Massively's end-of-the-year awards continue today with our award for the Biggest MMO Story of the year. We're not talking about a single article or a game's plot here; we're looking for dominant, ongoing news arcs in the MMO space that had a big impact on the genre. All of our writers were invited to cast a vote, but not all of them chose to do so for this category. Don't forget to cast your own vote in the just-for-fun reader poll at the very end.
The Massively staff pick for Biggest MMO Story of 2014 is...
@ceruleangrey: ArcheAge's rocky launch and continuing issues are pretty big, especially considering the repercussions it might have for future sandbox/sandpark titles if the game isn't perceived well in the long run.
@nyphur: Definitely Blizzard cancelling Titan. It's mind-blowing that a game which has been in development for so many years could be pulled because developers didn't think it was fun. On one hand, it shows huge integrity that a developer would even consider flushing tens of millions of dollars worth of development time down the drain without a return just to avoid disappointing fans. On the other hand, it could have been a huge missed opportunity; descriptions from those who have played it sound very similar to Destiny, which sold about a bajillion kajillion units at launch.
@nbrianna/blog: I do agree with the prevailing opinion here that ArcheAge's drama has been a big story, even more than the other launch fiascos of 2014. But personally, I think Blizzard's decision to drop Titan and turn it into a non-MMO FPS dwarfs that. We get several terrible launches and badly supported imports every year. It's not every year that the dominant studio in our genre gives up on an MMO after half a dozen years. It's not every year that WoW's creator essentially admits that making fresh AAA MMOs has become too expensive and difficult even for it. It worries me more than anything: Will fools rush in to fill the void or follow Blizzard's lead?
@Eliot_Lefebvre/blog: Launch failures. You can't have a year with this many big launches that ends without a single worthy MMO of the year candidate without looking at the wreckage and analyzing what in the world went wrong. Oh, sure, some of the failures have been more spectacular than others, but this was a year full of games gearing up for big launches and then exploding on the pad. If there need to be more stories written about how MMOs are a marathon rather than a sprint, this would be the poster year for it.
@jefreahard: There are probably bigger stories in terms of hits but for me the biggest story is the horror show that is ArcheAge. At this point it's like a case study in how to destroy an MMORPG, and while it's heartbreaking that it's happened to such a feature-rich and full-of-potential game, I can't look away from the dumpster fire. There's a new indignity every week -- sometimes every couple of days -- whereas most MMO-related stories make headlines for a day or two and then flame out. Not AA, though; the tragicomedy just keeps on coming.
@Sypster/blog: SOE kills four of its games: This happened much earlier this year, so a lot of folks have forgotten, but it was significant for a couple of reasons. First, SOE used to be the studio that took in and nurtured under-performing titles and kept them going if at all possible. This signaled a shift to a streamlined, focused studio. Second, the death of Vanguard and Free Realms had a real impact in a lot of fans who have carried a torch for those games.
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Our awards so far...