As we did in 2014, 2015, 2016, and 2017 – it’s turning into an actual custom right here! – in the present day I’m going to recap our annual awards and different meta articles from the top of 2018. We gave out 19 formal awards this previous yr, all along with dozens of different recaps, roundups, listicles, predictions, bloopers, oddities, polls, provocations, and retrospectives. It was by far our largest content material dump thus far, even greater than final yr!
Following our deep-dive into our awards and the hooked up reader polls, I’ll be recapping all the end-year articles in a single handy place in case you missed one thing over the vacations – take pleasure in!
MMO of the Yr: Remaining Fantasy XIV (2018), Elder Scrolls On-line (2017), Black Desert (2016), Last Fantasy XIV (2015), Nothing (2014), Remaining Fantasy XIV (2013), Guild Wars 2 (2012), Star Wars The Previous Republic (2011), International Agenda (2010), Fallen Earth & Dungeons & Dragons (2009)
Group Ballot: Ultimate Fantasy XIV (2018), Elder Scrolls On-line (2017) Elder Scrolls On-line (2016), Elder Scrolls On-line & Trove (2015), Nothing (2014), Star Trek On-line (2010), Runes of Magic (2009)
Longtime readers will recall that again in 2014, we have been all so underwhelmed by the sector of latest MMOs that we voted to call “Nothing” our GOTY, which finally led us to rethink how we do these awards. Consequently, older MMOs that sustain a excessive degree of updates are within the operating for this award, and so returning for its third (non-sequential) win for MMO of the yr is Last Fantasy XIV, which managed to keep away from too many screw-ups and impress each the writers and the readers. Even people who don’t play it have a usually constructive opinion of the way it’s developed and maintained. That counts for lots on the planet on always-on, always-evolving MMORPGs.
Greatest Enlargement/Replace: Elder Scrolls On-line: Summerset (2018), Guild Wars 2 Path of Hearth (2017), World of Warcraft Legion (2016), Guild Wars 2 Coronary heart of Thorns (2015), Guild Wars 2 April Function Pack (2014), Guild Wars 2 Tremendous Journey Field (2013), RIFT Storm Legion (2012), Lord of the Rings On-line Rise of Isengard (2011)
Group Ballot: Elder Scrolls On-line: Summerset (2018), Guild Wars 2 Path of Hearth (2017), World of Warcraft Legion (2016), Guild Wars 2 Coronary heart of Thorns (2015), World of Warcraft Warlords of Draenor (2014), World of Warcraft Cataclysm (2010)
Let’s be blunt: 2018 was an awesome yr for patches, however not so nice for full-scale expansions from the highest MMOs, which ought to have meant that World of Warcraft’s Battle for Azeroth took the crown right here. However nope: Each our writers and readers went for Elder Scrolls On-line’s Summerset, soundly rebuffing Blizzard. Let’s hope 2019 has even higher competitors.
Most Anticipated: Torchlight Frontiers (2018), Crowfall (2017), Star Citizen (2016), Star Citizen (2015), EverQuest Subsequent/Landmark (2014), EverQuest Subsequent (2013), WildStar (2012), Guild Wars 2 & WildStar (2011), Star Wars The Previous Republic (2010), All Factors Bulletin (2009)
Group Ballot: Pantheon (2018), Crowfall & Shroud of the Avatar (2017), Camelot Unchained (2016), Star Citizen (2015), Camelot Unchained & Shroud of the Avatar (2014), Star Wars The Previous Republic & Challenge Titan (2010), Star Trek On-line (2009)
Torchlight Frontiers got here out of nowhere this yr to wow us, and it’s no shock; so most of the video games we’re all watching have been in improvement for therefore lengthy that we begin to develop weary of the anticipation. If PWE can pull collectively a strong enterprise mannequin, it’ll be in a great spot to launch in 2019. Vote brigading from social media ensured Pantheon’s place on the prime of the group ballot, however we’re not mad about it; we relatively prefer it too.
Studio of the Yr: Grinding Gear Video games (2018), ZeniMax & Sq.-Enix (2017), ZeniMax (2016), Sq.-Enix (2015), SOE (2014), SOE (2013), SOE & ArenaNet (2012), SOE (2010), Turbine & Fallen Earth LLC (2009)
Group Ballot: Standing Stone Video games (2018), ZeniMax & Sq.-Enix (2017), ZeniMax (2016), Metropolis State Leisure (2015), Cloud Imperium (2015), Blizzard (2010), Frogster (2009)
It’s a superb signal once we felt as if we had a lot to select from in regard to good MMO studios this yr, however we selected to honor Grinding Gear Video games, which runs Path of Exile with fixed updates, strong communication, and an aesthetic enterprise mannequin. Our readers picked Standing Stone Video games, operators of Lord of the Rings On-line and Dungeons and Dragons On-line.
