How the industry changed for the better

It’s been a pretty big year for MMOs. Not only have there been a ton of releases, but the market has finally moved from largely cloning a certain game with 10 million subscribers into actually trying new ideas. But which ideas failed, and which innovations succeeded? It’s time to give the right progress some recognition.

No subscription

This one is almost too obvious. In 2012, Guild Wars 2 proved top-notch MMORPGs can release without a subscription and do really well. The model hasn’t even slowed down the amount of content in the game. At the time this article was written, Guild Wars 2 had just received a massive patch that added a whole lot to do for the Wintersday holiday event.

Star Wars: The Old Republic also announced its big move to free-to-play. While the details of the model have gotten a lot of criticism, Bioware‘s move solidified the free-to-play trend. If even a Star Wars game can’t keep a subscription, how can any game? It is, after all, the golden franchise.

Of course, other games joined in. PlanetSide 2 proved the model can transcend MMORPGs. The Secret World officially moved from a subscription to a free-to-play as well. Aion followed the trend earlier in the year.

At this point, only World of Warcraft, RIFT, and EVE Online remain as the few bastions of subscription models. It’s becoming clearer that MMO players like free stuff and, more importantly, they’ll reward companies that give them free stuff.

Story in my MMO

Games like World of Warcraft certainly have lore. Quest text and books based on the Warcraft universe have enough story to keep the typical fan satisfied. But the past year has seen an increase in MMORPGs that make story a focus, not just something in a never-read quest log.

There’s certainly been some debate whether the idea has succeeded. Star Wars: The Old Republic has gone through a bumpy ride. The Secret World going free-to-play is a sign the game isn’t going as planned.

But then there’s Guild Wars 2. The game embraced story, and it’s done it without making any sacrifices in content. Whereas the story content is most of what players care for in Star Wars: The Old Republic and The Secret World, the personal story and story-mode dungeons in Guild Wars 2 are only one small part of a much larger game.

So maybe some developers haven’t nailed down the balance, but it’s nice to see it in a few top-notch titles. After all, story content is a great way to get players immersed in a world. Getting invested in good story is what keeps moviegoers, readers, and single-player gamers going back to their favorite franchises. It should be at least one of the reasons gamers go back to their favorite MMOs as well.

Three-faction world PvP returns

World PvP definitely had mixed results in 2012. At the start of the year, Ilum in Star Wars: The Old Republic was a complete disaster. In fact, it was so bad that Bioware gave up on its original model and is now undertaking a full re-design of the PvP section of the planet.

But other games — particularly games with three factions — showed world PvP can definitely work. Guild Wars 2‘s world vs. world feature is still one of the most active parts of the game. PlanetSide 2 is built entirely on a three-faction world PvP model. RIFT also adopted a three-faction conquest mode, and it’s still one of the game’s most prominent and popular PvP features.

The genius behind the model is how much easier it is to balance. One of the bigger problems in Ilum in Star Wars: The Old Republic was one faction — typically Empire — could easily outnumber and crush the smaller faction. Having three factions makes it possible so the two outnumbered sides can team up to overcome otherwise impossible odds, creating a more natural ebb and flow in balance.

It also creates more dynamic gameplay. Facing the same faction and, depending on server size, the same people over and over can get old. Being able to run into a fight without knowing what that red name represents at first can be very exciting.

Action combat

Before 2012, MMO combat had remained mostly the same for years. Some games tried different ideas here and there, but it all felt largely the same. This year, some games finally made big strides.

Obviously, there’s TERA, which embraced action combat in an enormous way. Not only does the game allow players to dodge and stay mobile for most of combat, but it even requires aiming.

Then there’s Guild Wars 2It didn’t go quite as far as TERA, but it added enough action elements — dodge, casting while moving, attacking without a target — to feel much more action-focused than previous MMOs. Its big success also shows gamers are ready to embrace more action in their MMOs, something that can’t be claimed by just looking at TERA.

Let’s not forget PlanetSide 2. It’s not an RPG, but it does show the MMO space can be much more varied than it has been in the past few years. Unlike the first game in the PlanetSide series, PlanetSide 2 feels like an authentic shooter. It’s too early to call the game a big success, but so far the game has shown that MMO gamers are at least interested in the shooter genre.

