The Daily Grind: Which MMORPG has the best graphical appeal in 2020?

    Venting prevents ex-plo-si-on.

    OK, graphics snobs, this unofficial annual award is for you. Now, I will play an old, clunky, beloved sandbox for a really long time. And do. (And don’t even start me on the weird City of Heroes mitten hands.) To me, mechanics trump graphics every time. But there is something to be said for breathtaking graphics. I mean, if I could have the best of both, I would take that too!

    Several MMORPG visuals impressed the heck out me this year, and usually I give my own nod to Black Desert or Guild Wars 2. But this year, I think EVE Online earned it. The gallery of pics CCP Games sent from World War Bee 2 honestly blew me away.

    If you were going to give out an award for best visual appeal in an MMORPG, which game would take the crown right now? Which MMORPG has the best graphical appeal in 2019?

    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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    I honestly don’t know, and really don’t care. I’m not a “graphics snob,” and really don’t understand what people are talking about when they say something like Warframe looks “dated.” Compared to *what*? WoW? Fortnite? The almost maliciously mundane looking PubGargle? I played Anthem. Other than having stupid levels of bloom and lensflare, and motion blur that made me feel sick I don’t think it looked particularly “better” than Warframe. Did it have a different art style? Yes. Better? Not in any way that I could see.

    Kickstarter Donor

    Black Desert for sure. I don’t think there is really anything to dispute in terms of raw graphic fidelity on that. Whether you enjoy stylized graphics or realistic, you have to give a nod to BDO. StarCitizen as well, though I dont call it an MMO.

    Stylized I would say Wildstar. I really enjoyed their graphic and style a ton. Environments were gorgeous and player models were very well done as well. Wildstar also had some of the most interesting races to play.


    Counterpoint: Why High Graphics Ruin MMORPGs – basically, style trumps graphics. We’ve got so many games going for the high-res “realistic” look that they all blend together. From the rest of the comments, the games that stand out are the ones with a distinctive style (Book of Travels, WoW) and their style will still show through even on low-res.


    Star Citizen is by far the one with the best graphics, even if it’s still in Alpha.

    Malcolm Swoboda

    Book of Travels, really.

    Dug From The Earth

    Not to confuse “appeal” with “technology”…. WoW still is the most visually appealing to me… especially Shadowlands, BFA and Legion content. It by no means pushes any technology boundaries, but there also arent any visual elements that make me upset with what I see.

    Plenty of newer games with beefier engines have just as many things I dont like as things I do like. Too much bloom, too much pop-in, messed up fidelity, too much blur, etc.

    Sometimes the easiest and most pleasing games to look at are ones that dont bombard your eyes with a visual dumpster of effects and rendering techniques.

    Robert Mann

    TBH I’m not certain. I’ve stopped playing the new ‘best graphically’ games almost across the board, as they end up feeling like something less than a fully realized setting. The problem being entirely something other than the graphics.

    I like good graphics, don’t get me wrong… it’s just that without some other substance that appeals the graphics are entertaining for only so long. I can go out and watch nature (at least usually, Covid has made that less a thing) instead if I want, or browse art that fills the need, or any number of other less cumbersome methods if all I want is something nice to look at.


    Black Desert is the prettiest, but pop-ins kill it for me. EVE may be, cause those screenshots are nice, but I can never tell what the hell is going on with that much stuff happening on screen. Last time I was in Star Citizen I was very impressed, although most of what I liked were cityscapes I couldn’t go out into.


    Black Desert is positively gorgeous… but the pop-in is (was?) atrocious and kind of ruins the effect.

    For all its many other issues, Star Citizen is also very pretty.

    Toy Clown

    Black Desert Online’s graphics kept me glued to the game far longer than I would have been with another MMO, so I have to give them kudos for their realism. I have to agree with another poster that the remastered graphics made the game … worse. It took a lot of mucking around with settings to get the graphics looking stellar and even then I had to watch tutorials. Patches that included new graphic features reset settings, which was another aggravation. To add to that, the old graphics didn’t hold up well and looked muted when I tried to revert. Once the graphics went wonky like that, I lost the last interest I had in the game. I don’t like mucking with stuff to the degree I end up frustrated. A lot.

    GW2 has a graphic style I love. It’s a combination of realism and styled. Admittedly, I run GShade to remove the flat look from the game.

    I love ESO’s graphics. Admittedly, I run ReShade with the game as well. I read somewhere that some games have some sort of process that doesn’t transfer well when playing it where graphics are concerned, thus causing the washed-out look. Due to my use of G/Reshade to enhance visual appeal in most games I play, my opinions on that part probably don’t pan out as well. But it is what it is!