Most Improved: RuneScape (2018), Guild Wars 2 & Trove (2017), Elder Scrolls On-line (2016), WildStar (2015), Last Fantasy XIV (2014), Remaining Fantasy XIV (2013), RIFT (2012)
Group Ballot: Elder Scrolls On-line (2018), Guild Wars 2 (2017), Elder Scrolls On-line (2016), Elder Scrolls On-line (2015), Remaining Fantasy XIV (2014)
On the danger of issuing a back-handed praise, we tapped RuneScape for many improved this yr, noting that Jagex put in vital effort on the traditional MMO and its old fashioned variant, even pumping out cellular editions for each this yr. The Elder Scrolls On-line, nevertheless, swept the reader vote. Not a nasty decide there both!
Greatest Enterprise Mannequin: Guild Wars 2 (2018), World of Warcraft & Remaining Fantasy XIV (2017), Guild Wars 2 (2016)
Group Ballot: Guild Wars 2 (2018), World of Warcraft (2017), Guild Wars 2 (2016)
On this award’s brief life, it’s gone again and forth between the perfect subscription mannequin and one of the best buy-to-play mannequin; this yr, Guild Wars 2’s mostly-B2P mannequin took the title each from the writers and the readers. As we’ve famous, the 2 massive sub MMORPGs didn’t present as a lot worth for the cash this yr, making them more durable to agitate for, whereas ArenaNet has scaled again a few of the lockbox selections we criticized in 2017 and continued delivering high-quality free content material within the type of its dwelling world episodes.
Most Underrated: Lord of the Rings On-line & MapleStory 2 (2018), Black Desert & Secret World Legends (2017), Last Fantasy XIV (2016), Trove (2015), Elite Harmful (2014), Neverwinter (2013), The Secret World (2012)
Group Ballot: Lord of the Rings On-line (2018), Secret World Legends (2017), Dungeons & Dragons On-line (2016), Elder Scrolls On-line (2015), Elite Harmful (2014)
This award is all the time a wrestle because it relies upon a lot in your notion of how extremely different individuals price a recreation. On this case, we opted to honor each a brand-new MMO and an older one: Nexon’s MapleStory 2, whose cutesy graphics masks a difficult sandbox, and SSG’s Lord of the Rings On-line, which continues to be kicking and offering strong content material over a decade after its launch. Lord of the Rings On-line took the reader ballot handily too.
Story of the Yr: The Dawn Columbus Nova Saga (2018), The Lockbox Debate (2017), The Dying of EverQuest Subsequent (2016), Dawn’s Drama (2015), ArcheAge’s Drama (2014), EverQuest Subsequent’s Reveal (2013), 38 Studios’ Doom (2012), Monoclegate (2011), Blizzard’s Actual ID Fiasco (2010)
Group Ballot: The Dawn Columbus Nova Saga (2018), The Lockbox Debate (2017), The Dying of EverQuest Subsequent (2016), Dawn’s Drama (2015), ArcheAge’s Drama (2014)
We now have 5 awards now that target subjects slightly than particular video games, and so as soon as once more we did our greatest to unfold them round. The Dawn Columbus Nova story took this vote simply. Most of our employees has been overlaying MMOs professionally for the higher a part of a decade or extra, and none of us might keep in mind an MMO story that concerned an MMO studio backtracking on its possession after three years and after press started digging into its hyperlink to Russian oligarchs and political sanctions, by no means thoughts an MMO studio apparently gaslighting players by deleting paperwork and fudging Wikipedia entries. Dawn has taken this “award” type of lots, however this one… simply wow.
Dawn took the reader vote too, although the Diablo Immortal mess wasn’t far behind.
Worst Enterprise Mannequin: Star Citizen (2018), Star Citizen (2017), Star Wars The Previous Republic (2016)
Group Ballot: Star Citizen (2018), Star Citizen (2017), Star Wars The Previous Republic (2016)
As we’ve beforehand famous, a recreation already promoting pixel starships, automobiles, and land claims has a enterprise mannequin whether or not or not it’s formally launched, and so Star Citizen as soon as once more takes this award. Whereas a number of of our employees benefit from the recreation and even included it on our most-anticipated lists, the $27,000 package deal CIG bought this yr in all probability sealed the deal. Our readers plainly agreed, although Fallout 76 caught some shade as nicely.
