Ten Ton Hammer E3 2009 Awards

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E3 Awards are a time-honored tradition, and while we're proud to present our picks for the best of the best at this year's event (and it was by no means an easy set of choices to make), we've altered our categories a bit to coincide with the changes we've seen in the MMORPG market. So, without further ado, check out Ten Ton Hammer's E3 2009 awards!

Surprise of the Show: Heroes of Telara

We were expecting cookie-cutter fantasy and saw a game built around truly dynamic content and intelligent subclassing, both ideas worthy of a place in the next generation of MMORPGs. It looks cool and better yet makes sense for the game Trion is designing, and we're truly excited to see where this one goes. (coverage)

Best Use of a License: DC Universe Online

Licenses are tricky, but SOE Austin has made all the right moves, first by snatching up major league comic artist and writer talent like Jim Lee, Marv Wolfman, and Jeff Jones. That investment is already starting to pay off. Not only do the main storylines inundate you with big time DC characters, you'll fight with or against them in large-scale battles which eminate epic. TheHeadline achievements and looted equipment that automatically adapts to your costume colors - both concepts revealed at E3 - carry the DC comic book ideal to a new level too. (coverage)

Most Innovative: APB

Realtime Worlds is seeking to build a game which places such importance on individual fashion and character customization that you won't even see floaty names overhead as you walk around, and that's just the tip of the iceberg. You'll be able to combine a huge array of vector graphics to create your own tattoos, clothing graphics, and vehicle designs, work with an in-game FM mod synth-styled music machine to give your character your own theme music (read that one again), and have your gang's music or style of music blaring out of the speakers as you drive past other characters. We saw positional voicechat for the first time during the demo too.We could go on for paragraphs, but this game screams innovation and we truly hope Realtime Worlds can tie all these great ideas together into an awesome beta in the coming months.

Most Improved: The Agency

It might be odd to talk about a game still in-development as most improved, but for us seeing the demo mission legitimized the vision for an espionage-geared MMO that SOE has been telling us about for years. There's plenty of room for different playstyles - for guns-blazing gamers and stealthy types, and the black tie side of the classic spy motif is very nicely done in what we saw. Overall character progression and overall cohesion are still question marks, but E3 2009 made us believers that SOE truly has something special going with The Agency. (coverage)

Best Gameplay: Global Agenda

We saw a few "persistent world shooters" at E3 2009 this year, and Global Agenda, in our opinion, has the most to offer traditional MMO players. You build your character to suit your playstyle in the tank / DPS / support roles you're already used to, and the equipment and abilities you choose supports rather than dictates your style. The PvE sessions let you earn equipment while infusing a typically flat genre with some compelling storyline, and PvP is nothing short of a blast - think Team Fortress 2 or Battlefield Heroes with an overarching purpose and a z-axis. We'd dare anyone to play just one mission of this game, since we had a very rough time putting Global Agenda down when it was time to rush off to our next appointment. (coverage)

Best of Show - Star Wars: The Old Republic

Maybe it was the absolutely phenomenal trailer that BioWare led off with (which many at E3 were calling the best Star Wars cinema in 30 odd years), or the retro-styled booth where they were doing the demo of the highly convincing bounty hunter and smuggler classes or the revelation that a game can go full voiceover without obstructing gameplay. SWTOR is still a long way away and we have much, much, much more to see, but not only did Bioware bring the full package to this year's premier games event, the core of the game looks very compelling and so far, worthy of the hype. (coverage)

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