FreeMMOStation Top Game Awards 2017~2018: Welcome to the ‘Freemies’

Top Game Awards 2017~2018

Welcome to our 2017~2018 gala of the ‘Freemies’ Game Awards, where we celebrate the unsung heroes of free MMO games.

That and all the weird stuff that goes on right in front of your eyes. The ‘Freemies’ Awards aren’t to be taken seriously, apart from the moments where we are being dead serious about our stuff. No big upcoming games here, no greatest action MMO coming in 2018 to be seen, not a hint of the most promising game (or grind) coming from the prolific South Korea. There's not even a single mention of the “amazing” mobile games that are coming soon. Shocking, right?

Anyway, just enjoy it and hopefully you’ll have a bit of fun with it. Step into the FreeMMOStation Top Game Awards 2017~2018.

The ‘Just kill it already’ Award: Phantasy Star Online 2

Phantasy Star Online 2 canceled

Quickly, tell us one game that is in development for a handful of years, and yet there’s no news whatsoever about it? What is the game that isn’t canceled nor coming soon, it’s just hanging there in development hell, waiting for… who knows what? You already know the answer, of course, it’s Phantasy Star Online 2. To add insult to injury, the game was said to be pretty much finished, as the only thing it lacked was a proper English localization, and we’re not sure even that isn’t already tackled. But noooo, Sega just won’t say a thing about it to us, poor western souls, waiting for a ray of light to illuminate our… oh, screw this. Screw Phantasy Star Online 2.

Bigpoint is also shooting for this award with its Game of Thrones: Seven Kingdoms MMO, probably to be released after the hit series is over. Or never, since the last we heard from it was a feeble form of “reassurance” (you know how these usually go) in 2016.

Kingdom Under Fire 2 is also “coming soon” for several years, but maybe 2018 is the year, as the game has seen some massive improvements since we played the SEA version way back in 2014. We should also note that Bless Online is finally making it to western regions through Steam, after many delays, a deal gone sour with Aeria Games, a Rebuild Project in Korea, and the “indefinite hiatus” of the Russian version. Is Bless Online a proper, good MMORPG or just a huge mess?

Runners-up: Kingdom Under Fire 2, Bless Online, Game of Thrones: Seven Kingdoms

The ‘Blink and you’ll miss it’ Award: The Amazing Eternals

the amazing eternals

Some games are here to stay. Others come and go in the blink of an eye. Sometimes it’s not related to quality itself, but to market trends and oversaturation. For instance, are you eagerly waiting for the next generic MOBA or the next one in an endless stream of TCGs? All of the following were canceled shortly after being released, or even during the development stage.

Even the makers of Warframe had to call it quits on their hero shooter The Amazing Eternals, after a beta period that apparently didn’t draw the attention of enough players. Or NCsoft’s Master X Master, one of the few MOBAs that tried to do something else with a stale genre, but battling the colossal four (League of Legends, Dota 2, SMITE and Heroes of the Storm) is a herculean task.

Amazon Game Studios’ first title, the MOBA… ahem, arena sports brawler Breakaway is pretty much dead in the water after a lengthy alpha phase, although the studio is talking about “iteration” and “evolving”, if you want to believe those words. Cloud Pirates served as further proof that there is only so much slow-paced tactical warfare that one can take, and SMITE Rivals looked a bit too much like Clash Royale for its own good, so it’s probably for the best that it was (temporarily?) shelved.

Runners-up: Master X Master, SMITE Rivals, Cloud Pirates, Breakaway

The ‘Great, we really needed another collectible card game’ Award: League of Legends Card Game

Digital card games are the new MOBAs – they’re everywhere! You name it: Elder Scrolls, Witcher, World of Warcraft, SMITE, Magic the Gathering and so on. We’re so lucky that even Valve decided to join the party with Artifact, its Dota Card Game that is crushing all the YouTube video dislike records. So, who’s next in line? Let’s speculate.

First of all, a very serious pitch: the League of Legends Card Game, which was actually in development as League of Legends: Supremacy. Is it dead? Probably not. It's also not a real thing either. But what is stopping everyone else and their moms to create their own TCGs based on popular franchises? Come on, over-saturate us, baby!

Runners-up: Fallout Card Game, Grand Theft Auto Card Game, Super Mario Card Game, PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds Card Game, Assassin’s Creed Card Game, Call of Duty Card Game, FIFA Card Game, Metal Gear Solid Card Game, Solitaire Card Game

The ‘I’ll play that with one hand, thank you’ Award: Dead or Alive Xtreme: Venus Vacation

Dead or Alive Xtreme Venus Vacation gameplay

Would you like some eye-candy with your game? If you said yes, then Dead or Alive Xtreme: Venus Vacation is the answer to your prayers. A new free-to-play PC exclusive based on the popular spin-off of the famous Dead or Alive series (phew!), DOAX: VV was created with one single goal: to make you buy sexy bikinis for your virtual girls. There’s no denying that it ticks all the right boxes, with beautiful, life-like graphic representations of the ten girls and a ton of costumes and trinkets to gacha your way to heaven. There’s also a very basic management sim underneath for you to grind through, and it can be very addictive, we’ll give it that. Sadly, it’s Japanese only for now and will probably stay that way, but it’s easy to download and play anyway if you really want to.

Then there’s League of Maidens, the upcoming third-person arena brawler that is almost like a superhero game with hints of Dragon Ball Z, with the peculiar touch of featuring exclusively scantily-clad women. Even furry women are included – furry as in Thundercats, not the other thing you pervs were thinking. League of Maidens isn’t going to replace PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds anytime soon, but it’s shaping up to be more than fan-service. We’ll see in 2018.

