The Daily Grind: What was the most innovative MMO of 2020?

    
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The Daily Grind: What was the most innovative MMO of 2020?

Ages back, we used to run a “most innovative MMO” award, and it was one I always liked because it was a good spot to talk about MMOs that might never have a chance to win the top awards. I’m gonna cheat smidge this year, though, and talk about a big MMO that introduced a relatively small thing that I want to see more of: Elder Scrolls Online’s antiquities system.

Launched alongside the Greymoor chapter last spring, antiquities is basically a treasure-hunting system that encourages players to explore the game world and dig up everything from gear to furniture. It’s mostly non-combat content that rewards you for scouting out the far corners of the world. My goodness, we need more of this! Any MMORPG can do More Combat, More Dungeons, More Raids. Not every MMORPG is truly implementing content packaged entirely for the explorer player type.

What would you say was the most innovative MMO of 2020, launched or not – and why?

Every morning, the Massively Overpowered writers team up with mascot Mo to ask MMORPG players pointed questions about the massively multiplayer online roleplaying genre. Grab a mug of your preferred beverage and take a stab at answering the question posed in today’s Daily Grind!

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Rob Hagaman

EVE Online’s Triglavian Invasion. There were system invasions where permanent change to the Map was made purely due to the actions of the players. The main trade pipeline between the north and south of the map was cut off when Niarja came under attack. The two largest alliances in the game, already at war fought against each other. When players had helped to get 27 systems to final luminality, a new system, Pochven, locked off from the rest of the universe except through wormholes, was created. Once again, players changed the map purely through their own actions, affecting trade and travel throughout New Eden.

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Sorenthaz

From the MMOs I played this year, nothing really stuck out as innovative. Fallout 76’s addition of human NPCs and the Shelter (instanced vault interiors) system were both pretty great for the game and they showed that they aren’t afraid to start dabbling with instanced content. Shelters were a nice innovation in that they give you a lot more freedom in how to place objects and how much stuff you can put in an area. NPCs made the game feel much more lively and they even brought back stat checked dialogue options + brought in a degree of dynamic storytelling with the instanced story bits that let you make personal choices. So there was a mix of iteration and then some degree of innovation.

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kjempff

Not saying it is the most innovative, and it is not a game that am going to play either but…
I am rather impressed with Dual Universe, especially their voxel engine and that you can include web content as graphic components is cool as heck.

Other than that, the most innovative idea in 2020 is without a doubt Ashes of Creation BUT !!! ONLY if they actually succeed in their vision. I guess it doesn’t really count as innovative before it is actually made (/point EqNext).

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Joe Seabreeze

Innovation and mmo in the same sentence?

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Harbinger_Kyleran

Almost an oxymoron really.

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HolyAvengerOne

I would say Chronicles of Elyria, with Caspian really raising the bar in terms of how to mistreat your backers and prospective players! A 10/10 for the innovative way to faceplant the game and community.

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Jon Wax

SC

You make money off a game without actually making the game!

Genius

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Oleg Chebeneev

And all the stuff in alpha comes from magician hat.

MIRACLE!

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Anstalt

I’d love to be able to vote for Camelot Unchained here, as I believe the game will have a ton of innovation that is desperately needed for the genre.

However, the bits that they have already done (e.g. CUBE) were done before 2020, and the other innovative features haven’t been implemented yet.

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Adil Ejaz

They have done the dragons web which is already in the play tests. Dragon web is a system by which you control territory and is unlike any I have seen before in a MMO setting.
I think that is innovative but the fun factor is not there yet. Also I think this category is for games already out and not developing games. In the end “the hell I know about any such rules”.

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7BitBrian

Honestly; nothing behind the antiquities system is innovative at all. It’s been done in other games before, it was iterative for sure, trying to improve on the basic idea and make it fit their world, but not innovative at all.

If I had to be honest the most innovative thing I can think of to come out of MMOs in 2020 would be either the technology and design behind GW2’s Dragon Response Missions, or their Drakkar fight. This was actual innovative stuff that has never been done before. If you watch their streams where they go over the design process and how they are able to pull off certain things, that seem rather simple in the moment, but when you actually look into them you see how much work and technology went into making it all work in such a manner and in a MMO environment with tons of players and zones. It’s quite fascinating.

Sure the Dragon Response missions themselves didn’t go over so great(though I have a feeling they will get better) but the technology and design that went into them is rather fascinating and innovative, and can definitely be used in even more new and fun ways in the future to give us even more different types of content.

I know this will be an unpopular opinion, because people will vote for what they enjoy doing, not what was actually innovative at all. Case and point; the antiquities system. You literally talk to someone, get points marked on your map, complete a minigame to learn more about them, them go to them and complete a minigame to “dig up the item”. It’s literally fetch quests with minigames and collectibles tacked on. It’s been done before. No new technology was developed or coded to make this work. No innovation was done. Which isn’t to say it is bad at all, iteration is just as important as innovation. I love good iteration. But that’s not what this article is supposed to be about is it?

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Harbinger_Kyleran

The antiquities system sounds a lot like the maps they had before with a new mini game added for extra “fun” (or hassle)

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Oleg Chebeneev

Star Citizen ofc. Tons innovation in every area from visuals to tech and gameplay

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Harbinger_Kyleran

True, I can’t think of any other game with functional toilet mechanics…but I think that’s been in there for a while now.

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Dug From The Earth

As a whole? None

There hasnt been any overall mmorpg innovation for years, which is why the genre is stale and dominated by awful monetized eastern mmorpgs. Those games that dont fall into this category fall into the “Game has been out 10+ years and being run on a skeleton crew staff but still charging modern prices for content” genre.

The “big 5” are kind of the exception, as they sorta set the standards for what was innovative back in the days when they came out, but even still… none of them are continuing to really push the genre forward much. A small system here and there doesnt really bring much innovation to the genre… especially when its things people dont really want (ahem… Shadowlands many new “innovative” systems)