Massively Overpowered’s end-of-the-year 2017 awards continue today with our award for Best Not-So-Massively Game, which was awarded to Overwatch last year. As you might surmise, the games eligible for this category are online games that generally aren’t considered traditional MMORPGs – they’re MOBAs, online dungeon crawlers, ARPGs, online shooters, survival sandboxes, and other games that tread into MMO territory but aren’t full MMORPGs. Once again, we’ve opted to include pre-2016 titles, as long as they accomplished something truly notable in this calendar year. 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 Not-So-Massively Game of 2017 is…
Andrew Ross (@dengarsw): I’m going with Overwatch. The Uprising event isn’t Blizzard’s best work, but it was a solid reminder that the company can actually balance lore and mechanics well enough when they actually try. You can enjoy the IP well enough from the non-game media and merchandise that feels everywhere these days, but the character quips mid-battle, attempts to incorporate a broader cast of characters, and some attempts at cultural sensitivity have been refreshing this year. The multiple platforms its available on and (what feels like) a stronger push for global localization has made this one of the titles I can bring up with lots of gamers. I also want to say Pokemon Go, but beyond a bit of a push for exercise and in-person multiplayer, lots of Nintendo mobile games can do similar things with less tech and more, well, gameness. That’s why I’ll go with Splatoon 2. It has a lot of the good parts of Splatoon 1 – objective based “PvP,” free updates, no micro-transactions, community events and an awesome fanart community– plus local multiplayer. I actually made a new friend in part to sharing my Switch with a Switchless person as I hit up the Salmon Run mode with some guys. It’s what I’d love about a mobile/PC hybrid, but sadly I’ve only found these experiences with Nintendo IPs.
Brianna Royce (@nbrianna): Warframe. Look, we’re in a genre where most games fail, most non-MMORPGs are toxic cesspits, and companies are pillaging the MMORPG genre. Warframe, however, has a great community, solid studio, good business model, and success in spades – and it’s leaning in to the MMORPG genre. What’s not to like? I would have been just as happy to see Path of Exile win this, however, though I consider it much closer to an MMORPG. SMITE and Overwatch also get played quite a bit in my household, so I can’t help but nod to them too.
Eliot Lefebvre (@Eliot_Lefebvre): Warframe. This is becoming less NSM as time goes by, isn’t it? And that’s why I’m giving it the nod. Because seriously, out of a collection of games that are not my jam, this one is becoming much closer to my jam.
Justin Olivetti (@Sypster): Fortnite and PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds both took the gaming industry by storm this year, elevating the battle royale design to be scorchingly hot. I might not really see or get the appeal, but appeal it does have, and the millions upon millions of players that flocked to these online shooters testify to that effect.
Larry Everett (@Shaddoe): I’m torn on this one because this game also did some very terrible things this year, but SWBF2 did a lot of things right, too. The single-player campaign was very interesting and fun to play. The PvP — especially starfighter combat — has been a lot of fun. Too bad lootboxes are holding this game back for a lot of people.
MJ Guthrie (@MJ_Guthrie): It’s a tie for me between Warframe and SMITE. I almost feel like I can’t nominate Warframe here because it broadened its scope here so much more into the MMORPG realm with its Plains of Eidolon expansion. Here you have a game that was all about single missions move into the realm of open world adventures. It was quite the bold move, and one that paid off tremendously. Tons of people started trying and playing the game thanks to that one move. Warframe shattered its concurrency record again, and that was even before the expansion hit the consoles! I saw this play out personally as a number of friends jumped into the game and got hooked. SMITE also earns love for its introduction of the adventures. Talk about branching out in fun ways to bring more people to a game they may not have done otherwise! Heck, I’ve logged more SMITE hours than I ever would have imagined. And I keep going back for each new adventure. The different adventures are something new to play every six weeks, from racing to dungeons to arenas. In addition, I am learning and getting comfortable with more gods, something I can take with me into other parts of the game in between adventures. I’d nominate Path of Exile too for doubling the the game’s story (Acts V through X) and consistently adding cool expansions and content like clockwork.
Tina Lauro Pollock (@purpletinabeans): Splatoon 2 wins this by a long stretch in my home! I’m not into this sort of game myself, but I spend hours watching my husband play and adore the frantic pace of the action and helping him create the freshest character possible. The singleplayer campaign is very cute and is a direct expansion of the last story: I loved that the last Splatfest of the original game affected the campaign as well.
Warframe won our award for Best Not-So-Massively Game of 2017. What’s your pick?
Reader poll: What was the best Not-So-Massively game of 2017?
- Warframe (49%, 394 Votes)
- Overwatch (6%, 51 Votes)
- SMITE (1%, 6 Votes)
- Splatoon 2 (1%, 12 Votes)
- Path of Exile (11%, 87 Votes)
- Pokemon Go (1%, 9 Votes)
- PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds (4%, 33 Votes)
- Fortnite (2%, 15 Votes)
- Star Wars Battlefront 2 (0%, 4 Votes)
- Destiny 2 (4%, 34 Votes)
- Gigantic (0%, 3 Votes)
- Paladins (0%, 4 Votes)
- Paragon (0%, 2 Votes)
- League of Legends (1%, 6 Votes)
- GTA Online (1%, 6 Votes)
- ARK: Survival Evolved (1%, 7 Votes)
- Conan Exiles (3%, 23 Votes)
- The Division (2%, 14 Votes)
- Atlas Reactor (1%, 6 Votes)
- Diablo III (2%, 18 Votes)
- Elder Scrolls Legends (1%, 8 Votes)
- HEX (0%, 4 Votes)
- Hearthstone (2%, 13 Votes)
- Dota 2 (1%, 6 Votes)
- Nothing (3%, 27 Votes)
- Something else (tell us in the comments) (2%, 14 Votes)
Total Voters: 806