Massively OP’s Best of 2017 Awards: MMORPG of the Year

Massively Overpowered’s end-of-the-year 2017 awards continue today with our award for MMORPG of the Year, which was awarded to Black Desert 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. The following year, we took readers’ advice and opened this category up to all live MMOs, regardless of launch year, provided they did something noteworthy this year. We’ve done the same this year. 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 the Year for 2017 is…

THE ELDER SCROLLS ONLINE

Andrew Ross (@dengarsw): Elder Scrolls Online. The justice system, unique phasing/instanced housing, playable werewolves/vampires, level scaling content, battle bears… I’ve never even finished an Elder Scrolls game and I’m rooting for it again! Runner up: Final Fantasy XIV. Another game with a (largely) happy player base, passionate developers, a good business model and reasonable updates… it may sound like what should be the industry norm, but especially these days, it’s not.

Brendan Drain (@nyphur): Abstain. I know a lot of people will expect me to vote for EVE Online, but it’s really not in a good position this year. Player activity is in a definite slump, even the Lifeblood expansion didn’t make much of a splash, and the community team being axed was just slap in the face to players. Nothing else really impressed me this year, Elder Scrolls Online had some very well-received updates and people seem extremely happy with it right now, but I didn’t play it.

Brianna Royce (@nbrianna): Elder Scrolls Online. In fact I thought Elder Scrolls Online deserved it last year too, but I was outnumbered and Black Desert was a worthy adversary that also deserved it, so I had no cause to be sad. In a way, I’m kind of glad it all shook out as it did because taken holistically, ESO is even better this year than last, adding huge patches like housing, multiple DLC, and the massive Morrowind expansion. It managed to weather its controversies nicely too (I’m thinking of the fuss over chapters vs. DLC). I’m glad to see it getting its due this year, especially since it launched relatively poorly and has come such a long way now.

Eliot Lefebvre (@Eliot_Lefebvre): The Elder Scrolls Online. The big difference, as I see it, is that FFXIV had a great big great expansion halfway through the year. ESO spent the entire year delivering updates that are smaller, but just as good, and coming down off of another spectacular year of development after a really great 2016. The game has never been better than it is right now, and between housing, big content updates, and all of the various system improvements… yeah, it’s time for it to get that of-the-year feather. Runner-up: Final Fantasy XIV

Justin Olivetti (@Sypster): Secret World Legends. As annoyed as I am at Funcom for the long content drought, the retirement of The Secret World, and the apparent inability to transfer characters, I have to admit that SWL has been a shot in the arm for this game. The new combat and better quest flow are welcome improvements, and there’s a lot of excitement over the development of this title. Can’t wait to see what comes next!

Larry Everett (@Shaddoe): Elder Scrolls Online. It just cannot seem to do anything wrong this year, it keeps improving, and the game is just great for new and old players. It’s strange to me that the bar has been set so low: If a studio doesn’t mess things up, then it’s the best. But that’s where we are now. ESO didn’t really do anything wrong.

MJ Guthrie (@MJ_Guthrie): I am always pretty happy when games do well because that’s a good thing for the genre. But I think Elder Scrolls Online has done a great job at steady positive progress. ZeniMax isn’t just doing the minimum to get by; it feels as if the game is on an upward trajectory with plenty of substance being added. This year there’s a whole new area to explore with new stories to play through, a new class, instanced PvP, and –a major bonus in my book — a new housing system. Did I mention it now has housing? And pretty cool housing at that! This feature alone made crafting an even bigger deal as furniture came into play as a new marketable item. I can’t ignore that it also added peripherally a whole new way to experience the Elder Scrolls with The Elder Scrolls Legends collectable card game. It’s all good stuff and made a good game even better.

Tina Lauro Pollock (@purpletinabeans): I’m sad to say that I’m not voting for Guild Wars 2 this year: While I absolutely feel that it is my personal MMO of the Year, it has the best expansion of the year, and I am absolutely enjoying my time spent in-game, I realise that it’s not leading the way the game that gets this title should in terms of audience connection, so it gets a runner-up spot for me. My winning vote has to go to ESO. It blends fabulous, innovative mechanics with heavy player appeal and engagement, so it’s everything the GOTY should be.

