MMOHuts/OnRPG Best of PAX Prime 2012 Awards PT 2
By Darren Henderson (DizzyPW), OnRPG Editor-in-Chief
Co-written by James Hunt (JamesBl0nde), MMOHuts Content Manager
Another day has arrived here in beautiful Santa Monica and we’re ready to continue pumping up more video coverage of PAX as well as our conclusion to our awards show. So without further introduction let’s get into it!
In our eyes Nick and his team’s last 6 years haven’t been spent in vain. With massive galactic worlds, clever combinations of community and resource management, and a setting where PvE and PvP are one and the same, you really can’t hang with Novus Aeterno in the space RTS setting right now.
Runner Ups: End of Nations, AirMech
End of Nations also brings an equal amount of heat on this award with their system of a constantly evolving world complete with news ticker, 3 player factions, and one AI super faction maintaining balance. With vehicle customization and solid gameplay, we see nothing but good things in their near future launch. AirMech is the only title really openly available on the market right now but to even appear in this category as a browser title is sign enough that they’re doing something right. If you haven’t tried this game yet and like MOBAs but feel they are a bit on the slow side, you will be in for a treat.
Our most contested award no doubt goes to the shooter category. However we felt Planetside 2 brought the most complete package, offering large and tactically designed maps ideal for combining with their unique classes to make for the best competitive atmosphere on the market. We feel shooting titles are all about the adrenaline rush and nothing at PAX brought as much of it as Planetside 2.
Runner-Up: Firefall, Special Forces: Team X, Warface
Firefall, Special Forces, and Warface are all excellent shooters, each specializing in different aspects of the genre. This award could easily have gone to any of the four as the fun factor and attention to detail of each title is truly unheard of in the genre.
What other solid MMORPG on the market allows you to design your own quests from the objectives to the NPCs being used to the dungeons you are forced to infiltrate? That alone sounds like a concept for a stand-alone title but PWE and Cryptic Studios are pushing the limits by adding it as just a sideventure to one of the most impressive MMORPGs of 2012.
Runner-Up: PSO2, AirMech, Marvel Heroes, Starcraft II
Starcraft II was a definite close 2nd in this award for its new esports mode that allows players and fans vote on dynamic events to change the outcome of matches. This might seem like a small modders innovation but in practice it electrifies the crowds and makes the game exciting even if you’re like me and have no idea what’s going on between the units. PSO2’s customization features and attention to detail in designing a non-target based action RPG got it consideration in this category. AirMech’s combination of MOBA and RTS all within a browser environment earned it a spot on the roster as well.
From giant statues to an exclusive clean playing demo area featuring 30+ top-end PCs and both keyboard and gamepad options, you really can’t be Borderlands 2’s booth. From any corner of the convention hall you could see this bright orange alien looking booth, as well as the line of hundreds of fans waiting to get inside and see the new reveals in their public closed doors demo. For making everyone at PAX feel like a VIP, we salute you Borderlands.
Runner-Up: Alienware, Trion Worlds
Trion Worlds gets the nod for their RIFT, Defiance, End of Nations triple combo booth that made you feel like you were standing aboard the brig of a futuristic spacecraft. With sexy cosplayers representing each game, more than enough public PCs at the ready, and developers at the ready to answer any questions you might have, we have to hand it to Trion Worlds on a booth well done. Meanwhile Alienware went all out with a stadium styled esports viewing area complete with benches, demos of their various hardware, and even a crazy vehicle that you could sit in to go for a virtual ride. True to their name, their booth took us into an alien world where PC gaming is king.
This year at PAX we had two kinds of pictures taken: Those of LoL Cosplayers, and the rest. That should be plenty to give you an idea of just how popular League of Legends is right now and PAX brought this popularity to life with over half of the 6th floor booked out entirely for the Regionals an fans looking to watch them. When wearing a Riot Games shirt grants you instant celebrity status at after-parties, you know you’ve hit it big. Though when the first question a girl asks you while dancing is what your favorite champion is… well you know League of Legends has stolen the show.
Runner-Up: Firefall, Borderlands 2
While not as heavily represented on the cosplay front (we give props to the two gentlemen dressed as clap traps on day 3 as well as the professional Firefall cosplay team), Firefall kept a constant line of 10+ people behind each PC demo and they had plenty of PCs to go around. Not to mention their cosplay team must still be seeing spots after facing thousands of camera shots over the course of the show. Borderlands 2 as we mentioned had about an average wait time of 3 hours just to get into the booth. Not bad considering hardly anyone knew what was going on behind closed doors I say!
It’s not easy to sum up exactly what about Phantasy Star Online 2 does to beat out all competition for this award. It didn’t score first with us for top graphics and their booth was nestled away in the back corner of the show receiving only moderation attention from the attendees. Their gameplay is certainly innovative, though not surpassing Neverwinter. So why do we give it this award? Because it’s the one title I found myself constantly wanting to sneak away from my crew to go back and play again and again. Because it’s the first title I’ve touched since TERA that brought that sense of action RPG combat into the online realm in a system that may even be smoother than the prior. The customization is something you could spend days playing with before even getting into the game, just to see what fun combinations you can come up with. The monster designs draw you into a world that feels unlike any other online title on the market. The anime style is perfect for appealing to that target demographic (as seen by the huge success it’s currently having in Japan!). In the end Phantasy Star Online 2 just brings a little bit of everything, and a lot of something, and that something is fun factor. The blue hedgehog is back so get ready because Phantasy Star Online 2 is set to rock the global markets in the near future.
Runner-Up: Borderlands 2, Planetside 2, Neverwinter
Our runner-ups are truly top notch titles as they focus on the key elements of their past success and drive them home like a bulldozer crashing into a primary support pillar. Borderlands 2 expands on the success of the first by offering fans what they loved, and amping it up times 5. With more classes, more bosses, more guns, more RPG elements, and a more diverse world, this title is shaping up to possibly be the best FPSRPG of all time. Co-op is just icing on the cake.
Planetside 2 masters the feel of massive battlefield warfare on land, in vehicles, and through the air like no other title can. It snagged our top shooter award and certainly would be worthy of the gold if I wasn’t just a little more inclined towards RPG titles.
Neverwinter appeals to the fans of the old D&D world by allowing them to create the world they want to see. Roleplayers the world over will soon fall in love with this title as they can craft, write, and create the characters, story, and world of their choice and then share it with all their friends and anyone else daring enough to take on your imagination. And as we said before, all this is just one piece of an overall great title more than deserving to be among the elite we call Best in Show.