Massively OP’s 2018 Awards: MMORPG of the Year

    
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NO I GET THE REAL HEADER NO BLOOPERS

Massively Overpowered’s formal end-of-the-year 2018 awards draw to a dramatic close today with our award for MMORPG of the Year, which was awarded to The Elder Scrolls Online last year.

Longtime readers of this site and Massively-that-was will recall that in 2014, we couldn’t reach consensus on an MMO of the year; so many of us voted “nothing” that “nothing” is exactly what won. The following year, we took readers’ feedback 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 the MMORPG of the Year for 2018 is…

Final Fantasy XIV

Andrew Ross (@dengarsw): Project Gorgon. I’m not currently playing it, but it hit both the nostalgia notes and the innovation ones. I know it looks a bit rough around the edges, but its guts are far more interesting than most of the other MMOs I fired up this year.

Brianna Royce (@nbrianna, blog): Final Fantasy XIV. It’s partly a result of what other games didn’t quite get right as much as it’s about what XIV nailed. My gut on this was to throw for Elder Scrolls Online again this year, but I thought aside from Summerset, its 2018 DLC fell a bit flat. That was the case for most of the AAA MMORPGs… some good stuff, some bad. XIV had nothing bad. It just kept on solidly plugging along, and it ended the year with a huge bang. It deserves this. I also want to hat tip Project Gorgon, which took Best Indie MMO, but I think it deserves a mention here too. There are a couple of others, like Boundless, that I think will see more love in the “best new MMO” poll next week.

Chris Neal (@wolfyseyes, blog): The consistency and quality of updates that Final Fantasy XIV puts out is beyond reproach and thoroughly appreciated besides. In a year where it felt like lots of games were either on shaky ground or infrequently updating, the team behind XIV just keeps on keepin’ on, which inspires all sorts of confidence in the game’s longevity. I can’t wait to see where it goes next.

Eliot Lefebvre (@Eliot_Lefebvre, blog): Final Fantasy XIV suffers from the Usagi Yojimbo problem. The game is not just good, but so consistently good that it’s hard to find new things to say about it. It’s a brilliant, beautiful, wonderful game, full of stuff to do, and I came back from this year’s fan festival excited to play it not just from anticipation but because the convention reminded me of how much I already like it. Seriously, this is another one not worth sleeping on, and it’s just been consistently delivering good updates the whole year through. When your biggest criticism of a game is that this year’s huge sprawling set of new zones in a new content style was more contentious than the last expansion? It’s going well.

Justin Olivetti (@Sypster, blog): WoW Classic. The MMO field seems really ripe for legacy servers, and the BlizzCon demo generated a lot of buzz and fond memories. Can we go back again? Perhaps… perhaps.

Matt Daniel (@Matt_DanielMVOP): Final Fantasy XIV. In a year of not much happening, FFXIV is the one game I keep coming back to again and again.

MJ Guthrie (@MJ_Guthrie, blog): As much as I can’t answer for our floppy/stormy outlook category, I also find it hard to answer Game of the Year for MMOs. Part of that is how dang disappointing MMORPGs have been over the last few (many?)years. That said, I am still impressed with how Final Fantasy XIV keeps trucking along, with devs and a studio head who take responsibility for actions and work hard to deliver a good product. And deliver they do! Without scandals, black-eyes, and nefarious shenanigans. That’s a huge plus. I may not play personally (though if there were a few more non-sub days to sneak in I would!), but the enthusiasm of staff who do is great. My one complaint would be the housing issues because I don’t want to get invested in a game I can’t get a house for, and I’d never get one there.

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.

Final Fantasy XIV won our award for MMORPG of the Year for 2018. What’s your pick?

Reader poll: What was the best MMORPG of 2018?

  • Final Fantasy XIV (48%, 1,378 Votes)
  • Elder Scrolls Online (16%, 453 Votes)
  • World of Warcraft (4%, 115 Votes)
  • Guild Wars 2 (7%, 192 Votes)
  • Black Desert (2%, 71 Votes)
  • Star Wars The Old Republic (1%, 32 Votes)
  • EVE Online (1%, 33 Votes)
  • Star Trek Online (0%, 6 Votes)
  • Lord of the Rings Online (2%, 66 Votes)
  • TERA (0%, 13 Votes)
  • DC Universe Online (0%, 5 Votes)
  • Bless Online (0%, 10 Votes)
  • Blade and Soul (0%, 10 Votes)
  • Boundless (0%, 3 Votes)
  • Dungeons and Dragons Online (1%, 33 Votes)
  • RuneScape (1%, 28 Votes)
  • Project Gorgon (1%, 33 Votes)
  • Secret World Legends (0%, 13 Votes)
  • Elite Dangerous (0%, 11 Votes)
  • RIFT (0%, 4 Votes)
  • EverQuest II (0%, 5 Votes)
  • Path of Exile (2%, 53 Votes)
  • Destiny 2 (1%, 23 Votes)
  • Skyforge (0%, 1 Votes)
  • ArcheAge (0%, 4 Votes)
  • Warframe (3%, 78 Votes)
  • Shroud of the Avatar (0%, 12 Votes)
  • Neverwinter (0%, 9 Votes)
  • One Hour One Life (0%, 4 Votes)
  • Worlds Adrift (0%, 2 Votes)
  • Monster Hunter World (1%, 33 Votes)
  • Pokemon Go (1%, 15 Votes)
  • The Crew 2 (0%, 3 Votes)
  • Nothing (3%, 89 Votes)
  • Something else (tell us in the comments!) (1%, 23 Votes)

