Massively OP’s 2020 Awards: Biggest MMO Disappointment of 2020


MassivelyOP’s end-of-the-year awards for 2020 continue today with our award for Biggest MMO Disappointment of 2020, which was awarded jointly to the cancellation of Peria Chronicles and the decline of Guild Wars 2 last year. Disappointments can be games, launches, patches, trends, stories, sunsets, all manner of topics in the MMORPG genre and orbiting sub-genres. 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 Biggest MMO Disappointment of 2020 is…


Andrew Ross: Chronicles of Elyria. Even though I backed it early on, it became rapidly apparent that the devs, especially Jeromy Walsh, really hadn’t learned anything from gaming history. Having the MUD come first would have been interesting… and then they wanted the voxel version, and man, did anything come of any of this beyond excuses to raise more money? If they’d done something like One Hour One Life, then iterated on that, it would have generated some cash and goodwill.

Andy McAdams: Either Torchlight III throwing in the towel on the MMO or yet another year of Camelot Unchained being not a thing. Torchlight III going from full-fledged MMO to a carbon-copy of the previous game was the disappointment here for me. I’m not big on isometric games, but I was excited for the Torchlight III MMO and decided less than excited about the Torchlight III the Meh.

Brianna Royce: Having Torchlight Frontiers – which had just won a most anticipated award from us at the end of 2019 – and Magic Legends both downshift from being MMORPGs and becoming merely smaller-scale multiplayer. Magic Legends was never going to be my game, but I love Torchlight – and yet Torchlight III doesn’t seem like an appreciable upgrade over Torchlight II, so why did they bother? At least an MMO would’ve been something fresh and new for the franchise. The Alien game Cold Iron is (was?) working on downshifted away from MMOness too, and Pagan Online dropped its multiplayer approach altogether and really pissed off a lot of paying customers. I’m not a fan. For my runner-up, I’ll point at the fact that Guild Wars 2 boss Mike Z quit at the end of 2019, ArenaNet covered it up until we exposed it, and the studio still hasn’t acknowledged it or told its own playerbase who’s running the game more than a year later, which is not normal and is deeply disappointing from one of my favorite MMORPGs.

Carlo Lacsina: I’ll have to say Torchlight 3 snuffing out its MMORPG side. It’s like the time Anakin Skywalker snuffed out his light side. It’s tragic and really feels like wasted potential. When the original Torchlight came out, I remember some folks in the company saying that they had plans on making a sequel an MMORPG. I gave up on the notion after Torchlight 2 came out the way it did. But when I heard Torchlight 3 was going to be an MMORPG, I was elated! Imagine my disappointment when they decided not to do it. I would’ve loved an isometric MMO in the Torchlight universe.

Chris Neal: Torchlight Frontiers drops the MMO and MMOs downshifting to multiplayer. I’m not the sort to harangue about whether an MMO deserves the first “M” in the acronym, but I also have to admit that the shrinking of playerbases as a result of simply going small-scale multiplayer is sad, especially as someone who loves the ambient communal feeling of being in an active hub location. This was pretty keenly felt to me with Torchlight Frontiers, which really could have been at least a lot more interesting if it had leaned into its originally planned MMO leanings. Runner-up: Chris Roberts in general.

Eliot Lefebvre: Phantasy Star Online 2 and the Microsoft store launch.

Justin Olivetti: COVID delays and MMOs downshifting to multiplayer. Stop. Doing. This. Think bigger with your games, not smaller! I’m getting very tired at seeing studios back away from MMOs and scuttle to what it sees as a safer harbor with a reduced scope.

MJ Guthrie: I was pretty disappointed that Torchlight III ditched being an MMO. That was going to be my first foray into that IP, and my interest plummeted when it axed my favorite genre right out of development. Actually, I am just plain disappointed that MMORPG seems to be getting stripped out left and right. The de-MMOification of gaming is the biggest disappointment. It makes me sad.

Sam Kash: New World after trying it out. I’m not sold from a PvP or PvE side.