Greatest Development: Development Servers (2018), Concentrate on Communities (2017), Content material Scaling (2016) Resurgence of Expansions (2015), Sandbox Gameplay (2014), Sandbox Gameplay (2013); Greatest Innovation: SOEmote (2012)
Group Ballot: Development Servers (2018), Concentrate on Communities (2017), Content material Scaling (2016), Resurgence of Expansions (2015), Sandbox Stuff (2014)
In previous years, we’ve had a tough time coming to a consensus on this award, however this time, we unanimously declared 2018 the yr of the MMO development server, as half a dozen MMOs provided them for play. The readers usually agreed, although virtually as many have been thrilled to see authorities crackdowns on lockboxes.
Greatest Not-So-Massively Recreation: Warframe (2018), Warframe (2017), Overwatch (2016), ARK Survival Advanced (2015), Hearthstone (2014), Path of Exile (2013), PlanetSide 2 (2012); Greatest Cellular MMO: Arcane Legends (2012)
Group Ballot: Warframe & Path of Exile (2018), Warframe (2017), Overwatch (2016), ARK Survival Advanced (2015), Hearthstone (2014)
The award goes to MOBAs, on-line dungeon crawlers, ARPGs, on-line shooters, survival sandboxes, battle royales, and different video games that tread into MMO territory however aren’t full MMORPGs – in different phrases, video games we cowl that orbit the MMO style however aren’t full MMORPGs (and subsequently aren’t eligible for most of the awards we give). That stated, we’ve been tempted to think about this yr’s NSM winner – Warframe – for our normal MMO awards too, because of its persevering with forays into the style’s principal mechanics. Warframe and Path of Exile have been neck-and-neck locally ballot, which shouldn’t shock anybody as each have taken this award earlier than.
Greatest Indie or Crowdfunded MMO: Challenge Gorgon (2018), Elite Harmful (2017), Marvel Heroes (2016 – as “Best Popcorn MMO”)
Group Ballot: Twin Universe (2018), Twin Universe (2017), Marvel Heroes (2016 – as “Best Popcorn MMO”)
This award is meant to honor a smaller recreation that’d by no means have an actual probability on the huge awards, and so Undertaking Gorgon, a spectacular MMO sandbox run pushed to early entry by its couple of builders this yr, was a simple win for the employees. Twin Universe, which is an alpha MMO amongst our most anticipated video games, took the reader vote once more because of some mild nudging by its builders. Subsequent yr, we’ll in all probability tighten up this award’s purview to make sure it’s targeted on launched and semi-launched MMOs, maintaining the deep-in-development titles in probably the most anticipated class.
MMO with the Stormiest Future: Chronicles of Elyria (2018), Star Citizen (2017), Star Citizen & WildStar (2016), Blade & Soul (2015), Star Citizen (2014), Elder Scrolls On-line (2013)
Group Ballot: Star Citizen & Fallout 76 (2018), Star Citizen (2017), Star Citizen (2016), Star Citizen (2015), Star Citizen & ArcheAge (2014)
In earlier years, this award was often referred to as “Most Likely to Flop,” however this yr we determined to vary it up, each as a result of we felt it was too imply and as a result of we thought “flop” was approach too ambiguous. Consequently, this yr Star Citizen didn’t win; as an alternative, we’re most fearful about Chronicles of Elyria, an MMO that Kickstarted two years again however appears to have struggled in 2018 with layoffs and aspect tasks. Star Citizen didn’t handle to flee the commenters’ wrath, nevertheless; each it and Fallout 76 have been tied of their perceived storminess.
Greatest Participant Housing: RIFT & EverQuest II (2018), WildStar (2017), WildStar (2016)
Group Ballot: Elder Scrolls On-line (2018), WildStar (2017), WildStar (2016)
The unhappy actuality stays that loads of dangerous or small or underrated MMOs have unbelievable mechanics, and WildStar’s housing system was clearly one among them. Sadly, WildStar sundown this yr, leaving the sector broad open for brand-new MMOs to win… haha, simply kidding. RIFT and EverQuest II are not any spring chickens, however they presently have the perfect housing available on the market based on our writers. Our readers, nevertheless, gave the nod to Elder Scrolls On-line.
