Ten Ton Hammer News Editor Stacy “Martuk” Jones
reviews the highs and lows, the launches and cancellations, the
lawsuits, bankruptcies, and corporate hijinx that made up this year in
MMOGs in our very last article of the year: The Ten Biggest MMOG News
Stories of 2010

Five New (and Non-Traditional) MMORPGs Launch

For all the bad news of 2010, it’s easy to overlook the
surprising number of genuinely new and different MMOGs released. For
starters, the future was a crowded place last February, when style="font-style: italic;"
Trek Online and style="font-style: italic;"
Agenda launched back-to-back,
Both rode a wave of pre-launch hype (especially Trekkie- style="font-style: italic;">STO,
of course) followed by decent sales, subscription-month
disillusionment, a period of settling into their respective niches.
Both also seem to be on the upswing: user-created content via the
Foundry seems to be well received by style="font-style: italic;">STO
players, and style="font-style: italic;">Global Agenda
(having gone free-to-play this summer) has just launched its first
PvE-driven expansion, style="font-style: italic;">Sandstorm.

href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/node/91222"> style="font-style: italic;">LEGO Universe,
href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/reviews/vindictus"> style="font-style: italic;">Vindictus,
and href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/node/92971"> style="font-style: italic;">World of Warcraft:
were the fall contenders in the MMO sector, along with a sputtering
offering from Square Enix that we’ll discuss below. style="font-style: italic;">LEGO U
offset a relatively small content offering with incredible
player-created content options (over 50,000 player-created models and
environments had been created at last count), while style="font-style: italic;">Vindictus’s
stunningly visceral level of action gameplay revealed to us how much
we’ve been missing with auto-attack. Finally, style="font-style: italic;">WoW
went farther than any MMORPG has ever gone to reinvent itself with style="font-style: italic;">Cataclysm,
a top-down revitalization of the celebrated original.

href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/node/76082"> style="border: 0px solid ; width: 580px; height: 326px;"
alt="star trek online"

seems to be on the upswing via The Foundry

SyFy and Trion World Network Team Up for New " style="font-style: italic;">One Earth

Trion Worlds is gaining recognition for their upcoming MMORPGs style="font-style: italic;">Rift
and End
of Nations
, but what you may
not be aware of is that they also have another project in the works in
cooperation with the SyFy channel. The project, currently under the
working title of href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/node/79090"> style="font-style: italic;">One Earth,
will work to merge the MMO world with a television show that will run
simultaneously.  Events in one will influence the world in the
other. It’s certainly an ambitious project that has only one
of two possible outcomes: Epic Win or Epic Fail. I see no middle ground
for this one.

Mythic’s Botched Billing

Playing your favorite MMORPGs can be costly at times, but it proved to
be extremely costly for some. style="font-style: italic;">Warhammer Online
and Dark
Age of Camelot
earlier this year when they found out that href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/node/83241">Mythic’s
billing vendor made a slight boo boo
that resulted in several accounts being charged multiple times . In
many cases these charges ran in the $300-$400 range, but some rare
instances reportedly broke $1,000. While Mythic wasn’t
directly responsible, this sort of screw up doesn’t do your
reputation any favors in a market where people are already reserved
about giving out their credit/debit card details.

Mythic took steps to make things right by players, but the damage was
already done. Many players had to spend hours on the phone with their
bank and Mythic to try and sort out any excess overdraft
charges.  This was the second major customer service snafu of
the year – href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/sto/news/atari_removes_60_day_offer">Atari’s
removal of 60 days’ gametime
Star Trek Online

Collector’s Edition purchasers created a storm of controversy
in March. Atari later honored the deal.

Square Enix Replaces style="font-style: italic;">FFXIV

Leadership, PS3 Version Delayed

When it comes to worst launch candidate of the year, I’m not
sure if that dubious honor goes to style="font-style: italic;">APB
for its short-lived existence or to style="font-style: italic;">Final Fantasy XIV.
One of the year’s most anticipated titles, style="font-style: italic;">FFXIV
was released in such a poor state at launch that developer / publisher
Square Enix has yet to charge a month of subscription, delayed the PS3
launch, and swapped out the original project leadership team almost
entirely. Following the href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/node/92900"> style="font-style: italic;">FFXIV
launch issues and leadership changes,
Square Enix went on to href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/node/93165">cut its
yearly net forecast by 90%. So
the question is – Can the new leadership team turn things
around for 2011?

href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/node/93596"> style="border: 0px solid ; width: 580px; height: 326px;"
alt="richard garriott counting his money"

Garriott counting his millions

Richard Garriott Wins $28 Million Suit Against NCSoft

Richard Garriott’s legacy isn’t in dispute,
we’re thankful for all he did for the style="font-style: italic;">Ultima
series and Ultima
. Every style="font-style: italic;">UO
veteran has great stories to tell and, that being the case, we tried
not to take sides on this particular issue. We’d even be
happy he’d made a cool href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/node/87434">$28
million, if it hadn’t
come from the
pockets of one of the world’s largest active
MMO publishers.

