Winner: Guild Wars 2 Hall of Monuments Calculator
So how do you reward loyal fans, rally gamers around an upcoming MMO, and get a bunch of new players to buy your six-year-old product? If you’re ArenaNet, you come out with the Hall of Monuments Calculator.
By giving players incentives to both purchase and play Guild Wars 1 in order to stock up rewards for Guild Wars 2, ArenaNet revitalized the community in a way we haven’t seen in years. Even yours truly was suckered into the deal, and I guess that means a win for the company.
Winner: Subscription Games Going Free-to-Play
It’s not as if it was a secret that free-to-play entices gamers like crazy, but it took DDO to break open the dam that ushered the Western world into this trend. Suddenly, MMO studios were stumbling over each other with announcements that their game was going F2P: EverQuest 2, Lord of the Rings Online, Pirates of the Burning Sea, Global Agenda, Champions Online, even (sort of) APB.
The results? We can’t say for sure, but it looks as if this model is certainly paying off for a few titles, such as LOTRO, which gained a lot of publicity and additional playerbase by the end of the year.
Winner: Sony Online Entertainment
As I wondered a little while ago, what the heck is going on over at SOE? Almost every time you’d hear from them this year, it was almost never good but usually confusing. The Agency went so quiet we thought it was canceled, EverQuest II jumped on the F2P bandwagon in such a slipshod manner that it felt like it was a last-minute decision, the company announces (little to nothing about) the third EQ game, Pirates goes F2P, EQ2 charges ridiculous marketplace prices, and so on.
Sure, every studio has their ups and downs, but this once-mighty empire now appears to be fractured and misfiring everywhere.
- The Bible Online: Too bad to be intentional, too lame to be cool, The Bible Online turned out to be some hilarious photocopy version of the Bible (with Crusaders and such) that invited mockery from believers and non-believers alike. The company then announced a name change (GodStoria — no, seriously) and Sodom and Gomorrah PvP (really), and we just gave up trying to figure out who these crazy people were.
Winner: World of Warcraft: Cataclysm
Crud. Who mixed up the box art? Arnie, was it you? Stupid Arnie, always futzing things up in Bio Break’s image department. Time for a bit of attitude readjustment, Arnie! Into the poodle pit with you!
Anyway — yeah, Cataclysm, as if there was any doubt. It sold a bajillion copies, was hailed as a savior of the stale leveling game, and was beaten in about 8 hours after release. I give Blizzard props for giving the old world a makeover, although the longevity of the expansion is definitely in question.
- EVE Online: Tyrannis
- City of Heroes: Going Rogue
- Age of Conan: Rise of the Godslayer