Massively OP’s Best of 2017 Awards: MMORPG of the Year

Massively Overpowered’s end-of-the-year 2017 awards continue today with our award for MMORPG of the Year, which was awarded to Black Desert last year.

Recall that in 2014, we couldn’t reach consensus on an MMO of the year. In fact, enough of us voted “nothing” that “nothing” is exactly what won. The following year, we took readers’ advice and opened this category up to all live MMOs, regardless of launch year, provided they did something noteworthy this year. We’ve done the same this year. Don’t forget to cast your own vote in the just-for-fun reader poll at the very end, and congratulations to all of this year’s nominees and winners.

The Massively OP staff pick for MMORPG of the Year for 2017 is…

THE ELDER SCROLLS ONLINE

Andrew Ross (@dengarsw): Elder Scrolls Online. The justice system, unique phasing/instanced housing, playable werewolves/vampires, level scaling content, battle bears… I’ve never even finished an Elder Scrolls game and I’m rooting for it again! Runner up: Final Fantasy XIV. Another game with a (largely) happy player base, passionate developers, a good business model and reasonable updates… it may sound like what should be the industry norm, but especially these days, it’s not.

Brendan Drain (@nyphur): Abstain. I know a lot of people will expect me to vote for EVE Online, but it’s really not in a good position this year. Player activity is in a definite slump, even the Lifeblood expansion didn’t make much of a splash, and the community team being axed was just slap in the face to players. Nothing else really impressed me this year, Elder Scrolls Online had some very well-received updates and people seem extremely happy with it right now, but I didn’t play it.

Brianna Royce (@nbrianna): Elder Scrolls Online. In fact I thought Elder Scrolls Online deserved it last year too, but I was outnumbered and Black Desert was a worthy adversary that also deserved it, so I had no cause to be sad. In a way, I’m kind of glad it all shook out as it did because taken holistically, ESO is even better this year than last, adding huge patches like housing, multiple DLC, and the massive Morrowind expansion. It managed to weather its controversies nicely too (I’m thinking of the fuss over chapters vs. DLC). I’m glad to see it getting its due this year, especially since it launched relatively poorly and has come such a long way now.

Eliot Lefebvre (@Eliot_Lefebvre): The Elder Scrolls Online. The big difference, as I see it, is that FFXIV had a great big great expansion halfway through the year. ESO spent the entire year delivering updates that are smaller, but just as good, and coming down off of another spectacular year of development after a really great 2016. The game has never been better than it is right now, and between housing, big content updates, and all of the various system improvements… yeah, it’s time for it to get that of-the-year feather. Runner-up: Final Fantasy XIV

Justin Olivetti (@Sypster): Secret World Legends. As annoyed as I am at Funcom for the long content drought, the retirement of The Secret World, and the apparent inability to transfer characters, I have to admit that SWL has been a shot in the arm for this game. The new combat and better quest flow are welcome improvements, and there’s a lot of excitement over the development of this title. Can’t wait to see what comes next!

Larry Everett (@Shaddoe): Elder Scrolls Online. It just cannot seem to do anything wrong this year, it keeps improving, and the game is just great for new and old players. It’s strange to me that the bar has been set so low: If a studio doesn’t mess things up, then it’s the best. But that’s where we are now. ESO didn’t really do anything wrong.

MJ Guthrie (@MJ_Guthrie): I am always pretty happy when games do well because that’s a good thing for the genre. But I think Elder Scrolls Online has done a great job at steady positive progress. ZeniMax isn’t just doing the minimum to get by; it feels as if the game is on an upward trajectory with plenty of substance being added. This year there’s a whole new area to explore with new stories to play through, a new class, instanced PvP, and –a major bonus in my book — a new housing system. Did I mention it now has housing? And pretty cool housing at that! This feature alone made crafting an even bigger deal as furniture came into play as a new marketable item. I can’t ignore that it also added peripherally a whole new way to experience the Elder Scrolls with The Elder Scrolls Legends collectable card game. It’s all good stuff and made a good game even better.

Tina Lauro Pollock (@purpletinabeans): I’m sad to say that I’m not voting for Guild Wars 2 this year: While I absolutely feel that it is my personal MMO of the Year, it has the best expansion of the year, and I am absolutely enjoying my time spent in-game, I realise that it’s not leading the way the game that gets this title should in terms of audience connection, so it gets a runner-up spot for me. My winning vote has to go to ESO. It blends fabulous, innovative mechanics with heavy player appeal and engagement, so it’s everything the GOTY should be.

The Elder Scrolls Online won our award for MMORPG of the Year for 2017. What’s your pick?

Reader poll: What was the best MMORPG of 2017?

