Perfect Ten: MMOs that earned a notorious reputation

From Star Citizen to Scarlet Blade


Nobody wants a bad reputation. I mean, you can’t make everyone everywhere approve of you, but you also don’t have to go out of your way to offend people and put your worst face forward. For obvious reasons, MMO studios work hard to cultivate a positive reputation, but it’s a hard fact that any goodwill is just a bad decision away from being thrown into the trash.

Sometimes a bad call or an unfortunate circumstance results in reputation that follows a game around until its dying day. Today we’ll look at 10 such MMOs that became notorious for one reason or another. Fortunately for some of these, they’re pretty solid games even with that rep, so it’s not like a bad word always tanks a title for good.

Anarchy Online: Worst MMO launch of all time

Honestly, at this point I can’t even say with assurance that Funcom’s first MMO still holds the crown as worst launch of all time. The point is that it earned that reputation for the absolutely atrocious rollout in 2001 and became an object lesson to the entire industry to this day. I mean, ask someone about bad MMO launches, and Anarchy is probably going to top that list instantly. It was so very bad, and it took months to recover from it.

Scarlet Blade: Shameless exploitation

Imagine if those “Play me my Lord” Evony ads from back in the day became an MMO, or if Dead or Alive Beach Volleyball’s characters took up swords and started swinging, and you would get Scarlet Blade. I’m sorry to report that multiple Massively-that-was writers played this – to hilarious effect – but even if you don’t want to give Frankengadget a click, the screenshots and ads showcased an endless parade of skimpily clad anime models that fought in G-strings and carefully placed bits of tape. It was the kind of game that you felt justified in mocking, and when it inevitably closed, nobody shed a tear.

Lost Ark: Riddled with bots

Amazon’s imported MMOARPG had a lot going for it (and still does) with solid reviews, high population counts, and good looks. But the studio was woefully unprepared for the onslaught of bots that almost immediately infested Lost Ark and refused to be evicted. It’s such an ongoing problem that any post where someone is returning to the game will inevitably ask, “How bad are the bots these days?”

EVE Online: Creating a ‘harden the F up’ culture

Most MMOs want to be as accessible and welcoming as possible with safeguards and mechanics to ease players into the game and help them take root there. EVE Online’s CCP went a completely different direction, however, establishing early on that this was a hardcore game for elite macho dudes or somesuch, and that if you didn’t have the thickest of skin, you weren’t welcome. While it made the studio seem edgy in an Euro alt-rock kind of way, this top-down attitude infected the playerbase and created a culture that’s repellant to many MMO gamers to this day.

kyle has a cool yard

Shroud of the Avatar: Endlessly milking its community

If there ever was a “sure thing” for an upcoming MMO, we really thought it was Shroud of the Avatar. We had MMO legend Richard Garriott freed of studio restraints to create the game of his dream and an enthusiastic legion of followers who poured gobs of money into crowdfunding his vision. And instead of delivering an amazing game that revolutionized the industry, Garriott and Portalarium crafted a money milking machine that endlessly asked fans for money in advance. When it arrived, the game was so sub-standard that Garriott and his studio sidled out of the picture to leave subordinates holding the mess.

EverQuest: Ruining real-life relationships

There’s a good reason that EverQuest’s early nickname was “EverCrack” — the novelty and popularity of this MMORPG sucked a lot of people into it hardcore. The dark side of this was the damage that it caused to relationships, including stories of marriages falling apart because of gaming addiction. Wired wrote a piece on this back in 1999, kicking off with a story about a hooked father of two: “Don’t look for Godfrey at any 12-step program any time soon. He and more than 150,000 other gamers are too busy hunting monsters, collecting loot, and forging alliances in MUD world, where players lose themselves for days at a clip.”

Star Citizen: Endless development and overpriced spaceships

Take a moment to absorb the fact that Star Citizen began development in 2010. It’s now 2024, nearly a decade-and-a-half later, and we still don’t have a launched game. Yet Star Citizen’s been shamelessly selling expensive spaceships to fans during much of that period, with some players reporting that they’ve spent hundreds if not thousands of dollars already. The endless development would be a joke if it weren’t also so tragic.

Diablo Immortal: Egregious pay-to-win sales

If Blizzard wanted to deliberately let down the Diablo crowd, it couldn’t have engineered a more perfect scenario than the announcement of a mobile game while fans were waiting for an announcement of a full-fledged sequel. But hey, maybe it wouldn’t be that bad, some figured! Maybe it would be worth checking out!

And then Diablo Immortal released with one of the most predatory pay-to-win business models we’ve ever witnessed in this space. Turns out that, yes Red Shirt Guy, this was an April Fools’ day joke after all.


Alganon: Going to the convenience store one afternoon and never coming back

The tumultuous history of Alganon, an otherwise generic fantasy MMO, could fill a small book. But this game became infamous overnight when Derek Smart took the title offline for server maintenance in 2017… and then never turned it back on again. Oh, he’s been promising Alganon’s return ever since then, but you’re still gonna be waiting until at least 2025.

M2: Getting accidentally deleted forever

Maybe studio Hangame’s M2 isn’t a title that means anything to you or anyone else, but it was an actual MMO that existed at one point in time. That is, until one afternoon in October 2011, when the title developed a critical server issue and was taken offline for a fix. However, it turned out that the issue was far worse than anticipated, and the studio couldn’t bring the game back online or restore from backups. Virtually overnight with no warning, M2 went dark forever and ceased to be.

Everyone likes a good list, and we are no different! Perfect Ten takes an MMO topic and divvies it up into 10 delicious, entertaining, and often informative segments for your snacking pleasure. Got a good idea for a list? Email us at or with the subject line “Perfect Ten.”
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