And welcome to the Illustrious MMO awards by the goddess of ranting and raving although instead of celebrating the amazing parts of multiplayer this year it’s time to fulfill my sarcastic urges and delve into Monetization hell. The pits of MMO malaise and have a little fun while we’re at it.
So here we go
Best mmo at scamming my Money
And a big congratulations to Black desert Online for being able to scam a decent amount of dollars from my increasingly guarded wallet. With how the MMO market has been progressing lately with quick cash grabs and pay to win imports I have gotten rather cautious when spending money – and yes, Archeage was a big part of that.
I still spend money on mmo’s but only in companies I trust with a list getting smaller every year, and mostly just on content I might want to play rather than all the other ridiculous pieces they peddle. If MMOs do have a rather comprehensive and insidious Cash Shop I usual don’t even bother playing – it’s pretty much an instant turn off.
Oh how I wish I had listened to my past self a little bit more with my rants around Black Desert Onlines original pre order packs and cash shop issues. How it was shaping up in other territories was a giveaway but instead I succumbed to the seductive spell they were spinning before the western release. I believed the claims of no pay to win, of a better western monetisation model but instead will still got stats on gear, increasingly obnoxious buff stacking, subscription shit and the eventual gold trading it has now. There are so many other small issues within there too and that is WITH it being a full priced purchase. It got that – and I think another 100 out of me which is rather minimal considering what it suckered some of my friends out of but still – it is a purchase that makes me feel dirty and was entirely unearned.
They Dun fucked it up – Eternal Crusade
This has been a fuck up spanning since the initial reveal back in 2014 with the original MMO proposal being systematically gutted of many planned features and indeed – its actual MMO components. It happens though as MMOs are a complex beast that has chewed out many unprepared development teams.
This didn’t stop them though from peddling their overpriced digital garments throughout the development timeline. There is something rather insidious about having a functioning cash shop before even the most basic aspects of your game are completed. In fact – there was no game at that point.
I still held out a little hope though due to the 40k franchise, bit of a warhammer nerd, and an arena game might not be too bad. Space Marine was a serviceable game after all so if they got the feel of the movement and weapons right, balance the load outs and such it could be fun but no – it was an absolute mess. Controls were incredibly clunky, the animations rigid, and it just looked like a muddy, poorly textured mistake. To make matters worse was just how badly optimized it was/is and the terrible servers and net code meant it was barely playable.
The HOW THE FUCK IS THIS POPULAR award – H1z1: king of the kill
The internet is a mysterious place and the world of streaming even weirder. The place where, right now, H1z1: king of the kill is one of the most popular streamed games. By all accounts it is an incredibly shit game: bad graphics, terrible animations and incredibly simplistic mechanics but regardless it has found thousands of online viewers.
It’s also an incredibly buggy game still filled with hackers and yeh, they have beat quite a few of the hackers back with the ban stick but it still remains incredibly buggy with long running issues seeing little to no improvements or updates. It is a broken, and half-assed product that should be relegated to the dark corners of steam somewhere and promptly forgotten
Then there’s the whole controversy of how the survival and arena formats split from the original game. The original free-to-play game yet now having a box price (although small). Of course the split meant the survival portion got completely forgotten as well, seeing very few updates and additions… totes called it but still annoying how they are forgetting their customers.
It’s also one of those perpetual Early Access games with release nowhere in sight – and of course there is a cash shop.
Finest Free to Play Fuckers – Archeage
So Swtor was a close bet with the wealth of restrictions they’ve placed on their game that seems to be increasing with every update. The terrible shift in models away from actual mmo content but yeh – Archeage and Trion still has them beat for the sheer fortitude with which they continuously fuck up a rather serviceable mmo with restrictions, pay to win idiocy, lockbox loot, gold trading, shittty servers, and crappy customer service.
They were and remain to be the most obnoxious ftp title on the western market and that is actually reasonably impressive considering the breadth of bullshit we’ve had to deal with over the year. It’s also because they keep seemingly innovating in the field of ftp fuckery, creating and implementing new money making schemes whose main purpose is the squeeze every last cent out of its loyal whales.
