Massively OP’s Best of 2017 Awards: Best Indie or Crowdfunded MMO of 2017

Massively Overpowered’s end-of-the-year 2017 awards continue today with our award for Best Indie or Crowdfunded MMO of 2017, a brand-new award for us this year. All indie MMOs and crowdfunded MMOs are eligible for this award; the game needn’t actually have launched yet, though a lot of us decided to self-impose that rule anyway. Don’t forget to cast your own vote in the just-for-fun reader poll at the very end!

The Massively OP staff pick for Best Indie or Crowdfunded MMO of 2017 is…

ELITE DANGEROUS

Andrew Ross (@dengarsw): Elite Dangerous. While there’s a lot of games I really want to like but can’t, this one felt more like a “me” than the game issue. Sucks for me, but the game’s got a hardcore following that really tries to help new people. I’ve been on that side of the fence before, and as someone who’s very critical of crowd funded games, it’s refreshing to see a title that people are actually happy with, especially in the MMO realm. Runner up: Project Gorgon, even though I’m embarrassed to admit I haven’t jumped in yet. So many Asheron’s Call fans mentioned wandering over there, but I suppose I’m still in mourning.

Brendan Drain (@nyphur): If we are considering Elite Dangerous to be one, then it gets my vote. They have consistently kept up development.

Brianna Royce (@nbrianna): Elite Dangerous. Of the ones that have launched, Elite’s the most solid. I have my eye on several indies, but I want to hold them for Most Anticipated.

Eliot Lefebvre (@Eliot_Lefebvre): Elite: Dangerous. The thing is that there are a lot of supposedly eligible games on this list that I don’t feel comfortable voting for because, well… they’re not actually out. They’re in early alpha beta access or whatever. So when you narrow the list down to games that have actually launched in some capacity, this is another shoo-in. I suppose Shroud of the Avatar would be eligible, but since they keep claiming it isn’t launched, it’s not. Runner-up: Crowfall.

Justin Olivetti (@Sypster): Ashes of Creation. I don’t get the Elite love here, but what I do get is the incredible Kickstarter campaign that Ashes ran this year and its development of a community before and after around this fantasy MMO. We still need to hear and see a lot more from this studio before I’m fully sold on this title, but it has the potential to be a real contender in the MMO space.

Larry Everett (@Shaddoe): Crowfall.

Tina Lauro Pollock (@purpletinabeans): I’ll go for Crowfall: This is a game I have had occasion to refer to in MMO mechanics, and from my perspective solid mechanics make for a solid play experience, so why not?

Elite Dangerous won our award for Best Indie or Crowdfunded MMO of 2017. What’s your pick?

Reader poll: What was the best indie or crowdfunded MMO of 2017?

  • Elite Dangerous (23%, 572 Votes)
  • Crowfall (2%, 60 Votes)
  • Project Gorgon (5%, 116 Votes)
  • Ashes of Creation (2%, 47 Votes)
  • Camelot Unchained (3%, 67 Votes)
  • Chronicles of Elyria (21%, 523 Votes)
  • Ship of Heroes (1%, 15 Votes)
  • City of Titans (1%, 15 Votes)
  • Valiance Online (0%, 11 Votes)
  • Star Citizen (4%, 98 Votes)
  • Dual Universe (31%, 760 Votes)
  • Pantheon (1%, 25 Votes)
  • Albion Online (1%, 20 Votes)
  • Shroud of the Avatar (2%, 43 Votes)
  • Ever Jane (0%, 2 Votes)
  • AdventureQuest 3D (0%, 6 Votes)
  • Ever, Jane (0%, 10 Votes)
  • Nothing (3%, 63 Votes)
  • Something else (tell us in the comments) (0%, 12 Votes)

Total Voters: 2,465

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Poll options include all games nominated plus other games we thought would be worthy.

MOP’S 2017 AWARDS (SO FAR)
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91 Comments on "Massively OP’s Best of 2017 Awards: Best Indie or Crowdfunded MMO of 2017"

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Baemir

These polls are always ruined by brigading…

Reader
Tithian

With the exception of Albion (which is flopping hard), isn’t Elite the only one that is a proper functioning game that actually delivered what it was advertising, and then some? It should win by default, simply for that.

Reader
Jonny Sage

I keep trying to play E:D but its just so boring. Barely even an MMO. I have yet to see evidence of another player.

Reader
Bryan Correll

And Dual Universe’s Reddit campaign to rock the vote succeeds.

