At the end of the day, any MMO out there is only as good as its community. Flashy combat systems, compelling stories, and killer graphics will only take a game so far. If the game fails to provide a space for a solid community to form, it can all too easily devolve into a massively single-player game.
Determining which MMO is worthy of the Best Community award is typically a somewhat daunting task due to a variety of factors. For instance, even in a single game the community can have an altogether different impact depending on which server you end up playing on. But we weren't only interested in assessing what the community is like in-game; its broader impact across the web also plays a crucial role.
Taking the above into account, it became readily apparent that the community behind one game clearly stood out from the crowd. While our selection here may be viewed as somewhat controversial, we nonetheless feel that one particular MMO community this year is truly deserving of winning our Best Community of 2012 award.
This will no doubt be somewhat of a bittersweet victory for the City of Heroes community. However, when the game's closure was announced earlier this year, we couldn't help but stand up and take note of how quickly the players mobilized in an attempt to keep their favorite game alive. In many ways, the initial reaction itself was somewhat expected. After all, who wouldn't want to vocalize their desire to keep a favorite game going?
The City of Heroes community impressed us by turning what could have been a directionless outcry into a concerted effort to find some kind of positive resolution. And when it became apparent that their efforts were in vein, this group impressed us once again by refusing to simply walk away completely.
Instead, their energies have been refocused into not just one, but two new projects where they will have much more direct control over its ultimate fate. We wish the teams behind Plan Z: The Phoenix Project and Heroes and Villains the best of luck. We tip our hats to these folks and the rest of the City of Heroes community -- a group that is collectively worthy of our Best Community of 2012 award.