Changing previous in game currencies into cash shop acquire bleeding while increasing their grind like the vocational currency. Changes to property tax in order to sell more cash shop currency. Newer, faster mounts only available for real money. New functionality like battle pets with the better versions only available for real money. And of course, the whole Legacy server and a fresh start being just a way to sell everything players have already purchased back to them again – although they still apparently fucked it up as you can transfer cash over so good luck beating the Credit Card Champions and that’s if you can even log in due to the amount of bots and afk accounts clogging the world.
Beating the Dead horse – Wildstar
Wildstar is, by all accounts dead and has been dead for a little while now. It is a cold, motionless horse lying in the paddock that only appears alive because we keep beating on the carcass and seeing a little bit of blood coming out. Sure it still has some players left, a community that is fervently clinging to the remains desperately hanging on yet in denial about its demise. The developers also seem to be playing into the charade by occasionally putting on a new saddle and riding it for a bit – as much as you can ride something that no longer breaths.
I say dead now because the actual amount it earns per quarter is so low that I’m beginning more to wonder if it is even profitable anymore, rather than just profitable enough. That mere amount it does pull in might not even be enough to pay it’s employees and keep the servers running and if it is – it’s not by much. I’m surprised NCSoft has put up with the dead horse stinking up its portfolio for this long, as City of heroes was still warm when they dumped its carcass into a shallow hole.
Well, at least it was comfortable and well cared for during its passing… let’s just hope the carcass is left alone because our corporate overlords have a penchant for fucking anything they can, be it alive or dead.
The MMO Undead award – Darkfall
I have no idea how Darkfall is still around and more than that, how it keeps getting revised and rebuilt over and over again. Unfortunately though it’s not so much a rebirth, or reincarnation like that of FF14 but more a corpse that suddenly started to move again. Obvious atrophy of limbs and arms, skin peeling off and an utterly dreadful smell emanating from within its bowels. It wasn’t exactly a beauty to begin with either but you slightly admired certain characteristics but now, everything about it has been warped and worn to an unrecognizable state.
Darkfall 2.0 was an astounding mess, although more a frankenstein creation made from the corpse of its fallen brethren than anything new. Legs for arms and an asshole where the mouth used to be. You could see what it used to be but the construction was done much like an Ikea product by someone who barely understood the function of a wrench.
And then there is the shambling corpses we got this year in new dawn and rise of agon. Rising from the same fresh corpse in a perverse mimicry of mitosis as they both seem to be lacking the charm, features, and feel of the host. Just another walking undead slowly shambling across the mmo landscape with everyone watching and waiting for it to realise its own undeath and go back to its grave once more.
Best New mmo of 2016 – Blade and soul
The sad part of this years mmo offering is that this statement is true. The best new release of 2016 was blade and soul… God help us all. I said at the end of last year that it was going to be a year of revisting older mmo’s, which it has been but mostly because the MMO industry has been so stagnant.
We had a few anime inspired brawlers, one being a literal clone of the other to entice us. All riddled with RNG idiocy and the same ole Asian grind. Each lacking any real substance to keep people involved for longer than it took to download. And then there were a few more theme parks that barely count as mmo’s based on how feature incomplete they are. Just the bare minimum of a quest chain with graphics that belong back in 2000.
Out of all the crap, Blade and Soul stands on top – probably because it is the biggest most impressive piece of shit around, and smells the least so those of us with some mmo sensibilities don’t recoil at the mere mention of it. It gets this illustrious title as well because it at least was upfront from the start about its free to play fuckery. An RNG riddled nightmare with cash shop consumables available to alleviate the issues but honest about these monetization methods. It didn’t change its mind after people had started, or make mechanics worse. It didn’t add new mechanics only available in the cash shop just expanded on what’s already there, or cripple its game any more than it already was. It was an honest free to play scam and I respect it for that – even if I hated the game itself.
So here’s to an absolutely abysmal year for mmo’s and the ever increasing idiocy with free to play and monetization madness. Let us only hope the MMO gods are merciful in the new year and deliver us a bounty of carefully crafted kickstarter worlds.