Massively OP’s Best of 2017 Awards: Most Underrated MMO of 2017

Welcome one and all to Massively Overpowered’s end-of-the-year 2017 awards series.

Every year, we poll our writers about the best and worst MMOs, stories, studios, and trends and assign awards to the winners (or losers, as the case may be). For the last three years, we’ve been splitting our awards into smaller categories, a format we mean to stick with in 2017 as well. We’ll also continue providing a sampling of our writers’ nominations and rationales from award to award, although this year we debated more to try to reach a consensus before locking in winners, a task at which I think we were pretty successful. And we’ll always include a just-for-fun reader’s poll at the end to see whether you agree with our picks!

Today’s award is for the Most Underrated MMO, which was awarded to Final Fantasy XIV last year. Once again, we’ve opted to include pre-2017 MMOs for many of these awards, including this one, as long as they accomplished something truly notable in this calendar year.

The Massively OP staff pick for the Most Underrated MMO of 2017 is…

TIE: BLACK DESERT & SECRET WORLD LEGENDS

Andrew Ross (@dengarsw): I nominated Elite Dangerous, even though I don’t think I lasted 10 hours in the game. I say this as someone who also keeps my eyes and ears open on EVE, another be-the-ship feeling MMO. The Thargoid saga has been fun to listen to from the outside, and the community’s been fairly creative about responding to the situation. Combined with the community events for a game that can be played on and offline, it’s something that sci-fi MMO fans that love vehicles and space should give a shot. My runner-up is Black Desert. It’s still not my ideal PvP game, but if my friends/family invited me to play it, I think I’d be fine with the way Kakao keeps trying to tackle PvP for the masses.

Brianna Royce (@nbrianna): I threw my lot to Black Desert. It took home MMO of the year from us last year, but this year I think its more subdued mainstream presence kept it out of the limelight of other titles, and yet MMO players have been watching it pump out new content left and right. It definitely fits the underrated category for me, and I expect big things out of it and Kakao next year too. That said, I could easily see it going to Secret World Legends too. I have my grumps over what Funcom did to it, but taken just on its own merits without the drama and business issues, SWL is good enough to have convinced loyal players to restart and keep playing. That alone says a lot about the quality, even if the game stays a permanent underdog.

Eliot Lefebvre (@Eliot_Lefebvre): I have no idea how fun Elite Dangerous actually is to play in the Thargoid playground, but I’ll be damned if it hasn’t produced some hellishly entertaining stuff from the other side. And it’s a remarkably robust title in other ways, as well; it has lots of stuff going on, extensive options for players, and a continual rolling series of updates that just keep expanding and improving the gameplay. It’s basically what Star Citizen keeps promising to eventually be, only live and slowly updating along the way. It deserves more love than it gets.

Justin Olivetti (@Sypster): Secret World Legends. I could probably nominate this every year, but it honestly deserves it. Even with the success of the reboot, this game still doesn’t get enough credit for the ingenuity of its mission design, the terrific voice acting, the deep world building, and killer bunnies.

Larry Everett (@Shaddoe): Atlas Reactor got a bit a press this year because of its launch and additions, but it’s really not received a lot of traction. I really wish more people would play the game, and understand how interesting and unique the game really is. It’s a turn-based battle arena and no one else is doing it. If you don’t know what Atlas Reactor is, perhaps you should find out.

MJ Guthrie (@MJ_Guthrie): Although I know some people weren’t ecstatic about the need to reroll and start over, the fact that Secret World Legends found a way to continue on with its life and storytelling instead of being closed down is awesome in my book. Also, while playing through I’ve come to appreciate that you needed to start over due to the changes. And these changes are things that have made the game even more accessible for more people. So you’ve got the awesome story and ambiance now available to more people, with the new story coming really soon. Still, the game is a hidden gem, but I think we will see that shifting more thanks to better accessibility.

