Welcome to Massively Overpowered’s end-of-the-year 2015 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). Last year, we broke with tradition and split our awards into smaller categories and individual posts so that we could consider them throughout the month of December, and it worked very well, so we’ll be repeating that format here. We’ll also continue providing our writers’ nominations and rationales (in some cases, we allowed them to choose two games to make the final decision easier); we think that’s helpful insight. And we’ll include a reader’s poll at the end. Let’s see whether you agree with our picks!
Today’s award is for the most underrated MMO of 2015, which was awarded to Elite: Dangerous last year. This time around, we opted to include pre-2015 MMOs, as long as they accomplished something truly notable in this calendar year.
The Massively OP staff pick for Most Underrated MMO of 2015 is…
Brendan Drain (@nyphur): EVE Online. Before you pelt the site’s resident EVE Online expert with eggs for picking a 12-year-old game as this year’s most underrated MMO of the year, head over to the EVE Updates website and take a look back through this year’s timeline of game updates. CCP has delivered more content, gameplay improvements and balance changes this year than in any previous year and the game has been significantly improved as a result, but most of the updates have flown right under the radar of most gamers. I’ve even seen some current players complaining about problems on the forum that were actually fixed earlier this year or are already in the works. The problem is a lack of visibility for updates as CCP drip-fed them throughout the year rather than packaging them up as a big expansion that could make a splash in the media.
Brianna Royce (@nbrianna, blog): Trove. Trion pulled Trove almost out of nowhere, and its lean development created what no other studio to date has done: made a really great Minecraft MMO. It’s fun, it’s cute, it’s creative, and not enough people are talking about it because of the voxel graphics, but it provided some of the most MMO fun I had in 2015.
Eliot Lefebvre (@Eliot_Lefebvre, blog): Star Trek Online. I’ll be the first to say that STO has some issues, but it’s still a game I like, and it’s still the closest that any game has come to replicating the feel of City of Heroes’ endgame. A lot of its underrated nature, I believe, comes mostly from the fact that people who aren’t a fan of the IP get bounced off of the hull (which would be like me missing Star Wars: The Old Republic due to the IP – a real shame), or just bouncing off of the opacity of its systems as presented. Once you get into the game, it sings, and it’s consistent in updates, filled with content, and offers a lot of different ways for everyone to play.
Jef Reahard (@jefreahard): Lord of the Rings Online is severely underrated both for the depth and breadth of its game world and content offerings and for continuing to put out large, quality updates (Minas Tirith) despite parent company Turbine having a rough year.
Justin Olivetti (@Sypster, blog): Trove. Trove might not seem like a “serious” MMO, but it has proven to be quite a popular title. Its launch and subsequent playerbase explosion showed that Trion did this little game right — and it continues to do so as it adds more classes and features on a regular basis. And RIFT didn’t have a massive expansion this year. but it did put out a few strong updates, including one that turned a raid into an instant adventure zone and another one that added a new calling (and six new souls) into the game for the first time since launch.
Larry Everett (@Shaddoe, blog): A game that I played very little of, yet it still made a mark on me is Trove. It launched this year right under the nose of most people, but because of the issues that Trion was having with ArcheAge at the time, it largely went unnoticed. Of course, staff here at MassivelyOP noticed it, so it’s hard to call it underrated by us. But the MMO community at large has probably not heard of this cute, voxel-based game.
Matt Daniel (@Matt_DanielMVOP): For me, it’s Elite: Dangerous (again). Yeah, I know it’s not really a “true” MMO, since there’s a single-player version of the game, but since the multiplayer side of the game puts all the players on a huge single server, I’m going with it. I’ve seen it get a lot of love in niche circles, but I think Elite: Dangerous deserves more attention for providing players with a huge spacefaring sandbox that, although still lacking in a few areas, provides multiple open-ended avenues of advancement ranging from trading and exploring to bounty hunting and pirating. Plus, if you’ve got yourself a joystick-and-throttle setup, Elite: Dangerous provides an immersive, in-cockpit experience that certain other big-name space sandboxes simply cannot provide.
MJ Guthrie (@MJ_Guthrie, blog): My vote goes to The Secret World. True, it isn’t new in 2015, but it has continued to offer players new content even with such a small team and amid financial woes. And the Halloween event this year was top-notch! The tie-in of a single-player experience with The Park was brilliant.
Tina Lauro (@purpletinabeans): I have to give a massive shout-out to Marvel Heroes here, even though I haven’t personally given it more than a cursory glance. I love how dedicated the team is to bringing out new heroes, I get a kick out of the fast-paced action, and the passion for the IP oozes off of Brevik when he talks about the game. I’m actually mad at myself for not getting into Marvel Heroes in 2015, so maybe that can be my resolution for 2016. I want to also give an honourable mention to SWTOR for much the same reason: I love what it does on paper, but I haven’t given the game the time it really deserves, largely because its key dates tend to clash with my beloved Guild Wars 2’s!
Trove won our award for most underrated MMO of 2015. What’s your pick?
What's the most underrated MMO of 2015?
- Trove (8%, 160 Votes)
- Marvel Heroes (4%, 71 Votes)
- EVE Online (3%, 61 Votes)
- Star Trek Online (7%, 152 Votes)
- Lord of the Rings Online (7%, 135 Votes)
- RIFT (2%, 46 Votes)
- Elite: Dangerous (8%, 161 Votes)
- The Secret World (13%, 267 Votes)
- Guild Wars 2 (4%, 87 Votes)
- The Elder Scrolls Online (16%, 324 Votes)
- WildStar (6%, 117 Votes)
- Final Fantasy XIV (4%, 78 Votes)
- Skyforge (2%, 48 Votes)
- Star Wars: The Old Republic (6%, 120 Votes)
- ArcheAge (1%, 24 Votes)
- Neverwinter (1%, 15 Votes)
- TERA (2%, 35 Votes)
- World of Warcraft (3%, 52 Votes)
- Wander (2%, 45 Votes)
- Something else - explain in the comments! (1%, 29 Votes)
Total Voters: 2,027