Massively Overpowered’s end-of-the-year 2018 awards continue today with our award for Biggest MMO Blunder, which was awarded to CCP’s dramatic VR pullout and EVE Online layoffs last year, which once again proved prophetic, given CCP’s buyout this year. This isn’t a meta-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 the Biggest MMO Blunder of 2018 is…
Andrew Ross (@dengarsw): Daybreak’s constant gaslighting. So much trust lost so quickly, and they just kept adding fuel to the fire. The internet has a long memory, guys. And a screenshot key. It’s hard to think of the EverQuest series making a comeback these days.
Brendan Drain (@nyphur): Diablo Immortal. I’m voting for this in Biggest MMO Blunder despite the fact that Diablo Immortal is patently not an MMO specifically because Blizzard itself called it an MMORPG in the launch video. The weeks leading up to Blizzcon were filled with anticipation for something new on the Diablo front, with the game featuring heavily in key art and Blizzard scheduling a talk entitled “The future of Diablo” and a whole floor section in the testing area for the franchise. Even when Blizzard announced that Diablo 4 wouldn’t be at the event, people were still excited to see where Blizzard was going with it — only to find out it’s a mobile game. The incredulity of the developers on stage and that now-famous “Do you guys not have phones?!” line were a kick in the teeth for attendees and those watching at home. There was certainly a lot of unnecessary rage online from gamers who felt genuinely betrayed and seemed to lack the emotional equipment to deal with it in a reasonable manner, but that response was easily predictable and horribly mismanaged by Blizzard. I think Eliot really hit the nail on the head in his piece about the event when he wrote that “Blizzard promised to show fans a lot of new stuff just for them, and showed fans a lot of stuff that was not for them. Some of it doesn’t appear to have been for anyone.”
Brianna Royce (@nbrianna, blog): Diablo Immortal took my top pick, but only by a hair. And I mean the whole presentation of it, from the teases to the botched BlizzCon presentation, not even so much the Wyatt Cheng phones thing, though that was just salt in the wound. It really proved Blizzard has become more and more out of touch with the western games market and specifically its loyal customers, and it certainly paid for it in lost stock value (yes, I know that was about Destiny 2 and the broader market too). My runner-up is definitely Bethsoft’s Fallout 76 bungle. Holy crap, cheaping out over canvas bags, seriously? That happened?
Chris Neal (@wolfyseyes, blog): Diablo Immortal. As an admittedly new arrival to the delights of Diablo 3, I found this was a twist of the knife for me, so I can only imagine how those who are significantly more invested must feel. Obviously, this isn’t carte blanche for people to be awful at everyone in Blizzard, and I also am not convinced that mobile gaming is the Great Enemy that people make it out to be, but the game’s reveal felt less like a passion project and more like a demand from The Investor’s Board. Runner-Up: Bless Online. I’m not sure what I was hoping for with regards to this MMO, but it just bellyflopped on nearly every conceivable level.
Eliot Lefebvre (@Eliot_Lefebvre, blog): Diablo Immortal, the centerpiece of BlizzCon and an object lesson in how to completely ruin your own fan event. This was just so transparently a badly managed reveal, such an unnecessary mess that happened chiefly because Blizzard insisted on having a BlizzCon and playing this up as a big reveal on a year when they didn’t actually have a reveal. The fact that FFXIV’s Fan Festival was not long after and went over like gangbusters in and of itself makes it clear how badly Blizzard managed things here; while I don’t condone or agree with the rudest behavior on the show floor, this was really bad. I wrote a whole piece about it.
Justin Olivetti (@Sypster, blog): Fallout 76 really shone a harsh light on how sloppy Bethesda has gotten about its testing and quality control, and I think most people are just done with excusing the studio over it. Seeing how badly the studio handled the damage control and communication following launch will serve as a warning sign to other studios who think that they’re big enough to ignore discontent.
Matt Daniel (@Matt_DanielMVOP): Diablo Immortal. Do I really need to elaborate on this? I mean, don’t you people read the news?
MJ Guthrie (@MJ_Guthrie, blog): I wish I could just make my Biggest Disappointment my Biggest Blunder, but sadly I see at least some of the studios insulting and treating their players like imbeciles and trying to rewrite history in their favor actually still benefiting, so it doesn’t seem to fit the blunder bill. If only such actions actually had the kind of backlash that would whip them into shape! There is, however, a line to be drawn: If we make this category Stupid Things That Should Not Be Said, the winner of this goes to “Do you guys not have phones?” Just, wow. What hangs in the air from that little response. Ignore and insult fans a wee too much and you get (rightfully) booed.
Diablo Immortal took our award for Biggest MMO Blunder of 2018. What’s your pick?
Reader poll: What was the biggest MMO blunder of 2018?
- The Blizzard and Diablo Immortal mess (40%, 261 Votes)
- The Daybreak Columbus Nova affair (9%, 61 Votes)
- The CCP Games buyout (2%, 10 Votes)
- The Trion Worlds buyout (2%, 15 Votes)
- Fallout 76's launch disaster mess (24%, 158 Votes)
- Riot's sexism culture exposed (3%, 20 Votes)
- WildStar's sunset and Carbine's closure (2%, 11 Votes)
- ArenaNet's Pricegate (2%, 15 Votes)
- Rockstar's crunch problem (1%, 4 Votes)
- The AAA MMO pivot to mobile (6%, 39 Votes)
- The push for MMO progression servers (0%, 2 Votes)
- The push for MMO battle royale modes (4%, 29 Votes)
- The focus on lockboxes (3%, 17 Votes)
- the H1Z1 pro league esports implosion (0%, 3 Votes)
- Nothing (1%, 6 Votes)
- Something else (tell us in the comments!) (1%, 4 Votes)
Total Voters: 490