This is a great trend for gamers. It’s unusual for a genre to be so stagnant in terms of combat. It’s normal to expect a lot of variety from game to game. Even in shooters, the differences between QUAKE LIVE and Call of Duty are enormous. The move toward more varied combat will finally give MMO players more options and variety.

Down with the holy

The death of the holy trinity is mostly exclusive to Guild Wars 2 so far, but it shows a giant leap in a genre that used to be dominated by the tank-healer-DPS setup.

Now, some gamers are not happy with the lack of a holy trinity in Guild Wars 2. They argue that reducing the importance of roles diminishes the depth of classes, content, and boss encounters. These gamers very clearly prefer a more traditional setup.

But the fact is a lot of MMO gamers are happy with Guild Wars 2‘s lack of a holy trinity. For many, it’s one of the features that sells the game. It’s not the setup for everyone, but it is clearly keeping many fans’ attention.

Again, it’s a great trend for gamers, even if it’s not preferable for everyone. It adds more variety in a genre that has been relatively stagnant in terms of mechanics the past few years. Not only does it make the games more fun for some, but it adds more options to the genre as a whole.

Killing less rats

Traditional questing in MMORPGs does not have many ardent defenders. One of the first flaws people pointed out in World of Warcraft is that all its quests follow the same “kill X mobs” or “collect X items” model. Not exactly the prime example of diversity. Yet MMO developers have stuck to the model after seeing World of Warcraft‘s success.

Well, 2012 was the year that began to change. With investigative missions in The Secret World and dynamic events in Guild Wars 2, it’s become clear that developers are ready to try and gamers are ready to embrace new ideas.

Of course, both the games that changed the model still have some remains of the “kill X mobs” model. Most of the missions in The Secret World still follow a more traditional route, and many of Guild Wars 2‘s dynamic events can be simplified down to “kill a bunch of mobs.” That aspect of the genre doesn’t seem to be completely going away any time soon.

But the diversity enabled by investigative missions and dynamic events is a huge step in the genre. It’s no longer the typical ritual of picking up a quest, killing some mobs, and turning the quest in. The quest can now turn out to be a puzzle, or it can be an event that everyone takes part in. It can even finish in a completely different spot from where it started.

That’s really the crux of all of 2012’s innovations: They gave players more options. Whether it’s more ways to pay for the game, more kinds of content, an extra faction in PvP, different styles of combat, more setups than the holy trinity, or greater variety in questing, the MMO is quickly moving in a way from its old tropes and beginning to embrace diversity like never before.

  • BaileysinAlaska

    This is article should be titled “Top Guild Wars 2 innovations” haha

    • Joey Morrone

      Well to be fair, Guild Wars 2 DID successfully pave the way for the future. Games that have been released or are still in development are sharing and expanding upon a lot of the ideas GW2 brought to the table.

      • Steven Barker

        Has it balls. As mentioned by people, everything in GW2 has been done before. They did nothing new and revolutionary and didn’t change anything. The next big MMO’s will take elements from older games that they know works, and GW2 will cease to exist.

        • Nick Cattane

          “As mentioned by people” – I lol’d.  I think every person, place, thing, concept, idea, etc has been mentioned by people from time to time.

          Fact remains, many persons also identify GW2 as innovative, original, and fun.  I appreciate and enjoy GW2, along with many other MMO’s, these constant stemmings of “being the best MMO” are becoming rather boring.

        • Corey “Crimzen” Jenkins

          The article does say top MMO innovations of 2012..meaning this year. Which would still go to GW2 having most of those innovations, even if we were only looking at the fact that it’s a AAA MMO with no sub fee. Also, just to be clear. “Innovation” doesn’t have to mean brand new. It can also mean something that has been improved upon.

          “The next big MMO’s will take elements from older games that they know works, and GW2 will cease to exist”

          Because that’ what happend to WoW right? :p

          • Dularr

            Definition: Innovation – something new or different introduced

            But, that doesn’t mean I think Guild Wars 2 was not MMO of the year. 

            What Guild Wars 2 did was try to be different than World of Warcraft.

          • 7BitBrian

             What you are talking about, taking something and improving upon it, is called iteration. It is also a good thing. Most of what people say GW2 innovated wasn’t actual innovation, it was iteration. Which is not to say there wasn’t real innovation in the game too. There was. Some of it done through iteration.