Reader
Vic Chua

Dual Universe is the best “MMO” on the list and it is the most ambitious. Nothing from this list would compare to it, not even Star Citizen with it’s over-budget, disappointments with the delays and all they can deliver are graphics and realism and nothing about gameplay. Talk about the costs of that game(Star Citizen) and the Pay-to-Win! The community of Dual Universe are satisfied (and we are talking about the majority here) and the Developers are delivering on their promises. Talk about the Developers of Dual Universe, they are very creative, ambitious, and experienced.

The promises of Pantheon is also good, bringing back the Classic-Traditional-MMO-Gameplay, Immersion & Mechanics(like Everquest), but those are only words, I will only be blown away once I actually see results in development. Right now, I only have their words.

Dual Universe will be great and I like how the development is going! They are keeping to what they promised. It will be the first MMO-Sandbox-Metaverse that is all dynamically-player-driven, single-shard 1-server where everyone plays together, when the game comes out.

That is what we call gameplay! Not just graphics and realism like Star Citizen! It’s an MMO, not an FPS like Call of Duty! Not even your Elite Dangerous can stand up to Dual Universe! You got to be kidding to say ED is the best! There is so much more that can be done and that is what Dual Universe intend to deliver as a Space-themed-MMO. Elite Dangerous is nothing compare to what is planned for Dual Universe!

edangerous
Reader
edangerous

Great, just what we need. More fans of a space game pitting themselves against other fans of a space game….

Dual Universe is looking good and I am very excited for it myself, I think they are doing some really interesting stuff and going about it in a very intersting way, but there’s absolutely no need to piss on another space game to get that accross.
Elite has a lot of things they want to add, one only has to look at the Design Discussion Forums for the sort of ideas they have planned and hopefully it is stuff that becomes realised. To say it is nothing compared to what is planned for DU is just speaking out of ignorance.

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Mark Allen

Stash is my favorite.

Reader
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Tobasco da Gama

I thought for sure this was going to be the “Make Up A Category Just So Project Gorgon Can Win It” award, but Elite has been out long enough that I totally forgot it was crowdfunded. I picked it up in the recent sale… and, yeah, I totally get why it got so many votes in this category. Very polished and full of stuff for space nuts to do.

Reader
Dro Gul

Why are there 2 Ever Jane options? You are forcing the vote to be split and sabotaging them! :)

Reader
Sally Bowls

But I was pleased that 80% of the EJ votes were for the correctly punctuated choice. :-)

Before Truth, the Right Fork

Reader
Utakata

I’ll do for this what my government did in the last UN vote: /elf butts

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Geoff Bogaert

Dual Universe all the way. An MMO in the truest sense.

Just wait till you can see or try it for yourself. There really is nothing like it.

Reader
Crowe

I also don’t get the love for E:D. I mean, hell yeah, I loved the original! Played for weeks. But after about 40 hours of play, I gave my E:D account away to a friend. He was thankful at first but now is glad I saved him the money.

edangerous
Reader
edangerous

Played the original and really like the latest, have 900 hours in it so far.
Different strokes for different folks.

Reader
Bliitz Fox

Dual Universe shall change video games as we know them. ED is too boring for me.

Reader
holyavengerone

Chronicles of Elyria FTW!!! :D

But yeah, Elite is totally alright as well. Amazing job to Braben and team!

yumyum36
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yumyum36

Let’s go Chronicles of Elyria!

Reader
Frank Kelley

With all the cash Commanders spend on paint jobs, flight suits, ship kits, name plates, bobble heads and the like I think Elite:Dangerous should still be considered a crowd funded game! Almost every Commander I fly with has spent more on those cosmetic doodads supporting Frontier than they did on original game and it’s expansion.

Reader
Sally Bowls

Seeing CF & AoC makes me wonder what does “crowdfunded” mean? It apparently does not mean funded by the crowd.

CF just got $6M in equity. It is nice that CF got $1,766,204 of $800,000 from KS. Don’t the owners of this and the previous equity have more control over the future of the game than the financially less significant CF donors?
AoC’s founder said it was going to take about $30M to make the game. $3M is better than $2M or $1M, but the donors are not funding a significant % of those $30M development costs.

It is nice that the companies are getting some presale money and especially promotion/hype. But “crowdfunded” strikes me as inaccurate for games where the crowd does not provide much of the funding.

