Massively OP’s 2019 Awards: Indie MMO of the Year


Massively Overpowered’s end-of-the-year 2019 awards continue today with our award for Indie MMO of the Year, which was awarded to Project Gorgon last year. All indie MMOs, crowdfunded or not, are eligible for this award; the game needn’t actually have launched yet, though it does need to be in some form of playable state. Don’t forget to cast your own vote in the just-for-fun reader poll at the very end!

And the MassivelyOP staff pick for the Best Indie MMO of 2019 is…


Andrew Ross: Albion Online.

Andy McAdams: It was a bit of a slow year for indies. We had lots of chatter from the usual suspects – Gorgon, Villagers & Heroes, and AQ3D – but there wasn’t anything that really stood out to me when I was doing the nominations.

Brianna Royce: I’ve basically known I was going to go to bat for Villagers & Heroes for this award this year with our team ever since I wrote the post on the summer expansion and realized that this adorable little indie MMORPG put out more content in 2019 than World of Warcraft. It’s on PC and mobile too. I’ve played it off and on for years now and it’s a charmer – it deserves way more love and attention than it gets, and the devs really do pour a ton of effort and polish into it.

Carlo Lacsina: AQ3D, Villagers & Heroes. This is a full fledged MMORPG in a phone, the monetization is fair and if you need a desktop MMO experience the size of your pocket, then this is really one of the best games to play. It’s got a clean design, easy to understand mechanics, and it’s got that self-aware humor any millennial will enjoy!

Chris Neal: Villagers & Heroes. I’m not coming from a place of experience here, but this one looks like one of the most fully-realized small-team MMORPGs going. Maybe I should give this one a close look for a future edition of Choose My Adventure…

Colin Henry: Gorgon, Villagers & Heroes.

Eliot Lefebvre: Uh… I know Project Gorgon didn’t do much this year of note, but it’s still Project Gorgon, right? That’s where I’m going.

Justin Olivetti: Project Gorgon continued to add a lot of weird skills and interesting areas over the year, but I want to lend my voice to Villagers & Heroes for being that scrappy little MMORPG that impresses us with its moxie and work — including a huge summer expansion.

Mia DeSanzo: Gorgon, Albion, V&H. I wrote about Gorgon this year, and it was my original choice for this category. It’s both innovative and a call-back to earlier styles of gameplay.

MJ Guthrie: Citadel Forged With Fire, AQ3D. At first, I didn’t think of AQ3D as an indie game, but when I stopped and took stock of how small the Artix Entertainment team is and how the studio creates and self-publishes everything, I realized it is indie! So my vote goes to AQ3D. If we were not looking expressly at MMORPGs, I would also add in Citadel: Forged with Fire.

Samon Kashani: Albion Online. I really adore Albion Online. It hasn’t had that sticky factor yet for me to become a game I regularly log into and play, but every time I do step into the game I enjoy every minute of it. The vast amount of things to do and directions to go is really awesome. I think this title is special and Sandbox Interactive hit it out of the park. I can’t wait for the mobile version to drop, I’ll be all over that!

Tyler Edwards: My vote is for Occupy White Walls. I’ve never played it, but it’s just so different, and I think that deserves respect.

Project Gorgon and Villagers & Heroes tied for our award for Best Indie MMO of 2019. What’s your pick?

Reader poll: What was the best indie MMO of 2019?

  • Villagers and Heroes (39%, 251 Votes)
  • Project Gorgon (16%, 105 Votes)
  • Albion Online (5%, 34 Votes)
  • Occupy White Walls (1%, 8 Votes)
  • AdventureQuest 3D (3%, 19 Votes)
  • Star Citizen (7%, 43 Votes)
  • Elite Dangerous (4%, 24 Votes)
  • Ship of Heroes (8%, 51 Votes)
  • Crowfall (2%, 13 Votes)
  • Ashes of Creation (1%, 9 Votes)
  • Pantheon (3%, 21 Votes)
  • Dual Universe (0%, 3 Votes)
  • Camelot Unchained (3%, 18 Votes)
  • Legends of Aria (2%, 12 Votes)
  • Ever, Jane (1%, 7 Votes)
  • Fractured (0%, 0 Votes)
  • Chronicles of Elyria (0%, 2 Votes)
  • City of Titans (1%, 8 Votes)
  • Exocraft (0%, 0 Votes)
  • OrbusVR (1%, 5 Votes)
  • One Hour One Life (1%, 6 Votes)
  • Something else (tell us in the comments!) (1%, 8 Votes)

Total Voters: 578

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How does MassivelyOP choose the winner?
Our team gathers together over the course of a few weeks to nominate and 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.
How does MassivelyOP populate this poll?
Poll options include all games nominated plus other games we thought should and would be in the running.