            For example dynamic events, they did not innovate this, but they did iterate it and try to make it better. And by doing so they made it the primary content source, something that has not been done. So the dynamic events themselves were iteration, but using them the way they did was innovation.

            And then Overflow Servers, real innovation all around.

            Just to name a few examples.

      • Dularr

        That still to be seen.  The disaster that was SWTOR, the GW2 B2P model and ever going hate for everything WoW may just scare off any investors from looking at new MMOs. 

        More noticeable is how much GW2 changes it business model and game design over the next few years. 

  • Matthew Riddle

    Guild wars 2 mentioned in each segment. GW2 MMO of the year.

  • Greg Christiansen

    Can not tell the writer is a GW2 fan.

    • Dularr

      Hard to say. It’s pretty easy to jump on the Guild Wars 2 bandwagon.  All you have to do is re-write the current press and they list Guild Wars 2 as MMO of the year. 

  • Steven Barker

    Innovations GW2 tried. Doesn’t make them “top”. For example, the combat in GW2 is a step backwards, same with the trinity breaking. Also the “Kill X” quests are still in gw2, they are just disguised as hearts.

    • balen arenas

       “For example, the combat in GW2 is a step backwards, same with the trinity breaking”

      Entirely subjective. It could be that you just like other forms of combat and enjoy the trinity. Other folks? not so much

      • Steven Barker

        Tera has better “action” combat than GW2 does. yet this article blows it off. The skill system in GW2 is limited and gimpy and doesn’t deserver any praise at all.

        • Corey “Crimzen” Jenkins

           I’d have to disagree with Tera having better action combat than GW2. Just because Tera doesn’t have a targeting system, doesnt mean its more “actiony”. To me Tera’s combat felt slow and most of the abilities seemed to root you in place. Where as guild wars 2, combat is meant to be pretty mast paced and mobile. Again it’s entirely subjective

          • balen arenas

             Yeah the combat in Tera is hampered by the animation lock.

            The “best” mmo combat is Vindictus. I’d love to see that kind of combat in a true open world.

        • poken1151

          Mmm, I understand what you’re saying, but disagree with it. Again, all subjective but The article doesn’t blow off Tera, it points to it as the catalyst. It even states that GW2 doesn’t go as far as Tera, but what it does for itself is still commendable. 

          And as Balen says, It’s subjective. Tera showed more movement, but they still had your entity locked for attacks… Still good in general though. And I do agree about the skill system in GW2, I like the fact that I am more varied, but they need to up/augment growth. Feels like I stopped growing weapons-wise around level 15.

    • Nick Cattane

      Like talking to a wall.

  • balen arenas

    Heh, good list although I would say that there are a few here that have been in place way before 2012. I mean GW1 had the no subscription model since 2005.

  • Joey Morrone

    Yea the combat in TERA is slower and the animations do root you in place. While I am not currently playing TERA anymore, I did love the combat in that game. I like how GW2 is kind of a hybrid with its combat system. Both games are about positioning.

  • Azuri

    TSW has moved to b2p not f2p as this article indicates, just saying. ;)

    • David Hatcher

       F2P is a catchall acronym for any payment scheme that does not require a subscription.  Many/Most “sub converted to F2P” games have either B2P or VIP sub components that are effectively required for endgame.  Its imprecise, but thats how the gaming community is using the term.

      • Azrael Karah

        Actualy Azuri is correct. B2P is not F2P for example:
        planetside 2 is F2P ,  TSW is B2P. 

        Quate from wikipedia:
        Free-to-play (F2P) refers to any video game or social or mobile application that has the option of allowing its players/users to play/download without paying.

        can you play TSW without paying? no.
        therefor F2P is not B2P.

      • Bob

        That’s why we need to change what the community is saying. Big difference between F2P and B2P. I always correct people on that point when they say it.

  • Joey Morrone

    Yea the combat in TERA is slower and the animations do root you in place. While I am not currently playing TERA anymore, I did love the combat in that game. I like how GW2 is kind of a hybrid with its combat system. Both games are about positioning.

  • Corey “Crimzen” Jenkins

    Heh I’d have to agree that GW2 had most of the big MMO innovations this year. I mean swtor had cut scenes great. The rest of the game however wasn’t very innovative. It’s probably also worth mentioning that Rift was pretty innovative as well, with it’s player housing at least.

