Massively OP’s 2020 Awards: MMO with the Stormiest Future

    
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MassivelyOP’s end-of-the-year awards for 2020 continue today with our award for the MMO (or Studio) with the Stormiest Future, which was awarded to Daybreak last year. Years ago, we called this award “Most Likely to Fail” and “Most Likely to Flop,” but we’ve since changed the name and expand it beyond just individual games to studios and ideas as well as fringe and unlaunched games. It represents something we’re worried about for one reason or another: Maybe we think the game or studios will sunset or struggle or simply fail live up to insane hype. And no, we don’t actually want anything to have a stormy future! 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 MMO (or Studio) with the Stormiest Future as of the end of 2020 is…

CAMELOT UNCHAINED

Andrew Ross: Star Citizen. Still. The long development cycle almost makes it feel like the game came and went already. Runner-up: Camelot Unchained.

Andy McAdams: New World, Star Citizen, Camelot Unchained, Crowfall – I listed several different games here, but really it because I felt bad about actually thinking that Camelot Unchained has the stormiest future. While I love how active Jacobs is, the game has languished for too long with not enough and not a consistently playable state. I think the Jacobs and CSE has a lot of ground to make up in 2021 from the somewhat lackluster 2020. They are doing some great work, but they need to get more cohesive, persistent, game out there.

Brianna Royce: Pantheon, Camelot Unchained, Shroud of the Avatar, Chronicles of Elyria. This one is painful. Where to begin? Chronicles of Elyria and Shroud of the Avatar probably don’t even need mentioning here. Elyria blew up and is smothered in lawsuits by now. Shroud of the Avatar is now a punchline that nobody plays and investors are too tired to sue. Pantheon… I had really high hopes for Pantheon, and I really hate that it seems like the deaths of prominent developers has hurt the studio to the point that its finances and future seem in jeopardy. I don’t even like including it, but it’s true. And Camelot Unchained? Look, I don’t actually care that they’re making a second game. A lot of studios do this, and not all of them are honest about it, and this one actually looks good. If it keeps the studios alive and thriving, great – as long as we still get the MMOs. That’s not even why it’s on my concern list this year: It’s on my concern list because I expected to see CSE really go nuts in 2020 proving to everyone that it was still a top contender and assuaging all our fears and pushing Camelot really hard, and I didn’t see that. We did get footage this year, and I’ve seen even more than is public, but the progress on the game, at least from the newsletters and updates and 90-day reports, is still plodding, and I honestly cannot tell independently how much of that was the fault of COVID and 2020 sucking. I do think we’ll get the game; I’m just worried the playerbase will be gone by the time we do. My hope is that 2021 sees much more forward momentum – and maybe a community manager to smooth ruffled feathers (and finish delivering those refunds).

Carlo Lacsina: Camelot Unchained. I remember a friend of mine was really hyped to play Camelot Unchained… back in 2017. Yo, that’s three years ago. Where is the darn game? The longer games stay in the hands of the developers, the worse it gets in my opinion. This game missed its window and bigger games are already on the horizon. By the time it comes out, it will be going up against games like Crimson Desert, DokeV, Plan 8, Blue Protocol, New World, Crowfall, and it’s going to have a hard time finding its footing.

Chris Neal: Camelot Unchained, Shroud of the Avatar. I hate picking CU. Hate it. Truly hate that this is the right pick for this award. Because the ideas in this game really are neat, and Mark Jacobs seems like a legitimately good guy, and it’s clear that the devs are working hard. But the Ragnarok decision and its seemingly appreciable impact its had on the forward momentum of CU is too strong to ignore. I legitimately want to be proven wrong, but things really don’t look good right now. Regarding SOTA – when the guy whose name is tied to your game seems wholly uninformed about what’s going in said game and is more interested in dunking himself into the deepest part of the ocean, there’s Beacons of Gondor-levels of worry to be had. This game has printed newsletters about decorations for crafting tables, signposts that double as fast travel, and towns getting more lights ss features. None of this bodes well.

Eliot Lefebvre: Camelot Unchained. Ugh. I hate putting this out there. I liked the second project Mark Jacobs is working on when I saw it earlier this year. I understand what it’s there to do. But honestly, the split left a bad taste in people’s mouths, and crowdfunded games in no small part live on the goodwill of players. Now that the goodwill is gone… life is harder, and I really hope that Camelot Unchained moves forward and starts being something we can talk about more actively instead of being in limbo.

Justin Olivetti: Camelot Unchained, Shroud of the Avatar, RIFT, Chronicles of Elyria. Listen, it comes down to this: I think that Mark Jacobs and his team know PvP MMOs well, have a good idea here, and could eventually produce something well worth playing. But the thing is that they haven’t. Camelot Unchained feels like it’s been in development hell for far too long now when it should’ve been released, say, two years ago. The constant demand for refunds from backers show eroding support for this product, too, and that doesn’t exactly bode well.

Mia DeSanzo: Star Citizen, again. Maybe New World.