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Rodrigo Dias Costa

Great choices there! I’ve tried Project Gorgon Demo this weekend after seeing the CMA and God, I’ll purchase it, it’s so awesome! Also, V&H does a great job on the mobile front right now, same can be said about AQ3D. Also I see Albion as a very polished MMO, but sadly it didn’t stuck with me, yet I can see its qualities.

The indie MMO devs are putting out some awesomely worthy titles up there. That’s amazing.


Thanks for mentioning Villagers and Heroes. I’ve been looking for a mobile MMO I could play since my computer broke.

I don’t much like the F2P business model, but there doesn’t seem to be any good B2P mobile MMORPGs. At least, I haven’t seen any.

I started playing Villagers and Heroes today, and it seems good… for a F2P game. I’ve enjoyed it, so far. It’s nice that it doesn’t feel dumbed down for being on my phone. If I wasn’t taping on my screen to move, I’d almost think I was playing an MMO on my computer again. It’s a fun game… despite being F2P.


I for one play it on PC and lemme tell you that it plays just fine on PC too, the game was released on PC first after all haha, mobile only came out 2 years after the initial release, which was in 2014 iirc

Castagere Shaikura

Villagers and heroes all the way for me. The improvements to that game within the year were amazing. The game is just a blast to play. Heck, I even like the crafting in it and that says a lot for me as I’m not big into crafting in most MMO’s. I would love to see MJ do more streams of it.

Kickstarter Donor

Quite a few of those aren’t even out let alone in beta or open alpha etc. so it is hard to say which is the best as most I haven’t had my grubby little hands on yet and certainly aren’t in a state where a determination of what they are or aren’t is fixed enough to be relevant.

I can say other than Star Citizen and the trio of Supers games in development not much else this year floated my boat in any way in the MMO genre for me it was a very non plus MMO year and the only thing that got my slightly excited (Peria Chronicles) got cancelled.. but that said for the indie developers even if they aren’t appealing to me I still hope they do well as some true gems in gaming have come from Indie developments over the years.

So i’ll abstain from voting in this one ;)


Kind of think COH Resurrection would qualify as an independent now, no? If it does, that gets my vote.

Otherwise, Elite: Dangerous, for being so good within its niche that you actually forget it’s an independent on a shoestring

Oleg Chebeneev

Villagers & Heroes over Star Citizen? Lol


Well while I’m a huge fan of SC, I think it’s not really an “indie game”, at least not following the popular definition by which indie games are “created by individuals or smaller development teams”.

In 2018 we had 475 ppl working on SC, by now propably even more as CIG is hiring like crazy. SC should be removed from the poll, it simply isn’t an “indie” game.

Oleg Chebeneev

I agree. Judging by the rest of the list, SC shouldnt be included.

Bruno Brito

SC is not a game.


One Hour One Life is an MMO? Huh. Didn’t know that. I’ll have to check it out.

So, Project Gorgon. Yup, it has evolved and continues to enhance its systems which are pretty intricate considering that most of it is the work of one creative dev and a few helpers here and there. Where there was nothing now there is something worth while. Kudos to Project Gorgon!


Judging by amount of crashes and bugs – Red Dead Online should be in the list.

Also it’s not entirely correct to put Elite Dangerous into he list: its parent company has annual revenue in 8 digits, hardly an indie anymore.


the game needn’t actually have launched yet, though it does need to be in some form of playable state

I disagree with this being part of the criteria. Games should be voted on what the final product looks like, not what the developer would like it to be. May as well rename the category “Unfinished MMO of the Year”.

What are we voting on? Most ambitious scope? Best developmental progress? Least amounts of character wipes? What is the rating scale here?


Based on the quoted criteria I’m wondering why COE was included on this list?

So far, we’ve seen nothing playable.

K8 D

V&H has come a long way since being A Mystical Land on fb. Such a gem!