Massively OP’s Best of 2016 Awards: MMORPG of the Year


Massively Overpowered’s end-of-the-year 2016 awards continue today with our award for MMORPG the Year, which was awarded to Final Fantasy XIV 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, which was a depressing way to end the year. So last year, we took readers’ advice and opened this category up to all MMOs, provided they did something noteworthy this year. We’ve done the same this year, though as you’ll soon see, we needn’t have.

All of our writers were invited to cast a vote, but not all of them chose to do so for this category. 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 2016 is…



Andrew Ross (@dengarsw): I want to give it to SWTOR because I’m a Star Wars fan and Bioware fan. Same with Guild Wars 2, but the only real MMO that got me to invest any kind of time into them beyond reviews was Landmark. I’m terrible at building stuff, and couldn’t get into Minecraft at all, but Landmark made me run to work once or twice. That’s gotta mean something.

Brendan Drain (@nyphur): EVE Online. EVE Online has gone from strength to strength throughout 2016, and the recent introduction of free alpha clone accounts has brought concurrent player activity up to a level that hasn’t been seen since 2014. A new fully voiced tutorial makes it far more likely for new players to stick with the game long enough to join the community, and the EVE community has done itself proud in welcoming newcomers into the fold. The forums, subreddit, and in-game chat channels are bristling with fresh faces attracted by the free to play option, and the community is being frequently praised for its help and patience. Some major corporations and alliances have even adopted new alpha clone players, giving them free ships and even bringing them along on PvP roams.

Brianna Royce (@nbrianna, blog): I’m going to sound like a broken record, but The Elder Scrolls Online… 2016 belonged to ESO. You gotta remember that 2014, the year most of our staff voted for “Nothing” as the GOTY? That was the year Elder Scrolls Online came out, along with ArcheAge and WildStar. That’s how far this game has come. Still, I can look up at Black Desert and be pretty darn content that it’s the winner — those two games competed for hits all year and are worthy adversaries as well as proof that sandbox gameplay is very much in demand.

Eliot Lefebvre (@Eliot_Lefebvre, blog): Black Desert. Unlike our resounding year of nothing, this year my problem isn’t that no game deserves the nod, it’s that a lot of games deserve it for doing well throughout the year, improving, staying the course and working well. Final Fantasy XIV, Black Desert Online, The Elder Scrolls Online, and Star Trek Online have all done solid, dependable work from January until now, and I think any of them would be more than worthy of earning the big nod at the end of the year. And that’s with me discounting certain other titles for various reasons, like deciding that WoW spent too much time in a content lull to get the nod. So there are lots of good candidates. Ultimately, then, I’m giving the nod to the newest of a wide field. Good work, guys; sure, none of you stood head and shoulders among the rest, but that’s because you all were doing really well instead of floundering.

Justin Olivetti (@Sypster, blog): Black Desert. Proving that there’s a massive hunger for MMO sandboxes, Black Desert took the scene by storm this spring and has enjoyed a fairly strong year. It’s not been perfect, to be sure, but the visuals, housing, and future content all speak well for this game. Runner-up: World of Warcraft. Legion and the subsequent updates brought back WoW from a slippery slope slide into irrelevancy. It’s actually kind of cool to play WoW again.

Larry Everett (@Shaddoe, blog): I am going to give the MMORPG of the year to a game that I thought I would never even play let alone give an award to: World of Warcraft. Legion not only tore many of my friends from the various games that I was playing at the time, but it was also interesting enough to get me — a long-time WoW opponent — to buy the game and expansion. I still don’t play the game on the regular, but it really changed my mind about what WoW was, and I am glad that I called the game home for a short time.

MJ Guthrie (@MJ_Guthrie, blog): Even though I gave it the the biggest industry blunder, I’d have to give game of the year to Black Desert. It wins not because it looks awesome (it really does) but because of the sheer volume of things you can do in it. It is the closest to a fulfilling sandbox as we’ve seen in quite some time — and you don’t have to wade through FFA PvP to enjoy those various sandbox features. There’s housing, fishing, good combat, phenomenal character creation, and interesting crafting system, horse taming, trade running, horse breeding, and sailing on top of the usual questing. And hey, if a game can make me of all people really enjoy a melee class, you know there’s some magic going on!

Tina Lauro Pollock (@purpletinabeans): I throw my vote to World of Warcraft. I wouldn’t have imagined saying that this time last year, which is indicative of how well Blizzard has handled the game and its community in 2016. A very close runner-up shoutout of course goes to my beloved Guild Wars 2 for the team’s significant work over the last number of months in matching its content delivery cadence with what is physically maintainable behind the development curtain without boring players to tears with unjustifiably long content droughts as we faced for so long. Living World Season 3 has been fantastic too!

Black Desert won our MMORPG of the Year award for 2016. What’s your pick?

Reader poll: What was the best MMORPG of 2016?

  • Black Desert (17%, 251 Votes)
  • World of Warcraft (15%, 221 Votes)
  • Elder Scrolls Online (22%, 324 Votes)
  • EVE Online (3%, 41 Votes)
  • Landmark (0%, 3 Votes)
  • Final Fantasy XIV (11%, 153 Votes)
  • Guild Wars 2 (7%, 108 Votes)
  • Star Trek Online (1%, 21 Votes)
  • Star Wars The Old Republic (3%, 41 Votes)
  • Blade and Soul (1%, 10 Votes)
  • Riders of Icarus (0%, 5 Votes)
  • Skyforge (0%, 2 Votes)
  • Neverwinter (0%, 4 Votes)
  • RIFT (1%, 8 Votes)
  • ArcheAge (1%, 11 Votes)
  • TERA (0%, 6 Votes)
  • WildStar (1%, 11 Votes)
  • DC Universe Online (0%, 2 Votes)
  • Lord of the Rings Online (3%, 43 Votes)
  • The Secret World (2%, 22 Votes)
  • EverQuest II (0%, 7 Votes)
  • RuneScape (0%, 6 Votes)
  • The Division (1%, 10 Votes)
  • Destiny (0%, 7 Votes)
  • Ascent (0%, 1 Votes)
  • Path of Exile (1%, 21 Votes)
  • Tree of Savior (0%, 1 Votes)
  • Otherland (0%, 1 Votes)
  • Warframe (1%, 13 Votes)
  • Marvel Heroes (1%, 11 Votes)
  • Nothing (5%, 78 Votes)
  • Something else (tell us in the comments!) (1%, 10 Votes)

Total Voters: 1,453

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Poll options include all games nominated plus several major MMOs from the last few years.

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