Massively OP’s 2018 Awards: Most Improved MMO of 2018


Massively Overpowered’s end-of-the-year 2018 awards continue today with our award for the Most Improved MMO, which was awarded jointly to Trove and Guild Wars 2 last year. All live MMOs, regardless of release date, were eligible for this award, provided they made improvements this 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 Most Improved MMO of 2018 is…


Andrew Ross (@dengarsw): Pokemon Go if I’m allowed. It’s miles better, and I know several staffers that admit to having come back!

Brendan Drain (@nyphur): RuneScape. In a year when some of the biggest MMO studios tripped over their own feet, almost 17 year old MMO RuneScape just kept going with frequent updates to both the main game and its RuneScape 2 legacy version OldSchool RuneScape. There have been regular events throughout the year and developers have stayed on top of messaging to players with its RuneFest event, Month Ahead videos, quick-fire patch note roundup videos, and content previews. What really tipped the scale for me this year on RuneScape was the release of mobile versions for both the main and OldSchool versions of the game. As an old ex-player, I gave the OldSchool RuneScape mobile version a try to see if it lived up to what I remember and soon found myself logging in on the train or any time I had a free moment to play. The mobile versions are the exact same games and log into your actual characters on the same servers as usual, just with the user interface adapted to mobile devices where possible. There are certain activities that you’ll probably want to do on your PC, but shorter or more repetitive tasks such as smithing or slaying dragons can be safely done on mobile whenever you have a minute or two to spare. I would hope that this strategy stands out to other developers as the ideal model to use when creating a mobile version of an MMO.

Brianna Royce (@nbrianna, blog): I didn’t really have a super strong opinion on this one going in, but several writers persuaded me that RuneScape deserves it. Look, this game is one of the oldest living MMORPGs in the entire genre, and yet it’s not only still alive but absolutely thriving, in part because Jagex has spent so much time and effort appealing to multiple playerbases and platforms at a time when other studios claim it can’t be done. Both RuneScape and Old School RuneScape leaped to mobile this year, and that alone is a huge deal for an MMORPG.

Chris Neal (@wolfyseyes, blog): RuneScapeRuneScape feels like one of those elder statesmen that just gets better with age. Its update cadence has been a bit wobbly now and again, but not without good reason and pretty impressive results. I hope to be hearing about this game for many years to come. Maybe even a hint at what’s next?

Eliot Lefebvre (@Eliot_Lefebvre, blog): Jagex and I are not on speaking terms, but frankly, the studio has been pushing out a hell of a lot of stuff for RuneScape’s various incarnations this year.

Justin Olivetti (@Sypster, blog): Black Desert’s remastering campaign improved both the already amazing graphics and music to make it one of the best-looking and -sounding MMOs on the market, hands-down.

Matt Daniel (@Matt_DanielMVOP): RuneScape.

MJ Guthrie (@MJ_Guthrie, blog): Noting that “improved” is a measurement of distance traveled, not a reflection of where the journey started ( it does not have to mean going from bad to good), I give this award to RuneScape. Even though Jagex erroneously called it the first cross-platform MMO for mobile and PC, it did reinvigorate Old School RuneScape by introducing the game to mobile. And with mobile, this old, nearly ignored-by-the-masses MMORPG hit massive numbers of downloads. How many games get those numbers, let alone how many super old ones? Even I started playing!

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.

RuneScape won our award for Most Improved MMO of 2018. What’s your pick?

Reader poll: What was the most improved MMO of 2018?

  • RuneScape (5%, 23 Votes)
  • World of Warcraft (2%, 10 Votes)
  • Guild Wars 2 (5%, 20 Votes)
  • Elder Scrolls Online (30%, 130 Votes)
  • Black Desert (7%, 31 Votes)
  • EVE Online (3%, 12 Votes)
  • Final Fantasy XIV (5%, 22 Votes)
  • TERA (1%, 3 Votes)
  • Star Wars The Old Republic (3%, 13 Votes)
  • Blade and Soul (1%, 3 Votes)
  • Secret World Legends (2%, 7 Votes)
  • Pokemon Go (3%, 12 Votes)
  • Lord of the Rings Online (5%, 23 Votes)
  • Skyforge (0%, 1 Votes)
  • Star Trek Online (1%, 4 Votes)
  • Neverwinter (0%, 1 Votes)
  • DC Universe Online (0%, 2 Votes)
  • RIFT (0%, 0 Votes)
  • Dungeons and Dragons Online (5%, 22 Votes)
  • Aion (1%, 3 Votes)
  • Lineage II (0%, 1 Votes)
  • EverQuest II (0%, 2 Votes)
  • Project Gorgon (3%, 11 Votes)
  • Trove (0%, 1 Votes)
  • ArcheAge (0%, 1 Votes)
  • Elite Dangerous (3%, 11 Votes)
  • Nothing (12%, 54 Votes)
  • Something else (tell us in the comments!) (3%, 13 Votes)