Tina Lauro Pollock (@purpletinabeans): Black Desert has a fantastically rich set of mechanics folded into a compelling world, and I have been known to gravitate to it when thinking out potential MMO Mechanics articles, but I’m totally guilty of underrating the game myself and not giving it the discussion space it deserves. Must try harder in 2018! It’s one of the most-feature complete MMOs in terms of covering the gameplay cornerstones of the genre, despite having a heavy PvP reliance, and I don’t feel that it gets enough credit for this. It’s not my type of MMO, but it is super consistent and largely succeeds at keeping its fans happy, without the fanfare given to other titles that give less.

Black Desert and Secret World Legends tied for our award for Most Underrated MMO of 2017. What’s your pick?

Reader poll: What was the most underrated MMORPG of 2017?

  • Black Desert (11%, 147 Votes)
  • Secret World Legends (14%, 186 Votes)
  • Elite Dangerous (5%, 65 Votes)
  • Final Fantasy XIV (3%, 46 Votes)
  • SWTOR (2%, 23 Votes)
  • Elder Scrolls Online (6%, 81 Votes)
  • World of Warcraft (3%, 38 Votes)
  • Guild Wars 2 (8%, 108 Votes)
  • Albion Online (1%, 13 Votes)
  • EVE Online (2%, 30 Votes)
  • Revelation Online (0%, 3 Votes)
  • ArcheAge (1%, 8 Votes)
  • Path of Exile (2%, 28 Votes)
  • Atlas Reactor (1%, 8 Votes)
  • Skyforge (0%, 4 Votes)
  • Blade and Soul (2%, 21 Votes)
  • TERA (1%, 10 Votes)
  • RIFT (1%, 9 Votes)
  • Lord of the Rings Online (5%, 66 Votes)
  • Star Trek Online (2%, 24 Votes)
  • Riders of Icarus (0%, 1 Votes)
  • Neverwinter (1%, 20 Votes)
  • WildStar (5%, 68 Votes)
  • DC Universe Online (1%, 8 Votes)
  • RuneScape (1%, 8 Votes)
  • Dungeons and Dragons Online (10%, 137 Votes)
  • Warframe (6%, 82 Votes)
  • Aion (1%, 7 Votes)
  • EverQuest II (1%, 13 Votes)
  • Trove (1%, 12 Votes)
  • Nothing (5%, 73 Votes)
  • Something else (tell us in the comments) (2%, 30 Votes)

Total Voters: 1,377

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Poll options include all games nominated plus other games we thought had a chance!

MOP’S 2017 AWARDS (SO FAR)
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114 Comments on "Massively OP’s Best of 2017 Awards: Most Underrated MMO of 2017"

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Dobablo

Does Lineage 2 Revolution qualify?

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athiev

So Secret World: Legends is underrated, but a game with the same exact stuff in it wasn’t the most underrated a year ago? A strange award to me, especially given that SW:L has very convincingly burned off its player base and from publicly available statistics now has a smaller audience than pre-reboot TSW ever did.

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Nemui Byakko

Wakfu. Really unique, one-of-a-kind MMO in many ways. They do develop it, and it is really worth more attention.

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Jonny Sage

Elite is not an MMO. Heck, you can play it solo, and I dont think Ive ever actually seen evidence of another player when I play it online.

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Thomas

Hmmm… I picked Neverwinter. Though there’s a lot I’d like to “fix” with Neverwinter right now (Sheesh, no Forge quests available? Really?).

Neverwinter is pleasantly diverting, the F2P setup is reasonable, and the game seems well balanced for solo/casual play, which suits me fine. Compared to the punishing curb stompings I was regularly receiving recently in GW2’s missions, Neverwinter’s eminently soloable missions are a pleasant diversion.

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PhoenixDfire

Surprise, Surprise, it’s still Elite:Dangerous for me. It keeps me coming back again and again. It can go content dry from time to time but the community makes up for it. Not since MXO have I found such a dedicated bunch of Space Nutters and still at least another year of Free content (if you’ve bought Horizons).

drivendawn
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drivendawn

Project Gorgon for me. It is in alpha but anyone can play it and it already has a full game worth of content.

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Jason Clearwater

Dungeons and Dragons Online…by a mile.

xpsync
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xpsync

Secret World Legends

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costanius

Worlds Adrift!
Why is Worlds Adrift not on this list? Its a special, unique and creative MMO and one of the first MMOs using the new SpatialOS technology!