MJ Guthrie: I abstain from this category. I just can’t bring myself to inject any additional negativity on 2020.

Sam Kash: Camelot Unchained and LOTRO even if the studio got bought.

Tyler Edwards: Star Citizen. Camelot Unchained is definitely on shaky ground at this point, but I do still believe it’ll deliver a complete game… eventually. I hope.

Camelot Unchained took our “award” for MMO (or Studio) with the Stormiest Future. What’s your pick?

Reader poll: What MMO game or studio has the stormiest future heading into 2021?

  • Camelot Unchained (29%, 328 Votes)
  • Star Citizen (20%, 231 Votes)
  • New World (8%, 90 Votes)
  • Crowfall (3%, 35 Votes)
  • Pantheon (5%, 56 Votes)
  • Shroud of the Avatar (5%, 53 Votes)
  • Chronicles of Elyria (5%, 55 Votes)
  • RIFT (3%, 38 Votes)
  • LOTRO (3%, 34 Votes)
  • Guild Wars 2 (4%, 43 Votes)
  • SWTOR (2%, 20 Votes)
  • ArcheAge (3%, 32 Votes)
  • Project Gorgon (0%, 2 Votes)
  • Saga of Lucimia (1%, 11 Votes)
  • Ashes of Creation (2%, 26 Votes)
  • Ship of Heroes (0%, 5 Votes)
  • Valiance Online (0%, 3 Votes)
  • City of Titans (1%, 8 Votes)
  • Daybreak games other than LOTRO (2%, 19 Votes)
  • Bethesda's ESO and Fallout 76 (3%, 36 Votes)
  • Legends of Aria (1%, 10 Votes)
  • Something else (tell us in the comments!) (1%, 13 Votes)

Total Voters: 824

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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 MMOs and studios nominated plus a few others we thought should be included.
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Dankey Kang

I don’t know why nearly as many people have suggested SC over CU. Sure SC appears to be something of a scam, but there is a game in existence; people can actually download it and do things, it’s just not in a state where it’s worth playing over other games. With CU we still have no indication that a game even exists, I’ve seen some unimpressive tech demos and other moving pictures but no actual game or anything even resembling a game.

Reader
Kickstarter Donor
Java Jawa

Shroud – big yes, I can’t see it being around in the next 3 years

Pantheon – hard to say 50/50 on this, it’s taken a change in direction since BMQ passing sadly

CU – I think we’ll be fine here, sure maybe some bad taste but there’s others in much worse shape.

New World – it’s been years and numerous iterations, I gotta imagine but 2021 isn’t released, then Amazon is gonna pull the plug. There’s a historic record here to back this up.

Reader
Oleg Chebeneev

Ill talk about games that actually might have a future. So I’ll skip CU.
Pantheon’s future look cloudy. Im still not sure what to expect from it. 2 core devs gone was a big blow for small studio. Also what they shown didnt impress me as of yet. We’ll see.

Also Im scared for TSW. Nothing happens to it. Playerbase must have shrinked. If it gets shut down would be a tragedy

Leo
Reader
Leo

the man of giant paragraphs was summoned…

To me the ones that look stormiest, in the near term, are those superhero games. It didn’t feel like there as much to really get hooked on that they showed this year and the market might not really support so many superheroing MMOs. DC still has their game too which has the brand name.

Reader
soup4000

shroud/sota isn’t going to have stormy anything.

in the last release or so they addded mounts, a major mechanic. it apparently didnt’ set the world on fire

no. shroud is going to fade out with a wimper

sota.png
Leo
Reader
Leo

are those very few players really putting that much money into the cash shop to pay for the salaries of the developers?

Reader
soup4000

the devs have said steam represents about 1/3 to 1/4 of their playerbase (they have a separate launcher too).

but yes apparently. when they’re putting packages on sale for 25% saving you $1750, those few people go a long ways.

people are apparently actually buying these things

Reader
Narficus

They are desperate, but that isn’t what they’re selling. They are hoping to sucker anyone in at that price as they haven’t had anyone buy any of them for some time, and none at that price.

$7k Lord of the Isle: Episode 2 Bundle (1-8)
Limited to 8 (of 24) Bundles! 0 of 8 Available

(Sale) $7.5/ $5.6K Lord of the Isle: Episode 2 Bundle (9-16)
Limited to 8 (of 24) Bundles!
(None sold yet)

$8k Lord of the Isle: Episode 2 Bundle (17-24)
Limited to 8 (of 24) Bundles! 6 of 8 Available

But what is “selling” at a couple here and there?
Bigger player-owned ghost towns. The Teralololololopolis normally goes for $11k but is on sale for $10.48k

Meanwhile, they still haven’t connected to the Steam Wallet for Steam users, which is incredibly stupid because of the ecosystem of millions they could have, but instead remain a joke. If the awful starting scene is hurdle #1 for new players, with the awful UI as hurdle #2, actually buying anything is going to be hurdle #f***thiss***Imout.