Total Voters: 396

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

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Ashfyn Ninegold

I’ve got nothing as well. I stopped playing WoW when I realized what a disaster BfA would be. I’ve played ESO and LOTRO quite a bit and dabbled a bit in Shroud of the Avatar, BDO, Tera, and a few others, without anything really sticking. And I didn’t see any noteworthy improvement in anything I played outside of Path of Exile 3.0.

I think I’ve played more SP titles this year than I have in a long time. All in all, it was more fun watching the dumpster fires some studios lit than it was playing any of their games.



That’s it? :(

Danny Smith

Honestly? i’ve got nothing. Games either chugged along like reliable machinery or continued a slow decline. I can’t name a single thing i’ve played that was this huge revamp/breath of fresh air. The good stayed mostly good. Some didn’t. Trash was still trash.

Toy Clown

This is probably the first year where I’ve retreated into two MMOs this year and hardly touched any others. While I know FFXIV’s improvement didn’t skyrocket in improvements this year, it’s still a game that works hard to bring quality-of-life features every patch, and new content. Even if those are small changes, it’s great for a subscription game.

BDO… I have such a love / hate relationship with the game, but I often play the heck out of it… alone. Sadly. It’s an MMO that I’d love to share gameplay with others, but find too many of the players I come across too toxic for my tastes. Maybe one day I’ll find some cool peeps to hang with there. :) What hasn’t been mentioned about BDO’s vast improvements this year is that they have made the main story quest lines more cohesive and they tell more of the story of the game world now. The quests were remastered and put into the same patch as the addition of Archers. I’m enjoying going through one series of those quests now, as it’s giving easier access to the lore.

I haven’t played much this year, but FFXIV and BDO have both made good strides forward.


I went with “nothing.” None of the MMOs I played this year showed any signs of improvement. Unlike some others, I couldn’t really vote on something just because a pal says it’s improved.


I don’t play ESO, can’t stand the combat, but good gracious that game has almost too much content, and you can do most of it without a restrictive level requirement.

Oleg Chebeneev

Btw I dont get it how release of Runescape mobile makes Runescape the most improved MMO. It just adds a new way of playing old version, thats it. I checked 2018 updates and while there are many, they all look like minor patches to me.
None of MoP editors post convinced me even slightest. Maybe somebody who actually plays Runescape as a main game can comment on how 2018 was for the game?

Bryan Correll

Don’t you have a phone?!?


No option for Path of Exile =[

I’m pretty surprised none of the staff mentioned it at all in their nominations.


I don’t know, if a game can improve that much more, if it has already been that great!

Massively OP’s 2018 Awards: MMO Studio of the Year


You can always improve. The completely reworked Master system, hideout system, and crafting recipe system that was released a few weeks ago are massive improvements on the systems that were in place before.


I didn’t say, you can’t improve, but you’ve already done massive leaps beforehand, when you’re already at the top!

Bruno Brito

The “smaller” games are leaving the triple A on the dirt. Warframe, PoE, OSR, they’re all in a better state than WoW is, for instance.

I can’t speak for Runescape 3, or just Runescape. Apparently, OSRunescape has been improved quite a bit, while still keeping it’s old school feelings.

Oleg Chebeneev

Didnt Warframe add huge open world expansion recently that drastically increased available landmass? Or was it last year?

Its devs look to be serious about improving the game.


Yes, they expanded it quite a bit. But for me, it was not actually improving the game a whole lot. The positives of the game are still there, but so are the negatives.

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Last year and this year I believe. Two different zones. Basically making Warframe more MMORPG than most of the games covered here.

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They added huge (in terms of landmass) 4 person instances with a large quest hub that can hold a lot more folks. Its a good game and I enjoy playing it but yeah it has some limits too.