The Game Of The Year Awards 2016 Edition


Welcome to the Game of the Year Awards 2016 Edition. This year, we have introduced some new categories and added separate categories for MMOs and MMORPGs, as we would like to distinguish both the best in class in the MMORPG genre and in the wider MMO industry. We have also introduced a new award, the Golden Coffee Cup. Why not a chalice, you ask? Because chalices are overrated and coffee cups are more practical.

The process for choosing the winners of these awards was grueling. It took us a full hour of bickering about basically nothing and agreeing on almost everything. The winners were clear. I assure you that it was terrible and I wouldn't wish it on any of you.

Without further ado, I give you our games of the year.



MMORPG of the Year - Black Desert Online

This year wasn’t exactly the “year of the MMORPG” that everyone was hoping for. Instead, it was more of a “year of waiting for all of those crowdfunded MMORPGs to come out next year.” Despite that, there were a few standout games this year. The game that stood out the most to us, however, was Black Desert Online. The game failed on many fronts, not least of which is the complete lack of user interaction seen in many of the game’s systems, but despite that, the game still managed to recapture some of the spirit of classic MMORPGs while providing many unique experiences and an extremely broad feature set. It only felt right to make it our MMORPG of the Year for 2016.

For those wondering, we also considered Blade and Soul, but the game launched in South Korea in 2012, which made us discontent with giving it this year’s MMORPG of the Year award.


Best Expansion - ArcheAge 3.0: Revelation

Say what you will about ArcheAge, the 3.0: Revelation expansion proves that the developers are committed to providing an excellent experience to the game’s players. The update added two new races, new zones, new housing areas, new story quests, a whole new set of abilities for each skill tree, and more. It’s a premium expansion for a free-to-play game and everyone gets access to it completely free of charge. Those facts alone make ArcheAge 3.0: Revelation our Best Expansion of 2016.


Best Combat - Blade and Soul

While we weren’t content with giving Blade and Soul MMORPG of the Year, we do recognize that the game does quite a lot right, not least of which is its combat system. Continually referred to as “a 3D fighting game in MMO form,” Blade and Soul features one of the most well-designed combat systems that MMORPGs have ever seen. Thus, Blade and Soul has received our Best Combat of 2016 award.


Best Feature - Black Desert Online’s Node system

Of all of the features that Black Desert Online reminded us that it’s possible for MMORPGs to have outside of a stereotypical core experience, perhaps the feature that was most memorable was its node system. The completely unique feature allowed players to invest in various “nodes,” allowing trade between nodes and the ability to send automated workers to gather from said nodes. While it could be confusing at first, the node system is ultimately one of the most unique and customizable forms of alternate progression that we have seen in an MMORPG. We have therefore given it our Best Feature of 2016 award.


Best Graphics in an MMORPG - Black Desert Online

While many upcoming games appear to be pushing the boundaries of the typical level of graphical fidelity that we’ve become accustomed to in MMORPGs, Black Desert Online was inarguably this year’s most stunning MMORPG. To this day, I still remember when the game was first announced. My first thoughts upon seeing screenshots of the game’s character models were about how they looked real. Somehow, Pearl Abyss had managed to make avatars that had features that looked natural. There is simply no other game released this year that compares and therefore, we have given the Best Graphics in an MMORPG of 2016 award to Black Desert Online.


Most Anticipated - Revelation Online

While there is quite a lot of hype behind games like Bless and Peria Chronicles, we were most surprised by the outpouring of interest in and support for the upcoming MMORPG Revelation Online. While the game provides a combination of action combat and tab-targeting, allows players to fly, and an assortment of PvP options, we weren’t convinced that the Western MMORPG audience would be hyped for its release. We were wrong and, as such, it is only fair that we give it our Most Anticipated MMORPG of 2016 award.



MMO of the Year - Battlerite

While there are many great MMOs that came out this year and this was a tough ruling, we ultimately decided on Battlerite. Even though it is currently a buy-to-play Early Access title, Battlerite has skyrocketed into popularity and it’s easy to see why. The game offers short, fast-paced rounds of close quarters combat action between two teams of up to three players. It’s the game that took the Bloodline Champions formula and refined it into something that has already become much more successful. It’s the game that people want to start a new genre, Team Arena Brawler. It is our MMO of the Year for 2016.


Card Game of the Year - Shadowverse

There were a number of card games that released this year, but none quite stood out the way that Shadowverse did. With its crisp anime aesthetic and unique, engaging evolution mechanics, Shadowverse convinced many of us that we weren’t done with Hearthstone-like card games just yet. Its success in bringing us back to the subgenre is what makes it our Card Game of the Year for 2016.


Best Graphics in an MMO - Gigantic

Despite the fact that games are continously pushing the limits of the current generation of hardware, very few manage to capture an unforgettable art style the way that Gigantic does. Between its smooth animations, puffy clouds of dust that kick up when you run, and liberal use of cel shading, Motiga has crafted a style that is both all its own and utterly stunning. We simply couldn’t give Best Graphics of 2016 to any game other than Gigantic.


Most Innovative - Atlas Reactor

While it didn’t quite win our MMO of the Year award, we recognize that we have truly never seen a game like Atlas Reactor. Taking the best of strategy RPG gameplay and MOBAs, Atlas Reactor has created a “refreshingly unique” online competitive experience all its own. The fact that we can say that is why we have given Atlas Reactor our Most Innovative of 2016 award.



Best Clone - Legend of Titan

It may have never come to fruition, but we wanted to recognize Legend of Titan as the Best Clone of 2016. The game did a stunning job of not only cloning Overwatch’s characters, maps, and art style, but of getting the game working on mobile, as well. It’s a shame that the game disappeared shortly after blatantly requesting funding at an event of some kind.


Most Disappointing - Tree of Savior

Tree of Savior is surprisingly popular. It has a fantastic art style, a large number of classes, and a significant amount of content, all of which has probably helped the title maintain an average of over 3500 concurrent users. That being said, it was also largely disappointing. Many thought that it would be a successor to Ragnarok Online, which it was not. It also suffered from a number of bugs, extremely poor optimization, a bizarre experience curve, and poorly balanced classes, some of which were considered to be “literally unplayable.” All of these factors combined make Tree of Savior our Most Disappointing game of 2016.


Indie of the Year - Naval Action

Quite a few indies threw their hats into the MMO ring this year. Many of them failed. Many others are barely maintaining profitability. However, none of them are quite like Naval Action. Naval Action burst through the gates in January of this year, offering gorgeous graphics, realistic Age of Sail combat, and a wide open world to explore. It is looking to be the Age of Sail MMO that we’ve all been waiting for and perhaps, one day, it will be something of an Age of Sail EVE Online.

Let us know your games of the year in the comments!

I've been playing MMOs since back in the day when my only option was to play Clan Lord on the family Mac. Since then, I've played too many MMOs to count. I generally play niche, sometimes even bizarre, MMOs and I've probably logged the most hours in Linkrealms prior to its current iteration. Currently bouncing between a few games.