The Elder Scrolls Online won our award for MMORPG of the Year for 2017. What’s your pick?

Reader poll: What was the best MMORPG of 2017?

  • Elder Scrolls Online (48%, 1,147 Votes)
  • Final Fantasy XIV (8%, 195 Votes)
  • Secret World Legends (1%, 30 Votes)
  • Black Desert (5%, 108 Votes)
  • Guild Wars 2 (8%, 192 Votes)
  • World of Warcraft (11%, 267 Votes)
  • EVE Online (1%, 20 Votes)
  • Star Wars The Old Republic (1%, 35 Votes)
  • Destiny 2 (1%, 13 Votes)
  • Warframe (1%, 33 Votes)
  • Blade and Soul (0%, 10 Votes)
  • Revelation Online (0%, 1 Votes)
  • Riders of Icarus (0%, 1 Votes)
  • Star Trek Online (0%, 6 Votes)
  • Neverwinter (0%, 9 Votes)
  • Path of Exile (2%, 37 Votes)
  • Albion Online (0%, 11 Votes)
  • ArcheAge (0%, 8 Votes)
  • RIFT (0%, 4 Votes)
  • TERA (0%, 8 Votes)
  • Skyforge (0%, 2 Votes)
  • Lord of the Rings Online (2%, 42 Votes)
  • Dungeons and Dragons Online (1%, 33 Votes)
  • EverQuest II (0%, 10 Votes)
  • WildStar (1%, 24 Votes)
  • DC Universe Online (0%, 2 Votes)
  • RuneScape (1%, 16 Votes)
  • Elite Dangerous (1%, 20 Votes)
  • Nothing (4%, 89 Votes)
  • Something else (tell us in the comments) (1%, 16 Votes)

Total Voters: 2,389

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

MOP’S 2017 AWARDS (SO FAR)
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Kevin McCaughey

It’s interesting to see how lethargic the votes are. There are about three games there really getting any decent voting and I have played all three and think none of them give me what EQ gave me back in the day (or now).

We need a really good game to come out. Nothing worth playing for me at the moment.

Reader
Kevin

It’s a tough one for me this year to pick which MMO I think did the best. It’s a toss up between either Legion or Path of Fire. Blizzard fixed a *lot* of the issues people had with Legion going into this year, everything from making it super quick and easy to get an alt geared and up to 110 and raiding (the turn over rate for me is like a week of casual play to get an alt to 110 and able to queue for Antorus in LFR, and that’s with some pretty casual play). I’d dock some points I suppose with Tomb of Sargeras and the Broken Shore being meh, but Argus’ storyline, and the raid in particular, is one of the best I’ve seen in the game since the days of Wrath, the raid in particular is one of the most thematically fitting, unique, and all around fun raids for me since Ulduar and Throne of Thunder.

But then there’s also Path of Fire. Holy crap, that expansion was a piece of work. If you asked me if I ever thought GW2 could reach that point that Path of Fire has taken it back when the game came out, I’d have laughed until I was in tears. And yet here we are – a love letter to one of Guild Wars 1’s best expansions, a unique spin on mounts, a storyline that is super enjoyable to go through, and feels like a Guild Wars campaign, beautiful zones, clever new Elite Specs… It was just a good time for all. It wasn’t with out it’s faults, of course. Anet’s continued thick headedness about not making new dungeons or multile difficulties for raids still makes me shake my head, a lack of any major World Bosses in Elona and the Crystal Desert was a let down too, and the overall lack of difficulty in the story mode was just plain stupid (dying to the final boss, and being able to instantly respawn as if nothing happened is just dumb). But over all, it was still a great experience.

Meh, I pick both. WoW and GW2 both win my MMO of the year.

