Welcome to the MMOs.com Game of the Year Awards 2019 Edition. Note that only games released in 2019 qualify for these awards!
Without further ado, I give you our games of the year.
MMORPG of the Year - World of Warcraft Classic
The most exciting MMORPG launch of 2019 was without a doubt World of Warcraft Classic. The original version of what is still the biggest MMORPG in the West first launched in 2004. 15 years later, that original version clearly retains its magic. Whether that says more about WoW or how uninspired the genre has been over the past decade is left for you to decide. WoW Classic was our most anticipated game of 2017 and despite taking a year longer than we expected, the launch was as crazy as could have been expected. Blizzard had to open dozens of additional servers and players still faced 12+ hour queues. Even weeks after launch, the most popular servers still faced queues despite a 'sharding' feature that significantly increased server caps. Only the first major raid for WoW Classic is currently available, so 2020 should see plenty of content to keep players engaged. The real question is what direction the Classic servers will take once all the old content has been released.
Best Expansion - Final Fantasy XIV - Shadowbringers
While World of Warcraft has stumbled in recent expansions, Final Fantasy 14 has gone from strength to strength. This year's expansion saw the subscription base hit an all time high and added an engaging story arc. Perhaps FF14's greatest achievement with each expansion is proving to the MMORPG community that it is possible to combine a more or less single-player RPG narrative to a multi-player end-game of raiding, guilds, playerhousing, and the like.
Most Anticipated - TemTem
Last year's most anticipated title, Lost Ark, still hasn't seen the light of day here in the West. But while Lost Ark forces us to wait, the Action-RPG genre continues to evolve. With the announcement of Diablo 4 and Path of Exile 2, our anticipation for Lost Ark continues to wane. Fortunetly, a new title has caught our eye. TemTem, the Pokemon-inspired monster collector is set to enter Early Access in the first month of 2020. The crowd-sourced title by Spanish studio Crema was first announced in May 29, 2018 and has since stuck to its development benchmarks. With the continued success of the Pokemon franchise and Nintendo's continued failure to get online multiplayer right, it seems like conditions are perfect for TemTem in 2020.
Most Innovative - Hordes.io
Its no secret that the MMORPG genre hasn't been at the forefront of gaming innovation this decade. The growth of mobile gaming has seen the genre move backwards in terms of features and player input. That's why it was refreshing to see a full feature MMORPG take advantage of the growing .io browser game trend. Hordes.io requires no download or install and offers players a faction-based PvP MMORPG with a remarkable amount of content in an otherwise unassuming package. World bosses, parties of up to 10 players, and open world PvP are all supported even in the current beta phase. Hordes.io is definitely a game worth checking out and following as the next year progresses.
Best Battle Royale - Apex Legends
The gaming community is still reeling from the sudden explosion of the Battle Royale genre onto the scene in late 2017 with the release of PUBG. Fortnite, inspired by PUBG's success went on to become the biggest game in the world and 2018 saw a slew of copy-cats like Ring of Elysium rise and fall. This year EA surprised everyone with the surprise release of the free to play Apex Legends on console and PC. Just as with PUBG and Fortnite, the response was overwhelming. Apex Legends quickly became one of the most popular e-sports and most viewed titles on streaming platforms like twitch.tv. With PUBG now in terminal decline, Apex Legends is uniquely positioned to capture the hundreds of thousands of PUBG refugees who can't stand the quirky building elements of Fortnite.
Most Disappointing - Anthem
Bioware, a studio best known for its immersive single-player RPGs, was once again tasked by EA to reach for the games-as-a-service stars. Unfortunately, this time things worked out even worse than 2011's Star Wars: The Old Republic. While SWTOR was salvaged after jettisoning the mandatory subscription fee, Anthem faces a far steeper path to recovery. With that said, EA hasn't given up yet. Rumors of a complete overhaul have spread. Whether Anthem is canned or revived in 2020, it is sure to make for a riveting story.
Mobile Game of the Year - Black Desert Mobile
Mobile gaming continued its relentless growth in 2019. Now encompassing over 50% of total gaming revenue, mobile will continue to be the platform of choice for new MMORPGs in 2020. While 2019 didn't offer anything truly revolutionary, we did see several solid mobile MMORPGs with persistent worlds, raid features, and impressive 3D visuals. Among these were Tales of Wind, Dawn of Isles, and World of Kings. Of all the mobile MMORPGs this year, one stood out to us and that was Black Desert Mobile.