  • Elder Scrolls Online (48%, 1,147 Votes)
  • Final Fantasy XIV (8%, 195 Votes)
  • Secret World Legends (1%, 30 Votes)
  • Black Desert (5%, 108 Votes)
  • Guild Wars 2 (8%, 192 Votes)
  • World of Warcraft (11%, 267 Votes)
  • EVE Online (1%, 20 Votes)
  • Star Wars The Old Republic (1%, 35 Votes)
  • Destiny 2 (1%, 13 Votes)
  • Warframe (1%, 33 Votes)
  • Blade and Soul (0%, 10 Votes)
  • Revelation Online (0%, 1 Votes)
  • Riders of Icarus (0%, 1 Votes)
  • Star Trek Online (0%, 6 Votes)
  • Neverwinter (0%, 9 Votes)
  • Path of Exile (2%, 37 Votes)
  • Albion Online (0%, 11 Votes)
  • ArcheAge (0%, 8 Votes)
  • RIFT (0%, 4 Votes)
  • TERA (0%, 8 Votes)
  • Skyforge (0%, 2 Votes)
  • Lord of the Rings Online (2%, 42 Votes)
  • Dungeons and Dragons Online (1%, 33 Votes)
  • EverQuest II (0%, 10 Votes)
  • WildStar (1%, 24 Votes)
  • DC Universe Online (0%, 2 Votes)
  • RuneScape (1%, 16 Votes)
  • Elite Dangerous (1%, 20 Votes)
  • Nothing (4%, 89 Votes)
  • Something else (tell us in the comments) (1%, 16 Votes)

Total Voters: 2,389

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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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100 Comments on "Massively OP’s Best of 2017 Awards: MMORPG of the Year"

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Kevin McCaughey

It’s interesting to see how lethargic the votes are. There are about three games there really getting any decent voting and I have played all three and think none of them give me what EQ gave me back in the day (or now).

We need a really good game to come out. Nothing worth playing for me at the moment.

Reader
Kevin

It’s a tough one for me this year to pick which MMO I think did the best. It’s a toss up between either Legion or Path of Fire. Blizzard fixed a *lot* of the issues people had with Legion going into this year, everything from making it super quick and easy to get an alt geared and up to 110 and raiding (the turn over rate for me is like a week of casual play to get an alt to 110 and able to queue for Antorus in LFR, and that’s with some pretty casual play). I’d dock some points I suppose with Tomb of Sargeras and the Broken Shore being meh, but Argus’ storyline, and the raid in particular, is one of the best I’ve seen in the game since the days of Wrath, the raid in particular is one of the most thematically fitting, unique, and all around fun raids for me since Ulduar and Throne of Thunder.

But then there’s also Path of Fire. Holy crap, that expansion was a piece of work. If you asked me if I ever thought GW2 could reach that point that Path of Fire has taken it back when the game came out, I’d have laughed until I was in tears. And yet here we are – a love letter to one of Guild Wars 1’s best expansions, a unique spin on mounts, a storyline that is super enjoyable to go through, and feels like a Guild Wars campaign, beautiful zones, clever new Elite Specs… It was just a good time for all. It wasn’t with out it’s faults, of course. Anet’s continued thick headedness about not making new dungeons or multile difficulties for raids still makes me shake my head, a lack of any major World Bosses in Elona and the Crystal Desert was a let down too, and the overall lack of difficulty in the story mode was just plain stupid (dying to the final boss, and being able to instantly respawn as if nothing happened is just dumb). But over all, it was still a great experience.

Meh, I pick both. WoW and GW2 both win my MMO of the year.

As a bonus response – I think the MMO that did the worst this year was FFXIV. Between Stormblood’s terrible launch issues, god awful patch content, and an overall lack of trying on SE’s side to try to innovate or make the game feel more then just a hallway simulator and boss guantlet for “Raids”, I feel like XIV has taken some serious steps back from what it was like in ARR and even HW. Here’s hoping SE can fix their stuff in 2018, because I really do like FFXIV, but the game’s just falling behind in terms of it’s competitors. I shouldn’t feel like I’m playing an MMO from ten years ago when I boot up FFXIV, and yet that’s the feeling I get.

ernost
Reader
ernost

I’m disappointed to see this game win, considering they locked the materials storage behind a sub. Not even SWTOR with their notoriously scummy pay model stooped that low.

Reader
Jonny Sage

Meh, I just started playing ESO again, and its just not very multiplayer. Sure I see people, but they appear to just be interacting with invisible things. Dungeon finder never seems to pop at low level. No group missions. No real need to work together. It seems to work pretty well as a solo MMO though.

Reader
Wanda Clamshuckr

Like with all MMO’s, you get out of them what you put into it.

Guilds will fix your issues. There are a kazillion very social people out there that love to do group content, socialize, run events, etc.

Reader
Jonny Sage

Yeah i just mean there really isnt any need. Pretty much everything can be soloed except the trials.

Reader
connor_jones

I give it to GW2 by default, which means that I was less unhappy with it than the other MMO’s I’ve played this year. That said, the Paths of Fire expansion was pretty solid, even if Anet didn’t quite knock the ball out of the park with it.

Reader
Bryan Turner

It’s sad really that GW2 stuck to its guns regarding keeping raids at a single tier, that coupled with the constant grief got I from the Raiding community and forum moderators (who only saw an agitator while refusing to see the message) for advocating for Storymode Raids, people looking down their nose at you for playing a Power Reaper (like I’m playing a Bear Bow Ranger). The FINAL FUCKING STRAW the newest raid seemed designed thematically for Necromancer, yet Arena Net still misses the boat with the balance team by not buffing Reapers enough to be wanted in raids.

I really felt compelled to look for a new MMO when I’m told by the META heads that Reapers are still trash (for my own raid). I started logging in to ESO determined to make it work this time. Now I’m playing ESO, a game with superior combat, superior story telling, superior balance, more value for my dollar spent on a monthly basis.

