Top 5 Disappointing MMOs

By Jeff Francis
Top five disappointing mmos

There's almost nothing like the excitement of following the development of mmorpg games that we're really looking forward to. Gamers will scour the internet for any developer interviews, watch streaming broadcasts of alpha gameplay footage, and become actively engaged in gaming forums discussing the game in question. As players, we all hope that the game we're looking forward to lives up to the hype. There are times when they do, and we're ecstatic to play the game. But far too often, the game fails to live up to our expectations. Sometimes it's our own fault for building a game up too much while other times it's the fault of the developers for over-promising and under-delivering. We've all become disenchanted with a game that we were really into at some point, so let's discuss our top five disappointing mmos.

Vanguard: Saga of Heroes
The first game on our list of the top five disappointing mmos is Vanguard: Saga of Heroes. The hype factor for this game was on overdrive due to the fact that the development team was comprised of many of those that were behind EverQuest, including Brad McQuaid. Expectations were high as the game promised a ton of features such as hybrid classes, customizable housing, diplomacy, and more. The game launched with a giant thud due to a raft of issues. There were an insane number of bugs, lack of end-game content, and the game ran very poorly, even on high end systems. In short, the game was released far too early. The subscriber base plummeted quickly. It sold 242,000 copies initially, but the player base dropped to 40,000 players after a few months. The game eventually fixed a lot of the issues that plagued it when it launched, but the damage had been done and the game never recovered.

Vanguard: Saga of Heroes dragon

Tabula Rasa
Our next entry on our top five disappointing mmos list is Tabula Rasa. Players were hyped to play this game as Richard Garriott, the man who created the Ultima games and Ultima Online, was a major contributor to the game. It also heralded mixing the mechanics of a typical mmo with that of a first person shooter; something that was unique at the time. The game launched to much fanfare, but it never really took off. While the fps mechanics were interesting, the overall gameplay was rather dull, in my opinion. Making the situation worse was an emphasis on the language and philosophy of the alien race that the players could learn to decipher. While interesting to some, it just bogged down the action for many. I wanted to fight in an epic war, not decode some stone tablets. When you put in a bad crafting system and no auction house, you get a game that shut down in less than two years. Compounding the issue was that NCsoft forced out Richard Garriott while he was actually in space, causing him to sue them and eventually winning $28 million.

Warhammer Online
Our third feature on our top five disappointing mmos list is Warhammer Online. I had a vested interest in this mmorpg as I've played the Warhammer miniatures game since the mid 1980s and was well versed in its universe. The development seemed promising as the developers said constantly that the game would be true to the setting and that, most important of all, that it would be fun. The boring quests that you normally played would not be found and neither would be crafting. Sheer violence and mayhem was the order of the day and I looked forward to taking part in epic sieges. Well, things changed before the game was released. The devs caved to whiners who wanted crafting, so they put in a terrible crafting system that nobody liked. Sadly, there were a number of boring "go get x of something" quests that players did not expect. Yet it was the large-scale battles where the game fell flat. The sheer amount of lag rendered any large battles an exercise in frustration, and the design mechanics ensured that melee classes were virtually useless. Even worse, the taking or defending a faction's capital city just devolved into the defending faction turtling until time ran out. There were grand plans for Warhammer Online, and while some worked (public quests), it was the realm-versus-realm combat that gamers were looking forward to that fell flat and doomed the game.

Star Wars: The Old Republic
I know that this game on our list of the top five disappointing mmos will come as a shock to some, but I think Star Wars: The Old Republic should be on this list. I was happy to hear that BioWare was creating a Star Wars mmo, and I eagerly followed all the news about the game's development. The game looked gorgeous and the fact that everything was going to be fully voiced was amazing. How could a $200 million dollar game go wrong? Well, the main problem is that the game felt more like a single-player game rather than an mmo. We were promised innovative features that we had never seen before, but the gameplay was surprisingly mundane. The PvP was atrocious as you could not select the mode you wanted but rather had to take your chance on the random draw of the game. It seemed that ninety percent of the time I tried PvP, I got forced to play Huttball, an abominable type of sporting match that I really detested. The worst part was the space combat. When you think Star Wars, you think of epic space battles like the Rebels taking on the Death Star. The space combat in SWTOR was so hated, the game shut down and removed that section of the forum during testing. The space combat system in the game was just the player flying on rails and shooting at pre-programmed enemies. While the game has made some improvements since then, I can still taste the bitter tang of disappoint when I think about the game even today.

Star Wars: The Old Republic space combat

City of Heroes
The last of our top five disappointing mmos is City of Heroes, and I chose this game for reasons different than what you're probably thinking. I loved playing City of Heroes. It had the most robust character creation system that I had ever seen, and the lore and setting really pulled me in. As time went on, the game made many improvements, such as adding player bases that rival groups could invade, being able to play as a villain, and the ability to create and share your own adventures. The reason why I include this game on the list is that it was cancelled far too soon. According to reports, the game was still profitable for NCsoft, so players were stunned when the news came that they were going to kill it. Fans tried to save the game and even begged the company to sell it to somebody else, all to no avail. In the end, the mmo was shut down and one of the greatest online gaming communities was torn asunder. My disappointment is due to the company killing a game that was still vibrant and innovative.

There are different reasons why an mmo can disappoint us. It can be buggy, not live up to its promises, or that the gameplay is just the same old-same old. The disappointment is normally directly proportional to the amount of hype lavished on a game. This makes the pain and irritation that much worse for the gamer as many of us hope that the game coming out would be THE ONE that we would play for years and enjoy every minute of it. The reality is that many products fail to live up to our expectations, which is why gamers have become so cynical today. Now I understand that every list is subjective, and that the games I've chosen might not be the ones that you would. Do you agree or disagree with my list? What games would you add to it? Let us know in the comments below.

Dec162014

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