CHIP is a German language publication, so the reasons behind the ranking of these games (Online-Rollenspiele) are mostly beyond my rusty high school German. But we all understand a top ten list, and their list is:
- Ultima Online
- World of Warcraft
- Guild Wars
- EVE Online
- Warhammer Online
- Lord of the Rings Online
- Lineage II
- Vanguard: Saga of Heroes
- Final Fantasy XI
Very little in the way of radical thought I’d say.
The first three are obvious picks, at least in my view. The most popular game in the genre and the two previous holders of that title, each of which introduced, in their time, many players to the genre.
Guild Wars: Not to knock the game, but if I read the text right, it got that high on the list primarily because it represents the a deviation from the monthly subscription model. I have only played the game for a few hours myself, so I am not the best judge of its strengths, but it seems like it has more going for it than that.
EVE Online: Because it is EVE, the game most unlike anything else on the list. The only science fiction game on the list as well. Where are those science fiction MMORPGs?
Warhammer Online: the current standard bearer for RvR. If we are talking about importance to the genre it might be argued that Dark Age of Camelot ought to be on the list as opposed to Warhammer Online, not as a slight to WAR, but acknowledging that when it comes to RvR, DAoC begat WAR.
Lord of the Rings Online: Makes the list no doubt for being a successful translation of a popular and beloved IP into a successful massive game, a difficult thing to manage. (And before you start, yes, Warhammer is a popular IP, but an order of magnitude less popular than LotR I would wager.)
Lineage II: hugely popular and one of the most recognized Asian PvP MMORPGs in the West.
We’ll skip to the end and Final Fantasy XI, which has popularity, its own look and feel in the genre, and the console aspect to set it apart.
And we’re left with Vanguard.
My German is bad, but it is enough to get “Lots of promise, disappointing execution” out of the write up.
So what makes Vanguard important enough to make the list? As a lesson to others? Wouldn’t Age of Conan be a better lesson to study, or at least a more popular one? Or could it be the whole wide open RMT stance that SOE has taken now that they have let Live Gamer onto all of the Vanguard servers? That is a bit recent, and not mentioned in the write-up, but it will make Vanguard interesting to watch going forward.
Anyway, that is the list. Nine monthly subscription games. Nine fantasy settings. Nine PC-only titles. Nine different publishers. Nine picks that were hardly surprises at all.
Who else belongs on the list? Or who does not?