Reader
T-Wiggy

Is the voting over already? I’m disappointed that Elite Dangerous is a part of this list. Dual Universe is without a doubt the game with the biggest potential here. A game that is entirely player driven whether it’s with government, economy, or any of the other wide range of potential ways to play. It also utilizes the remarkable single shard technology meaning that their are no loading screens or zones. This one should have won and if ten more mins had been allowed for the voting it would have.

Reader
Matthew McCay

“The most dynamic and immersive MMO to date, Chronicles of Elyria is the first MMORPG where your character ages and dies, encouraging you to think beyond your character to their role in a larger story.

Fearless in its design, it embraces a character’s ability to impact other characters. A closed economy, finite resources, non-repeatable quests, and a fully destructible environment means the world is experienced differently for every character. Each time you log in there is something for you to participate in. Local, regional, and national conflicts are continuously unfolding, giving birth to repeated opportunities for you to change the course of history.

Enter the world as a member of a player or NPC-ran family, then work your way up from a humble adventurer to a landed vassal, develop your dynasty, and work your way to King. Not interested in running a kingdom? The fully skill-based system and lack of classes means you’re rewarded with the ability to create the exact character you want to.

Will you follow a path of virtue… or something darker?”

1000 times better than, a game that came out years ago

Reader
Dro Gul

How can it be the game of 2017 when it’s not even a game yet? If a game no player has played that’s in Pre-Alpha wins it’s simply obvious that the Developer linked it on his Discord and asked people to come flood the poll.

Once people get to play it and experience those promised mechanics then sure… but now it doesn’t even exist

Reader
Bliitz Fox

Well players *have* played it, just can’t always tell you about it ;)
At Least for Dual Universe

Reader
Matthew McCay

there has been demos and that at PAX for CoE and secret secret NDA Testing

Reader
yamamushi

Elite Dangerous released in December of 2014, why is it even on this list? It’s not fair at all to the actual indie and crowdfunded games of 2017.

Reader
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Alberto

Why give this to Elite This year? Last year YES! But this year? Mmmmm I would have gone with Ashes Of Creation as they had a great crowdfunding campaign, got a lot more then they wanted and showed of at Gamescom actual very cool game play on the show floor. ED also gets Best Space Sim this year, IMO.

bb8888888
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bb8888888

((Deleted by mod. Stop spamming this.))

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PhoenixDfire

Still unhappy you didn’t get offline mode? Lord God, arn’t your arms tired from banging that drum you’ve worn out?

Elite: Dangerous is a great game, there are still thousands of people playing it and enjoying it. Yes it has flaws but at least these flaws are being address unlike other games I could mention.

You hate the game; we get it! Now go play the new SC Alpha and leave us alone to enjoy what we’ve got.

Reader
Schmidt.Capela

Still unhappy you didn’t get offline mode? Lord God, arn’t your arms tired from banging that drum you’ve worn out?

The way Frontier announced the removal of offline mode, and then tried to cheat every early backer that had purchased the game for the offline mode by refusing to give refunds to anyone that had ever launched the Alpha or Beta client, made me furious enough I’ll likely be trying to drive prospective players away from the game (and each and every other game made or published by Frontier or DB) for the next seven years or so (i.e., until a full decade since Frontier basically scammed us).

They got to keep my £85 (yeah, I have the game and a lifetime pass for every single expansion to be released during the game’s lifetime). I dearly hope I cost them many times that in lost sales.

Reader
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PhoenixDfire

I feel genuinely sorry for you. Because you are missing out on the best space game in years. It’s a pity you have to use that bitterness to try and spoil other peoples enjoyment but what an you do. Even if they did make it offline, you’d only complain about the data mining and plot spoilers.

Were you one of the people who were boasting that they could get a refund of their pledge and then buy the game back later for a much lower price? Personally, I wish they had given every one who did that a refund and then ban them from the game permanently. They spoilt it for people with genuine reasons (i.e. no internet connection, or try to connect from country with repressive internet access)

There are still thousands of people playing it every day and enjoying it and I’ll make sure that if someone needs help to get the most out of the game, I’ll be there to give them a helping hand.

Reader
Daniel Mueller

elite dangerous was crowdfunded years ago, and is now a mainstream game. it shouldnt even be on the list. lists like these should be used to bring attention to lesser known games, from smaller indie devs. everyone knows wtf elite is.

Reader
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Alberto

Yeah I don’t get why ED was in the running for a crowdfunded game this year, when its been out for 2 years now? Wrong category for ED guys.

