Honorable Mention: Everquest
Everquest was an enormously revolutionary game because it was
the first MMORPG to bring forward elements from both successful
CRPGs and MUDs into a cohesive gaming experience. It was the first
MMORPG that felt more like a game and less like a "social experiment".
Everquest was a gigantic and rewarding world that successfully
combined challenging combat with a necessity for social interaction.
It's THE video game that defined MMORPGs as we see them today.
Everquest took the player out of the godlike perspective of
UO and Balder's Gate and, by adding first person perspective, created
a level of immersion that the no other RPG had yet achieved, either
single or multiplayer. Its marketplace success spawned dozens
of look-alike games and established the MMORPG as a genre in and
of itself. No single player or non-massive multi-player RPG has
come as close to defining the genre as EQ did. And no subsequent
game has taken the genre to the "next level" in quite the same
way. The "next level" seems as yet undefined.
Honorable Mention: Baldur's Gate II
I think playing an RPG game is like writing a
book with an epic story. Baldur Gate II had a great story, great
characters, great humour, great action, great mechanics (D&D
2ED), great graphics...
Baldur's Gate 2 allowed players to make decisions which will
affect the outcome of the ending, allow a variety of party combinations
which allow for multiple subplot quests, in effect - a near infinite
number of variations when you play the game.
-Jarrod Loidl, Monash University