The Daily Grind: Which MMO offers the best sky views?

I know it’s a simple and basic thing, but I absolutely adore a great skybox in my MMORPGs. There’s something about looking up at a majestic and vibrant sky in-game that puts me right in the middle of the world and immerses me in the environment.

Fallen Earth will always be remembered fondly by me for its gorgeous sunsets, and World of Warcraft definitely brought it with some of its painterly clouds and patterns in the latest expansion. Lord of the Rings Online and Final Fantasy XIV both have crystal clear nights full of twinkling stars that make one feel small and awed.

Which MMO offers the best sky views and which zone makes for the best gazing? Bonus points if you include pictures!

Every morning, the Massively Overpowered writers team up with mascot Mo to ask MMORPG players pointed questions about the massively multiplayer online roleplaying genre. Grab a mug of your preferred beverage and take a stab at answering the question posed in today’s Daily Grind!
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Castagere Shaikura

I could name so many. But i’m going to go back to my first mmo. Anarchy Online really got me with its sunsets over the city zones alot. And when you got a flying yalm or jetpack it really was amazing to just land on top of a tall building and watch the sun setting.

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outbound_flight

Another vote for LOTRO. I resisted posting a bunch of pictures of the ceiling in Moria.

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Bryan Turner

I would say ESO and GW2 have the best sky boxes.

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Doubleplusgood

ESO is the only MMO I can think of that has sun rays which make some really nice screen shots of sunny skies.
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Stormwaltz

Yeah, the sun effects in ESO are spectacular. ESO is also the only game (MMG or otherwise) I can think of where the stars actually twinkle at night. All of them, not just a few large ones. It’s not an effect you can capture in a screenshot, unfortunately.

Plus it has a full lunar phase cycle, with moons that look truly three-dimensional (check out the crater limb shadowing). The aurorae in northern regions. The way storms adjust to fit the biome; rain in temperate areas, hazy sandstorms in the desert, glowering red ash-storms in volcanic regions. And while it’s not “skybox” per se, you have to respect the combination of clouds and shadow Molag Bal can produce. The only weakness in ESO’s skies is the way scattered clouds can look “painted on.”

ESO’s team obsesses over details. I noticed if you stand under a stone arch bridge, there’s a subtle “tunnel echo” applied to all the sound, just as you’d expect in IRL. Any bridge. I don’t even know how you’d do that. (Make it part of the model somehow?) And though interior windows aren’t transparent, most have sunbeams that actually clock across the room in synch with exterior lighting conditions, with full shadowing of any pane details.

The detail in ESO’s art is insane, stunning, and utterly immersive. I stand in frank admiration.

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Doubleplusgood

Oh I never knew about the twinkling stars, ill have to check that out!

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Oleg Chebeneev

Star Citizen ofc. The only MMO where sky is real, not a skybox

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theblackmage75

SWTOR’s Ilum is breathtaking. When I imagine visiting strange other worlds, that’s basically what I see in my mind.

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Robert Basler

Spent 10 minutes just watching the skies for shooting stars in Final Fantasy XIV, never done that in a game before.

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Dug From The Earth

I like how a lot of people avoid saying WoW because its such a mixed bag. The vanilla zones had some of the WORST skies in any game… however, some of the newer expansions had some truly breath taking skies, often with massive events taking place.

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Dagget Burmese

Eve is great sky in any direction!

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Knox Harrington

As someone who holds true to their convictions and refuses to touch a game with lootboxes, my options are quite limited. There’s what? WoW and FFXIV? Ugh. Gaming has turned to utter shit. What am I playing? I’m playing the “Fuck Corporate Greed Blues” on my harmonica.