Yeah I’ve only played ESO solidly for 2 weeks and it’s clear to me that it is decisively superior to any other MMO that I have played this year.

borghive
Reader
borghive

2002 combat animations makes MMO of the year? Oh how low we have sunk.

cambruin
Reader
cambruin

Because combat animations are game-defining, right? If you base judgement on that single fact, one so vulnerable to interpretation even, then the question is not how low ‘we’ have sunk, but what caused you to sink even lower?

Reader
qweazdak

I voted for ESO because nothing came close to the title. I do have to give a nod to another title. Path of Exile released the biggest update since its launch with Fall of Oriath, going from 4 acts to 10 acts and it launched on Xbox. I don’t consider it a MMORPG though.

Reader
Loopy

I would say it’s a toss up between ESO, FFXIV, and WoW for me.

As much as i’ve bitched about Stormblood not pulling me in, FFXIV is still a fun game with great mechanics, awesome graphics and fun dungeons.

ESO is my go-to MMO whenever i’m not trying out something new (or old) – the music puts me in an indescribable mood, and the storytelling and lore cannot be beat. When i’m looking for immersion – ESO is what i gravitate towards.

And WoW is.. well it’s WoW. I’ve been playing it on and off for many years, and it’s probably one of the best polished MMOs on the market, or even in history of MMOs.

I’ve voted for ESO however, because i like success stories. After an abysmal beta and a lackluster launch, Zenimax finally found their rhythm, and what we have today is a high quality MMO.

Reader
Mr Poolaty

Geezus E$O? I loved the PvP orally the best I’ve ever played but I haven’t played FFXIVs PvP yet but besides that the game is str8 trash and Matt Smugg Fior is an ass!!

hurbster
Reader
hurbster

‘loved the pvp orally’…

As long as you had fun.

wandris
Reader
wandris

Sure ESO, after selling us an expansion with paid DLC instead of content updates. A housing system with some expensive houses but as far as I can tell not much of a point to actually owning one., at least so far. Another expansion+DLC’s coming next year. The exclusion of the crafting bag to anyone not subscribed. New and improved casino boxes. Its not a terrible game by any means, but disappointing with some of their decisions. I suppose I am bitter they would put a vital QoL feature like the crafting bag exclusivley behind ESO+. I don’t mind subbing sometimes, even just to get the crowns, but having to deal with the nightmare of ESO inventory whenever you are off ESO+ makes me sort of hate it sometimes. Borderline buyers remorse, not as bad as a game like SWTOR, but enough to make me wish I never wasted my time or money at all.

Reader
martin robinson

Wait… Are you complaining about the paid DLC? You literally get it for free if you are a subscriber as free content, as if was the case on another subscription mmo like WoW. If you are a player who has simply bought the game, for how cheap it is now, paying for extra content is perfectly acceptable. How do you expect them to get money otherwise? Quality content doesn’t come free. Man.. I struggle with people with opinions like this who expect stuff for free but then will also be the ones to complain about content droughts in games.

Reader
Terren Bruce

Honestly it’s a tossup between FFXIV, ESO, and GW2. They all had major expansions this year, they all had steady content patches, and they all kept their communities mostly happy throughout the year. I suppose GW2 stumbled a bit at the end of the year with the mount licenses but on the other hand GW2 players aren’t paying a subscription, nor a so called “optional” subscription so I don’t think that is such a big deal.

When it comes down to it you have WoW at tier 1, then you have a tier 2 that consists of FFXIV, ESO, and GW2. Which one is “better” is just a matter of personal preference at this point.

hurbster
Reader
hurbster

Good choice, one day I’ll buy a lockbox.

But not today.

Reader
Arktouros

I dunno, personally I wasn’t impressed with ESO when I tried it earlier this year.

Business model wise it was pretty questionable all around. The only thing I can give it here is that I found it’s gamble boxes probably the best gamble boxes there are. The ability when you get duplicates to get a currency to buy specific items you want is pretty decent. They swore up and down the subscription would cover it all right up until it didn’t. Bulk of it’s game updates are tied to DLC releases that if you don’t pay for or don’t have the subscription you’re just out of luck. Paying for game updates and calling them DLCs was a pretty big new low I’ve seen in the gaming industry in a long time.

The housing was immensely lackluster when I tried it. Many cool housing decorations were cash shop only right off the bat even when hidden away. There were many arbitrary limitations that were just annoying like limiting how many pets you can display. But most importantly it just wasn’t useful.

Game play wise was equally pretty boring. Once you reach a certain Champion level general PvE is nonsensically easy because of the game’s combat normalization from last year. The game has a lot of over all content but most of it boils down to “stuff” to “do.” PvP is still a disasterpiece of broken mechanics and builds. Sounds like the expansion, or a DLC afterwords, fixed my main issue of gear being too hard to get with traits but running the same dungeon for 100 times hoping for a drop just made me long for the steady progress/fail system of other games.

I agree with Larry, ultimately, this seems a “win by default” rather than winning because it became or was a better game than others.

Cadaver
Reader
Loyal Patron
Cadaver

I voted Final Fantasy XIV. The extent of my experience with the FF franchise is an unhappy hour or two with FF7 on the PS1 and one episode of Dad of Light. But it seems to avoid scandals and keeps its player base happy.

Reader
Kickstarter Donor
NeoWolf

ESO definitely has done the most positive things in terms of features and expansions, however I fell out of love with them a little bit this year too as the basic UI functionality being left to modders almost entirely is just something which frustrates the heck out of me.

