RPGamer Awards 2003 2003 Results  

   Fun Value
   Battle System


Best RPG

Massively Multiplayer Online RPGs have become big sellers in the past year; transforming what was once a niche genre into a veritable tidal wave of sales and subscription fees. Last year marked the first RPGamer Massively Multiplayer Online RPG award, which goes to any PC or console RPG released in the past year that met with a smooth launch and has developed a strong subscriber base since its release. While the number of games that fall into in this category has increased since last year, this did in no way mean that the battle between these games would be any less subdued than in any other category.

Final Fantasy XI

With little surprise, you, the readers, selected Final Fantasy XI as your MMORPG of the year for 2003. When Squaresoft, not yet Square Enix, first announced their plans to make the eleventh installment in their flagship series a strictly online game, fans weren't sure how to react. Now, a few years later, after its North American release, it seems fans and newcomers alike have made up their minds. Final Fantasy XI puts the player in the virtual world of Vana'diel, as a character from one of 5 races, where they complete missions and quests for one of three countries, and in doing so reveal more of the story, an element which is usually quite rare in a game like this. Subsequently, they develop their character's repertoire of classic Final Fantasy jobs such as Black Mage, Red Mage, or even Dragoon. Even though only released in October, Final Fantasy XI's PlayOnline service has reached over 500,000 subscribers worldwide, giving EverQuest and its many expansions a run for their money. Set to extend its reach to PS2 in a few months and an as-of-yet unannounced expansion apparently in the works, one cannot imagine what the future has in store for Final Fantasy XI.

Star Wars Galaxies

In second place, Readers selected LucasArts' Star Wars Galaxies: An Empire Divided. Galaxies is the first Star Wars themed MMORPG to ever be released. Spanning across several planets such as Tatooine, Naboo and other such movie locations, players are free to raise a number of skills in combat or non-combat professions while participating in Mission and faction-based gameplay, and also, an entirely player-run economy. Galaxies is perhaps most famous among RPGamers due to the ever popular, extremely rare Jedi class featured in game, which must be "unlocked" to be used. This rarity is due to the time period in which the game takes place: in between The Empire Strikes Back and Return of The Jedi. The game has proved to be a fan favorite since its launch last June, attracting former EverQuest veterans and fans of the Star Wars franchise alike.

Everquest: Dungeons of Norrath

As second runner up, readers selected EverQuest: Lost Dungeons of Norrath, a recent addendum to the game's phenomenal number of expansion packs since its release back in 1999-nearly five years ago. Lost Dungeons of Norrath, released in October, adds substantially to the number of dungeon areas in-game, not to mention new "raids" for 36+ players, a new augmentation system for equipment customization, and the ability to pick, bash or disarm containers. This expansion does what the others did for the EverQuest franchise: maintains their strong player base while adding new content to make veteran players happy, and to also attract new players once skeptical of EverQuest. The franchise shows no signs of slowing anytime soon, with hundreds of thousands of players logging on every day and subscriptions unwavering, even after so many years.

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