Massively staff picks for 2010 and the decade

With the comment section of our Player's Choice Awards still simmering at a low boil, we've decided to unleash our own staff picks for 2010 and the last decade. This one wasn't put to a vote; we each simply named our favorites in a few distinct categories, explaining a few along the way.

As with all of our articles marked with the shiny opinion tag, this post consists entirely of our separate opinions on what we did or didn't enjoy. We have a staff made up of a wide variety of MMO gaming styles, and we like to showcase that whenever we can. Your opinions and results may vary.

We even had some fun with this year's awards by throwing in five categories that could be considered less-than-serious. Read after the jump for our picks!

Best MMO of 2010

Eliot Lefebvre:Final Fantasy XIV
Justin Olivetti:Star Trek Online
Jef Reahard:Global Agenda
Patrick Mackey:Global Agenda
Beau Hindman:Mabinogi
Shawn Schuster:Vindictus
Bree Royce:CoH'sGoing Rogue
Larry Everett:Global Agenda
Brendan Drain:WoW'sCataclysm
Krystalle Voecks:Global Agenda
MJ Guthrie:Global Agenda
Rubi Bayer:All Points Bulletin
Karen Bryan:Global Agenda
Jeremy Stratton:Perpetuum

"Although its status as an MMO was debatable at launch, Hi-Rez's sci-fi shooter Global Agenda has since added a ton of PvE options, gear progression, new maps, yada yada. It strikes a good balance between player skill and equipment, and it largely lacks the tedious grinds that define the genre. Aside from all that, it's simply fun." - Jef Reahard

"I didn't buy any MMO that was released in 2010. Even Star Trek Online, which drew my interest initially, had enough bad release reviews to put me off getting it entirely. Having played World of Warcraft's Cataclysm expansion, I'd have to say it's definitely the best thing released this year." - Brendan Drain

Best MMO of the Decade

Eliot Lefebvre:World of Warcraft
Justin Olivetti: Hello Kitty Online
Jef Reahard:Star Wars Galaxies
Patrick Mackey:Guild Wars
Beau Hindman:Dark Age of Camelot
Shawn Schuster:WURM Online
Bree Royce:World of Warcraft
Larry Everett:Star Wars Galaxies
Brendan Drain: EVE Online
Krystalle Voecks: World of Warcraft
MJ Guthrie: Star Wars Galaxies
Rubi Bayer:Guild Wars
Karen Bryan:World of Warcraft
Jeremy Stratton:Vanguard

"I make no secret of the fact that I have many, many issues with World of Warcraft. But trying to pretend that it hasn't been one of the biggest forces driving the entire industry for the past six years is just plain disingenuous." - Eliot Lefebvre

"SWG showed what's possible. Of course WoW then came along to show what's profitable, and here we are. Though few games have had rockier roads than SWG, it's still around, still the penultimate sandbox, and still retains some of its charm despite various face-lifts." - Jef Reahard

Best MMO News Story of 2010

Eliot Lefebvre:EA Confirms the Old Republic won't be launched before April 2011
Justin Olivetti:Blizzard's Real ID fiasco
Jef Reahard: The $26 million FFXIV ragequit
Patrick Mackey:The $45k EVE scam
Beau Hindman:The closing of APB
Shawn Schuster:GamersFirst reloading APB
Bree Royce: Blizzard's Real ID fiasco
Larry Everett: Blizzard's Real ID fiasco
Brendan Drain:Live events making a come-back in EVE Online
Krystalle Voecks:The enormous PvP battle in EVE Online
MJ Guthrie: Blizzard's Real ID fiasco
Rubi Bayer:LotRO going free-to-play
Karen Bryan:Largest EVE Online battle ever
Jeremy Stratton:WoW's Sparklepony

"First I would have to go with the Derek Smart vs. David Allen story, but -- although fun to watch -- it was very tabloidish. So I'm going to have to go with the RealID fun Blizzard had. I believed it showed Blizzard that, even it controls control a huge chunk of the MMO market, it still has to keep the customer happy. On top of that, it had the nice tabloid feel when one of the community managers posted his real name as a challenge, then was soon bombarded with a whole slew of personal information now made public." - Larry Everett

"The fierce debate and opposition to Blizzard's attempt to force forum users to post alongside their real names had three notable outcomes. One, it got a lot of people thinking seriously about internet privacy, often for the first time. Two, it showed that players who shake off apathy and oppose an MMO studio decision with reason as well as emotion can make a difference. And three, it's pretty much the only time I've ever seen Blizzard quickly back down from a bad decision."
- Justin Olivetti

Best MMO Studio of the Decade

Eliot Lefebvre:

