Games in development often change their names, true. But the marketing team over at Trion Worlds apparently had a mid-life crisis this year, and decided to change RIFT’s name on a bi-weekly schedule. First the game was called Heroes of Telara — dull, but functional. Then it became Rift: Planes of Telara. Then the word “Rift” was capitalized as “RIFT”. Then the “Planes of Telara” was dropped and the game simply became Rift. Then Trion sent out word that we had to call it RIFT again.
Seriously, by the end of this year it was something of a running joke: “What will they change it to next?” My money is on ~*RIFT*~.
Winner: Blizzard’s $25 Sparkle Pony
This was probably the most difficult category to figure out, mostly because it seemed as if every MMO studio was majorly out to fleece players this year through ridiculous cash shop prices. While Blizzard’s $25 Celestial Steed may not even be the most expensive item out there, it instantly pushed the bar way higher for how much players would tolerate stupid prices in the name of buying their way to the top (in this case, one of the best mounts of the game). Outrage, arguments and discussion ensued, all while Blizzard raked in millions from a sparkle pony.
- Warhammer Online: Which allowed players to simply buy a level for $10.
- Allods Online: Which vastly overpriced its necessary store items, driving players away from this promising title in droves.
- Cryptic: For pretty much everything in the C-Store that should’ve come standard in the game.
- Fallen Earth: For cash shop items that were highly priced for a niche title.
- SOE: For the obscenely priced $55 guild name change service.
Winner: Star Wars: The Old Republic
Whew — another tough category with strong nominees. When it comes to hype, it’s not a question of “which MMO” so much as “how loud they’re being.” In the lead-up to 2011’s titles, there’s been so much noise that it’s hard to distinguish between them all.
That said, I’m giving the very slight edge to The Old Republic this year. Between the marketing blitz, dev videos, convention appearances, constant reveals, and massive community, TOR is already at tsunami-levels of anticipation and hype. Will it succeed? Will it fail? I don’t really care, as long as I can shoot Jedi with a laser cannon.
- Guild Wars 2: This stalwart community treated even the tiniest scrap of news about GW2 with shirt-rending frenzy, and ArenaNet was not stingy with the announcements.
- RIFT: I felt that the groundswell of hype only started to take purchase for this game in the past couple months, but since then, it’s been tremendous. People aren’t calling it a WoW killer, but an improved WoW substitute? I have heard that.