Massively OP’s 2021 Awards: Biggest MMO Blunder


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

Today’s award is for the Biggest MMO Blunder of 2021, which was awarded to Standing Stone’s Lord of the Rings Online debacles last year. This award isn’t exactly fun, but it’s important accountability and a complement to the praise in our other awards. We believe identifying where the industry went wrong this year is crucial to both avoiding these genre trainwrecks and preparing for them in the future.

And the MassivelyOP staff pick for the Biggest MMO Blunder of 2021 is…


Andrew Ross: Blizzard at almost every step, plus Niantic’s attempt to push players outside together during rising COVID numbers.

Andy McAdams: The Blizzard dumpster fire. Who knew that Blizzard would fall so far, so fast?

Ben Griggs: All the Blizzard stuff, specifically the Cosby Suite scandal. No explanation is required.

Brianna Royce: Blizzard is going to walk away with this “award” rather handily, but I want to stress specifically what the “blunder” really was. Activision-Blizzard’s leaders betrayed their workers, customers, and the public. They misled their own investors and dissembled during financial calls. They covered up abuses including the death of an employee caused by those abuses. They stand accused of destroying evidence and lying about corporate memos. They tried to pacify the public by axing middle-managers who bore the least responsibility. They intimidated workplace organizers and tried to bust the emerging union. They lobbed cash at government agencies and charities instead of paying workers and fully compensating victims. They played games with the justice system and denigrated counsel attempting to hold them accountable. They laid off more workers while boosting their own compensation. They have refused to take real responsibility at every single step, to the doom of their plunging stock value and their dwindling reputations. They have embarrassed themselves in front of the entire industry and destroyed the legacy of a legendary studio. And these unforced errors have led to a botched pipeline and critical delays for the games themselves, whose underpaid developers have been forced to watch their “mentors leaving in droves.” This is not just a story that happened to the genre, and it’s not just a single blunder. This is an ongoing series of disastrous decisions that will leave a lasting impact on the industry and the MMORPG genre, one way or another.

Carlo Lacsina: Holy Canoli the Blizzard Scandal. Blizzard literally sold Final Fantasy XIV and Guild Wars 2 with the crap they pulled off. It really takes some kind of talent to do that.

Chris Neal: Blizzard’s clownshow. “Blunder” is being kind here, but that’s because “Studio Doing Everything It Can to be Awful to Women and Minority Game Devs While its CEO Sips Overpriced Tiki Drinks” is too damned long an award name.

Colin Henry: ActiBlizz’s dumpster fire. All you can say about this whole Activision Blizzard discrimination situation is that it has been impressive just how much it just keeps getting worse. You keep thinking they’ve hit rock bottom, and then it gets worse. It’s really sad to see. I never thought of the people at Blizzard as some kind of saints, but I always thought they were at least better than this.

Eliot Lefebvre: Blizzard. Just Blizzard. Everything Blizzard.

Justin Olivetti: Cryptic and PWE mishandling Torchlight III and Magic Legends. Two terrific properties that were heading for the MMO limelight were neutered and then put out to a collective shoulder-shrugging. We expected so much better from these dev teams… and this is what we got. Embarrassing and sad.

Mia DeSanzo: Blizzard… you know.

Sam Kash: Blizzard.

Tyler Edwards: Blizzard. Just everything Blizzard.

Blizzard and WoW took our award for Biggest MMO Blunder. What’s your pick?

Reader poll: What was the biggest MMO-related blunder in 2021?

  • Blizzard and WoW's ongoing disasters (58%, 832 Votes)
  • Niantic removing COVID enhancements from Pokemon Go and provoking a scandal (2%, 23 Votes)
  • Cryptic and PWE mishandling Torchlight III and Magic Legends (4%, 56 Votes)
  • Amazon botching New World's transfers and bugs (12%, 171 Votes)
  • Elite Dangerous botching Odyssey and delaying it on console (2%, 26 Votes)
  • Crowfall's lack of launch marketing and fizzle-out (2%, 35 Votes)
  • Camelot Unchained's refund mess and FSR launch (2%, 26 Votes)
  • Gamigo's gamepocalypse (1%, 12 Votes)
  • Pearl Abyss downshifting Crimson Desert and DokeV (0%, 3 Votes)
  • BioWare giving up on Anthem (1%, 20 Votes)
  • Amazon giving up on a LOTR MMO (3%, 49 Votes)
  • Riot's workplace scandals (1%, 21 Votes)
  • Ubisoft's workplace scandals (1%, 17 Votes)
  • Companies going ham on NFTs and crypto (4%, 57 Votes)
  • Star Citizen is still not a launch product (4%, 53 Votes)
  • Wargaming pissing off all its content creators (1%, 10 Votes)
  • Dual Universe stealth-ousting its founder (0%, 2 Votes)
  • Overwatch 2 and Diablo 4 being delayed (0%, 4 Votes)
  • Somebody giving TitanReach tons of money (0%, 2 Votes)
  • Something else (tells us in the comments!) (1%, 8 Votes)

Total Voters: 1,101

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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 major MMO industry blunders nominated plus a few others we thought deserved consideration.
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