Tyler Edwards: Torchlight Frontiers giving up on being an MMO and horizontal progression. I’m not sure that downshifting from MMO is always a bad thing — I think it was absolutely the right call for Magic: Legends — but the shift from Frontiers to Torchlight III in particular seems to have canned or minimized a lot of what made the game interesting.

Torchlight III and the MMO downshift took our award for Biggest MMO Disappointment of 2020. What’s your pick?

Reader poll: What was the biggest MMO disappointment of 2020?

  • Torchlight III and other games veering away from MMO (13%, 143 Votes)
  • Guild Wars 2 hiding Mike Z's departure and successor for a year (5%, 51 Votes)
  • Chronicles of Elyria imploding (6%, 70 Votes)
  • Camelot Unchained still being nowhere near done and working on a second game (10%, 113 Votes)
  • And I quote, 'Chris Roberts in general.' (8%, 87 Votes)
  • PSO2's messy western launch (4%, 43 Votes)
  • SSG fumbling with LOTRO's outages, comms, and paid patch (5%, 57 Votes)
  • New World's current state or turn away from open PvP (6%, 66 Votes)
  • Ubisoft turns out to be super awful (4%, 42 Votes)
  • Crucible failboating (1%, 7 Votes)
  • Epic and Apple acting like tawdry idiots (4%, 40 Votes)
  • Everything getting heavy delays because of COVID (4%, 47 Votes)
  • Rend completely collapsing (1%, 7 Votes)
  • MapleStory 2 sunsetting (3%, 28 Votes)
  • ArcheAge Unchained's unapologetic business model bait and switch (6%, 63 Votes)
  • Population Zero becoming a non-entity (1%, 8 Votes)
  • BioWare apparently being on fire (5%, 59 Votes)
  • Not enough new MMOs in development (12%, 135 Votes)
  • Atlas Rogues not being as good as Atlas Reactor (1%, 6 Votes)
  • Something else (tell us in the comments!) (2%, 17 Votes)

Total Voters: 778

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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 disappointments nominated plus a few others we thought should be included.

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Turing fail
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Turing fail

Can’t believe CIG/Star Citizen didn’t offer $1200 ships timed to coincide with US COVID relief checks. Really dropping the ball there…

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Dean Greenhoe

I have to give a nod to Justin here.

I am disappointed that none of the big cloud storage companies are innovative enough to create a massive MMO world on the cloud that is accessible by all platforms so developers can crate games that access this world from anywhere and on any device. If you want cross play this world can be the ticket.


Hmm. Well, there is no one answer this year that should be the winner of the disappointment award.

IMO, it is a combination of issues that leads me to give this award to the industry as a whole. Heh.

Let’s be honest. There isn’t anything, aside from COVID, that is a new anomoly. And COVID is hardly a source of disappointment as it is a wonder that work continues and games were released this year even if behind schedule.

No, it is the same rigmarole, right? From Chris Roberts’ continued shilling of cool looking presentations and ships, to SSG’s fumbling around. It’s like the industry doesn’t learn from it’s mistakes.

MMORPG devs and pubs get the nod from me.

Thanks guys! Single player games are surging and other multiplayer games have a strong foothold on their ever evolving genre. In the mean time, MMORPGs, lack any cohesive improvement or selling point to move forward.

Franklin Adams

As much as I’d like to say Roberts being Roberts (incoming Blobbers in 3…2…1…)
or PSO’s abysmal western launch, neither really surprised me, neither did Ubisoft acting like assholes. What did was Guild Wars 2 hiding Mike’s departure.

I’m not really a fan, hell I’ve never played it even, but no normal game studio in any genre loses a EP or Director and then Glomar Responses anything about it for a year, it’s very unusual.

At most places, even if it was an acrimonious departure the studio will give a boilerplate “we wish Mr/Ms Insertnamehere success in their future ventures and look back fondly at their accomplishments with our company/game” which usually translates into “We hope that motherfucker crashes and burns and nobody else ever has to deal with them” but I’ve never heard of a studio that won’t even acknowledge someone at that level leaving.