Reader
Humble DG

I would also note that ED is one of the best VR experiences available for the Oculus Rift. Playing ED in VR is ridiculously immersive. I’m flat out amazed by the experience. I typically show it to folks that come to my house and tell them, “you have to check this shit out.”

Cadaver
Reader
Loyal Patron
Cadaver

Elite Dangerous. I bought it 2.5 years ago but never got round to playing it. I intend to rectify that soon. It and Sea Of Thieves may well be the only online games I play in 2018.

Reader
TotalCowage .

I’d have voted for Elite Dangerous at launch, because it actually made it to release and generally was a good game… but it launched a long time ago, and support since then has revealed either the engine is too limited or the vision of the Dev team is.

Almost every feature since has been half baked, poorly implemented, a long tedious grind process, or all 3 at once. Planetary gameplay is still driving around looking for rocks, or driving around bases looking for cargo canisters. Multi crew is one other person flying one of your fighters, and ignoring the horrendous turret controls. Engineers, oh god the enormous grind for random rolls which might be worse than your current. And the plot, oh dear. ARGs following ARGs, community goal following community goals…

People coming new into the game love it; I’ve recommended the game to many people who are all glad to play it when they start. And Frontier talk a good game about fixing the issues they know exist. But they talk and talk and talk, and years later, it’s hard to say they have actually fixed what veterans pointed out years ago.

But it’s such a sad reflection of the state of crowd funding that Elite so far is the only game close to being an actual success, at least in the MMO sphere.

” I suppose Shroud of the Avatar would be eligible, but since they keep claiming it isn’t launched, it’s not. Runner-up: Crowfall.”

Indeed. The few remaining people within the Shroud Bubble are going to get a massive shock when they realise you can’t change reality just by changing the meaning of words; by the time they hold their March “launch” (which is really when they’re likely to start running out of money) they’ll have been technically Free to Play for nearly a year by then, and fully F2P for 4 months. And the servers have been persistent since July 2016. People know what they think of the game, and it is widely disliked.

drivendawn
Reader
drivendawn

Project Gorgon with Pantheon coming close up behind it. Both games have done a lot in the past year in there own ways.

Reader
cista2bpo

Why is Everjane not on the list? Seriously that is an undeserved burn.

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Dro Gul

How can you vote for “Best Indie or Crowdfunded Game 2017” but list games that are in pre-alpha state? They aren’t even a game yet? Just an idea and a bank account.

Reader
Bliitz Fox

Because they may already be better than most released games.

Reader
Patreon Donor
Veldan

“best” is an opinion, and one can also have an opinion about games in development

Reader
wratts

As much as I’m grateful that Braben legitimately developed and released ED, there’s just not enough fun there for me to feel like it justifies a “best of” award. Similar to how the last year of MTW there was no GOTY, despite ESO having launched that year, because the editors just didn’t feel like there was enough quality on the market, I have to say this award should go to “Nothing” this year

CapnLan
Reader
CapnLan

Good choice. Despite the issues the game has (and it has many…), Elite is a solid game that has captured around 660 hours of my time so far. Those issues are slowly getting fixed up so it continues to shape up very nicely. The base game is currently on sale for $7.50 in the Steam sale. If you want to check it out on the cheap, now is the time to snag it. It’s a damn good game for that price.

cambruin
Reader
cambruin

Shroud of the Avatar! ?Not becuase it deserves the vote, but because I feel pity for it’s continued mishandling by it’s owner/publisher/developer. Just let it die with what little dignity remains.

shibby523
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shibby523

While a good reason, still not enough for me to vote for the cesspit.

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Psi

ED actually annoys the bejezuz out of me because they release features, and then leave them broken and underperforming.

Multicrew has far too many issues to be a legitimate method to play the game for any length of time. And it’s been, what, a year almost? It’s still a shell of what they promised it would be.

Reader
Kickstarter Donor
Pandalulz

The only game on here I’ve tried is AQ3D which is certainly playable, although not enough content to count as actually being released (not that they’re claiming to be) so I voted for nothing instead.

Reader
Fady Galaband

Chronicles of Elyria looks to be the most promising upcoming game to me!

Reader
rafael12104

Project Gorgon and Camelot Unchained. It was a great year for both of these games. The best in my book.

How can I say that? Both games experienced delays, problems and haven’t launched, right?

It is easy peasy. These two indies will benefit from the overall industry bullshit that we witnessed this year. They are the antithesis to EA and Activision.