Total Voters: 2,590

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

Definitely Final Fantasy XIV. I also like ESO and play it pretty often but it’s combat and animations are still somewhat stiff and not that much exciting and fun to watch / do after a while so I only play ESO in shorter bursts, because I got bored after longer period of time.
FF XIV on other hand, great animation, great music, great story in this year’s patches, my fav is Under the Moonlight, really incredible peace of storytelling.

Reader
Chris Walker

ESO for me. I’m also a fan of EVE and WoW. Final Fantasy XIV has too much eastern influence in its visuals for me, but I’m always glad to hear of MMOs that are doing well.

Reader
Dragon Whimsy

Bless! It had the most entertaining launch of the year. Well… until Fallout ’76. And then Atlas.

Wow… this year was realllllly bad for new releases with MMO elements.

Reader
Malcolm Swoboda

My best MMO has been Secret World Legends, but that’s totally exclusively to my experience. Games I wanted to dive into like ESO, didn’t happen. Games I wanted to try like FFXIV, I didn’t. Games I wanted to see recover like RIFT, didn’t. But what I did play, was South Africa in SWL (essentially to current content completion, save for half the vendor item grind), and off-and-on otherwise. I had the most playtime with the most enjoyment in this game.

So its like a winner by default.

Game I played second most was RIFT (including Prime). In Prime, I got to Lv 40s months ago before first my life cutting my gaming hours short, then Trion being bought and my confidence in the game diving down a lot. If early/first half 2018 can show me otherwise (Live = most of remaining POA expansion rolled out or coming, Prime = Storm Legion not abandoned in its pre-T1/in-T1 status), I may return, or even spend some $10s.
Until then, I’m looking into exploring SWTOR (deleted all my characters but kept Legacy, joined a guild, got a 7-day free sub that I used to make several class/alien alts to use later as Preferred-F2P) and ESO (no DLC, just seeing if I can complete 1+ faction stories).
SWL will have me off-and-on again and I did even buy a discounted South Africa pack, but it won’t have me in 2018 unless the main story progresses, hopefully South Africa gets even more filled (there’s clearly room for 2+ more bigger missions), and all or almost all the TSW content (being fair and not counting seasonal, but I want that too) returns. Condensing the difficulties into the equal to E1, E5, and E10 would be nice too.

Reader
Dennis Schmelzle

While I like both FFXIV and ESO and they are my two favorite games atm, I would always put eso in front of ffxiv because the amount of things to do in eso is so much more than ffxiv IMHO.

Yes all the dlc’s of ESO require buying or an sub, but that’s how I compare ffxiv and eso, both with a running sub. And in this situation eso even gives me virtual currency to buy stuff in they shop plus much more content, better housing, voice acted quests, and so on.

Reader
Charlie Hundersmarck

EQEmu, the EverQuest emulator project, particularly the 2002-era EQMacintosh revival, The Al`Kabor Project.

Reader
Coolit

There is not any other MMO even close to FFXIV in terms of product quality, consistency and developer trustworthiness in 2018 so its no surprise it won.

Games like ESO and GW2 are fine however I would never vote for them due to these companies selling predatory gambling boxes knowing fine well what they are doing.

Great job SE!

Chestnut Bowl
Reader
Chestnut Bowl

Even when I’m not subbed to FFXIV, I still follow what goes on. I agree with what was said by the staff: FFXIV is just a solid title with great, consistent updates. It’s not trying to be everything to everyone (despite all of the minigame additions).

Also, I love being able to level every class on one character.

Reader
Steven Williams

Why is WoW Classic even mentioned here?

And yes, I voted FFXIV because it’s just, well, doing well. TESO and Guild Wars 2 are doing fine as well, but TESO released less content and Guild Wars 2 has the whole lockbox gambling thing.

Reader
Arsin Halfmoon

I DEMAND WE ADD ONE MORE CATEGORY THIS YEAR. BEST SERVER CHAT. AWARD GOES TO BDO.

Also, BDO’s my game of the year. Here’s the funny thing. FFXIV got me into BDO because when Eureka came out, I didn’t realize how much I wanted a classic MMO experience with a mix of the modern. BDO scratched the itch FFXIV didn’t.

Fair win, but ugh, FFXIV winning is boring.

Giantbomb didn’t award best graphics engine to Frostbite because they felt that it was too obvious and wouldn’t give nuance to the award. Maybe next year we can think about considering the other games that didn’t win the past few years. Because if we just keep awarding it to the obvious ones, it’ll get stale.