The Daily Grind: What MMO has the brightest future right now heading into 2021?


A Massively Overthinking roundtable about MMOs with bright future that we did a few years ago was so popular that we decided to make it a thing we did every year. And as I’ve argued before, this topic is a favorite of mine because considering where specific games are going always provokes a very different conversation than asking about a game’s current health (or revenue or staffing or population). And it’s usually different from game of the year too, which looks back at the past year, not the future one. “Imagine you have a friend who wants to play an MMO but doesn’t want to get involved in a game that’s in decline or might not be around in five years,” we said in that piece years ago. “Where do you steer that friend?”

Last year, I nominated Final Fantasy XIV, which I don’t actually play but respect tremendously because of its consistency. This year, I am looking at other games, like Guild Wars 2 (which is due a nostalgia expansion this year) and WoW Classic (which is due Burning Crusade). I’m sure once those are behind us, the algorithm will change again, but they’re the games I think are gonna hit high points in 2021 and so therefore have the brightest at least immediate futures.

What MMO would you argue has the brightest future right now?

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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FFXIV. The fact that Shadowbringers actually won “ongoing game” awards from PC Gamer and IGN has me convinced. When mainstream game journalists are actually covering and giving awards to an MMORPG (the supposed “dead genre”) in the year 2020 you know it’s something special.


The entire current batch is in a state of slow decay. They aren’t going anywhere, but they aren’t innovating either.

Oleg Chebeneev

WoW ofc. There is no chance its going anywhere in future 7 years at least.

Also TESO. Until Zenimax keeps it updated, people will play it. IP is too popular, and game is decent.



Simply because they are two of the most recent AAA MMORPGs and there is a distinct lack of competition in that arena with no new competition on the horizon.


The future of MMOs looks pretty bleak when you consider this.

Players looking for ‘something new’ can either jump on board with a nearly 7-year-old game (or nearly 11-year-old game in the case of FF14) that caters for the masses, or they can struggle to find a niche amongst the plethora of ‘indie’ MMOs that appear and vanish on constant rotation.


Guild Wars 2 is dying.

Krista Allen

Honestly, I’m more excited with where Genshin Impact is heading in 2021 than any other game slated to release in 2021 or that is currently available.
Genshin Impact has definitely shaken up the industry in a good way and hopefully it will help break the WoW clone curse of 15 plus years and spark some innovation.

FFXIV, my main MMO, is stagnating. I haven’t been subbed for months, and this last content patch didn’t temp me to jump back in. If anything it made me ambivalent for the future of the game, and the next expansion. Yoshi P is stepping down soon and I feel that will be a good thing for FFXIV.


I’ve been in the same boat with 14 for about a year now as well. As much as I give the guy credit for bringing the game back from death I think his time may have come and gone. Personally as much as I want to like Genshin I just dislike how gross the rng and lootbox mechanic is since it basically encourage getting multiple of the same character to jack up their power so much more.

Kickstarter Donor

Wow can’t disagree with you more on this one, but it’s my own circumstance as I only truly started FFXIV at the beginning of this year. That and I hate gacha games hahaha.

I know a lot of people are HYPED for FFXIVs future, especially the expansion in February. Everything Shadowbringers has been amazing and it seems other gaming websites like PC Gamer and IGN seem to agree with the “ongoing game” awards they gave it this year.

For real though, where did you hear that Yoshi P was stepping down??? Because I’m pretty sure that isn’t the case haha.

Bruno Brito

WoW, ESO and FF14.

I would say GW2 but i think it’s a bit of a longshot.

Rolan Storm



Both WoW Classic and FFXIV are the safest bets.


Probably FFXIV:

– It’s relatively bug free

– Has a large playerbase

– Caters to a wide variety of player types and playstyles

– Is consistent with new content and plans things well in advance

– Is able to execute what it plans successfully with very little fuss (the majority of the time)

Its not even my favorite MMO but I can see it’s well run, and has a Dev team that knows what it’s doing.


Anything WOW always crushes it’s numbers. Like as good as FFMDCDIVIDXIIIVMII is doing or ESO is doing it’s still just worse than WOW is doing badly.

GW2 I’m going bold and predicting a flop. Cantha was popular, but is the team left there really capable of capturing what made it popular? Some people will come check it out looking for memories, but nostalgia and memories aren’t reasons to keep playing a game for any length of time. An increasingly slow update schedule post launch will have people looking for alternatives shortly after launch.