Game of the Year: World of Warcraft (Blizzard Entertainment)
by JR Sutich
World of Warcraft won our Game of the Year Award last year, and it has successfully defended that title in 2007. Joining Warhammer Online as a back-to-back winner was no small feat, however. Lord of the Rings Online did give the MMO from Blizzard a good run, but in the end, LotRO had to step aside and let the juggernaut that is WoW rumble past.
It wasn't just the fact that there are at ten million paying customers or that over one-third of them bought the Burning Crusade expansion that helped WoW win again this year. World of Warcraft also succeeded in making the larger non-gaming population aware of the MMO industry as a whole. From a Toyota commercial that debuted during college football broadcasts to mentions in several network television shows and now with commercials starring a variety of pop-culture icons, Blizzard has used WoW in such a manner that will only reap rewards for everyone operating or developing an MMO.
While the Burning Crusade expansion did add a great deal of content to World of Warcraft, the original game did get its share of updates. The most notable, or notorious, of these was the patch that made it easier to gain experience and lowered the experience necessary from Levels 20-60. Many saw this as a desperation move in order to get players to buy the expansion or to stop them from moving on to other games. It seems to have worked, as now many of WoW's competitors are making their own changes to adjust the time and manner in which players gain experience.
World of Warcraft is WarCry's 2007 Game of the Year for being an industry leader not only in subscription numbers, but for also blazing the trail that other games will follow into the next year.
Honorable Mention: EVE Online (CCP)
By Dana Massey
It wasn't a perfect year, but CCP Games launched two new expansion packs in 2007 and continued to grow their game in a way unlike most other MMOs in the market. The combination of the two expansions, steady growth and the way they've set their game up for a longevity few other MMOs appear to boast, made this a serious contender for Game of the Year.
In June, CCP launched Revelations II and in December, Trinity was added to the already successful MMO. The first expansion built in several gameplay improvements and new mechanics, including "heat", which allows players to overload ship modules for an added bonus, and most importantly, overhauls the game's tutorial, which addresses a common complaint that EVE is often too hard for new players to get their heads around. Trinity, though, really sealed the deal for EVE Online. It completely overhauls the game's already impressive graphics, adds loads of brand new ships and more.
As of the end of the year, CCP boasts 200,000 subscribers. It's a modest number, but makes it one of the largest Western subscriber MMOs on the market. The number is even more impressive when charted over the game's 4 year history. It has steadily piled the subscribers on to become the second largest virtual world on the planet. Controversies aside, it was a good year for CCP's flagship.
- 2006: World of Warcraft
It was a fun year here at WarCry and we once again thank all of you who read us over the year. We look forward to another great year in 2008.
Congratulations to all of our winners!