When I lose faith, I am reminded of these two games. What Project Gorgon has accomplished with a limited staff, very limited to say the least, is amazing. And what Jacobs brings to the table and is trying to do, and do the right way, with CU is inspiring.

After getting burned with Repop, the only time I have ever given money to a kickstarter, I’m a bit gun shy so I haven’t bought in to either yet. But after the lootboxes and lies from AAAs this year, I will vote big with my money for both Project Gorgon and Camelot Unchained in 2018.

Reader
MesaSage

Gave my vote to Ever, Jane. Because Ever Jane is just a pathetic shadow of the original.

Skoryy
Reader
Skoryy

I went with ‘Nothing’ since I kinda fell off following the indie scene, buuuuuut… From what I hear of E:D, it might scratch my old Galtrader On The School VAX itch? How much time in MS Flight Simulator do I need to play, and would I need a joystick, throttle, Goose’s dogtags, etc?

Reader
A Dad Supreme

The best thing about ED is that they’ve kept their heads down producing content, addressed complaints properly and did more than just lip service about how “great” their game is going to be ‘someday’.

This alone is why they deserved the choice and why all indie companies should pay attention.

Reader
Bryan Correll

I voted nothing, but I should have just skipped this one since I haven’t actually played any of the (few) released games. There are several I’m definitely looking forward to though.

Nathaniel Downes
Reader
Nathaniel Downes

While my loyalty is to CoT, understandably, I must give credit where it is due. Elite Dangerous has set a new standard for crowdfunded games, and I hope we all can stand up to it.

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CMDR Crow

Stay frosty, Cmdrs!

HighResScreenShot_2017-12-20_03-33-02.jpg
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Alberto

That is a beautiful shot!

Reader
Jed Slater

Elite Dangerous is a clear winner, even with all its flaws they are slowly correcting it, and adding content. 2018 will be very interesting, congrats Frontier.

The rescue missions right now are one of the best we have seen for a long time in ED.

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Paul

Kind of by default as ED is the only released game on the list – having said that its a solid game that I enjoy playing from time to time.

(Its a debatable point whether Shroud of the Avatar is launched or not – imo it’s already launched and failed whatever the devs say)

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Bryan Correll

(Its a debatable point whether Shroud of the Avatar is launched or not – imo it’s already launched and failed whatever the devs say)

It’s a Schrödinger’s Release, waiting for the wave function to collapse.

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Loyal Patron
Armsbend

Albion is released.

Reader
Chosenxeno .

Voted for Ship of Heroes. They’ve been very transparent and they’ve released a lot of Progress videos.

Also, Project Gorgon needs more press. It’s a very clever game.

gelfred
Reader
gelfred

Im still happily awaiting Camelot Unchained, and a few others look like they have potential, but I wouldnt consider any the ‘Best’ because they are not out.

But since elite is out and did what they set out to do well, its probably an apt choice.

Project Gorgon seems to be doing well also though!

Reader
dsmart

Every vote counts. So I just stopped by to do my duty as a gamer. Bye Felicia!

Aldristavan
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Aldristavan

Can you just not for once?

Reader
A Dad Supreme

Can you just not for once?

Not sure what he did that was so upsetting. He didn’t mention a certain game or developer at all.

What’s with the attack?

Aldristavan
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Aldristavan

Well, “Bye Felicia!” struck me as snarky at best. Apparently I triggered Dsmart, though, with the “you should take a pill for that” mess. Yikes.

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Bryan Correll

Jeez Dad, stop trying to act like an adult.

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Zora

I voted Ever jane because so what, you got a problem with it you punk?!…no I mean it’s something unusual and I would dearly love to see more of it.

It’s so unique that it even got two spots in the poll!

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TheDonDude

Elite Dangerous is basically the Kickstarter success story.

I can’t give it to Ashes of Creations or any other game still in development. You don’t get points until you finish.

kieranbunny
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kieranbunny

Me gave it to Project Gorgon…is an amazing game as it is and it will only get better. Me next pick would be AdventureQuest 3D..it’s a little gem and me have fun playing it.Last but not least Shroud of the Avatar….gives me UO “feels”..hopefully it will fulfill its promise.
just me 2 carrots worth!
==(:*D

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Mark Jacobs

Congrats to Elite Dangerous and its fans! Really good choice. I’m not saying who I’m rooting for in that list (CU shouldn’t count) because the last two games/teams I said that about had a less-than-satisfactory result so I’m keeping my big, NYC mouth/vote shut this time. :)

wpDiscuz