Don’t get me wrong I love mods, but without mods a game should still have a funtional UI with basic features and ESO’ does not, their base UI is a joke. So putting players in the position of only having any basic functionality of some non paid modder makes it (which they do but then lose interest and stop supporting every few months so everyone goes back to non functionality every few months) is just untenable and utterly frustrating. And it is why they no longer get my money despite me loving the game.

hurbster
Reader
hurbster

They wanted it as close to the single-player games as they could get it.

Reader
Kickstarter Donor
NeoWolf

Even single player games have UI with a basic level of functionality, minimap etc., Zenimax howevere were like ahh we don’t want the epexnese let the players do it.
ESO’s UI without mods is just embarrassing :(

hurbster
Reader
hurbster

Did Vanilla Skyrim come with a minimap ? My version of Skyrim is so heavily modded I have no idea what it’s original UI looked like.

Reader
McGuffn

no it did not, at least i don’t think so. ESO is borderline unplayable without one though.

Reader
Wanda Clamshuckr

I’ve been playing since beta, and haven’t used a mini map addon during all that time. Works fine for me.

hurbster
Reader
hurbster

A mini-map is a convenience, nothing more. And it’s perfectly playable without one.

Reader
Kickstarter Donor
NeoWolf

Skyrim is an offline single player RPG, ESO is not..

Its a standard MMO feature and last I checked ESO was calling itself an MMORPG. So it should have one, its sad that it falls to modders to put that in amongst SO many other things Zenimax just couldn’t be bothered to add in for the UI either.

Frankly they should throw cash at modders like Wykkyd etc.. and make their mods included and supported as standard because that guy did all the work Zenimax couldnt be bothered to.

hurbster
Reader
hurbster

And there are people who bitch even more than you do about the fact that it is possible to add a mini map.

They based the UI on Oblivion\Skyrim. End of story.

Whatever they do, some entitled … person is gonna whine about it.

Reader
Kickstarter Donor
NeoWolf

When someone expresses a genuine QoL concern regarding an MMO, so much so that the issue causes them to no longer financially support the game or spend time in it, it isn’t bitching.

Bitching is along the lines..im rage quiiting because i don’t win any loot rolls you all suck..

To clarify, this is the prior not the latter ;)

And again genuine complaint is not whining, your also kind of fixated on mini maps, the lack of a mini map was just one single instance of ways in which their UI unmodded is sadly lacking, yet for some reason you are locked to that one thing. To be clear the unmodded UI is missing TONS of basic necessities not just a mini map.

To end I think you need to look up the meaining of entitled buddy

As how exactly would I or anyone else be being entitled in stating I no longer financially support or spend time ina gma eI love because the frustration I feel over a constantly breaking UI due to mods necessary to making it barely functional inevitably end up unsupported after a time as people move on, which should not have been necessary as it was Zenimaxs responsibility to ensure the game had a functional and useful UI without mods to begin with and the fact they did not is an issue for me.

When you pay for my subs you can have a say in whether my reasons for playing a game or not are valid, until then your kinda coming off as a rampant fanbois exusing every dumb decision they make simply because YOU like the game. Newsflash genius I like the game too, I however do not like the fact my UI goes to crap every few months because they couldn’t be bothered to make one with basic mmo functionality included and so I no longer support the game in time or money.

Basing it off the look of Oblivions/Skyrims was not the issue, again the lack of basic MMO ui functionality was. And I could CARE LESS whether you like that stement or not because it was an issue for me as the person who was paying to play the game, understood? sweet.

Reader
Chosenxeno .

I voted for SWL. I hate ESO’s combat. Stupid weapon swap:( It just feels so weird…

Reader
A Dad Supreme

Yeah, it’s one thing I never cared for in ESO and GW2… that cumbersome TAB weapon swapping for the “action combat” feel. Always having to check to make sure you’re on staff rather than bow was consistently irritating.

When things get moving fast, you have to make sure you’re on the right “setting” in order to push out the right combat skill.

I have no problem with making the right skill choices in any MMO for the situation, but the constant swapping you have to do in both games makes it an extra unneeded headache imo.

Reader
Crowe

I voted Destiny 2 (although “Nothing” was a near 2nd). For whatever reason, I have never liked ESO. Every time I try it, I’m almost immediately turned off by the combat. Is that lag/delay between clicking and action still there? That just made it even worse.

Reader
Utakata

Gonna have to go for WoW here, because for all its faults…Blizz still was releasing engaging and interesting content during the Legion tenure on a regular schedule for this year. Something they haven’t done well with previous expansions. And that’s kept me subbed.

And since I don’t play ESO, I can’t say it’s the best or not for this year. The game doesn’t look very pigtailed friendly, so I mainly have avoided it. But I can’t say it’s terrible either. As many others begs to differ with my “meh” for this game.

Runner ups in my pink book for the best in show are GW2, FF XIV, B&S and WildStar. <3

borghive
Reader
borghive

Legion is decent, but the pruned classes this expansion has been a real downer in my book.

Reader
Utakata

One things I liked about the tree system, even back to Vanilla, that each class had all their baseline spells to lean on, despite their specialization. And where their specialization focus was, was their strength. It worked out really well for the player and as a fantasy class.

While currently the class spells are so divided up in their specializations, and without seemingly irony, they begin to lack any meaningful sense or purpose. One of the big weakness of this expansion.

