The Daily Grind: Which MMO offers the best sky views?

I know it’s a simple and basic thing, but I absolutely adore a great skybox in my MMORPGs. There’s something about looking up at a majestic and vibrant sky in-game that puts me right in the middle of the world and immerses me in the environment.

Fallen Earth will always be remembered fondly by me for its gorgeous sunsets, and World of Warcraft definitely brought it with some of its painterly clouds and patterns in the latest expansion. Lord of the Rings Online and Final Fantasy XIV both have crystal clear nights full of twinkling stars that make one feel small and awed.

Which MMO offers the best sky views and which zone makes for the best gazing? Bonus points if you include pictures!

Every morning, the Massively Overpowered writers team up with mascot Mo to ask MMORPG players pointed questions about the massively multiplayer online roleplaying genre. Grab a mug of your preferred beverage and take a stab at answering the question posed in today’s Daily Grind!
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29 Comments on "The Daily Grind: Which MMO offers the best sky views?"

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Castagere Shaikura

I could name so many. But i’m going to go back to my first mmo. Anarchy Online really got me with its sunsets over the city zones alot. And when you got a flying yalm or jetpack it really was amazing to just land on top of a tall building and watch the sun setting.

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outbound_flight

Another vote for LOTRO. I resisted posting a bunch of pictures of the ceiling in Moria.

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Bryan Turner

I would say ESO and GW2 have the best sky boxes.

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Doubleplusgood

ESO is the only MMO I can think of that has sun rays which make some really nice screen shots of sunny skies. comment imagecomment image

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Stormwaltz

Yeah, the sun effects in ESO are spectacular. ESO is also the only game (MMG or otherwise) I can think of where the stars actually twinkle at night. All of them, not just a few large ones. It’s not an effect you can capture in a screenshot, unfortunately.

Plus it has a full lunar phase cycle, with moons that look truly three-dimensional (check out the crater limb shadowing). The aurorae in northern regions. The way storms adjust to fit the biome; rain in temperate areas, hazy sandstorms in the desert, glowering red ash-storms in volcanic regions. And while it’s not “skybox” per se, you have to respect the combination of clouds and shadow Molag Bal can produce. The only weakness in ESO’s skies is the way scattered clouds can look “painted on.”

ESO’s team obsesses over details. I noticed if you stand under a stone arch bridge, there’s a subtle “tunnel echo” applied to all the sound, just as you’d expect in IRL. Any bridge. I don’t even know how you’d do that. (Make it part of the model somehow?) And though interior windows aren’t transparent, most have sunbeams that actually clock across the room in synch with exterior lighting conditions, with full shadowing of any pane details.

The detail in ESO’s art is insane, stunning, and utterly immersive. I stand in frank admiration.

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Doubleplusgood

Oh I never knew about the twinkling stars, ill have to check that out!

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Oleg Chebeneev

Star Citizen ofc. The only MMO where sky is real, not a skybox

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theblackmage75

SWTOR’s Ilum is breathtaking. When I imagine visiting strange other worlds, that’s basically what I see in my mind.

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Robert Basler

Spent 10 minutes just watching the skies for shooting stars in Final Fantasy XIV, never done that in a game before.

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Dug From The Earth

I like how a lot of people avoid saying WoW because its such a mixed bag. The vanilla zones had some of the WORST skies in any game… however, some of the newer expansions had some truly breath taking skies, often with massive events taking place.

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Dagget Burmese

Eve is great sky in any direction!

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Knox Harrington

As someone who holds true to their convictions and refuses to touch a game with lootboxes, my options are quite limited. There’s what? WoW and FFXIV? Ugh. Gaming has turned to utter shit. What am I playing? I’m playing the “Fuck Corporate Greed Blues” on my harmonica.

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rafael12104

Hmm. So, I will throw Blade and Soul’s hat in the ring. It seems to me the game specializes in “Sky” scenery.

I have many screen cap examples and video too. But rather than prove I am an OCD BnS nerd, I’ll just post one of my Blade Master taking a little break while out on the hunt.

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Melissa McDonald

I’ll pick LOTRO because you also get weather at night.

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nobleeinherjar

Damn. I remember LOTRO having great skies, but that’s even better than my memories.

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Robert Mann

Voting LOTRO. GW2 POF skies are pretty, but too bright for my taste. WAY too bright. FFXIV could work too, but I haven’t really tried it, so…

I’d really like to see something cool done with this, like moon phases that actually work with in game time or something, but… probably not as big a deal as all the other things I want from games!

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Sleepy

LOTRO’s nights are kind of spoiled by the fact that they don’t turn off the flocks-of-birds animation during the night. It doesn’t look right, seeing birds flocking at night.

Planetside 2 has some cool night skies, mostly because of the huge planets hanging there. I’ll have to see if I can snap some pics later.

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Terren Bruce

Definitely GW2’s Path of Fire night skies.

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Liandreth

Definitely Lord of the Rings Online.

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rafael12104

Very nice. Thanks for posting those. :)

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starbuck1771

star wars galaxies & lord of the rings online.

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Riccardo Tavano

For night time this one is won hands down by GW2’s night skies in PoF.
For day time, not sure… probably there’re some better ones, but none that I remember right now.

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Utakata

I’ve shown these before. But while these MMO’s they represent are not really known for their the best depictions of skies, the can produce dramatic effects shown at the right place and angle. and Celestial Hills (TERA) and Highmountain (WoW) respectively. Please see images attached.

…as for the best, FF XIV has so far the best skies I’ve ever seen in any MMO I’ve played. The unfortunate thing though they use the same day/night rotation as City of Heroes. Thusly, it’s always fleeting. :(

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Zora

Wait, you’re telling me today’s daily grind was planned as an actual question where people could answer anything other than Path of Fire? :P

That’s like MJ & Larry’s Swtor’s streams voting… rigged, RIGGED I tell ya!

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Michael18

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Rick Mills

I love that in Lotro you will sometimes see stars “moving”.

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kalamari_

the gw2 path of fire maps have some pretty gorgeous skies. and istan too.

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Tia Nadiezja

Does being in space count as a sky? Because if so, STO deserves credit here. Otherwise, I love the infinite simplicity of LotRO’s nights.

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hamblepants

I don’t know about “best,” but the sky in Dark Age of Camelot always impressed me. Beautiful colours, and it managed to give an impression of depth, and, well, to not look like a videogame skybox.

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