Runners-up: League of Maidens

The ‘Can’t you just make a proper sequel?’ Award: Vindictus

Vindictus character Miri

There’s a crowd out there waiting for the proper online game to come and swipe them off their feet. See PUBG, for example: a formulaic shooter where players shoot each other in ways that have been made countless times before, and yet it’s earned enough money for developer Bluehole to buy an entire continent. So why can’t a developer pick up on the strengths of a good game from past times and create a full-fledged sequel?

Vindictus, for example, is a game that was several steps ahead of the competition when it launched in 2010, and is still played today. So, instead of creating crappy mobile titles or eSports-focused sequels like the canned Mabinogi 2: Arena, why not taking a chance at a triple-A game?

Maybe that is precisely what Nexon is doing with Dungeon Fighter Online, judging by the announcement of a PC MMORPG sequel by Thingsoft, Peria Chronicle’s developer. Or maybe they canceled it and decided to make another lame mobile cash-grab fighter, who knows? Dragon Nest and its upcoming sequel, World of Dragon Nest, also deserved better luck, as a cross-platform MMORPG isn’t exactly going to cut it.

And what about Battlefield Heroes? The veterans among you surely know that this game was one of the first proper free-to-play titles and used to have a huge player base. Of course, EA has been looking to the stars for a while now (Mass Effect and Star Wars, with all the loot box scandal), so this isn’t likely to happen at all. But if it did, it would probably look a lot like Epic Games’ Fortnite, and we love the thought of it. Oh well.

Runners-up: Battlefield Heroes, Dungeon Fighter, Dragon Nest

The ‘Now that’s f****-up!’ Award: Marvel Heroes Omega

Marvel Heroes shutting down

There’s nothing that screams clever more than using your CEO position in a development studio to harass women. That is what – allegedly – happened at Gazillion Entertainment, makers of Marvel Heroes… I mean, Marvel Heroes 2015… no, it’s Marvel Heroes 2016… oh wait, it’s Marvel Heroes Omega, it seems. Marvel owner Disney stepped in and without any explanation, decided to terminate the partnership, and the game was no more. We’re sorry for the hard-working men and women who had to suffer through this, and it felt worse due to the layoffs happening right before Thanksgiving.

SkySaga: Infinite Isles also suffered a weird fate. Funded by Korean giant Smilegate (of CrossFire and Lost Ark fame), this voxel-based sandbox MMO saw its development suddenly halted in August 2017, at the demand of the publisher, with the game being put on hold. After several alphas and a more feature-complete game than your usual Early Access bullcrap, SkySaga was a wasted opportunity.

Runner-up: SkySaga: Infinite Isles

The ‘It’s still in beta. No, really, it is!’ Award: Warframe

Plains of Eidolon update is coming

Most online games go through some kind of beta phase. Some of them are short, others take a few months, but usually it’s not something to last over a year, unless it’s a massive MMORPG. Or Star Citizen, but that is another matter entirely. And then there’s Warframe, the awesome and extremely popular third-person shooter from Digital Extremes.

This game entered open beta in March 2013, over four years ago, and it still hasn’t officially launched. Recently, it received the groundbreaking Plains of Eidolon update, which added open world areas to what was previously a fairly linear shooter. Warframe regularly sits on Steam’s top 10 games by current players, and yet it’s still not launched. Our guess is that someone at Digital Extremes forgot to launch the game a couple of years ago and is now making a running joke out of it.

The ‘Keep beating a dead horse’ Award: LawBreakers

LawBreakers free-to-play

During the last 30 days, sci-fi MMORPG Otherland had an average of 0.6 players. 0.6! It’s not even one complete person; it’s more like someone with no legs. However, this once promising game that was brought back from the dead is running for over two years and on top of a mostly negative ranking. We commend Drago Entertainment for its perseverance, but the game is still in a bad shape after all this time and it’s unlikely to get any better. Just let it go, guys.

Also, LawBreakers. With ratings going into dark (read negative) places recently and a player base that is getting scarily low, Cliff Bleszinski and his team should definitely rethink their decisions. As one Steam reviewer named SaltyBun says, “There are less players playing the game than the amount of dollars it cost to buy the game.” This is obviously a very disheartening look for what is a fairly decent shooter that once was going to be free-to-play, but a business model switch drove it into this sad state of affairs. No amount of free weekends is going to save this shooter, and unless it definitely switches to free-to-play early 2018, LawBreakers can be classified as a dead game.

Runner-up: Otherland

The ‘That is going to flop’ Award: Bless Online

bless online Steam

Maybe this is a bit of a stretch, but Bless Online isn’t exactly deserving of the hype that it is getting, and we’re also to blame for that. After all, a game that is failing after seven years in development, various revamps including the massive Rebuild Project, and a hiatus in Russia to improve the game doesn’t exactly shout “great game!”

Being on Steam could translate into a decent player base, but nowadays players are unforgiving with their MMORPGs, so we’ll see how it goes. Maybe the lack of a proper new free MMORPG could ease things a bit, but that’s not a guarantee that Bless Online’s oft-delayed western release will be a walk in the park.

The ‘What took you so long?’ Award: Firefall


Firefall shut down in July 2017. If you, just like us, didn’t know – or cared – if it was still running, it’s understandable. This game went through so much pain and suffering that it’s a miracle how it lasted for so long.

But wait! A mobile Firefall is in development! Yes!

(said no one ever)


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