2014 In Review: Best Moments Of The Year

MarvelHeroes2015 2014-12-04 15-09-27-15

Let’s look at the year with rose tinted glasses, or perhaps a glass of hard liquor. As with any year, we had a lot of bad and a lot of good, so let’s take a minute to focus on the good stuff.

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1. Goodbye Mythic Entertainment

This one is a bit cruel, but perhaps the best trend of 2014 was that those business practices that so many of us revile, in a lot of cases, didn’t work. In a world where many of these anti-consumer decisions are smashing successes, in the sense that they make enough money in the short term for the developer/publisher to simply not care about the long term ramifications or damages to their public image, the idea that so many of these blew up does a lot for consumers and sets a precedent for 2015 and beyond.

Just to name a few examples, Mythic Entertainment’s attempt to revive two classic games with the clear impression that free to play mobile was easy access to a lot of money, that being Ultima IV and Dungeon Runners, went down in flames and took the developer with it, along with what remaining goodwill the Mythic community had left.

Trion Worlds has been hit hard over their handling of Defiance as well as the launch and continued mishaps of ArcheAge, and at the beginning of the year cancelled its End of Nations MOBA. Wildstar advertised itself as a hardcore MMO for hardcore raiders, and subsequently only brought in the hardcore raiders. The game hasn’t been doing so well, with layoffs at Carbine Studios, delaying content and seeing a heavy drop in revenue in its second quarter.

Then there are the hundreds of cookie cutter free to play MMOs imported from Korea and China that shut down without any of us knowing that they existed.

There are a lot more examples to throw up, but I think I’ve made my point. It was good to see that, in 2014, the good guys actually made out pretty well while the ones with underhanded intentions just ended up stepping on rakes and getting hit in the face.


2. The Offloading and Revival Of MMOs

While we’re talking about the death of Mythic Entertainment, I’d like to take a moment to thank Electronic Arts personally for offloading Ultima Online and Dark Age of Camelot onto Broadsword Entertainment rather than allowing the classics to go down with the self-sinking ship. Asheron’s Call and Asheron’s Call 2 (which was also revived years after its death) dropped their subscription fees and will eventually be spun off with players allowed to operate their own servers.

Similarly, we learned that there are deals in the works to bring back City of Heroes as a legacy server with the possibility that the IP might get a sequel or other spinoffs. Pirates of the Caribbean Online is being revived by a dedicated community. Dungeon Fighter Online is returning in English. Also Glitch has multiple projects to bring the game back with new servers and new content.


3. Free To Play Gets Slammed

Speaking of schadenfreude, free to play took a big blow this year in the form of several rulings against mobile publishers Apple and Google. Over in the UK, Google was forced to remove an ad for Dungeon Keeper on the grounds that calling it free was misleading. Apple settled with the FTC back in January and agreed to refund $32.5 million for inadvertent purchases made by children, while Google followed in September with $19 million.

Both companies have altered their stores to require a password always by default when downloading apps or making in-app purchases, and no longer label games as “free” if they have in-app purchases. Korea blanket-banned all Facebook games until they could be individually approved to ensure that they were complying with gambling laws.

We’ve been waiting for a few years now to get some results on what many consider to be predatory tactics, and it looks like our wish has been granted.


4. Classic Servers

Nostalgia is a great thing. If you’ve read MMO Fallout, you know about my fascination with the Old School RuneScape servers, and how Jagex managed to not only revive a great era from RuneScape’s past, but actually develop it in a direction away from RuneScape 3, based entirely off of player polls, with a dedicated team and community. Old School RuneScape continues to go strong, raising the possibility that other developers will take notice.

Lineage II is in the process of testing out a classic server, one that will hopefully come westward, and there has been some talk behind the scenes of other MMOs following.


5. MMOs On Consoles

2014 saw the announcement and release of multiple MMOs coming to the Xbox One and Playstation 4. Over on the Sony side, the PS4 added Final Fantasy XIV, Blacklight Retribution, and DC Universe Online, with the upcoming releases of Planetside 2, H1Z1, and Everquest Next. Xbox One saw the launch of State of Decay, with Neverwinter and SMITE coming eventually.

Both consoles can or will eventually be able to enjoy The Crew, The Division, Warframe, The Elder Scrolls Online, Warhammer 40k: Eternal Crusade, All Points Bulletin, and more. If you’ve been spending the past few years waiting to play an MMO on your console that isn’t Final Fantasy, you’re in luck.

Top 5: MMOs That We Can't Have


Being a somewhat impatient person is rather incompatible with writing about the MMO genre, an industry where waiting is merely half the battle. Between games announced half a decade before their intended release and those launched in Korea, China, or Japan only to take a further few years to make it over to the west, it’s enough to pull your hair out over. It is especially aggravating when you figure games like Phantasy Star Online 2, who we recently found out may never release in the west at all. Then you have games like Hellgate: London, Lineage, and Dungeon Fighter Online who, despite shutting down in west, continued operation overseas.

So with that in mind, let’s look at the top five MMOs we can’t have, and by we I mean people in the Americas and Europe.

5. ArcheAge


Despite what some of my readers may believe, I don’t talk about ArcheAge’s content updates to tease you, but I agree with the frustration that I see in many of these articles. ArcheAge, unlike its brothers and sisters, gets so much coverage from western outfits that you’d think the game had already been launched here. Every mention of patch notes and content updates is another reminder of the game’s continued delay and unclear future for westward expansion.

The “why we don’t have ArcheAge” coverage also instills a constant chilling reminder as to the recent business issues surrounding the game’s would-be western publisher, Trion Worlds, between several rounds of layoffs, server mergers, the poor reception of Defiance, allegations of neglecting overseas publishers leading to Rift being shut down in several foreign territories, and the continued difficulties surrounding End of Nations. ArcheAge will eventually release in the west…hopefully. Maybe.

4. Phantasy Star Online 2


I decided to stick Phantasy Star Online 2 as number four on this list because it is technically playable. While Phantasy Star Online 2 is likely to not hit western markets, due to an alleged lack of faith in the game’s ability to be profitable, many gamers have already signed on to the Japanese servers using an English patch. This process should be made easier when the game releases a localized version for English speaking Asian regions.

3. Blade & Soul


NCSoft has refused to censor Blade & Soul for the west, but if an uncensored MMO falls in the woods and no one is able to play it, does it make a sound? Blade & Soul has the backing of NCSoft, but the game has quickly dropped down in sales to the levels of Lineage II and “other” and is likely to continue dropping. If the game continues to do poorly, it is possible that the game could be shut down before it ever has the chance to be localized.

But NCSoft isn’t the kind of company that cuts an MMO loose just because it hit some hard times, right?

2. Lineage


Lineage is particularly painful not just because the game continues to operate in its native Korea after being shut down in the west, but it is outperforming every single one of NCSoft’s other games. Lineage has been NCSoft’s #1 top selling game for the past year and has grown exponentially over the past several quarters. Despite its healthy population in Korea, however, the game was not performing well in America and Europe to continue supporting the localized version.

The good news at least is that while Lineage I is over aside from private servers, Lineage Eternal will probably release before the world ends.

1. Black Gold Online



Black Gold Online is likely to release before any of the other games on this list, but it is the most interesting concept so I decided to put it at number one. If you don’t know, Black Gold Online is by the creatively brilliant minds at Snail Games who brought us Age of Wushu, and carries one of the more interesting monetization models of recent titles. It is difficult to understand, and I am not entirely sure that I have explained it properly, but the game has no cash shop or subscription, but instead monetizes drops in some fashion.

So far all we have seen is this concept in theory, and it could go either way in terms of its reception. Assuming we ever get it.

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