  • Dularr

    - The first Guild Wars did not have a sub, so not really innovative.  But, I was glad to see Arenanet continue with a system that works for them. 

    – Story.  Story was the best part of SWTOR, but that game was released in 2011.  The GW2 story is terrible bad, gives the impression it was written by twelve year olds. Horrible. The story boards must be throwbacks to the original Guild Wars.  Not innovative.   Really want to try out TSW investigations, someday.

    – Three faction PvP, not innovative. Been around for awhile.  But, glad to see it as a staple of the MMO.

    – Action Combat.  Yeah, I like the combat in Guild Wars 2, my favorite part of the game. For me, the GW2 combat system is what makes that game a recommend. 

    – The lack of a trinity makes GW2 group play a bit of a mess.  So many grouping problems with Guild Wars 2.

    – Stepped into the Guild Wars 2 holiday instance, was really surprised the first few quests were collect 12 plants and kill 12 rat type quests.  I was soloing the dungeon, so got bored.  But that place sure was pretty, amazing to look at.

    • German Lopez

      You could argue that all these innovations were technically done at one point or another. The point is that 2012 has made sure they’re here to stay.

    • Jim Bergevin Jr

      I was going to post pretty much the same thing you said Dularr, until I scolled and found you beat me to it.

      No sub fee is not new or innovative – GW1 brought it to the AAA genre … way back in 2005, but F2P games have been around since the late 90’s, some of which are still going, so again, nothing innovative.

      Very few people disagree that SWTOR “knocked story out of the park” as Gary would say (and has said). No one I know who plays/played who thought GW2 story-telling was one of its better features – especially after the “personal” story turned into “Trahurne’s story”

      Ultimately, the “kill ten rats” theme of questing is not going away. The only real innovation here is the “skin” its wrapped up in. Any “non-traditional” look of quests in any game can still be boiled down to “go here do this/kill this” for a reward.

  • Francois Brisson

    All this and WoW still remains the best, oh well I guess it’s up to Titan.

    • jayremy

      Popular but I wouldn’t call it the best. A lot of “things” are successful or popular that aren’t exactly the best of choices, just the most established and accepted.

      I think though it is the failure of new MMOs to bring significant difference to the table of MMOs from WoW to start drawing large crowds of interest and minds craving new experiences and challenges. Too many game splay like EQ/WoW, for the main issue.

      When making a game compete directly with WoW by offering the same structure I think game developers and handicapping their selves by not going bold and innovating full on because no matter what WoW and Blizzard has over 7 years of experience and content under their belt and in their game.

      The cost to match that is probably roughly close to a billion to a billion and a half for today’s standard, which is a near impossible start up cost for any game of today. Heck, though either because of inflation of the increasing use of technology and gaming, that might be something to happen in the future.

      • Dularr

        A key point is players keep going back to WoW.   Blizzard is better “best” at bring players back to the game.

  • Chris Keller

    I miss when gamebreaker had videos for these minor things… i feel like I’m at the escapist when I’m reading little stories.

    • jayremy

      Yeah I prefer videos not because I am too lazy to read I do read often respond in thorough detail but audio is more memorable too me than reading and often saves me that much more time, allows me to relax my eyes or multi-task.

      • Dularr

        They really are missing a “news hits” replacement for MikeB.  His interactions with the editors and writers was so entertaining.

  • boarderdog

    Guild Wars 2: mentioned 11 times
    Star Wars: mentioned 6 times
    The Secret World: mentioned 5 times
    Planetside 2: mentioned 5 times
    WoW: mentioned 4 times
    Tera: mentioned 3 times
    Rift: mentioned 2 times
    Eve Online: mentioned 1 time
    Quake live: mentioned 1 time
    Call of Duty: mentioned 1 time

    • RBHgamer

      I think I see your point.  In an article about new innovations from this year it was Guild wars 2 that was mentioned roughly twice as often as any other game. Makes sense.

  • 7BitBrian

    Not a bad article but I’d feel remiss if I did not point this out: None of these are actually innovations, they’re all good, great in some cases, but they are all actually iteration, not innovation.

    Still awesome though.

    • German Lopez

      Innovation is very relative. These are innovations relative to the mainstream, and the successes and lessons of 2012 will make sure they stick around.

