Massively OP’s Best of 2017 Awards: Best MMO Studio of 2017


Massively Overpowered’s end-of-the-year 2017 awards continue today with our award for Best MMO Studio of 2017, which was awarded to ZeniMax last year. We asked our writers to consider major MMORPG studios in 2017, not just their pet favorites, and judge the studios on what they did within the MMORPG genre this year specifically. 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 MMO Studio of 2017 is…


Andrew Ross (@dengarsw): Oh man, this one’s actually hard, but I’m going with ZeniMax again this year. I had some serious issues with their customer support when Morrowind launched, but the developers are awesome and the designers seem as if they know their audience and MMO history by avoiding certain traps *cough* housingcrisis *cough*.

Brendan Drain (@nyphur): ArenaNet. By only a narrow margin this year after the mount skin thing.

Brianna Royce (@nbrianna): I always go for City State because while I’m still twiddling my thumbs over beta one, the communication line to that studio just cannot be beaten. As for live MMO studio, I’m gonna go for Square this year. Square’s communication and gumption for just doing the right thing the right way (housing issues aside) are so good that I really wish I were a Final Fantasy person.

Eliot Lefebvre (@Eliot_Lefebvre): Square-Enix. Some years, there are lots of studios that are doing good work. Other years, it seems like every studio has something horribly dumb that it’s been doing. There are really only a handful of studios I can think of for this list that even deserve to be nominated. Square, meanwhile, manages to keep updating its self-described maintenance mode game, provides plenty of events and player engagement, and generally does everything right; even its screw-ups involve the studio taking it on the chin, apologizing, and striving to do better. Which is really weird for me to type, but here we are.

Justin Olivetti (@Sypster): ZeniMax. Oddly enough, I think Blizzard’s my #2 pick this year with WoW Classic, a great Hearthstone expansion, and frequent World of Warcraft updates, but ZeniMax gets my respect for regular updates, a well-received expansion, and the housing update. Plus that game’s lockbox and business model scene doesn’t seem as shady as some.

MJ Guthrie (@MJ_Guthrie): I cannot decide between Digital Extremes and Grinding Gear Games for best studio. Digital Extremes has amazing community involvement and interaction. The team shows its investment in the game and the community all the time (and not just at its convention). Digital Extremes streams multiple times a week and covers all of Warframe’s platforms. Not only that, the devs really interact with the audience during these. The team puts plenty of heart and effort into improving the game and offering players more — just look at Plains of Eidolon. And Grinding Gear Games may not have a ton of streams or a convention, but it is the most consistent company for putting out regular content. Besides offering new content and leagues, I really feel that the devs listen to the wants of their specific community and add things to benefit them. You also can’t ignore that these two studios have the best payment models out there!

Tina Lauro Pollock (@purpletinabeans): I’m echoing the ZeniMax votes for this because it just feels right: Solid support, an ear to the ground for new trends, and frequently demonstrating that player feedback is important keeps ZeniMax at the top of the pile.

ZeniMax and Square-Enix won our award for Best MMO Studio of 2017. What’s your pick?

Reader poll: What was the best MMORPG studio of 2017?

  • ZeniMax (20%, 168 Votes)
  • Square-Enix (20%, 163 Votes)
  • ArenaNet (10%, 81 Votes)
  • City State (3%, 22 Votes)
  • Digital Extremes (5%, 44 Votes)
  • Grinding Gear (6%, 49 Votes)
  • BioWare (0%, 4 Votes)
  • Kakao (1%, 10 Votes)
  • Blizzard (12%, 102 Votes)
  • CCP (1%, 5 Votes)
  • Funcom (2%, 13 Votes)
  • Sandbox Interactive (0%, 2 Votes)
  • Trion (1%, 5 Votes)
  • (0%, 1 Votes)
  • En Masse (0%, 0 Votes)
  • Standing Stone (4%, 34 Votes)
  • Daybreak (1%, 8 Votes)
  • Perfect World - Cryptic (1%, 9 Votes)
  • NCsoft West (0%, 2 Votes)
  • Carbine (1%, 5 Votes)
  • Jagex (0%, 3 Votes)
  • ArtCraft (1%, 7 Votes)
  • Frontier (0%, 3 Votes)
  • Cloud Imperium (3%, 22 Votes)
  • Portalarium (1%, 10 Votes)
  • Bungie (0%, 3 Votes)
  • Nothing (4%, 35 Votes)
  • Something else (tell us in the comments) (1%, 12 Votes)

Total Voters: 822

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Poll options include all games nominated plus other games we thought would be worthy.

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