#10: The Elder Scrolls Online beta is absolutely nothing special
Coming in at number 10 is the only true editorial on this list, and it's a brutal preview of The Elder Scrolls Online from last February, not long before launch. ESO was easily last year's most controversial MMO; it was featured in several of the top 10 most-commented-on articles from last year too. This article was #1 on that list with nearly a thousand comments, many of which debated the benefits of NDAs, the value of pre-launch previews, and whether reviews should be written only by unabashed fanboys.
#9: Massively's Best of 2013 Awards
2013 was the last year we ran all of our awards in one post; for 2014, we opted for a dozen posts, one on each award. Our single 2013 awards post remained popular throughout the year, perhaps because of some of our more contentious picks, including ESO as "most likely to flop" and the return of subscriptions to MMOs, like WildStar, that couldn't justify them.
#8: Trion CM confirms F2P ArcheAge coming to Americas and Europe this year
ArcheAge's popularity on the site flared up early on in the year, though it didn't launch until the tail end of summer. The Korean import sandbox had lurked overseas for several years before we had confirmation that it would arrive on our shores in 2014. Alas, it probably should have lurked a little bit longer to avoid its rocky launch and autumn exploit messes.
#7: PAX Prime 2014: Hearthstone eyes an expansion and
#6: Perfect Ten: Online collectible card games that will tap your heart
MMOTCGs run the gamut from games that really do have MMO mechanics and RPG development (HEX) to games that don't even have chat (Hearthstone), and we've been jeered for covering them because they exist way out on the fringes of what most of us think of as the traditional MMORPG. Nevertheless, our audience's appetite for the online TCG is apparently vast -- maybe even as vast as the amount of money people are willing to throw at games that seem to be the epitome of pay-to-play. "I don't know if they tap my heart, but for sure they want to tap my wallet," quipped commenter heliaxb. Hearthstone in particular captured everyone's attention at 2014's PAX Prime, especially since the game still hadn't officially emerged from beta at the time Blizzard casually announced its first expansion pack.
#5: Massively Exclusive: Previewing Path of Exile's Tora, Master of the Hunt
This Path of Exile exclusive isn't particularly representative of our usual big hits, but it does prove the power of social media. New Zealand dev outfit Grinding Gear Games promoted a link to this exclusive OARPG video and interview, sending its large, devoted playerbase to swarm Massively like a cloud of bees. The game took our top non-traditional MMO award in 2013, so we're fans, but PoE players? They put the "-atic" back in "fan."
#4: E3 2014: FFXIV's Yoshida on 2.4, 3.0, new classes, and more
After taking home our best MMO of the year award in 2013, Final Fantasy XIV went on to... well, pretty much continue making everyone fall in love with it in 2014, too. This innocuously named E3 interview with fan-favorite XIV head honcho Naoki Yoshida didn't score many comments, but Reddit went mad for it, sending it to almost the top of this click list.
Massively doesn't try to compete with the hardcore datamine-and-guide sites, but when we do guides, they tend to perform really well. Here's an example of one that received few comments but went wild across social media and throughout the launch of the game hit-wise as gamers sought out help building their characters.
#2: Blizzard officially cancels Titan
Not only was this article our second-most popular article of the year, but I still think it was the most important story, though it didn't win our award for the same. A lot of gamers had mentally dismissed Titan as vaporware or as a casual-friendly, kid-friendly MMO or whatever other rumor was popular, long before the formal announcement. Putting Titan on hold made everyone shrug, but outright canceling it (and then replacing it with a shooter, Overwatch) shook the industry and ratcheted up MMO-watchers' concern. It's kind of a big deal when one of the biggest and most successful MMO studios in the world essentially declares that MMORPGs are too hard, cost too much, and take too long to make.
#1: Perfect Ten: New MMOs to watch in 2014
Where our #2 post had me worried about the future of our genre, our #1 restores my hope. This list of what to look forward to in 2014 was consistently among our top posts every month this year, and we've challenged our 2015 list to do half so well. In early 2014, we were all still dreaming of a year of huge launches -- not so much with the huge flops. But hope prevailed, and the clicks kept rolling in as everyone kept looking ahead to what wonderful MMOs might still lie on the horizon.
What should you play? Where is the MMO industry headed? How does Massively operate? Has Lord British lost his marbles? Why is the edit button on a timer? Should "monoclegate" be hyphenated? Editor-in-Chief Bree Royce submits to your interrogations right here in Ask Massively every other Friday or so. Drop your questions in the comments below or ping us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Just ask!