Massively OP’s 2020 Awards: Best MMO Trend of 2020

    
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MassivelyOP’s end-of-the-year awards for 2020 continue today with our award for Best MMO Trend of 2020, which last year went to the rise of rogue servers. This award is meant to highlight a pervasive trend that we can identify and actually appreciate seeing in the industry. Don’t forget to cast your own vote in the just-for-fun reader poll at the very end!

And the MassivelyOP staff pick for the Best MMO Trend of 2020 is…

THE MMO CONSOLE PORT CRAZE

Andy McAdams: I think there are cracks starting to form finally in the LOL RAID OR GTFO mentality… it’s not dead by a long shot, but there’s a least a little bit of light in the “maybe, just maybe games should be about more than raiding.” But I also like the console push as a good trend. Console audiences can only help the MMO genre, and since I was lucky enough to manage to snag a PS5, I’m excited about the opportunity to play more MMOs on my PS5.

Brianna Royce: The console push for sure. I’m not a hardcore console person, but I’m really glad to see more MMOs becoming platform agnostic, offering proper crossplay, and frankly making more money. It benefits us back here in PC world too. I mean, come on, this is a year when a new owner is mumbling about a console port for Lord of the Rings Online. This is not a fad.

Carlo Lacsina: MMOs getting controller support and going into the consoles. With the release of the new consoles, it’s the best time to do some MMO gaming on consoles. The machines are powerful enough to run the game decently and they’re getting at doing some decent controller controls. I know how up-in-arms folks get when an MMO goes into consoles, but if we want the genre to stay alive, we need new blood. And a lot of that new blood play on consoles. We’ll just convert them to the PC players later; there’s no rush. They all succumb to the power eventually.

Chris Neal: More MMOs on consoles and Steam and the expansion of cross-platform play. I’m not a Steam ride-or-die sort of person, but it’s impossible to deny the platform’s prevalence as a PC storefront, so seeing more games arrive to Steam (and therefore drawing in more folks to play) has been awesome. In that same vein, console players getting in on the fun has been wonderful to see as well. MMOs and multiplayer games are always better when more people join in, no matter what gatekeepers and crusty, unhappy vets say!.

Eliot Lefebvre: Capitalizing on shared social spaces in the wake of the pandemic.

Justin Olivetti: The console push, chunking patches into smaller patches, season passes. I’m not a console guy, but hey, I’m all for MMOs making money and growing playerbases — and consoles help greatly with both of that! With the next generation of consoles here, we can expect to see 2021 full of announcements about titles jumping onto the XboxX and PS5.

MJ Guthrie: Staying online without becoming a cesspool to your employees or players? No? OK, well how about platform diversification. As someone who doesn’t play on consoles (or even mobile), I don’t really care much about games going to other platforms because I am not waiting to play them there. That doesn’t affect me. What I do care about and does affect me, however, is the health of a game, and by branching out to a new audience, games are likely to gather more attention and players than if it stayed PC-only. I’d be way more sold if cross-platform were included, though.

Tyler Edwards: A growing resurgence of co-op play. Between Overwatch 2 and New World’s change in direction, it’s starting to feel like maybe devs are starting to realize co-op can co-exist with PvP.

The console port craze took our award for Best MMO Trend of 2020. What’s your pick?

Reader poll: What was the best MMO trend of 2020?

  • MMO's pushing to console and crossplatform play (14%, 71 Votes)
  • Demise of raid-or-die philosophies (23%, 114 Votes)
  • MMOs coming to Steam in droves (10%, 49 Votes)
  • Smaller patches and season content passes (2%, 12 Votes)
  • Good treatment of devs during COVID (like work from home) (14%, 70 Votes)
  • Resurgence of co-op play (5%, 23 Votes)
  • Retro and legacy servers (8%, 40 Votes)
  • Blurred lines between MMOs and other genres (3%, 17 Votes)
  • Industry unionization efforts (10%, 49 Votes)
  • Monetization experimentation (0%, 2 Votes)
  • Games being pulled back into testing before they fail (8%, 42 Votes)
  • MMO studios being bought up by larger companies (3%, 13 Votes)
  • Something else (tell us in the comments!) (0%, 2 Votes)

Total Voters: 356

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How does MassivelyOP choose the winner?
Our team gathers together to nominate and discuss candidates and hopefully settle on a consensus winner. We don’t have a hard vote, but we do include written commentary from every writer who submitted it on time so that you can see where some of us differed, what our secondary picks were, and why we personally nominated what we did (or didn’t). The site’s award goes to the staff selection, but we’ll include both it and the community’s top nomination in our debrief in January.
How does MassivelyOP populate this poll?
Poll options include all trends nominated plus others we thought had a chance.
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Motherball

More console play means more VC, and I despise VC.