Reader
Doctor Sweers

ESO is hot right now and I agree with the MMO of the year award. Content, content, content!
FFXIV would be my second choice despite the fact I can’t seem to convince myself to play/sub for more than a month at a time. I have finally admitted to myself that Final Fantasy games are not for me. Again, it’s all about the content with these two games. Both games are constantly kicking out content.

If I’m paying a sub each month, I expect development and progress of the game I am playing. Is it just me or does it seem that MMO’s of old (SWG, AC/AC2, EQ, VG, etc) had more frequent updates than many MMO’s do today?

WOW places third this year for me and GW2 in 4th. BDO should really be in here somewhere as I have logged more time in that game than the other 4 listed here…

Reader
Sorenthaz

ESO’s biggest hurdle these days is that it’s still looked down on because of its 2014 launch. People consider it a joke of an MMO/ES game because of that, and don’t want to bother checking it out when given the opportunity. That’s one of the most annoying things about trying to get into it for myself is that it’s hard to get friends even willing to check it out, and playing solo in any MMO usually gets boring for me quickly. Community perception dismissed/shut down this game before it even had a chance to change, and now that it’s doing better community perception still dismisses it based off of its past history.

Reader
Patreon Donor
Veldan

I played in beta and never felt the urge to go back. I wouldn’t call it a joke, but what I saw was enough not to reinstall.

pepperzine
Reader
pepperzine

There is a lesson to be learned here, listen to your testers and make the proper adjustments prior to launching.

I hated the game at launch, and I’ve tried three times since then to get back into it due to the positive buzz around. It never lasts more than a week. I’m not sure if I’m biased based off of my initial experience with the game at launch or if it just isn’t what I want out of an Elder Scrolls title.

Reader
life_isnt_just_dank_memes

Their content cadence is great and the audience that loves it really seems to love it. Good for ESO!

GW2 put out an amazing story this year and I never thought I would ever say that about GW2. GW2 has never had an amazing story. The problem with it for me personally isn’t it wasn’t sticky at all. I played through it and did Griffon Races for 2 weeks and then I was absolutely done with it. Oh, and releasing 5 mounts and then trying to charge 2000 gems per skin not to mention that RNG fiasco…yikes that game’s business model has gone down the crapper.

Reader
rafael12104

So wait a second. Is GoTY based on audience popularity? Or is it based on what the game contributed to the genre overall? Or is a combination of both? I am asking because the two can be at odds.

Heh. I’m not going to tell you who I think deserves game of the year. Many of you can guess, I have no doubt.

But, I would select FFXIV before ESO in the pecking order. I played both a little this year, and it seems to me that FFXIV is the better overall game including what they added this year.

Reader
Sorenthaz

For the Massively OP awards it’s always based off of the MOP staff and which game gets the most votes from among them. Obviously people can have differing opinions, but for the most part the MOP awards are “the most popular among the MOP staff” awards.

Not saying that in a negative manner or anything, just explaining that it’s their favorite picks and then there’s just a comment popularity poll afterwards to see what the MOP readers think.

Reader
A Dad Supreme

Obviously people can have differing opinions, but for the most part the MOP awards are “the most popular among the MOP staff” awards.

Exactly this.

About a week ago, I said it appears that the MOP staff have an inherent bias against The Division, to which Bree responded along the lines of “what bias”?

Today it’s not even listed in this long list of MMO of the Year, but games like Exile and Destiny 2 are listed.

So you can tell what the staff plays a ton of and recommends vs what they don’t and have no interest in covering extensively overall.

The odd thing is they “revisit” MMOs all the time, but haven’t done this at all for TD, which is a vastly improved game and doing pretty well on the Steam charts I believe.

For comparison: http://store.steampowered.com/stats/
14,733 15,049 The Elder Scrolls Online: Tamriel Unlimited
13,445 16,868 Tom Clancy’s The Division

Reader
Sorenthaz

Well TD isn’t really everyone’s cup of tea and MOP has covered the big updates and such around the game. The Division also doesn’t really generate that much attention VS something like ESO or Destiny 2. It’s why games under Trion too are typically not mentioned unless they get an update or have some controversial news. Not many people around MOP care about those games unless there’s some big news, and a lot of games that aren’t necessarily mainstream or oldschool favorites are swept to the wayside.

Reader
wratts

To be fair though, iirc ESO was out 18-24 months before Steam launch, whereas TD was on Steam Day 1

Reader
A Dad Supreme

It’s more of a local popularity thing as most of the polls appear to be.

Even though it’s a decent game, I couldn’t imagine the industry as a whole voting for ESO as “GOTY” in 2017.

Reader
wratts

Agree ESO is the right call. Black Desert has added a lot, between Kama, Savage Rift, Arena of Arsha, and the militia system, but all of those (except Kama) seem incidental to the experience. ESO is my backup MMO, and feels like both a really complete MMO and a really solid RPG experience.
Surprised SWL gets a vote at all. Re-release a game with a player unfriendly reboot, some moderate mechanics upgrades, and no real new content on a 7 year old platform and someone feels like that’s the best on the market? Ooookay . . .

Reader
Toy Clown

If ESO ever updates their character graphics, I would probably really enjoy the game. Everything else about it is fun, just… I can’t get attached to my characters.

Reader
connor_jones

Overall I felt ESO was very average and ‘been there, done that’, but I totally agree with you on the character avatars. To my eye they were dreadful, not appealing to me like at all. This was probably my biggest gripe about the game.

