Massively Reader's and Staff Choice Awards results for 2009

Not only are the results in for our 2009 Reader's Choice Awards, but we've also compiled our own list of winners according to what we at Massively think should win in each category.

This year's vote turned into something quite interesting, we must admit. Instead of being a direct "reader's choice", it seems to be much more of a popularity contest among the fans of the largest games. This made many of you quite angry when Runes of Magic dominated every category literally overnight. Some studios created contests to get their players to vote in the poll, most added a link to the awards on Twitter or Facebook, but the Runes of Magic team did everything from front page placement of the awards link to regular in-game announcements prompting fans to vote. Now that's how you win a vote. Especially when you have millions of players.

Hand-in-hand with this, there have been reports of exploits on the polls involving a simple cookie clearing (although the site designers promise that an exploit through clearing cookies alone is not possible). Even if we assume that the exploit is true, this whole thing shows who has the fans that are most dedicated to supporting their favorite game. There's nothing wrong with that.

So we're still going to show you the results as voted by the fans, and the results of our own staff poll. Follow along after the jump for the complete run-down.

Best Crafting in a 2009 MMO

Runes of Magic

Fallen Earth

Best PvP in a 2009 MMO

Runes of Magic


Best Capacity for Roleplay in a 2009 MMO

Runes of Magic

Champions Online
Fallen Earth (tie)

Best Free-to-Play MMO of 2009

Runes of Magic


Best Visuals/Graphics

Runes of Magic

Champions Online

Best MMO Studio of 2009


Fallen Earth LLC (tie)

Biggest Disappointment of 2009



Best Launch of 2009

Runes of Magic

Runes of Magic

Overall Best New MMO of 2009

Runes of Magic

Fallen Earth

Most Anticipated for 2010

Star Trek Online

All Points Bulletin

As you can see, there's quite a bit of difference between our opinions and what was voted upon in the reader's polls (except in two categories). We thought we'd further the explanations behind our decisions with a few key quotes from the staff:

Best Crafting in a 2009 MMO - Fallen Earth
"Is there really a question? Fallen Earth offers such a richness to its crafting system that it's almost incomprehensible, and I was already diving into it after nothing more than a few minutes in the tutorial. If anything, I wish the game gave more emphasis and press to its crafting system. But that's a different discussion." - Eliot Lefebvre

Best PvP in a 2009 MMO - Darkfall
"I'm really not a Darkfall fan... but even I can't deny the game its rightful award: Best PvP. When you cross an FPS with an MMO, you're bound to get something that's worthy of PvP. Beyond that, Darkfall features city sieges, territory control, full loot drops, and enough character customization options to keep the PvPer happy for a good, long time." - Seraphina Brennan

Best Capacity for Roleplay in a 2009 MMO - Champions Online and Fallen Earth (tie)
"Fallen Earth was made for roleplayers, as the world is just so open-ended. What better place to rewrite the plot of the world than a game where it's all been wiped out?" - Shawn Schuster

"The Champions Online roleplaying community is amazing. There's many, many guilds dedicated to roleplaying characters from all ages of comics, you have huge expanses and great situations to roleplay in (Nemesis Confrontation, anyone?) and you have the best costume creator seen in an online game outside of City of Heroes. If you want to be creative and you want to have some good roleplaying fun, you want Champions Online." - Seraphina Brennan

Best Free-to-Play MMO of 2009 - Dungeons & Dragons Online
"Dungeons and Dragons Online made such a smooth and impressive transition from pay-to-play to free-to-play that it's almost embarrassing, and it's made the rest of the industry take a much closer look at the business model. That's pretty significant by itself, but the game is fun, action-based, and feels far easier to pick up and play than most other games." - Eliot Lefebvre

Best Visuals/Graphics - Champions Online
"This took a LOT of thought. Aion has some beautiful graphics, except when it comes to visuals. Champions Online has a very distinctive style that I happen to appreciate. Aion is very close, but honestly after the 'OH SHINY!' effect wears off you're left with a game that kind looks like a whole lot of other games." - Kyle Horner

Best MMO Studio of 2009 - Fallen Earth LLC and Turbine (tie)
"Honestly, every studio operates differently. The more open and honest a developer is with their fanbase, the more trust is earned. This year, I'd say that Fallen Earth LLC (formerly Icarus Studios) has been pretty impressive when it comes to this factor." - Kyle Horner

"Turbine is not only the best MMO studio of the year (with the release of LotRO's Siege of Mirkwood and DDO as F2P), but the best studio period. They are astute professionals who know what their players want and how to compromise on tough design and business solutions." - Shawn Schuster

Biggest Disappointment of 2009 - Aion
"When your holy grail MMO title turns out to offer absolutely nothing new to the genre except a new record in grind time to level 50, you win the "Biggest Disappointment" award from me. Grats Aion. This honor is only outmatched by the size of your experience curve." - Seraphina Brennan

Best Launch of 2009 - Runes of Magic
"Did Runes of Magic launch? I thought it just always was... there. Anyhow, Aion and Champions both had rocky launches for different reasons. Personally, it wasn't the fact that Cryptic nerfed so much of the game at launch that miffed me a bit -- it was that it broke so much of the game for the first few weeks. Certainly, they've repaired significant amounts since, but it's the kind of tough lesson you don't want to repeat. HINT, HINT. But who am I kidding? I was just playing Champions Online before writing this up, so whatevs." - Kyle Horner

Overall Best New MMO of 2009 - Fallen Earth
"Fallen Earth really deserves so much for what it has accomplished in three short months. Sure, it has some bugs still, but the game has given us hope that indie MMO studios can break through the high-budget publisher barrier and spread almost entirely by word of mouth. The game has shown that quality game design can trump the largest advertising budget any day." - Shawn Schuster

Most Anticipated for 2010 - All Points Bulletin
"Ironically, this one only made the top of one of our lists, but it made the #2 spot in all of them, gaining enough collective points to win (with Final Fantasy XIV a very close second). APB has been pimping its amazing character creator for almost two years now, and we're ready to throw together some custom tattoos and kick some butt. Now we just have to see how it actually plays." - Shawn Schuster