      Plus, the term innovation has been changed in most media and culture to hinge on a product actually pulling off the innovation. If a game is technically innovative but a big failure, it’s not counted as innovative.

      • 7BitBrian

        The definition of a word is never relative. This is a revisionist excuse to make a title “pop” more to the masses. I understand the reasoning behind it, and don’t mind the article at all, but don’t try to sell it to me. I’d have been more interested had you done a story on what really was innovated and/or iterated. I gave examples of both in GW2 in a comment below.

        The article you wrote is actually “The Top 6 MMO Trends of 2012″. But sell it however you will.

        • German Lopez

          I disagree. I think language in general is very relative. Words shift in definition all the time. Words like “cool” and “lame” have completely changed throughout the years. Different cultures use the same words in completely different ways.

          Plus, I think the word “innovative” actually applies here. I consider successful iteration innovation because it fully fleshes out a concept that might not have seemed that great before.

          It’s also innovation from the perspective of the mainstream, which might not experience new ideas in some not-so-successful games.

          You’re of course free to disagree, but those are my thoughts on the topic.

          • jayremy

            I agree with Brian but you are also right. What you need to say is “subjective”. One may deem it innovative in their mind, for they have not thought of it before, hung around much people discussing such star-eyed concepts and haven’ perhaps played games of the sort already either.

            But the definition of innovation means as it does and is really one of those media twist/PR phrases often times. Innovative and innovation are two separate words with similar meaning and the same root.

            Innovation CAN be gradual but again is subjective, but it doesn’t make those making small changes in (not really) new directions innovative. Most wouldn’t consider those pandering to the status quo to be innovative or performing innovation.

          • Dularr

            My conclusion on this article was “innovation” was the wrong word.  The article would have been better served about the “trending” of MMOs in 2012. 
            Three faction PvP trending in 2012, totally agree. So many MMO are moving to three faction PvP.

            Story:  SWTOR f2p model attempt was bring players in with the free stories (sadly they are too heavy handed in trying to covert them to sub customers.)

            WoW Mist; really gone back to story telling.  After today’s  “What is in the box?” story quest, I really don’t know what is going to happen with the Horde. 

            GW2: They tried with this is my personal story. 

            TSW: Seems to be all about investigation and stories. 

  • Steven Diaz

    GW2 and story shouldn’t even be in the same sentence.  One story mission every 3-4 levels that’s about 10-15 minutes long.  That’s hardly story.  I can find more story in a baseball game.

  • Ravenstorm

    Why was Wrath of the Lich King so immersive? Why are those games you’ll remember for the rest of your life so engrossing? Why was Cataclysm such dissapointment? The one thing you should never underestimate, the story behind it.

    I remember when WotLK came out my only purpose in cyberlife was to hunt him down and kill the basterd. Why? Because of everything that happened in Warcraft 3. Do you remember how you felt when Arthas killed his own father? Or when Arthas was involuntary pulled into a web of deceit against his will to become one of the most foul beings ‘alive’? Now thát’s storytelling.

    That’s also why I personally find GW2, although unbelievably pretty, boring. It has no true goal. A man/woman must have a goal in life, hence so in cyberlife. And indeed, the storytelling is childish, bordering arogant. Every time my character yells ‘blabla to MY STORY!’ I cringe in disgust.
    It’s like a spoiled brad crying out he/she did something amazing when you know it’s rediculously simple, like crossing into a new zone on the map, or doing something relatively simple in your storyline. Maturity in GW2’s storylines would have withheld most 9 year old from playing, but the rest of the world would’ve been very gratefull, methinks.

    What Blizzard did was a stroke of genius. They made an RTS with an amazing story, then an mmo which drew into all that lore. They and every gamedev out there should do it again. So this factor isn’t just ancient, it’s vital to everything games are about. Story. 
    And a crack engine, flawless battlesystem, replayability, originality etc. Yes. We all know this. But story is the driving ore in your rowing boat of delicious gaming contraband. You wish to avoid the guards of crap boring hate-your-life-for-owning-it island.

    I hope Blizz will make a fantastic Titan RTS first, so we’ll be all glowering in anticipation when Titan the mmo launches. Purpose. A real goal. Real reasons why we should spend massive amounts of our lives playing what is basically just a computergame. That, and all the other addictions we mere men/women indulge ourselves in.