Leo
Reader
Leo

oh those pictures included there… I am not sure I ever really seen how this game actually looks, and those don’t help

Reader
Narficus

It’s F2P on Steam* so go ahead and give it a try. The first scene alone should provide some real WTF moments if you’re used to QoL improvements of the last 20 years.

* – Yet too incompetent/shifty to properly use Steam Wallet for cash show purchases. Go figure.

MasterOfPuppets
Reader
MasterOfPuppets

The sad thing is, Shroud has already had it’s stormy anything; it had sunk into the mire before the servers even went live, but it’s only when the only remaining Developer was no longer able to lie to himself as well, and lashed out and personally abused the staff at MMORPG.com and later here at MassivelyOP, that the little remaining coverage acknowledged just how vicious and dishonest the development had become.

Before that though, those who’d become critical because they saw the Kickstarter was clearly dishonest, who’d not got their physical kickstarter rewards, who’d submitted art and coding to the project and had been exploited and taken advantage of, who had tried to point out the organised on the official forums manipulation of polls and coverage, who for being critical then had the community openly stalk and harass them and escalate to begging the developers to help try and drive those critics insane, who were having their accounts shut down (or protected) judged on nothing more than whether they were supportive or not… Those users were trying to warn the world about just how stormy Shroud was, and MMO forums just saw them as supposedly “haters”, and thought press releases and coverage was the same as reality, and insisted Shroud still had a bright future.

It never did. SotA was born in lies and is slowly crawling off to die in a dark corner leaving a trail of slimey lies behind it.

Reader
Rndomuser

B.t.w, I dunno if Bree have seen this yet, but Massively getting more popular with some YouTubers directly referencing your site:

Reader
Utakata

Camelot Unchained getting vaulted up there with Star Citizen for crowd founded games that perpetually stringing it’s backers along with no real end product in it’s sights, is a sad turn of events ad far in development MMO’s go this year. Just think, if this was NC or Blizz, these games would of likely been released already or planned to be released…

…that said, I do hope year of 2021 brings more substance and a release candidate for for CU and SC.

Or tl,dr: Just release it already! >.<

Reader
Rndomuser

It represents something we’re worried about for one reason or another

The only game I am worried about on that list is Ashes of Creation. The company that is developing it is being led by a person who has played modern MMORPG games by himself (regardless of how he behaved in them – I don’t care for those fairy tales) and seem to be very involved in development process, has plenty of money to finance the full development of it (I don’t care how he got the money as long as he did it legally), they seem to have a large developer team already and according to latest video – they will be hiring dozens of more people next month, the engine that they are using is already pretty modern (in terms of visual effects and support for latest hardware features), well-known (meaning easy to find people familiar with it and potentially easy to outsource development of some parts of the game to companies across the world) and has potential of allowing 1000’s of live players participating in large scale combat in same instanced areas (this has been successfully tested by CCP in Aether Wars demo who used same engine, just with flying ships in space) with few customizations. They have shown a lot of things through the videos – the beautiful design of flora and fauna, player character model design and animations, the building design, and I liked what I have seen. And judging by the amount of upvotes their videos generate on YouTube and the amount of conversations this game generates on various Discord communities (I participate in many Discord communities where this game has already been mentioned), I am not the only one who liked what I have seen. HOWEVER I didn’t like some gameplay aspect they have been talking about and it is still not very clear which direction they will go towards in regards with large scale battles or the amount of optional non-PvP content for people who dislike PvP in any form.

So yea, there are many positives I’ve seen in regards to this game and also some negatives and unknowns and since this game still doesn’t have release date – a lot of things will most likely change in regards of many aspects of the game, I just really hope these changes will go into the right direction which I will personally like and which will make it popular enough with enough people playing it for at least a few years.

I don’t really worry about any other games on this list – most of them are already failures or will be, and Star Citizen is just something I’m not interested in playing at all.

miol
Reader
miol

Only Sam having LOTRO/SSG in their top 3?

Or do guys think with its IP it’s just unkillable, until Amazon releases its version?

I mean, SSG’s practices are only getting worse:
https://massivelyop.com/2020/10/22/lotro-legendarium-is-lotro-at-war-with-orcs-or-with-its-playerbase/

Reader
treehuggerhannah

Personally I don’t think it’s unkillable in the broadest sense, but with the numbers they released when the sale was announced, I can’t imagine it’s in serious danger in the next twelve months unless the servers all catch on fire or something. (Not that I’m ruling that out at this point.)

Reader
Bruno Brito

it’s in serious danger in the next twelve months unless the servers all catch on fire or something.

I mean…if this year was anything to go by, i’m sure they’ll explode soon enough.

miol
Reader
miol

Thank you, I totally missed that! /bow

Sam Kash
Staff
Sam Kash

Hey! I was kind of surprised too! But treehuggerhannah has a good point too!

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Patreon Donor
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Schlag Sweetleaf

.

blowin in the wind.gif
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Mark Jacobs

Hehe, love it.

Thanks Schlag!!!