Massively OP’s 2018 Awards: Best Not-So-Massively Game of 2018


Massively Overpowered’s end-of-the-year 2018 awards continue today with our award for Best Not-So-Massively Game, which was awarded to Warframe 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, battle royale titles, and other games that tread into MMO territory but aren’t quite there. Once again, we’ve opted to include pre-2018 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 the Best Not-So-Massively Game of 2018 is…


Andrew Ross (@dengarsw): Pokemon Go. I don’t know if Niantic finally “gets it” or if Nintendo’s standing behind it with a red shell aimed at its last balloon, but the game’s second year really improved everything. And I’m writing this between the Let’s Go tie-in and (currently) up-coming PvP introduction. The weather system makes getting into the game easier, community days help people connect with their local communities, the friend’s list gives you reasons to reach out if you haven’t, trading makes having friends who play a lot better, and now Let’s Go gives you a new, separate game that has enough in common with PoGo that those getting bored with the latter can migrate or enhance the experience of the former. Why can’t other MMO remakes/sequels take a note from this?

Brendan Drain (@nyphur): Warframe. If there’s one multiplayer title we cover here at Massively that really stood out from the crowd this year, it has to be Warframe. It’s been an incredible year for this online shooter, with the successful release of the Fortuna expansion adding new open world spaces set on the surface of Venus that made the game feel far closer to a true MMO than ever before. Other reveals at TennoCon this year built a lot of anticipation, and its recent release on the Nintendo Switch capped off an amazing year of development for a game that hasn’t even officially launched (if you can believe that). I’d also like to give a nod to Path of Exile in this category, which is still going strong in a year in which Blizzard let down Diablo fans, and No Man’s Sky for actually delivering on all of its promises and going further with an unexpected major underwater biome update.

Brianna Royce (@nbrianna, blog): There is so much love for Warframe from our staff and in our community, and so much push to add MMO systems and gameplay in Warframe, that eventually this game is going to be in contention for MMO of the year, I’m pretty sure, but in the meantime, I can back it for the best NSM game without hesitation. Boatloads of content, good business model, great studio, growing playerbase. This one’s on top.

Chris Neal (@wolfyseyes, blog): Warframe has just been killing it for a fairly decent while now and they don’t show any signs of slowing down. The fact that they’re embracing their “true MMO” side with open world content updates is obviously something to be excited for, especially since so many people seem to be liking what they see. Keep it up, Digital Extremes! Runner-Up: Dauntless. I love me some Monster Hunter World, truly I do, but something about Dauntless is just far more endearing to me. Maybe it’s the style, or maybe it’s the comparative simplicity, but I enjoy the heck out of this game.

Eliot Lefebvre (@Eliot_Lefebvre, blog): Frankly, we need to stop considering Warframe as a not-so-massive game because… damn, folks, this one is something big. If you’ve been sleeping on it, stop it; this is worth your time. It’s a fun ride and I have lots of good things to say about it, and this year just continued its steady glow-up.

Justin Olivetti (@Sypster, blog): I’ll go with either Sea of Thieves (which had a rocky start but shaped up with some good updates) or the continued reign of Fortnite. I wouldn’t argue too much about Path of Exile, either.

Matt Daniel (@Matt_DanielMVOP): Warframe. Digital Extremes really stepped up this year, bringing a constant stream of content updates to an already-overflowing game and even hosting a full-on ARG for its Fortuna expansion. It may not be an MMO in the most traditional sense, but Warframe’s done a great job of bringing its playerbase together to explore a rapidly expanding universe.

MJ Guthrie (@MJ_Guthrie, blog): This award goes to Warframe! Over the past three years I have watched this game rocket propel itself forward, even more so in 2018. The game pushes boundaries and breaks through them. There is no sitting on laurels of success here. After wondering how Digital Extremes would top Plains of Eidolon, the studio cracked its knuckles and said, watch this — then launched Fortuna, expanding the game world multi-fold. The world is not just larger but has more things to do beyond just “go here, shoot that.” It has more of a living world feel to it that I can wander and immerse in. And with the introduction of this new faction, it added a story I cannot wait to unravel. Of all things, Fortuna has even gotten me actually looking at and caring about builds! Talk about a miraculous development. And I can’t leave off the awesome music that I want to sit and listen to beyond just the loading screen. *sings We all lift together!* I cannot wait to see what DE comes up with next year, but I’ve much to enjoy in the meantime.