    Oh and MikeB, shave yourself for God’s sake man, where is that aristocratic chinhawk?

  • Neal Reagan

    i have to agree with the general consensus here:

    None of these changes are really innovative.

    Swtor’s story isn’t unique to gaming. GW2’s “destroying the trinity” didn’t even catch on. Rift is meh (with a sorta unique class style that still hugs to tradition). And the rest of them are copies of tried and true methods. MMO’s have all been copying each other since their conception, and they’re not about to start innovating now. So someone changes something minute about a game that plays just like WoW (or EQ), and all of a sudden it’s innovative? Ok. This is why our games aren’t getting any better. We settle for games that SHOULD be innovating. That USED to take chances. Instead, we shell out money for shit. Period. Wow being the biggest culprit (and copycat) of them all. 

  • Nova2012

    The fact that you call Star Wars “the golden franchise” makes the rest of your article not worth reading with that opinion. We are talking MMO’s not Movies. WoW would be that. Not to mention SWTOR’s F2P is a joke and not winning over anyone. I need to pay to have action bars?????? WTF. At least with GW2 once i bought the game, I have all access to everything in the game, as it should be. In my opinion if you want to stop the sub model with some success, then GW2 model is the way to go, end of story. I personally will always go to the sub model. I have played WoW for 7 years now and just sub’d in last month for the first time, i used game time cards before. After playing Planetside2, SWTOR, GW2, LOL, and various others, that are free or not sub’d, it is clear why people always come back to WoW. I also don’t have to worry about racking my credit card on useless stuff i don’t need and made to feel like i need it. I hope F2P dies a quick death. With that said, I know it won’t, it’s a cash grab the industry will bank on, frankly it’s less of a risk for them. Making a AAA sub based game is not easy and we can thank SWTOR for screwing it up for us. It was not until that failure at launch that everyone went nuts on F2P, because they want to see and feel it first before paying for it, and not get burned as everyone did with SWTOR!

    • Rae

      Hope someone gets You a sarcasm detector for xmas.

      • Russel Trombone

        Those things exist?

  • Nathan Gould

    How do we judge when a concept has caught on? Presumably when games start to adopt the same principles, but what other MMOs have been released after GW2 suggested removing the trinity? Aside from Planetside 2, I can’t think of any. Maybe I’m just forgetting one. 
    The next big MMO release (TESO) has already stated that it intends on diluting the trinity by allowing all armor classes the ability to fulfill any of the 3 roles which – despite personally not being enough evidence to really draw conclusions – indicates a trend toward the dilution of the trinity.

    In my opinion, GW2 is the new standard for MMOs and is the final nail in the coffin for new releases having sub fees. I’d consider it suicide for a game to even consider having a sub fee after these passed few months. I can tell you that for me – with the kinds of games I can get for no fee – I wouldn’t touch sub fee MMOs with a 30-foot pole.

    Even though it hasn’t “destroyed” the success of other games, it’s own success indicates a demand that developers are going to seek to meet. I would bet money on that.

  • jayremy

    I agree with the subjects however I say they are merely introductory nothing really ground breaking.


    For GW2 was only natural in time that a major game developer would ditch the trinity. Unfortunately I felt very mislead on what the combat was going to be for GW2 before playing it and I expected to more intuitively realistic combat (otherwise called action combat). I wish to see more game venture into this but once again doing it in a way more intriguing than GW2’s version. (As in Vindictus I will mention below again, you can completely get away without having a healer, and it’s fun and the healer really isn’t just a spam healer either but an occasional support healer.)

    Action Combat:

    Vindictus I think is a game that never gets the love it deserves for its step into the “physics based combat” which is like Tera’s “Action Combat” but on steroids. Though I don’t herald the lack of ability, weapon or attack variations in Vindictus has it is leaps and bounds ahead of it’s days in terms of bring a newer model of combat to the west. However being it was a 2010/11 title I wont give it that claim but Raiderz is another Tera-like game with what I find more favorable elements.

    Tera kind of fell flat on it’s face when the combat for attacks rooted the player, lack of any realistic of in game physics applied including with projectiles and the absurdly boring leveling/questing content that didn’t push or utilize the potential or thrill of that style combat.

    Killing less rats (?)

