Massively OP’s 2020 Awards: Most Underrated MMO


Welcome to Massively Overpowered’s formal end-of-the-year 2020 awards!

Every year, we poll our writers on the best and worst MMOs, stories, studios, and trends and assign awards to the winners (and “winners”). For the last six years now, we’ve been splitting our awards into individual articles so we can explain them in detail, and we’re doing that again, as well as applying our staff decision-making format, by which we attempt to reach a consensus for each award but still post all our writers’ personal nominations too. Per tradition, we’re including just-for-fun reader’s polls at the end so we can compare our picks with yours! We’ll be putting up one of these formal awards every day for the next couple of weeks, culminating with GOTY… er, MMOOTY.

Today’s award is for the Most Underrated MMO of 2020, which was awarded to Lord of the Rings Online last year. As is our tradition, launched pre-2020 MMOs are eligible for many of these awards, including this one, as long as they accomplished something truly notable in this calendar year.

And the MassivelyOP staff pick for the Most Underrated MMO of 2020 is…


Brianna Royce: Lord of the Rings Online, Star Trek Online. LOTRO has my heart; I continue to think it deserves much more love than it gets, not that the studio as a whole seems that interested in holding on to that love. I had so much fun with the Great Wedding content this year, after avoiding LOTRO for a really long time. But I think Star Trek Online deserves a nod too, so I can wholly support it winning Underrated this year – it is seriously underrated! It’s consistently pumping out content and holds a strong playerbase and a decent company, and it’s never, ever in a million years let a good promotional tie-in go to waste. I’m just as happy to see it win.

Carlo Lacsina: V4. I consider this game a gem in the mobile sphere. Even though it’s a mobile game, it’s playable on the computer and runs pretty well. Not many people will probably attach to this game, and because it follows the usual monetization strategy of other mobile MMOs, I understand why some folks won’t ever bother to touch this game. But it’s a no-frills grindy Lineage-like MMORPG. It’ll hold me over until NCsoft decides to release the new Lineage game, whenever the heck that’s going to be!

Chris Neal: Star Trek Online, Black Desert Mobile, AdventureQuest 3D. You know what? Everyone’s right. STO does seem to soar under the radar even if it does have the strength of the IP’s official support and some actually really fun gameplay. I’m still not a particularly big fan of this one’s business model, but my time in this game during Choose My Adventure alongside my husband really showed what this game does well in spite of itself. As for my runners-up? People sleeping on mobile MMORPGs and Korean MMORPGs are doing themselves a disservice nowadays, and Black Desert Mobile has more gameplay and more fun going on in it than mobile titles have a right to. I never thought mobile MMO gaming could be this nice to experience, and the game continues to see a lot of interesting new features.

Eliot Lefebvre: City of Heroes, Star Trek Online. I’ve long been a vocal advocate of Star Trek Online’s many positive qualities, and I think they tend to get overlooked in light of some gross decisions regarding business model or the sheer opacity of many game systems. Still, it’s a great Star Trek game and a fantastic title all around.

Justin Olivetti: Star Trek Online, Neverwinter, SWTOR. I can’t think of another MMO that leverages its IP to the extent that Star Trek Online does. With loads of tie-ins to all of the Trek franchise from the ’60s through the brand-new series, STO is a love letter to trekkies and a great game besides. I don’t even like the new Trek shows, but I’ll still play STO for its awesome space combat and often well-written episodes.

MJ Guthrie: Star Trek Online is not getting nearly enough credit for what it does. It takes a famous IP (with a major fan base) and not only does something with it but honors it! True-to-IP stories are developed and voice actors are brought in to reprise their iconic characters, both lending to really feeling like you are a part of it all. If you weren’t a Trekkie before, you could become one just by playing. Just look at the Klingon Civil War arc, which includes some very favorite characters like good old Martok! There are even plenty of events for chances to gain lots of goodies, from combat pets to high-tier ships. (Let’s just not discuss how horrifically grindy these events sometimes can get.) STO deserves more kudos and attention.

Sam Kash: Albion Online. The game is just so jam-packed with content, and the studio keeps pumping in more. You can craft, do PvE dungeons, and even complete in big PvP battles. It’s extremely accessible too.

Tina Lauro Pollock: Albion Online.

Tyler Edwards: Anthem. I’m going to go with Anthem, just because I’m still sad it didn’t get the love it deserves. The gameplay is such a cut above other shooters.

Star Trek Online took our award for Most Underrated MMO. What’s your pick?

Reader poll: What was the most underrated MMO of 2020?

  • Star Trek Online (10%, 345 Votes)
  • Lord of the Rings Online (3%, 119 Votes)
  • Neverwinter (1%, 34 Votes)
  • SWTOR (4%, 135 Votes)
  • Black Desert and BD Mobile (1%, 31 Votes)
  • Albion Online (58%, 1,968 Votes)
  • AQ3D (1%, 18 Votes)
  • V4 (0%, 3 Votes)
  • RuneScape (1%, 44 Votes)
  • Dungeons and Dragons Online (12%, 414 Votes)
  • Phantasy Star Online 2 (1%, 34 Votes)
  • ArcheAge (0%, 10 Votes)
  • Skyforge (0%, 9 Votes)
  • Blade and Soul (0%, 10 Votes)
  • Project Gorgon (1%, 44 Votes)
  • PlanetSide 2 (1%, 34 Votes)
  • DC Universe Online (0%, 12 Votes)
  • RIFT (1%, 31 Votes)
  • Secret World Legends (1%, 23 Votes)
  • Aion (0%, 16 Votes)
  • Wurm Online (0%, 15 Votes)
  • TERA (0%, 16 Votes)
  • Something else (tell us in the comments!) (2%, 57 Votes)

Total Voters: 3,224

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How does MassivelyOP choose the winner?
Our team gathers together to nominate and discuss candidates and hopefully 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. We did not include major MMORPGs that frequently win major awards unless directly nominated by staff.
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