Reader
Mendoras

Mhh. I dont get it. I tried ESO again with the free weekend, but I get bored so quickly. After that i started Skyforge and had more fun … I know, crazy ^^

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Bullet Teeth

Honestly, I’d be neck-deep in ESO if the class system was even half as free-form as it traditionally was in ES single-player games. I just cannot get into only having 4 classes to choose from. Even if they did it like Oblivion, where you could choose a “Pilgrim” or a “Witchhunter” I’d be ALL OVER…

However, this is proof that Zenimax can work the MMO market and make a successful game. So I’ll toast to that.

Karma_Mule
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Karma_Mule

The key for me is that all skill lines other than class-specific ones are open to everyone, so you can still have a mage wearing heavy armor, a nightblade who does lots of healing, everyone can get thieving and assassin skills, etc etc. After unlocking your second weapon/skills slots you have lots of possible choices and combinations.

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Castagere Shaikura

I would be all over it if ESO had the true freedom of the single player TES games.

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Jack Pipsam

Between fantastic console support, a healthy amount of updates, an awesome expansion and hopefully keeping major western publishers eyes somewhat curious about MMOs I think ESO is a well deserved winner.

scrapper
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scrapper

I agree with you Tina, GW2 is easily my top MMO of the year but it’s no longer leading new ground. While I definitely enjoyed LS3 and PoF, they played it a bit to safe and would love for Anet to attempt something more grand for LS4. Also as a big WvWer this year was a let down, the game mode needs a lot of love and I don’t think the improved reward structure is enough to keep people playing it.

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Denice J. Cook

Housing, Morrowind, excellent DLCs that just keep coming, all on top of previous wins like world scaling and the repair of some earlier instancing/teaming issues equals a huge win for ESO.

Keep it up, Zenimax!

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drelkag

Can’t disagree there. Between Morrowind and Homestead the game had my favorite updates over the year by far.

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Rumm

FFXIV or WoW provide the most value and most content. I pay a monthly sub and get everything in the game, period. No worrying about having to buy level boosts, crafting potions, inventory space, or even basic functions that are standard across the genre. One monthly price and you get the whole experience, on the same playing field as everyone else, with consistent, polished content updates that other games would go so far as to call expansions.

I gave FFXIV my vote because I’ve played it most recently, but I think that if you look at where WoW is right now in its Legion expansion cycle as compared to this same time with Warlords, I’d say that Blizzard is back to top form, rivaling even their WOTLK glory days.

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kalamari_

sry, but GW2s last year with all the big updates every 8 weeks and the best xpac blows eso out of the water.

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Melissa McDonald

I don’t think ESO has had the kind of successful year across all criteria that Black Desert Online has had…

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drelkag

I wish I could get into BDO. Started to play with a friend and within 30 minutes we figured out the follow feature is really finicky/bugged and the walk toggle button is broken. Not sure I want invest if they can’t keep simple things like that working.

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Johnnyt305

Yes it has, its been a great year and wayyy better than black desert.

pepperzine
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pepperzine

I feel like the hype around BDO has died out significantly over the last year. That’s not necessarily a bad thing either, it’s found it’s audience and they really love it, which is great. But when put in perspective with the bigger picture, it doesn’t seem to capture mass appeal like other titles such as WoW, ESO, and FInal Fantasy do (and I don’t currently play any of those, so it’s definitely not a confirmation bias situation). I don’t have the numbers to compare, but my intuition points to ESO having a more successful in terms of financials.

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Roger Melly

For me Elder Scrolls is only a mediocre mmo . Its fun for a while but it lacks staying power . I also find its community is one of the worst I have encountered in any mmo . I got to the point where I turned off all whispers , shouts and group chat and only left the guild and main world chat on . I also had a problem finding a social guild that used voice chat I think this is because people can join more than one guild at a time which makes them less invested in any one guild . I had hoped the battlegrounds would keep me interested but they were also very mediocre .

For me the best mmo of this year was Lotro with an honorable mention to SWL and Black Desert .

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drelkag

I had the exact opposite experience. I had to turn off world chat in BDO because it was filled with edgelords and kids/immature adults.

Logged in and legit someone is bragging about eating something in bed.

cambruin
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cambruin

You vote LotRO as MMO of the year… really?! It has managed to launch what has been the worst trailer in years, the constant gearing/regearing because the devs can’t seem to make up their minds, the pricing of the xpack, an xpack that lacks racials to it’s new race, it’s new race being another hot topic of marketing gone wrong, the lootboxes, …

It’s just mistake after mistake after mistake. Name me one thing that actually improved the game other than ‘Mordor!’.

There is not a single thing these guys did right and this comes from a person who played it 10+ years. That game has never been worse than today.

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Roger Melly

Well it’s the one I played most so therefore it is my mmo of the year by default . I have tried to get into other games but for various reasons I just could not get into them long term .

You see for me it’s the people I play the game with that is as important as the game and Lotro has always had a nice community . I think joining the Slowtro project increased my enjoyment of the game given it allowed me to do the lower level content I had never done before .

Loot boxes don’t bother me in a game that is primarily pve and if adults are daft enough to buy them or get bothered by their existence is no skin off my nose .

I enjoyed Black Desert for a bit but ultimately it was too grindy for me and SWL once I had finished all the main storylines got a bit boring but I will go back to it once the new content comes out . Elder Scrolls online had an awful community .

