We didn’t do quite as many Leaderboard polls this year as in previous years, largely because… well, we’ve already asked a lot of the obvious questions in our decade-plus online, and on top of that, a lot of the best questions can’t really be answered with a simple poll. Nevertheless, we don’t want to let go of our annual tradition of counting off some of the more interesting polls! Let’s crunch some numbers and put the community votes in context.
The Shadowlands pre-patch changed World of Warcraft forever, allowing veteran players to pick one expansion to level through to get to the new content, if they so chose. We made the point that your favorite expansion might not always be the best one to level through, but it was to no avail, as the winners – Wrath of the Lich King followed by Mists of Pandaria, with Legion, Draenor, and Burning Crusade trailing well behind – line up with usual favorites polls.
At the beginning of 2020, Amazon pivoted on New World’s development, essentially changing it from a brutal PvP sandbox into more of a siege-and-PvP-centered romp. When hardcore PvP players complained, Amazon kinda told them too bad, in politer terms. So we had to take the pulse of our own community. A full 36% of you said your interest had gone from not much to lots since the game’s gankfest meter was turned way down, with another 20% saying they were interested either way. Only 12% said they’d soured on the game since the changes. Perhaps the wisest of the bunch were the 15% of you who said you didn’t care until there was a launched game to care about anyway.
This poll was inspired entirely by the realization that this past summer, SWTOR had racked up more years online than Star Wars Galaxies, at least under SOE, ever got. I thought SWG would run away with the vote, and it certainly won out, as 44% of voters picked one version of SWG over anything SWTOR. In fact, what surprised me is that SWTOR did so well, with 28% of players picking a version of SWTOR over its chief franchise rival.
Ultima Online studio Broadsword announced a new seasonal server type this past fall, offering a new newbie-friendly ruleset that would ideally appeal to both veterans and newcomers to the 23-year-old MMORPG. A whopping 36% of you said you’d definitely give it a try, with another 10% saying you might. Not too shabby for a game built in a different millennium!
In February, four months after Blizzard bungled its way through a fall 2019 political fiasco of its own making, we wondered whether boycotters were still holding strong. Nearly a third of our readers said they were, in addition to 14% who said they were boycotting the company for other reasons and 20% who said they weren’t playing Blizzard games regardless. Just under 20% of respondents said they were never boycotting, and seven people admitted to having dropped their boycott.
The Wastelanders expansion last spring gave Fallout 76 a second wind and a second chance with players. While a third of you said you still had no interest in the game, another third claimed to be fans of both the original game and of Wastelanders. Interestingly, only 9% said the new content had made them as non-players think about picking it up.
There’s a joke among bloggers that the posts we slap together in three minutes with a dumb meme in the title get thousands of clicks while the ones we spent hours researching slip past the masses unnoticed. This Leaderboard was one of the latter, as I pieced together multiple articles to try to come up with a list of reasons people are so willing to work in MMORPGs. The winning categories? A sense of mastery or achievement, followed by a sense of challenge or progression and a sense of comfort of fulfillment. Still, it’s quite a wide spread, demonstrating that people really do not all play our genre for the same reasons.
Finally, polls like this one build on the idea that we all want very different things out of our MMOs, even when we’re fans of the same franchise, as the replies were split almost three ways between traditional MMORPG gameplay, a full sandbox, and a sweet story. It’d be real awesome if multiple Star Wars MMOs to serve all those groups could exist in the same universe, eh?