As a bonus response – I think the MMO that did the worst this year was FFXIV. Between Stormblood’s terrible launch issues, god awful patch content, and an overall lack of trying on SE’s side to try to innovate or make the game feel more then just a hallway simulator and boss guantlet for “Raids”, I feel like XIV has taken some serious steps back from what it was like in ARR and even HW. Here’s hoping SE can fix their stuff in 2018, because I really do like FFXIV, but the game’s just falling behind in terms of it’s competitors. I shouldn’t feel like I’m playing an MMO from ten years ago when I boot up FFXIV, and yet that’s the feeling I get.

Ernost
Reader
Ernost

I’m disappointed to see this game win, considering they locked the materials storage behind a sub. Not even SWTOR with their notoriously scummy pay model stooped that low.

Reader
Jonny Sage

Meh, I just started playing ESO again, and its just not very multiplayer. Sure I see people, but they appear to just be interacting with invisible things. Dungeon finder never seems to pop at low level. No group missions. No real need to work together. It seems to work pretty well as a solo MMO though.

Reader
Wanda Clamshuckr

Like with all MMO’s, you get out of them what you put into it.

Guilds will fix your issues. There are a kazillion very social people out there that love to do group content, socialize, run events, etc.

Reader
Jonny Sage

Yeah i just mean there really isnt any need. Pretty much everything can be soloed except the trials.

Reader
connor_jones

I give it to GW2 by default, which means that I was less unhappy with it than the other MMO’s I’ve played this year. That said, the Paths of Fire expansion was pretty solid, even if Anet didn’t quite knock the ball out of the park with it.

Reader
Bryan Turner

It’s sad really that GW2 stuck to its guns regarding keeping raids at a single tier, that coupled with the constant grief got I from the Raiding community and forum moderators (who only saw an agitator while refusing to see the message) for advocating for Storymode Raids, people looking down their nose at you for playing a Power Reaper (like I’m playing a Bear Bow Ranger). The FINAL FUCKING STRAW the newest raid seemed designed thematically for Necromancer, yet Arena Net still misses the boat with the balance team by not buffing Reapers enough to be wanted in raids.

I really felt compelled to look for a new MMO when I’m told by the META heads that Reapers are still trash (for my own raid). I started logging in to ESO determined to make it work this time. Now I’m playing ESO, a game with superior combat, superior story telling, superior balance, more value for my dollar spent on a monthly basis.

Yeah I’ve only played ESO solidly for 2 weeks and it’s clear to me that it is decisively superior to any other MMO that I have played this year.

borghive
Reader
borghive

2002 combat animations makes MMO of the year? Oh how low we have sunk.

cambruin
Reader
cambruin

Because combat animations are game-defining, right? If you base judgement on that single fact, one so vulnerable to interpretation even, then the question is not how low ‘we’ have sunk, but what caused you to sink even lower?

Reader
qweazdak

I voted for ESO because nothing came close to the title. I do have to give a nod to another title. Path of Exile released the biggest update since its launch with Fall of Oriath, going from 4 acts to 10 acts and it launched on Xbox. I don’t consider it a MMORPG though.

Reader
Loopy

I would say it’s a toss up between ESO, FFXIV, and WoW for me.

As much as i’ve bitched about Stormblood not pulling me in, FFXIV is still a fun game with great mechanics, awesome graphics and fun dungeons.

ESO is my go-to MMO whenever i’m not trying out something new (or old) – the music puts me in an indescribable mood, and the storytelling and lore cannot be beat. When i’m looking for immersion – ESO is what i gravitate towards.

And WoW is.. well it’s WoW. I’ve been playing it on and off for many years, and it’s probably one of the best polished MMOs on the market, or even in history of MMOs.

I’ve voted for ESO however, because i like success stories. After an abysmal beta and a lackluster launch, Zenimax finally found their rhythm, and what we have today is a high quality MMO.

Reader
Mr Poolaty

Geezus E$O? I loved the PvP orally the best I’ve ever played but I haven’t played FFXIVs PvP yet but besides that the game is str8 trash and Matt Smugg Fior is an ass!!

hurbster
Reader
hurbster

‘loved the pvp orally’…

As long as you had fun.