Greatest Crafting: Last Fantasy XIV (2018), EverQuest II (2017), Landmark (2016), Fallen Earth (2009)
Group Ballot: Last Fantasy XIV & Elder Scrolls On-line (2018), Last Fantasy XIV (2017), Last Fantasy XIV (2016), Nothing (2010), Runes of Magic (2009)
This yr, the employees gave the nod to Ultimate Fantasy XIV, having been satisfied that Sq.’s in style MMO has the most effective providing proper now. Our readers pegged each XIV and Elder Scrolls On-line for the consideration. However hey, the horizon is providing some critical challengers on this division, if they will however launch…
Largest Disappointment: Business Employment Scandals (2018), The Unhappy Demise of Marvel Heroes (2017), EverQuest Subsequent & No Man’s Sky (2016), World of Warcraft (2015), WildStar & ArcheAge (2014), DUST 514 (2013), Metropolis of Heroes’ Sundown (2012), Star Wars Galaxies’ Sundown (2011), Aion (2009)
Group Ballot: Blizzard’s Diablo Immortal Mess (2018), The Unhappy Demise of Marvel Heroes (2017), EverQuest Subsequent (2016), EverQuest Subsequent’s Silence (2015), WildStar & ArcheAge (2014), Last Fantasy XIV (2010), Aion (2009)
Nothing disgusted and dissatisfied our employees this yr greater than the a number of employment scandals that rocked the business this yr and confirmed how devs are handled like “disposable garbage” – from Riot’s sexual harassment scandal and Rockstar’s crunch story to ArenaNet’s firing bungle and Dawn’s mass layoffs. Whereas a number of group picks have been shut, Blizzard’s Diablo Immortal mess simply edged the others out. However don’t fear; Blizzard will get what’s coming to it…
Largest Blunder: Blizzard’s Diablo Immortal Bungle (2018), CCP’s VR Pullout & EVE Layoffs (2017), The VR Obsession (2016), Star Citizen Melodrama (2015), Dev Hubris – A number of Video games (2014), Elder Scrolls On-line’s & WildStar’s Sub Fashions (2013)
Group Ballot: Blizzard’s Diablo Immortal Bungle (2018), The Demise of Marvel Heroes (2017), EverQuest Subsequent’s Cancellation (2016), All the things ArcheAge (2015), WildStar’s Endgame & ArcheAge’s Launch (2014)
It doesn’t look like even these of us who will play China-oriented cellular title Diablo Immortal have been even somewhat bit impressed with Blizzard’s determination to debut it because the headline recreation of this yr’s BlizzCon to a crowd filled with core PC recreation followers, and even in case you forgive the now-infamous “do you guys not have phones” gaffe, it’s a must to ponder whether Blizzard has unwittingly revealed it’s misplaced contact with its personal market. And the readers? You people undoubtedly agreed.
Greatest Vacation Occasion: Elite Harmful’ Enigma Expedition (2018), Lord of the Rings On-line (2017), The Secret World (2016)
Group Ballot: Elder Scrolls On-line’s Fall Freebies (2018), Lord of the Rings On-line (2017), The Elder Scrolls On-line (2016)
Elite’s Enigma Expedition is the story of how the Elite group saved one among Frontier’s poorly conceived occasions from griefers who have been actually there making an attempt to disrupt the ultimate voyage of a participant dying of most cancers. Whereas I’m tempted to discontinue this award subsequent yr in favor of 1 that will get extra traction with our readers, I’m glad we might maintain these specific gamers up this yr.
The readers gave it to Elder Scrolls On-line’s free home and free mount occasions that dominated the autumn, which was possible the results of vote brigading, however it’s nonetheless a superb decide.
Largest Shock: The Buyouts of Trion and CCP (2018)
Group Ballot: The Buyouts of Trion and CCP (2018)
This yr we determined to retire our Greatest PvP award, provided that in 2017, our writers weren’t impressed sufficient to decide on a winner, and actually our group additionally picked “nothing” from the ballot. Ouch! Hopefully that award shall be again sooner or later as soon as a few of the PvP sandboxes begin truly launching. Within the meantime, we’re giving Largest Shock a go, and we selected the 2 huge buyouts of the yr – Pearl Abyss shopping for CCP Video games and Gamigo shopping for Trion Worlds – for that honor. Whereas most of us acknowledged these corporations have been struggling, the diploma to which they have been struggling was a shock, and the actual studios that did the shopping for have been a shock certainly to the MMO style.
And that’s a wrap on our awards for 2018! For these of you who missed different particular content material over the vacations, we’ve rounded up all our music awards, our blooper awards, our weirdest story collection, end-year content material from a few of our function columns, our month-to-month information recaps, our employees roundtables, and our favourite prime tens proper down under. In case you’re strapped for time, undoubtedly hit the most important tales record, largest surprises listing, healthiest MMOs record, best-value MMOs record, greatest updates listing, our predictions for subsequent yr, and our massive record of all of the MMOs we’re watching in 2019!
2018 BLOOPER AWARDS
2018 WEIRDEST STORIES SERIES
2018 RECAP LISTICLES & ROUNDUPS
END-OF-2018 READER OPINIONS
END-OF-2018 STAFF ROUNDTABLES
END-OF-2018 COLUMN EDITORIALS
COMPLETE 2018 MONTH-IN-REVIEW SERIES
COMPLETE 2018 AWARDS SERIES