Massively Overpowered’s end-of-the-year 2017 awards continue today with our award for Best MMO Trend, which was awarded to the trend of adding content scaling to MMOs last year. This year, all trends were back on the table. 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 Best MMO Trend of 2017 is…
Andrew Ross (@dengarsw): Nostalgia with substance! Guild Wars 2’s appeal to Nightfall veterans combined with shiny mounts with unique features, Elder Scrolls Online’s appeal to Morrowind fans with the war bear, er, warden class, Pokemon Go’s Generation 1 and 2 legendary ‘mon finally added to the game through the new raid feature (when it works)… I just hope for fans’ sake that World of Warcraft (again) trying to focus on the old Horde vs. Alliance chestnut will pay off in 2018. Runner up: Content scaling. This won last year for a reason. I prefer horizontal leveling, so this is one step closer to that.
Brendan Drain (@nyphur): Treating games as communities. It feels as if there’s a stronger focus this year on studios maintaining communities rather than trying to grow fast at the expense of all else. More devs are communicating with players, there seems to be more openness and transparency, and even companies like Blizzard are listening to fans on issues like the Vanilla server. The genre feels like it’s maturing a lot this year, and more studios are viewing their games as long term prospects.
Brianna Royce (@nbrianna): I was on the fence about this, but Andrew put nostalgia into perspective for me. It’s really hard to argue against the idea that nostalgia was a big trend for the genre this year, from Guild Wars 2 to Elder Scrolls Online to World of Warcraft – even the EverQuest franchise got throwback expansions this year. And that’s without even mentioning throwback MMOs like Pantheon. I will totally bow to my colleagues and roll with community, though. Games like Ship of Heroes and Pantheon are certainly making community a real pillar of their design.
Eliot Lefebvre (@Eliot_Lefebvre): A community is never a reason why an MMO is good or not; the game is the game on its own. But a good community helps make a good game (or even a great one) into a more memorable place for a time. The more companies realize that community ties are worth celebrating in addition to the actual game systems, the more we receive reinforcement for one of the major social branches that keeps us invested in the first place.
Justin Olivetti (@Sypster): Words are cheap, but we kept seeing dev teams eat crow over a lack of transparency and communication — while others stepped up to deliver more or be more consistent in their output this year. It’s especially important for upcoming MMOs and ones that are in their early days, but experienced studios (Trion, anyone?) aren’t off the hook.
MJ Guthrie (@MJ_Guthrie): It may not be the biggest trend this year, but it is certainly the best: building community. Adding and improving features that help build and foster community is precisely what gaming needs, and different companies and games are rising to the occasion. I include in this things like the ability to scale in level to play with anyone, improved grouping and group finding features, and better guild mechanics. Just a couple of examples are Secret World Legends and ArcheAge’s group and raid finder interfaces, and Trove’s club-centric update. And you can’t forget the companies that put building up a positive community as the top goal: I’m looking at you, Ship of Heroes!
Tina Lauro Pollock (@purpletinabeans): I wholeheartedly agree with Andrew here: All things nostalgic have made a massive comeback in several key MMOs this year and it really has marked how the modern MMO expansion is developed. It applies to so many MMOs, including my beloved GW2, and is such a well-received trend that it must get a vote.
The renewed focus on MMO communities and developer communication took our award for Best MMO Trend of 2017. What’s your pick?
Reader poll: What was the best MMORPG trend of 2017?
- Community focus and communication (17%, 69 Votes)
- Nostalgia-driven content updates (10%, 41 Votes)
- Content scaling (13%, 55 Votes)
- Console ports (4%, 17 Votes)
- Skin gambling and lockbox crackdowns (11%, 47 Votes)
- Big expansions for core MMORPGs (8%, 31 Votes)
- Private servers and shards (3%, 11 Votes)
- Renewed interest in subscription models (11%, 47 Votes)
- Sandboxes and sandbox gameplay (8%, 31 Votes)
- Anti-toxicity efforts (8%, 31 Votes)
- Nothing (8%, 31 Votes)
- Something else (tell us in the comments!) (0%, 0 Votes)
Total Voters: 411