I liked Final Fantasy 14 to some degree but at a certain point in the game all you seem do is deliver one message after another ( I know quite a lot of my friends call it delivery boy online for that reason ) .It was also hard to find a guild that used voice chat given its cross platform nature .

Rift up until this year was my main game but the last expansion was so poor that my guild there lost a greater part of its membership . Also the changes they brought to the pvp were pretty poorly received .

I am in the market for a second mmo given lotro is the only one I play at the moment but there is very little on the horizon other than Camelot unchained that appeals to me . That is the reason I have decided to give WoW a try again after being away for ten years ( and I thought I might as well have a character on the normal servers to play once the classic ones come out ) . I seem to have found a balanced RPPVP server and to this point ( which is only 6 weeks in ) so far I have encountered very little of the antisocial behavior WoW is renowned for .

You may not like Lotro anymore but it seems to be taking a bit of an upturn of late in the numbers of people playing it and with returning players . But maybe like me they are just want a game with a friendly community which is hard to get in other mmos .

cambruin
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cambruin

It gets this upturn due to the coverage they have been given lately, especially here on Massively. Lots of it very negative coverage, but coverage still. As a result, bumbers will increase.
Quality of content being what it is however, I don’t see a lot of those people staying once they leave Moria (provided they manage to fight through that depressing underground cemetary).

I guess I’m still bitter due to the many devs and managers they have laid off already (I have even forgotten their names that’s) and more so when I see what they have been replaced with.
I’m bitter because this once great MMO has become so store-centered (it has been for a long time, I agree, but never thís strongly, never this desperate), so ‘unbalancing’ even that I honestly question the morals of these devs. Sure, lots of people point fingers to Daybreak/Columbus Nova, but that would be far too easy.

I don’t know what the English word for it is, but to me this is a major ‘stijlbreuk’ (major change of direction according to webster dictionary, but I feel that is a far to ‘gentle’choice of words).

I enjoy ESO thoroughly, but it would be wrong of me to advise it. The game lacks the tools to fully enjoy and immerse yourself in it’s rich world (very immersive world ruined by the horrible store-cosmetics and despite having so many ‘layers’, they refuse to add a dedicated RP layer). If RP is your thing, stay away from ESO.

LazyLex
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LazyLex

Hoping one day they’ll fix the horrible combat. Played through all of the content, vet trials included and still can’t stand animation canceling. Also feels a little too floaty, although much better than at launch.

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Schlag Sweetleaf

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Castagere Shaikura

Its a hard thing to pick. So i would say for me its a toss up with Wow/EQ2/Rift. As games made for PC and traditional tab targeting. I will always favor the old school mmo’s.

pepperzine
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pepperzine

Rift? Really?

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Castagere Shaikura

Yes Rift as an mmo not the dumb crap Trion tried to pull as a company. Rift the game play and world to play in are great still. And i have 3 max lvl characters and have not spent a dime in the cash shop or anything other than a sub.fee.

pepperzine
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pepperzine

I used to play back at launch, up until 1.6, and I tried to play again this year with my spouse. It felt like a shell of what it used to be.

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Castagere Shaikura

How so please?

pepperzine
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pepperzine

Sure, let me elaborate, I apologize in advance for the length. Please keep in mind these are comparisons to how I remember early Rift being compared to it’s current state. I played a little bit here and there in between, but nothing extensive.

The World/Leveling: The first three times I leveled (I had three characters at endgame) the world was bustling with other players compared to now where the world felt quite empty up until the newer content. This was due to instant adventures, it took people out of the regular questing route and allowed them to repeat a grind over and over again that equalized their level and gear to the content, making it not challenging and repetitive.

Not only was that unsatisfying but because of the cross-server nature of it I made zero friends while leveling up. The other times I’ve had to level by the time I reached endgame I had at least 5+ leveling buddies I had run across during my travels, this time around that didn’t seem necessary and even when I did make acquaintances it was a one time type of social experience.

Also, by filtering players out of the world and into these instances they had to reduce (and eliminate) the amount of zone events that occurred. With empty zones these become either super time consuming to try to solo or not possible. We used to find others to party with to tackle Rifts while leveling, but now it appeared everyone was just concerned about the quickest way to get to endgame. I can understand and relate to that, especially when the leveling process is arduous and there aren’t enough people leveling the old fashion way.

When you finally get to the point where leveling during instant adventures is not ideal, they have taken out the quests and added area type dailies that appear. While this is fine, cause it removes the hike back to cash in quests, they do not provide enough steady exp to get to endgame. When you finish the questline in the last area you still need to grind out an additional level. This, to me, seemed to focus on the sale of experience potions. If you run experience potions the entire time it actually feels like what it should. It comes off as them throttling your experience gain to a point to where they know you’re going to head to the cash shop. Again, they need to make money and it’s f2p so I understand, but it’s supposed to feel like a convenience. In this case, it doesn’t. It feels like a punishment if you don’t purchase them.

Build Diversity: My recollection of the class system from my initial time in Rift was expansive and diverse. All the time I had guild members or other associates messaging me about theory crafting and unique combinations. For example the Inquisticar support/dps build was one that had been tweaked out of existent. Now when you go to forums to look at builds they are normally one of two things (or a combination of both), they are either aimed to be as little button presses as possible such as one-button sabodancer or they 61 points in a single tree. This takes a lot of fun out of the theory crafting experience, and in a way dampens the depth of the original system they had created. It was extremely rare to run across any rogue build that did not take ranger as a third soul simply to get the awakened call razor beast spell. When one spell is in 90% of the builds for a class in a system all about mix and matching, you know something isn’t right.