Justin Olivetti:Turbine
Jef Reahard: Sony Online Entertainment
Patrick Mackey: NCsoft
Beau Hindman:Sony Online Entertainment and Nexon
Shawn Schuster:ArenaNet
Bree Royce: Sony Online Entertainment
Larry Everett: Turbine/SOE/ArenaNet
Brendan Drain:Turbine
Krystalle Voecks:CCP Games
MJ Guthrie:Sony Online Entertainment
Rubi Bayer:ArenaNet
Karen Bryan:Sony Online Entertainment
Jeremy Stratton:Sony Online Entertainment

"Turbine's motto is 'Powered by our fans,' and I like it not just for the pun, but for the truth behind it. Turbine stood toe-to-toe with the big boys as an independent studio for the better part of the decade and produced several incredible titles. But above the studio's commercial success is its success at building relationships with the playerbase, setting a standard for some of the best MMO communities out there." - Justin Olivetti

"This is a solid tie between SOE and Nexon America. No matter what anyone says, both studios do listen to their customers and offer tons of entertainment for a tiny price, if at all. Making a mistake here and there means that they are trying something new. That's better than doing nothing at all." - Beau Hindman

Most Anticipated MMO of 2011

Eliot Lefebvre:Star Wars: The Old Republic
Justin Olivetti:Star Wars: The Old Republic
Jef Reahard: ArcheAge
Patrick Mackey: World of Tanks
Beau Hindman:Wakfu
Shawn Schuster: Xsyon
Bree Royce: Star Wars: The Old Republic
Larry Everett:Star Wars: The Old Republic
Brendan Drain:Star Wars: The Old Republic and RIFT
Krystalle Voecks: Star Wars: The Old Republic
MJ Guthrie:ArcheAge
Rubi Bayer:Guild Wars 2
Karen Bryan: Star Wars: The Old Republic
Jeremy Stratton: Guild Wars 2

"Star Wars: The Old Republic. I want to see what kind of MMO you get for that kind of money." - Krystalle Voecks

"I want to vote for
Guild Wars 2 SO BADLY, but I don't think it will launch in 2011. Please prove me wrong, ArenaNet." - Shawn Schuster

"With ArenaNet skirting around the issue of release dates for Guild Wars 2, BioWare's Star Wars: The Old Republic is easily the Next Big Thing. I'd say that even if I weren't a Star Wars fan, but since I am... it's going to be a great year!" - Bree Royce

Most Useless NPC in an MMO

Eliot Lefebvre: Maelstrom, City of Heroes
Justin Olivetti: The Armor Vendor in any MMO
Jef Reahard: The Sanctum teleporter daevas in Aion
Patrick Mackey: Quest Failure NPCs
Beau Hindman: The guards in Vanguard
Shawn Schuster: Gwen in Guild Wars pre-searing
Bree Royce: LotRO's Sara Oakheart
Larry Everett: An Old Man from SWG
Brendan Drain: Every Armor Vendor
Krystalle Voecks: WoW's Mankrik
MJ Guthrie: LotRO's Sara Oakheart
Rubi Bayer: Master Togo from Guild Wars: Factions
Karen Bryan: Any NPC that stands in place for all eternity
Jeremy Stratton: Any NPC hunter that asks you to hunt 10 of anything for him

"Gwen in pre-searing Guild Wars has a legendary uselessness that became such a running joke that ArenaNet brought her back later in the game, naming its expansion after her and eventually basing much of the Guild Wars 2 storyline on her life." - Shawn Schuster

"Seriously, is there a more useless NPC than an armor vendor? Nobody wastes coin buying their common wares when much, much better loot is handed out in the field and by quest-givers, which means that these vendors are there to go broke buying your useless crap. I imagine the suicide rate among these NPCs is quite high." - Justin Olivetti

"Maelstrom is one of the signature characters in Going Rogue, but I can't help but remember the Praetoria missions in which he wound up playing an ersatz Don Quixote against a bunch of Ghouls and I had to keep chasing after him. Also, good work armoring every part of your body except your glowing power source." - Eliot Lefebvre

Worst MMO Soundtrack

Eliot Lefebvre: Champions Online
Justin Olivetti: EVE Online
Jef Reahard:Lord of the Rings Online
Patrick Mackey: All of them
Beau Hindman: Final Fantasy XIV
Shawn Schuster:Auto Assault
Bree Royce: Ultima Online
Larry Everett: All of them
Brendan Drain:RuneScape
Krystalle Voecks:Hello Kitty Online
MJ Guthrie: Any without an off switch
Rubi Bayer: None
Karen Bryan:EverQuest
Jeremy Stratton:EVE Online

"Most MMO soundtracks have terrible pacing, especially relevant to the MMO action. I've not listened to a MMO soundtrack yet that didn't make me want to mute it immediately. Winamp 1, MMO music 0. Extra double failure for games like City of Heroes that have music that plays even when the music is muted." - Patrick Mackey

