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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