Granted, it’s more than a little shady that NCSoft fired
their Tabula
figurehead in absentia.
But, frankly, we think it’s at least as odd that Lord British
took a couple months off to fly to space as the game bearing literally
his name, Richard
Garriott’s Tabula Rasa
crashed and burned. The judgment has us bummed –
we’d much rather have seen that $28M go towards games like style="font-style: italic;">Guild Wars 2
than Garriott’s next near-earthescapade or his other new
hobby (/shudder): Facebook game development.

Cheyenne Mountain Entertainment Files Bankruptcy

No one expected great things from style="font-style: italic;">Stargate Resistance
href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/node/80796">when it
launched on February 11th of
this year, but any hopes for the game were quickly extinguished when
developer Firesky’s parent company href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/node/81171">Cheyenne
Mountain Entertainment filed a case for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy
the following day.  The game did manage to survive 2010
despite countless court complaints, a second round of not paying the
devs and a bouncing of the game’s rights from CME to Dark
Comet Games and then back to CME again, but it will meet its demise on
January 15th, 2011 when the servers will shut down for the final time
barring an extension of the Stargate license from MGM.

The Year’s Biggest  Cancellations - style="font-style: italic;">APB

Fires Its Last Shot

2010 was href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/node/89524">not a
kind year to style="font-style: italic;">All Points Bulletin
developer Realtime Worlds. The developer launched its flagship title style="font-style: italic;">All Points Bulletin
on June 29th to lukewarm reviews.  Less than two weeks later,
Realtime Worlds announced href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/node/86546">restructuring
plans for the company and by
August 17th had href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/node/88012">entered
into Administration. On
September 16th, Realtime Worlds announced that style="font-style: italic;">APB
would be shutting down its servers, making the 3-month old game the
shortest lived big-budgeted online gaming titles ever. Fortunately for style="font-style: italic;">APB
fans, free-to-play publisher GamersFirst acquired the title in November
and href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/node/92020">resumed
development of the game under
its subsidiary, Reloaded Productions.

href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/node/84918"> style="border: 0px solid ; width: 580px; height: 326px;"
alt="all points bulletin"

Points Bulletin crashed hard

might have been the year’s most costly cancellation, but no
single developer or publisher could quite match Acclaim
Games’ body count. Playdom announced its acquisition of
Acclaim Games on May 18th and by August 27th it had shut down Acclaim
Games’ support for style="font-style: italic;">The Chronicles of
Spellborn, style="font-style: italic;">2Moons,
, style="font-style: italic;">9Dragons
and several others. Support for some games like style="font-style: italic;">9Dragons
and 2Moons
were picked up by other companies, but Acclaim Games had possibly the
biggest list of shut downs for any MMORPG publisher in 2010.

Wars: The Old Republic

– A $300 Million “Failure”?

We’re not familiar with the Chinese zodiac, but 2010 might
have been the year of the rat. First, in the wake of style="font-style: italic;">APB’s
shutdown, former devs href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/node/89525">Luke
Halliwell, href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/node/90587">Josh
Howard, and href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/node/91568">Ben
Bateman took turns calling
Realtime Worlds’ decision-making to task.  Then, in
October, a disgruntled BioWare Mythic layoff candidate calling himself
(or herself) EA Louse href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/node/90695">offered
detailed observations regarding style="font-style: italic;">Warhammer
shortcomings, going on to throw
budget numbers and predicting that style="font-style: italic;">SWTOR
will be “one of the greatest failures in the history of MMOs
from EA.”

Intrigued, we took EA up on their offer to come check out the game in
early December and were happy to see the game had href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/swtor/previews/tython-jedi-knight">improved
drastically since we last saw it
at GDC 2010, and was, in fact, a lot of fun. Will the rest of the game
can compare to the Jedi and grouped experiences we previewed?
We’ll find out next year.

Revenue Doubles Since Free-to-Play Launch

The biggest success story of 2010 this side of Azeroth belongs to
Turbine’s style="font-style: italic;">The Lord of the Rings
Online. The adaptation of a
free-to-play model helped bolster the game’s concurrent user
number as well as href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/node/90531">doubling
revenue since the
free-to-play/subscription hybrid switch. Congrats to Turbine for yet
another fine free-to-play port.

href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/node/92765"> style="border: 0px solid ; width: 580px; height: 326px;"
alt="world of warcraft cataclysm line"

waiting in line to make Blizzard even richer

of Warcraft: Cataclysm

– 3.3 Million Units Sold in 24 Hours

That Blizzard sells a bajillion copies of a style="font-style: italic;">WoW
expansion borders on non-news. It’s just a fact of life, like
the gravitational constant, triple-A launch delays, or Richard Garriott
wearing a wacky costume. But we couldn’t resist the
opportunity to point out that in an era where it’s
fashionable to call MMORPGs obsolete and PC gaming dead, a PC-only
MMORPG became the href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/node/92971">fastest
selling video game of all time.
Take that, Halo
and Madden!

Thanks for joining us for a look back at the biggest news stories of
2010. Ten Ton Hammer wishes you a happy and healthy 2011, and we hope
you’ll come to us for the latest in MMOG news in the new year!

To read the latest guides, news, and features you can visit our Tabula Rasa Game Page.

Last Updated: Mar 29, 2016

About The Author

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Stacy "Martuk" Jones was a long-time news editor and community manager for many of our previous game sites, such as Age of Conan. Stacy has since moved on to become a masked super hero, battling demons in another dimension.