The 2009 ZAM Awards

We've concluded our inaugural end of the year awards, which featured the best-of-the-best in massively multiplayer online gaming. Read more to find out which title won our Game of the Year!

FIRST PLACE: World of Warcraft

All hail the king! For half a decade, Blizzard’s World of Warcraft has been reaching out to old and new MMO gamers alike, drawing them to an easily accessible world where humor is just as important as the fantasy surrounding the game world. Although WoW hasn’t always been the best game in the bunch, it’s always been the biggest and most popular, and 2009 was certainly a hallmark year for the giant MMO.

In many ways, the past year was the time of the Lich King. Even if you weren’t a fan of the Warcraft series before the MMO, you quickly learned about the storied past of Prince Arthas… and his malignant present course of action in Azeroth. With the Wrath of the Lich King expansion landing right at the tail end of 2008, the WoW universe was ready for some climactic encounters.

And players weren’t disappointed. Throughout all of the year’s massive patches (which included a visit to the hallowed halls of Ulduar, the Trials of the Crusader  and the beginning of the end for the Lich King himself), the game’s developers continued to give players massive amounts of new content, immersive new dungeons and exquisitely crafted raids.

Even with competition straining to retake some of the foothold that WoW had established—and some of the best MMO launches we’ve seen in year—the giant game managed to stave off the attempted territorial incursions of its foes and continue to make headway.

Unfortunately for its competitors, Blizzard isn’t holding back in 2010. With the launch of Cataclysm, the entire World of Warcraft is going to be reborn. It’s a massive undertaking, and if Blizzard follows its tradition of excellence, players shouldn’t be disappointed.


As the only new MMO up for Game of the Year honors, Aion performed what’s almost seen as a miracle in this current online gaming environment. They jumped into the market with World of Warcraft and came out alive, and if the Aion “Vision” trailer is any indication, the Korean developers still have plenty of progress to push into their relatively new, beautifully rendered MMO.

Despite the incredible push, Aion didn’t quite manage to crack into the majority of WoW’s users, but the successful pressure that it placed on the current MMO market is enough to jump the title into its second place spot.

For more information on the game, check out the “Best New MMO” category, where Aion brought home the winning marks.

THIRD PLACE: Dungeons and Dragons Online: Eberron Unlimited

Rounding out our top three spots, Dungeons and Dragons Online Unlimited represents a first in MMO gaming: the successful transition of a subscription-based game to a full-fledged, wholly free, microtransaction-based MMO. This course of action has paved the way for other MMO developers to do the exact same thing with their titles if they feel the subscription model isn’t right for them.

While we discuss this entire transition at length in our “Best Free-to-Play MMO” award, in which DDO took home first place, we’d also like to urge players to check out all they can about the game. If you don’t have enough money to actively play a subscription-based MMO, DDO is our #1 free-to-play choice.


Of all the contenders for the Game of the Year accolades, EVE Online was the most controversial among the ZAM staffers. It received some of the highest marks from some, while not getting any votes from others. In essence, EVE is a game that thrives on strife – whether that’s internal guild drama or external fleet conflicts – and the publicity the game derives from bank scams and corporate shenanigans only helps to fuel the fire of the players in the game. The launch of an expansion and gradual growth of its subscription base allowed us to easily make this our choice for honorable mention.

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The 2009 ZAM Awards
# Dec 11 2012 at 9:38 AM Rating: Decent
Awards for the past year 2010 are going to be a lot interesting.
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# Jan 11 2012 at 5:51 AM Rating: Decent
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Thumbs Up to the Great Online Gaming Idea
# Oct 31 2011 at 11:53 PM Rating: Decent
The fact that it is free-to-play is an excellent marketing idea. An ideal way to launch a game is to make it free and have a nominal subscription once it rises in popularity. I enjoy online gaming and will share this post on Facebook!

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# May 26 2010 at 1:25 AM Rating: Decent
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# Jan 05 2011 at 2:41 AM Rating: Decent
the awards for the past year 2010 are going to be a lot interesting.i have a few mmo games in mind that i think have done splendid
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D&D free
# Jan 11 2010 at 7:45 AM Rating: Decent
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D&D free?
# Jan 04 2010 at 11:16 AM Rating: Decent
D&D online won an award for being free to use.

When i goto there website it is talking about a monthly fee to play.

So my question is, is it free or not?
D&D free?
# Jan 04 2010 at 2:21 PM Rating: Excellent
295 posts
sunwolfy wrote:
D&D online won an award for being free to use.

When i goto there website it is talking about a monthly fee to play.

So my question is, is it free or not?

DDO Unlimited is free-to-play. However, players can choose to pay a subscription to become a VIP member and gain access to extra content.

But yes, just to make it clear, DDO Unlimited can be played for free. All you need to do is create a free account and then download the game.
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