It’s the time for best of last year and best of next year lists to start appearing. Here’s one of each.

    Blizzard was one of five studios listed as the Developer of the Year by Gamasutra. Here’s the quote:

    A company not known for shipping products frequently shipped three in one year—long-awaited RTS sequel StarCraft II, world-beating MMO expansion pack World of Warcraft: Cataclysm, and most notably, in some ways, a completely new implementation of its Battle.net service which transforms it from simple matchmaking to a complex and comprehensive service that covers the networking and community functions for the company’s slate of games, present and future.

    While this didn’t go off without a hitch (see: Real ID controversy) the company has made a concerted effort to develop a solution which is in line with the popularity of its games and the future of the market—a ferociously difficult task, as project director Greg Canessa explained at GDC Online.

    And while there are controversies over the circumstances surrounding StarCraft II as a Korean eSport, those have little to do with the team’s successes as game developers.

    Its games, as always, seem to hit their targets creatively—conservative, perhaps, but polished and massively popular. The fact that the company shipped two titles this year to rapturous receptions while working on a third—the deep-in-development Diablo III shows that as a developer Blizzard is firing on all cylinders in 2010.

    Elsewhere, Diablo III is included in 1up.com’s best games of 2011 list. Here’s the quote, and thanks to Bandreus for the tip:

    While Blizzard didn’t technically invent the genre (that goes to classics like Rogue and Nethack), the Diablo series simply perfected the loot-heavy action-RPG genre. It’s hard to find a similar title that surpasses the ten-year-old Diablo 2—until Diablo 3 (which we’re guessing is next year based on development time and how, hey, they got StarCraft 2 out last year). The revised visual palette, the new classes, and even the crafting system (where you still focus on being a badass hero, while other fools do the actual smithing and crafting of items for you) all contribute to us getting ready to click-click-click all over again next year.

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