Because We All Love Lists!

CCP Manifest noted in the EVE News that CHIP, the web arm of CHIP Magazine, put up a list of what they consider to be the Ten Most Important MMORPGs.

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:

  1. Ultima Online
  2. World of Warcraft
  3. EverQuest
  4. Guild Wars
  5. EVE Online
  6. Warhammer Online
  7. Lord of the Rings Online
  8. Lineage II
  9. Vanguard: Saga of Heroes
  10. 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.

Vanguard?  Really?

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?

18 thoughts on “Because We All Love Lists!

  1. Mighty

    they took the list from here:
    and it actually says that those are “the ten best online rpgs”

    google translation:
    The list weighted after playing the game with the greatest depth and the best interactive features, a loving setting and the successful transport of a story. A not so great a role the game’s visuals, because the gameplay is not decisive. It is about togetherness in the game and to the common fun.

    I say meh… just another journalists brain fart…


  2. Wilhelm2451 Post author

    Yes and no.

    I took the “Most Important” read from CCP because I am going to guess they have German speakers on staff who can translate meaning as opposed to a literalist word view.

    Also, the list doesn’t make a lot of sense if you spin it as “10 Best MMOs.” Well, it doesn’t unless you think Ultima Online is like the still the best MMO out there nearly 12 years after launch!

    Journalistic brain fart though? Oh course! That is why I posted it, so we could all say, “Look how silly this is!”


  3. syncaine

    I would say its tough to place UO 1st because not many games followed in its footsteps. How many sandbox MMOs do we have, as compared to EQ1 themepark clones? How many games have done combat/housing/crafting/economy like UO, as compared to how many copied EQ?

    Obviously from a personal perspective, I wish more games had copied UO instead of EQ, but if we just look at sheer numbers, clearly the theme park model is the way to go if you are chasing the mass market (even WAR went more themepark than DAoC ever was).

    EVE should also be higher, just because having your entire game on one server is so incredibly undervalued, both from a gameplay perspective and because of the incredible tech behind it.. Not to mention one of the few games with a working economy and crafting that actually matters.

    Rate the rest of the EQ1 clones behind those, based on how far away from the cookie cutter mold they went (WAR with RvR, LoTRO with the IP, WoW with ‘accessible’ for all, etc)


  4. Mighty

    sorry, ccp got it wrong.
    “Die 10 besten Online-Rollenspiele im Überblick:” means “The 10 best online-rpgs in an overview:” I am german. I only posted the google translation because I am also lazy =D


  5. Graktar

    I don’t think Vanguard should be on that list regardless of what the list title means — either way it doesn’t belong there. I think City of Heroes should get it’s spot instead, since it demonstrated that you can go off the beaten path for settings and still succeed. As a result in the next few years we’re getting Champions Online, DC Universe Online, and Marvel is in negotiations to resurrect their MMO project as well. I’d say that gives City of Heroes some importance.

    Ultima Online deserves it’s top spot because it’s the grand-daddy of the modern MMO. Sure, most other MMOs have followed the EQ model, but UO is still what triggered the massively multiplayer online game ‘revolution’.

    Guild Wars should be higher on the list, except none of those above it can really be bumped down, so I guess it’s where it should be. Most people don’t realize how incredibly successful Guild Wars has been. It could have revolutionized the way MMOs work if only publishers had paid attention.

    Warhammer Online should probably be sharing it’s spot with Dark Age of Camelot. There is a clear connection between the two, and WAR is not unjustly called DAoC 2.0 (and that’s not a bad thing).


  6. spinks

    Here’s an interesting alternate list, based on the 10 most popular subscription games in terms of spending:

    Their list is:
    1) World of Warcraft
    2) Club Penguin
    3) RuneScape
    4) Eve Online
    5) Final Fantasy XI
    6) The Lord of the Rings Online
    7) Dofus
    8) Age of Conan
    9) City of Heroes
    10) EverQuest II

    Interesting how many of the same games are on both lists. And CoH not on the top one also.


  7. Wilhelm2451 Post author

    @Mighty – But the list is, as I said, somewhat nonsensical in that context, worse than a journalistic brain fart. And the descriptions of the individual games seem more in line with the context of “important” rather than “best.”

    In the US generally an editor writes the headline while the journalist writes the copy. If there was a headline/story mis-match like this here, I would guess that the headline editor screwed up, not that the journalist was incompetent.

    I don’t mean to say you’re wrong with the headline, but I am one of those people who read the paper and gripe that the guy who wrote the headline apparently didn’t read the actual story.

    @Syncaine – I don’t think you have to copy the mechanics of a game to make it important to the genre. UO was built on the back of all those Ultima games which dictated much of its flavor and features, as opposed to the Diku MUD path from which EQ and so many others sprang. And, you said nobody copied their sandbox style, then mentioned EVE, which certainly fits there.

    UO showed that there was a bigger market for a subscription game than anybody had thought there was (something repeated later by EQ then WoW) as well as going through all of the same teething issues that we have seen repeated over and over again. And it was a commercial success.


  8. Wilhelm2451 Post author

    @Spinks – It would be interesting to know how that list was generated. The BBC passes the buck by just naming Screen Digest as the source, while Screen Digest won’t share that information without my plonking down $4000.

    Not that I disagree with the list necessarily, but how they collected data is more important to me than the data to a certain extent.


  9. mbp

    A slightly different version of ton 10 moneymakers fro 2008 from another source
    1. World of Warcraft, launched 2004
    2. Fantasy Westward Journey, launched 2004
    3. Maple Story, launched 2003
    4. Shanda (company, includes Legend of Mir and World of Legend
    5. Lineage I and Lineage II , launched 1998 and 2003
    6. Runescape
    7. Club Penguin, launched 2006
    8. Lord of the Ring Online
    9. Warhammer Online
    10. Age of Conan

    This list places more emphasis on Asian MMO’ s although I am surprised at the absence of EVE.


  10. Morph

    Actually, 10 most important would be more interesting :). SWG should make that list. The epic failure that was the NGE is still talked about after all this time. Plus the game had a lot of great ideas, like player cities, relevant crafting and interesting professions / classes.


  11. Gaff

    Someone mentioned NGE!

    If it is most important, I would argue in 1993 that 400 people was “massive” and as the inspiration for EQ at the very least, Sojourn should be there. Diku MUDS perhaps as a genre–we still use the text interface they modified from telenet as our primary communication in all the games listed above (at least that I have played).

    I think the North American Game Ambassador should lodge a formal complain in Berlin.


  12. sente

    I think Wilhelm is right here in that if there is a screw-up from either the headline writer or the journalist, then I would definitely place my bets on the headline writer.

    I did freelance writing for a computer magazine for 8 years in the 80s and 90s. I lost count on the number of times that an article of mine or a collegue author received a headline by the editorial staff that was completely wrong for the context.


  13. TheRemedy

    Take out Guild Wars and replace with Asheron’s Call for being the first MMO to have an emphasis on story. As you said, DAOC for WAR. I have no bloody clue why Lotro is on anyone’s list of importance. Not saying it’s a bad game but I’m not sure it did anything new/innovative/refined at all. Replace it with Runescape for it’s free-to-playiness. And I’m also in total agreement about Vanguard, dunno what I would substitute it with though.


  14. nomadicnoob

    Vanguard, for all it’s initial shortcomings, is still high up on my personal list and has seen great improvements. If it wasn’t such a single player game now, I’d totally resubscribe


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