Reader
Crowe

I don’t give a rat’s ass about consoles. But what I like best about MMOs is the co-op play so anything that provides that same thing is fun. Since COVID hit, I’ve actually been doing quite a few co-op board games like Pandemic (don’t knock it until you’ve tried it — it’s addictive especially the Legacy series!), Mansions of Madness, and Shadows of Brimstone (not sure why this one hasn’t caught on big time).

Reader
Robert Mann

Consoles is nice and all… although I detest simplified stuff as a result usually. So for all that might be a pro in expanding options for people, it also hits as a con for me. I think that I would be onboard fully if not for that, but consoles will continue to limit many things in the MMOs on offer across platforms, and that’s just not something I find a positive overall, even though MMOs have often chosen to over-simplify the worlds and only get complex in the combat systems to begin with. I’m very much in the ‘give me a world that actually moves and feels real’ camp, and consoles tend to mean even less of that too. *I’d love to support it, but I cannot see myself liking the results in terms of games by comparison. IF that can be fixed, I would be extremely happy, but the constant steps toward console compatible include things like reducing situational abilities and situations… and that is one of the negative trends over the past decade.*

Raid or die breaking even a little, good. Next maybe we can expand the area of attention beyond combat to actually having other things matter and not just be a phoned in mess? This is again similar to point #1, but I don’t trust it to bring more depth to things, just more gear spread across content types. Which is good, just I expect it to all be combat focused still, and that means the improvement is more like falling forward and bonking your noggin than a step.

I do like the efforts to treat devs better, although I’m not certain that is really as much a trend as it seems, and not more simply a business reality right now. I’d like to see more coop resurgence, but it hasn’t really hit very hard, there’s still a lack of really nice coop focus in MMOs, and the coop is still mostly very small groups in not-so-massive games.

Those are the spots I felt there was any potential here right now, and of them only the Raid or die cracks feels real and doesn’t have negatives as well for me… so that is my choice.

Reader
Vincent Clark

Just to be clear (only because it was mentioned in passing above), LOTRO will never make it’s way to console. Ever. I don’t care who “owns” the studio now, it’s simply not going to happen with the current team/management in place.

Reader
Hurbster

I’m kind of thinking my time in WoW is pointless. I’m there purely for the story, don’t care about dungeons or anything like that. And to play while knowing end game is something I’m never going to participate in is a bit depressing, to be honest. I’m also missing out on the story, which is annoying.

Reader
Bryan Cole

I picked the blurred lines between other genres. I use Valhalla and Cyberpunk as examples, I play them and get the same progression, exploration, and questing feel that I used to get only from my favorite MMOs. Seeing my son play survival games like Sea of Thieves also shows me the blurring of multiplayer questing and world bosses in that genre as well. This is all good, but I too want more on console and really hope we see that start to really happen.

Reader
SmiteDoctor

I picked MMOs being bought up by larger companies, I’m glad that the Everquest franchise is in slightly better hands.

Reader
Loopy

Retro/legacy servers. I don’t care about “why are we reverting back in time instead of moving forward” argument – sometimes forward is just not the right way. If i get to play a version of a game stuck in time where i had most fun with it – i will literally throw buckets of money at the devs.

Not sure why i keep my money in buckets, but that’s something i’ll have to revisit later.

Reader
Kickstarter Donor
Greaterdivinity

Even though, in my experience with them, the games are…a bit awkward and the performance can be absolutely atrocious (hello 10-second long lock in STO when trying to change something in the character creator, or hello sub-20 framerate on BDO with aggressive LoD culling) I’m still a big fan of this.

I’m genuinely excited for current-gen ports though, because both PS5/Series X have more or less doubled their clock speeds compared to last-gen (1.6Ghz roughly to 3.5Ghz roughly) which should go a long way in improving performance for these CPU-locked games.

Reader
Arktouros

I’m a huge fan and proponent of “play where you want” and love when people are able to enjoy their games on whatever platform they choose. If you love PlayStation great. If you love the Epic Game Store fantastic. Play where you want. I absolutely hate and despise when stores or platforms try to make things exclusive or tell customers you can only enjoy this on this one place.

So for me the console and cross play push is fantastic. I really enjoy my Xbox and being able to log off my PC, kick my feet up in front of the TV, and continue play games like Destiny 2 or No Man’s Sky with the same progress and the same account/persistence is amazing.

So not only do I hope these games continue to push into the console spaces, I also hope they keep global accounts so you can simply play the same game wherever you want and it all just works.