heard. Some of the greatest talent under the studio’s banner was cut, and that is a huge blunder for any studio to make. Runner-up goes to ArenaNet for it’s rather lacklustre (read: practically non-existent) Guild Wars 2 Path of Fire launch hype: The community drove the hype train for the studio and the lack of run-up PR was, and still is, a little baffling when the expansion was so solid.

CCP Games’ VR pullout and subsequent EVE Online layoffs won our award for Biggest MMO Industry Blunder of 2017. What’s your pick?

Reader poll: What was the biggest MMORPG industry blunder of 2017?

  • CCP's VR bungle and EVE layoffs (17%, 105 Votes)
  • ArcheAge's server merge-wipe mess (5%, 30 Votes)
  • Star Citizen's land claims (16%, 102 Votes)
  • ARK exploits (1%, 6 Votes)
  • Chris Roberts 'fed up' drama (5%, 32 Votes)
  • Lack of proper Guild Wars 2 Path of Fire hype (2%, 12 Votes)
  • Guild Wars 2 mountgate (5%, 30 Votes)
  • Funcom making Secret World players reroll for the reboot (9%, 56 Votes)
  • Gazillion's Marvel Heroes failboat (36%, 229 Votes)
  • Nothing (1%, 9 Votes)
  • Something else (tell us in the comments) (4%, 23 Votes)

Total Voters: 634

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Poll options include all stories nominated plus other games we thought would be worthy.

MOP’S 2017 AWARDS (SO FAR)
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