"I love MMO soundtracks; I almost never turn off the music. But the current incarnation of
Ultima Online's soundtrack is probably the worst, at least in the enhanced client. Gone are the days of Stones and the classic midis that most people remember fondly; they've been replaced with tracks from even earlier Ultima games on endless loops. And don't start me on the annoying animal and spell sounds." - Bree Royce

Best MMO Glitch

Eliot Lefebvre: Running off the airship in Final Fantasy XI
Justin Olivetti:WAR beta NPC voiceover spam
Jef Reahard: I'd tell you, but then I'd probably be banned
Patrick Mackey:EVE local hiding
Beau Hindman: The Vanguard "no rain in Vista or Windows 7" bug
Shawn Schuster: Flailing dead bodies in Fallen Earth
Larry Everett: APB's aimbots
Brendan Drain:EVE local hiding
Krystalle Voecks: EVE local hiding
MJ Guthrie: Three! See below
Rubi Bayer: Flailing dead bodies in Fallen Earth
Karen Bryan: The Endless Night exploit from Dungeons and Dragons Online
Jeremy Stratton: Standing on invisible rocks or falling through trippy abstract landscapes stay with me

"Even though I know I have chuckled at many over the years, I cannot seem to pinpoint a single one to receive such an honorable distinction, so I will share three. In Aion, the ground apparently isn't solid in Lower Udas, so when I sit down, all you see is my head sitting there on the rock. The second is when something goes just a little wrong with your graphics, and you can read messages and see pictures underneath the surface; while flying to certain death during a siege in Aion, I looked up to see a giant red ball saying "replace me." Either one of those, or one of the fall-through-the-world glitches in which all of the NPCs are above you, carrying on with their lives while you are stuck in an underworld as a simple observer." - MJ Guthrie

"The exploit someone found in EVE that let players hide themselves from the local chat channel. Three characters were alleged to have used to exploit to kill hundreds of macro-farmers in nullsec, as the macros use the local channel to determine the safety of a system. The characters initially accused of using the exploit later claimed the whole thing was part of an elaborate troll and no exploit had been used. The exploit was reproduced on the test server, however, and CCP deployed a hotfix to prevent its operation. Since then, the accused characters have not repeated their macro-killing escapades." - Brendan Drain

MMO with the Smallest Piece of Clothing that Might be Categorized as Armor

Eliot Lefebvre:City of Heroes
Justin Olivetti:Age of Conan
Jef Reahard:Lineage II
Patrick Mackey:Lineage II
Beau Hindman: The Forsaken World
Shawn Schuster: TERA
Bree Royce:Star Wars Galaxies (hawtpants!)
Larry Everett: Star Wars Galaxies (nude mod)
Brendan Drain:Age of Conan
Krystalle Voecks:Lineage II or TERA
MJ Guthrie:Lineage II
Rubi Bayer:Vindictus' ("inner armor")
Karen Bryan:EverQuest II (Armor of Imperceptible Beauty)
Jeremy Stratton:Runes of Magic

"EverQuest II's Armor of Imperceptible Beauty. It's invisible!" - Karen Bryan

"Lineage II wins hands down. String bikini plate, 'nough said. At least there would never be a shortage of metal in that world! And with the exception of one set, my SE wore mostly dental floss-sized ribbons or mesh with quarter-sized pasties." - MJ Guthrie

Most Unconvincing Voice Acting in an MMO

Eliot Lefebvre: The Guardian trailer narrator for RIFT
Justin Olivetti:Myth Angels Online
Jef Reahard: Christopher Lee as Lucan D'Lere in EQII
Patrick Mackey:Myth Angels Online
Beau Hindman: Any NPC in Vanguard
Shawn Schuster: Guild Wars: Factions
Larry Everett:Star Wars Galaxies
Brendan Drain: EverQuest II
Krystalle Voecks: All of them, except DCUO and Age of Conan
MJ Guthrie: EverQuest II
Rubi Bayer: Armor Vendor in Gates of Andaron
Karen Bryan: Cyril, the leader of the Guardian, from RIFT
Jeremy Stratton: Vanguard

"While my knee jerk reaction is to say 'anyone in Factions,' I'm going to have to give the honors to the armor vendor in the starting area of Gates of Andaron. This is a medieval fantasy game, and when you approach this vendor, he announces 'Daaaang, it's busy as hell up here!'" - Rubi Bayer

"I don't find the voice-acting to be so bad that it makes my ears bleed, but it has a very amateurish quality. After hearing a handful of NPCs speak, I envisioned the staff being asked to quickly read some lines after it had already put in a long, hard day at the office." - Jeremy Stratton

"Cyril, the leader of the Guardian, from RIFT. Thankfully, the odd-sounding voiceover has been changed already, but I'm still trying to recover from it." - Karen Bryan