Massively OP’s 2021 Awards: MMO with the Stormiest Future

    
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Welcome back to Massively Overpowered’s formal end-of-the-year awards!

Today’s award is for the MMO (or Studio) with the Stormiest Future, which was awarded to Camelot Unchained 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 in 2022 and Beyond is…

BLIZZARD & WORLD OF WARCRAFT

Andrew Ross: Crowfall (unless unreleased games count, then Elyria).

Andy McAdams: There’s so much to talk about here that I think Bree would edit my blurb into oblivion – I’ll probably do a full article on this soon, but Blizzard is at a breaking point. What the company chooses to do here from here, in the next few months, will likely set the tone of its games for the next several years – assuming that Blizzard lasts that long. There’s no stormier future than a former king who’s losing his throne and embattled for his future.

Brianna Royce: I’m concerned for the future of Blizzard, of course, and several other smaller games (like come on, why hasn’t Camelot Unchained paid its refunds yet? Baffling) but I’m most worried about World of Warcraft. I’ve never been at a point when I genuinely thought the game’s future was in peril until 2021. Oh, I don’t think anybody’s going to take an axe to the golden goose just yet, but they’re in the process of starving it, which isn’t going to be pretty.

Carlo Lacsina: I originally had Phantasy Star Online 2: New Genesis in this slot, but with the release of the next major patch, the community seems pretty happy with what they’re getting and I wouldn’t be surprised if there’s an uptick in player activity from the patch. The new roadmap for 2022 also gives its players a clear vision for the upcoming year, which is a great way to give folks hope. So I’ll go with my second choice: Crowfall. It’s sad to say that, but there’s word through the grapevine that Artcraft might be considering an early sunset for the game. Whereas New Genesis has a roadmap, Crowfall has rumors of an early shutdown. And even if it’s a rumor, that’s enough reason not to play and dedicate time to that game. Let’s hope it’s not the truth. I hate seeing young games close early.

Chris Neal: Blizzard, SOTA. Who would have guessed, huh? The studio that seemed to be a bedrock for the genre now feels like a house of cards, and nothing less than a wholesale shakedown of leadership will make it right, in my opinion.

Colin Henry: World of Warcraft, Overwatch/OW2, Blizzard as a whole. Blizzard as a whole has some stormy days ahead of it. I’m sure I don’t need to rehash all of the discrimination lawsuit shenanigans going on around ActiBlizz right now. But I think the stormiest future within the Blizzard ecosystem is Overwatch 2. The original Overwatch has been languishing since the sequel was announced, and it doesn’t seem like the sequel caught the imagination of the game’s playerbase. Then, to make matters worse, the studio lost several of its leaders, including Jeff Kaplan, midway through development.

Eliot Lefebvre: World of Warcraft. Look, the reckoning has come to Blizzard Entertainment, and by all indications at this point the studio is dealing with that by pretending it hasn’t happened and clapping its hands over its ears while singing “LA LA LA LA” as loud as possible. The game needs a course correction and player faith, both of which it’s treating as infinite resources it has instead of things it has been bleeding dry for ages.

Justin Olivetti: Blizzard, hands-down. The scandal eroded an already faltering base, and the fact that the studio had so little to announce about the immediate future of World of Warcraft, Diablo, and Overwatch is terrifying.

Mia DeSanzo: Crowfall/Artcraft.

Sam Kash: Crowfall/Artcraft.

Tina Lauro Pollock: World of Warcraft.

Tyler Edwards: World of Warcraft. I still don’t think WoW is likely to truly become irrelevant any time soon, but it’s clearly struggling more than it ever has, and I fear we’re still in the part of the story where things get worse before they get better.

Blizzard and World of Warcraft 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 2022?

  • Blizzard, WoW, and ATVI games (55%, 430 Votes)
  • Catnip, Portalarium, and Shroud of the Avatar (2%, 16 Votes)
  • Phantasy Star Online 2 (1%, 4 Votes)
  • ArtCraft and Crowfall (9%, 71 Votes)
  • Daybreak, Standing Stone, and their games (3%, 24 Votes)
  • Cloud Imperium and Star Citizen (3%, 20 Votes)
  • Amazon, Lost Ark, and New World (10%, 81 Votes)
  • Gamigo, RIFT, etc. (4%, 32 Votes)
  • CCP and EVE Online (1%, 8 Votes)
  • Soulbound and Chronicles of Elyria (2%, 12 Votes)
  • CSE and Camelot Unchained (3%, 22 Votes)
  • NCsoft, ArenaNet, and their games (1%, 7 Votes)
  • PWE and its games (0%, 2 Votes)
  • Intrepid and Ashes of Creation (1%, 7 Votes)
  • Ubisoft and its games (1%, 8 Votes)
  • Pearl Abyss and its games (0%, 3 Votes)
  • Visionary Realms and Pantheon (1%, 6 Votes)
  • Citadel and Legends of Aria (1%, 5 Votes)
  • The big City of Heroes spinoffs (1%, 5 Votes)
  • Embers Adrift (0%, 1 Votes)
  • Riot and its games (0%, 3 Votes)
  • Funcom and its games (1%, 5 Votes)
  • Something else (tell us in the comments!) (1%, 7 Votes)

Total Voters: 624

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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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