    This I am a little in question in, because every game, (to me) feels the same but I do agree there is a step in a different direction I just don’t find this year that much better but this is a slow and gradual change in MMOs, which even WoW is attempting to change.

    Three World faction PvP

    I don’t think three faction is the end all be all. I’d like to see… ummm (no pun intended) guild wars and in shifting faction PvP, player made factions, variable or more than simply 2-3 factions. This really isn’t the first game to do more than faction vs faction as a PvP in an MMO premise. But I will not dispute it was a good year to see developer interest in that for sure.

    No Sub

    Not really fascinating to me and this again isn’t new, but and increasing trend nonetheless. I think F2P aspect of games is overrated. Developers just focusing on making an awesome game leaps above what competitors can compete with and a crowd of games are dying for and it will be successful with any reasonably priced model

    Story Telling

    Yeah SWTOR really shined but I think had huge problems and mistakes made in that leap. One was of course a seemingly over investment into it. Sometimes it felt like there was too much unnecessary dialogue and too many dang response prompts, especially for the side quests. They could’ve done more with cut-scenes and action sequences of good quality than glitchy in game generic dialogue that players just spacebar through. If you see a lot of Japanese games, including and especially such like MGS series you see the real potential power of storytelling games can put forth, that in many ways can dwarf the sole gameplay aspect in fun.

    GW2 just looked like a virtual pop up book in storytelling though it was a decent story by all means wasn’t a fan of it. The Secret World was good, I didn’t play enough to get into the game or say much but I liked what scenes I got too and if it wasn’t for the gameplay being so dull, then the rest of the game would be awesome.

  • Fabio Pizzini

    As we can see Gw2 take the worst innovation this is why it is a crap game!

    • Kyle Schmelzer

       Lol, i dont play GW2 anymore, but its far from a crap game.

  • Aaron Desrosiers

    I would have cited GW2 for horizontal progression but…

  • Chris P

    The comments section is pretty much “How can we downplay these additions to make them not look that good.” These are not trends because they are what is moving the MMO genre forward. I know people still want to play with their extremely old and out of date mechanics of 2004, but these are innovating. A better combat system, especially with GW2, a step in the right direction with questing with Rift and GW2, including the TSW. The reason it is innovative is for the reasons I said above. We are finally going forward. Not standing still waiting for WoWtards to finally decide to take a step into the next generation.

  • Paul Kling

    To me, none of those things are the big innovations.  Actually, it’s the annoying little things about mmos that were designed OUT of mmos that were the innovations.  In fact, WoW’s innovations were just that; changing design to remove irritating things, and doing so made it the biggest mmo yet.

    Guild wars 2’s ArenaNet team went into the design of the game with the manifesto of removing “unfun” stuff, and trying to only put in fun stuff.  No, I am not talking about removing the so-called “holy trinity”; they had already done that in the first GW really, that game also had no aggro/threat mechanic so “tanking” was done with control abilities and proximity.  I’m talking about turning quests that everyone does into public quests so that they can do them together; eliminating the aggravation of waiting for a machine to un-fix itself so you can fix it, or waiting for a monster to un-die so you can kill it for the quest.  Or, letting everyone harvest from a material node so we don’t have to race each other or “steal” nodes while someone is fighting monsters next to them.

    The big transition to “free to play” even is removal of the need to buy the game and then continue to buy the game every month; with GW2 you just buy the game; with other games you don’t have to buy the game upfront but generally there’s something that you have to buy to make the game more enjoyable; either way, removing the monthly sub was to remove that thing that was for some a hindrance to continue playing their game.

    So, to me the biggest innovation of 2012 in mmos was removal of annoying, stupid crap that isn’t fun.

  • Bent Harley Lybech

    Suggestion: change the title to “Why I like GuildWars2″It’s all GuildWars this and GuildWars that… too onesided for me to take serious.
    (not to mention, that GW2 playerbase keeps dropping)

  • Kyle Schmelzer

    I felt that Swtor going free to play was going to be nice, but infact their free to play model is so bad that it makes me not even want to play. I have no problem throwing a few bucks here and there for perks as i want them. I do that with LoL, over the last two years ive dropped like $50 bucks into it. I would do the same with Swtor for perks i feel i need or want. But putting such harsh restrictions on the free to play model makes it so i dont even want to play, and forcing me into a subscription plan. End result is, they wont be getting a penny out of me until they fix the model.