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Ashfyn Ninegold

I was very disappointed in Torchlight III not being an MMO. The game itself being subpar only makes it worse.

Star Citizen either is or is not a scam (my vote is incompetence, not scam), but it is definitely not a Ponzi scheme, which funnels ‘profits’ to older investors by luring in newer investors. And then getting yet newer investors to invest thus providing ‘profits’ to the previous investors. The whole thing is an illusion of profit-making that must constantly grow or it will collapse. Star Citizen doesn’t qualify as a Ponzi scheme because no profits are being paid out to anyone. If it’s a grift, it’s a damn elaborate one, but still not a Ponzi scheme.

If you’re a PvP player, I suppose New World qualifies as a disappointment.

The interesting thing is as newer MMOs struggle or vanish, the better the old war horses look. SWTOR, WoW, FFXIV, LOTRO, STO, Runescape, ESO, GW2, BDO, Neverwinter–all continue to deliver solid, worthwhile experiences to their players.

At this point, with the mega-corps holding all the keys to the developer studios, I don’t see there being another wave of MMOs. Even the endless flow of Asian MMOs has turned into a trickle. All we’re getting is MOBAs, BRs, and other genres easy to monetize, maintain and churn out.

I’ve grown weary of seasons and leagues, which are just monetization schemes to keep players interested in games with very limited scopes.

So it’s great to see the foundational titles of the MMO genre doing so well and stoutly holding their own against a tide of short-term, heavily monetized, light-weight, no-calorie contenders.


Man… Bit of a 13th hour entry here, and more-so the ‘Not-So Massively’ category but…

Whoooooo boyo CDProjekt and the entirety of the company has been a big slide downhill since… well, since Cyberpunk released. It being buggy, not so much the issue here as it is just the… godly amounts of everything–bugs included–that seemed to coincide with it. Generally speaking? I like the stuff they released, I like the storefront they operate… if one blows up? Fine, whatever… I was looking forward to Cyberpunk after about half a year or so of patches and work (and when PS5’s would actually be available) to grab. But… Not soooooo much now. Which hey! Fine, there’s always GoG aaa–

Nope. They summarily announced a release this week for a highly talked about game (Devotion)–a game that was wrongfully torn from Steam and irreparably harmed the small team that developed it as a result of it back in 2019. Great! I’ll buy that happily, that team deserves support and-Oh… nope…
Just hours, not literally even half a day later (note, it was barely 6 hours after the announcement), ‘GoG’ announces on Twitter that because of the massive response by ‘gamers’ they ‘received’ for said announcement, they’re pulling any support or plans of release for this game. Which… Is honestly just shameful at this point.

It’s like… Save some of your trash for next year! If you know you’re going to have a garbage fire on your hands, don’t decide to throw a second one with it just because you can…

And other elements besides, this is like… The hardest I’ve seen a community rail against CDProjekt as a whole. Not a fan of their games? Storefront offers DRM-free games and stand-alone launchers for them, no client necessary. Not interested in older games? Well, they make some pretty good games. If one took a hit, the other could usually pick the slack up. But this is a first seeing both sides getting it hard and all at once.

It’s a massive blunder, and its a massive disappointment–specially when I enjoy both the storefront and games on hand as well as the Witcher games.


CDPR was disappointing, yes, especially Cyberpunk, but I already applied for refund so I mostly got over it already. At the very least their product still provides endless source for memes which is a good entertainment to me:

Cyberpunk: The Musical from cyberpunkgame


Oleg Chebeneev

Definetly not Camelot Unchained. I wasnt disappointed with amount of amusement that day brought.

Its actually hard to choose since in 2020 there werent big MMO disappointments for me. But let it be Amazon’s New World. I didnt play it. But from what Ive read its average at best. And I expected a game above average from such big company as Amazon .

Mikka Hansen

I thought 2020 would be the year for SC’s ponzi scheme to come crashing down, and for Roberts to know what the inside of a prison cell looks like.


