Beckett Media LLC has announced the results of its 2009 Reader’s Choice Awards, which were voted on by readers of Massive Online Gamer and visitors to the magazine’s web site, www.massiveonlinegamer.com. Tens of thousands of votes were logged, and the winners in some categories came down to fewer than 100 votes, including the competition for the coveted title of “Best MMO of 2009,” which was decided by just 68 votes. Blizzard’s World of Warcraft eked out a narrow win over Turbine’s Dungeons & Dragons Online and was narrowly followed by KingsIsle Entertainment’s Wizard101 and NCSoft’s Aion.
Here is a complete list of the winners (first runners-up in parentheses):
Best MMO of 2009: World of Warcraft (Dungeons & Dragons Online)
This was probably the closest race overall in this year’s awards, with five games expertly splitting the votes between them. World of Warcraft won by a mere 68 votes, and, as you can see by the chart, Dungeons & Dragons Online, Wizard101, Aion, and City of Heroes/Villains each took a solid chunk of the votes. In the end, it was the WoW juggernaut that captured the crown, but the voting shows that there are still a number of viable games out there for all types of players.
The winner is no great surprise, as Aion has been receiving accolades ever since its September release. Its emphasis on (literal) high-flying PvP has won over legions of fans, and everyone loves having wings!
Post-apocalyptic MMO Fallen Earth is perhaps a bit of a surprise in the second-place slot, proving that even a new, unproven game studio can produce a quality product adored by thousands of gamers. Cryptic Studios’ Champions Online took third place.
In a strange turnaround from the previous category’s voting, Dungeons & Dragons Online wrested this title from the seemingly invulnerable WoW. The voting fragmentation and close tally we saw in the Best MMO of 2009 category didn’t factor in to a category with fewer entrants, such as this one, allowing DDO to pull off the upset. The F2P model the game adopted late last year resulted in a huge influx of new players.
Best Sci-fi/Superhero MMO of 2009: City of Heroes/Villains (Star Wars: Galaxies)
Newcomer Champions Online couldn’t wrest the superhero crown from the old standby, City of
Best MMO Expansion/Addition of 2009: Dungeons & Dragons Online: Eberron Unlimited (Lord of the Rings Online: Siege of Mirkwood)
It was a “Turbine sweep” in this category, as again the fans of Dungeons & Dragons Online pushed their game to the top with the release that made it F2P. Siege of Mirkwood also fared quite well, considering it was only released in December. Meanwhile, World of Warcraft: Cataclysm has to be the odds-on favorite for the 2010 award.
What more can we say about Wizard101? The charming wizard-school MMO appeals to both kids and adults and ran away with this award. Pirates of the Caribbean Online received a number of votes in other categories, but only broke into the top two here. Free Realms rounded out the top three.
Fans of Massive Online Gamer should be intimately familiar with Runes of Magic, after seeing a strategy guide and poster in the last two issues of MOG. As ever, Dungeons & Dragons Online claimed a sizable chunk of votes. MapleStory checked in at #3.
Most Anticipated MMO: Star Wars: The Old Republic (Star Trek Online)
When this poll was published, The Old Republic was still believed to be coming out in 2010, but a push back to 2011 hasn’t hurt its popularity. It won this award in 2008, so the chances of a three-peat are very good. Star Trek Online is already living up to the hype following its February release.
Congratulations to all the winners! And make sure to vote in next year's awards!