Adding paid for souls to each class that extend past the original role design was also disappointing. When I played warriors could be dps/tank (with broken support), mages could be support/heals/dps, rogues could be tank/dps/support, and clerics the only one who could be tank/heals/support/dps (though their dps was horrible at endgame and not worth doing). This added class diversity to the game and gave people reasons to level alts. Because a warrior couldn’t be a heal, if you wanted that type of character you need to make another character and thus populating the leveling experience. Now every soul can be tank/heals/support/dps and you can have builds for all of them on a single character.

Cosmetics: As a f2p title they need to draw money somehow, and that’s by driving people to the cash shop for aesthetics. That’s fine, it’s business. What isn’t fine is when the things you earn in game through challenges are also available for money. The rare cosmetic helmet that took a group of five experienced players to get for doing a Master dungeon, and with only one person getting it at the end, for sale in the shop. The cosmetics from best-in-slot tier armor? Cash shop. I feel like games should separate the two. Here are the shiny cash shop cosmetics you can pay for and here are the achievement gameplay cosmetics you can earn. As returning players, it felt like they had taken away the value in things we had previously achieved. This also applies to mounts in the game, but at the same note there were tons of mounts that looked nice but could only be bought in the cash shop. So it wasn’t even a two-way street in terms of being able to buy everything and earn everything.

The wardrobe system was cool at first, but quickly made me feel bored with the new system. I know a lot of people don’t value immersion, but to me seeing rogues running around in plate or warriors tanking monsters in cloth was off-putting. I got to a point where I felt like nobody I encountered was actually wearing any of the equipment their character was wearing. Again, not a big deal to some people but to me it was another change that didn’t resonate well.

I could go on further but I’m sure if you read this far you’re tired of hearing my opinionated complaints. In the end, it still has vibes of it’s former self and remnants of what we enjoyed, but it felt more shallow and empty than before.

TLDR: The leveling process being moved from the world to instances, experience gained in the last 5 levels which is out of an instance is grueling without experience potions, build diversity (which was the main difference from WoW) simplified and streamlined, less reasons to level an alt due to role distribution, things that used to be earned can now be bought.

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Chosenxeno .

As far as traditional MMORPGs go Rift is top tier. Trino aside(I still think that $100 Box was a marketing ploy lol).

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Castagere Shaikura

I agree it got them attention. Twice after complaints they pulled these things out of the shops the next day.

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Knox Harrington

How can you guys blast lockboxes nonstop and still vote for ESO as MMO of the year? This is exactly what’s wrong with gamers today. Your words do not align with your actions and gaming companies know this. Despite all the fuss, in the end you still support their products.

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Castagere Shaikura

Not really surprised they picked ESO though. People here love to trash Trion But seem to give Zenimax a pass.

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Roger Melly

Well said .

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A Dad Supreme

I’m voting for Horizon Zero Dawn.

If Path of Exile is now considered an MMO, then I hereby declare HZD one too. :P

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connor_jones

I really want to play this one, waiting for it to release on PC. I know it is a post-apocalyptic RPG…….is it as good as my beloved Fallout New Vegas?

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A Dad Supreme

It’s not as deep in content as Fallout NV which is insane, but it’s not light on it. The story is exceptional and the gameplay really can’t be improved upon. They really do a really nice and unusual take on an apocalyptic theme.

It’s a more realistic theme than the Fallout series, which time “freezes” in a somewhat alternate reality 50’s when everything went nuclear. HZD’s storyline continues far into our future before the destruction.

It’s one of those games that you remember long after playing because of the bigger messages/morals of the storyline. The takeaway I got from playing was about man (humankind) and it’s struggle with mortality and relevance of existence.

My 15 yr old son on the other hand, thought it was a super fun game but pondered on nothing afterwards, lol.

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Jack Pipsam

Super Lucky’s Tale, MMORPG of the year!

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agemyth 😩

PoE is as much an MMO as Guild Wars 1 was and that debate is pretty much settled I think. Its MMO enough, or MMO adjacent if you need to separate it.

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A Dad Supreme

Well, if you say it’s just as much as an MMO because it compares to GW1 as the qualifying item, then I guess that closes the question. :)

pepperzine
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pepperzine

Great 👍 =] another case closed!

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Paul

A tough pick – ESO I tried this year and only lasted a few weeks in it (something missing for me from that game), also tried BDO (and the less said about that the better). MMO I’ve spent most time in is LOTRO so would have to be that for me.

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Castagere Shaikura

ESO is to much of a console mmo to me. I really dislike limited hotbars in my mmo’s. I like it better when mmo’s were just made for PC.

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agemyth 😩

I don’t feel super strongly about ESO, but I guess it was the only “real” MMO I played and enjoyed this year other than more World of Warcraft.

Website servers getting slammed on Friday morning? MMOOTY draws the clicks. Unless that was on my end.

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Oleg Chebeneev

Why Path of Exile keeps getting into those polls? Since when it became an MMO?
For me the best current MMORPGs are WoW and EVE Online. But in 2017 WoW didnt add much. Argus was meh. While EVE online added a big patch that revamped core mechanic, improved both PvP and PvE and made changes to F2P model. So my vote goes to EVE.

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shear

That F2P model is very nice now I agree.

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