The bigger the scheme, the less chance of consequence to anyone. Street criminals go to jail, white collar starts a new business or retire in Panama.

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Peregrine Falcon

You clearly do not understand what “Ponzi Scheme” means. What’s going on with SC does not in any way qualify.

When you donate money via Patreon it’s with the express understanding, which you agree to, that you may get nothing in return for the money that you’re donating. That contract was written by an attorney.

Is it possible that you could sue and get your money returned? Possible, but highly unlikely. Is it a Ponzi Scheme? It provably is not.

Oleg Chebeneev

Hilarious that some people still think SC is some kind of scam

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Peregrine Falcon

I think it especially hilarious that some people think there’s even a chance that Chris Roberts could go to jail over “funding issues” with Star Citizen.

I don’t know if they truly don’t understand the American legal system or if they’re just trolling.


“I don’t know if they truly don’t understand the American legal system or if they’re just trolling.”

You should tell that to Rudy! o.O

That said, companies should be held accountable for stringing people along though. It’s unfortunate we live in world where I can only advise folks to beware of what they throw their money at. /sigh

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Peregrine Falcon

A company should be held accountable if YOU choose to throw your money away? What?!?!?

Look, a company says on Patreon (just as an example) “Hey, donate some money to us and you may or may not get the product that we’re attempting to make.” Which is pretty clear, especially the part in the agreement that says “You’re donating money to a corporation. If that corporation evaporates you may have no legal recourse.”

So when YOU decide to agree to that risky, and let’s admit it – kinda shady, agreement and it doesn’t go well then someone else should be ‘held accountable’ for YOUR decision?

Wow. You kids nowdays REALLY ARE entitled.


What’s interesting about this brow beating folks, is on the way to state my opinion I’ve already indicated I agree that I don’t have a legal legs to stand on likely in any jurisdiction in doing so. Yet this person wants me to agree with him or her because I have an opinion which they don’t like. And yes, to which I am still with in my rights to disagree with the legal framework (at least in this country) as far as I am aware. That’s not entitlement, it’s just having an opinion, lol.

But speaking of entitlement though…

Oleg Chebeneev

Grand Magister of wise advices Utakata, give me insight where to throw my money at.

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Peregrine Falcon

Oh but don’t forget. If you take his advice and then lose your money then the EVIL CORPORATION should be ‘held accountable’ for that.

Where’s my rolls eyes emote?



…but do note, that’s really for you though.


Definitely Amazon and their “New World”. You’d think with all the money they had available and Amazon’s AWS they would try and create a unique living MMORPG world with things to do for everyone with any kind of preferences and with self-sustainable user-created content on a scale never done before. Instead, they just create yet another generic PvE loot grinder. With no interesting mechanics for people who just like to socialize or RP in the games (the housing being the biggest joke, but also the lack of many social activities or good cosmetic system or additional races other than boring “human”). With PvP basically consisting of instanced fights over tiny pre-built forts on specific day of the week at specific time window and no optional large zones with forced PvP where you could build large castles/buildings which could be destroyed, and no naval combat, no air combat and no combat in vehicles of any kind.

CSE too, but I had a feeling that it won’t be a good game long, long time ago by watching the overall progress (mostly what I got in e-mails like all Newsletters with doctored screenshots as well as videos on official YouTube channel with perhaps thousands of hours of talking and very few examples of gameplay over the years) as a backer who was delusional enough to invest into it back in 2013. Only major disappointment this year was seeing a single person, Mark Jacobs, descent into “not-so-good” state (I don’t want to be rude) and starting to attack people who criticize him in multiple ways including twisting their words and reply to them with nonsense, while still not fulfilling a promise of providing refunds to every backer who requested them, including myself and most likely intentionally dragging out the whole process.
I got better communication from CD Projekt Red regarding my refund, got access to actually tracking the status to my refund request (CSE never bothered to implement a basic refund or customer support tracking system on official website) and I bet I will receive it sooner than refund from CSE despite the fact that there is an active COVID epidemic all across the world:


It was very difficult to only choose 3 items.