How does Massively OP choose the winner?
Our team gathers together over the course of a few days to discuss candidates and ideally settle on a consensus winner. We don’t have a hard vote, but we do include written commentary from every writer who submitted it on time so that you can see where some of us differed, what our secondary picks were, and why we personally nominated what we did (or didn’t). The site’s award goes to the staff selection, but we’ll include both it and the community’s top nomination in our debrief in January.

Warframe won our award for Best Not-So-Massively Game of 2018. What’s your pick?

Reader poll: What was the best Not-So-Massively game of 2018?

  • Warframe (24%, 106 Votes)
  • Path of Exile (21%, 95 Votes)
  • Fortnite (3%, 15 Votes)
  • Sea of Thieves (3%, 13 Votes)
  • PUBG (2%, 7 Votes)
  • Fallout 76 (4%, 17 Votes)
  • Overwatch (3%, 13 Votes)
  • Red Dead Online (2%, 9 Votes)
  • Pokemon Go (3%, 15 Votes)
  • Elite Dangerous (2%, 10 Votes)
  • Worlds Adrift (0%, 0 Votes)
  • League of Legends (1%, 3 Votes)
  • Conan Exiles (4%, 16 Votes)
  • Monster Hunter (5%, 24 Votes)
  • Rend (0%, 1 Votes)
  • No Man's Sky (7%, 32 Votes)
  • H1Z1 (0%, 2 Votes)
  • Hearthstone (0%, 1 Votes)
  • ARK Survival Evolved (1%, 4 Votes)
  • Dauntless (2%, 7 Votes)
  • SMITE (1%, 5 Votes)
  • Elder Scrolls Legends (0%, 2 Votes)
  • Destiny 2 (4%, 20 Votes)
  • Nothing (4%, 20 Votes)
  • Something else (tell us in the comments!) (2%, 8 Votes)

Total Voters: 378

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Poll options include all games nominated plus other games we thought had a chance!

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I haven’t played many if not most of these games, but out of the ones I have played Fallout 76 has been the most fun. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Random MMO fan
Random MMO fan

Fortnite. I don’t play much but it’s still the most polished one with largest amount of overall players and also the most challenging since u play against other people. Still best way to get your casual PvP fix.


Yup. The game gets some ridicule, I’m guilty of it, but it is solid and fun. There is a reason why it is popular. And it is a quick fix with no baggage.


I haven’t played Fornite since super early beta, but there’s no doubt in my mind that it has completely dominated the year in gaming. It now occupies a similar place in the zeitgeist that WoW did 10 years ago. If you don’t play Fornite, you probably still know someone who does.

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I voted Sea of Thieves because it is new on the scene and I feel Rare accomplished it’s goals. It is one of the few games released in the past two years where it isn’t a barrage of complaints and negativity. That counts for something right now.

I almost wish Microsoft would make a real effort and get back into the games making business. They could fill a void and maybe right some of their own wrongs of the past.


I think Warframe stepped into the MMO ranks a while back so I voted for PoE.

Matt Comstock

I haven’t played Warframe or Path of Exile, so I couldn’t give them an award. I’m looking forward to PoE on PS4 this coming February. I put Conan Exiles on top of the games listed that I have played (ie. MHW, D2, FO76, NMS, ARK, CE, and Hearthstone).


I’d love to try Warframe one of these days, but sometimes it just looks incredibly grindy.

Cyclone Jack
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Cyclone Jack

I figure this one will be a close tie between Warframe and Path of Exile. Both are amazing games. Personally, I voted for PoE as I put more time into it than Warframe this year.

Patreon Donor

Path of Exile. I may have a healthy dose of criticism for it, but to me it’s still better than every other game on that list.


Voted Path of Exile but Warframe is pretty damn good. Shortcomings for both games are the same for me ironically. Both are grindy and both re-use tilesets. Like them both almost equally.