Massively OP’s 2021 Awards: Biggest MMO Disappointment


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

Today’s award is for the Biggest MMO Disappointment of 2021, which was awarded to Torchlight 3 and the Great MMO Downshift 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 2021 is…


Andy McAdams: I put Crowfall here originally, but I think it works with the overall underperformity theme. There’s been a lot of games this year that stumbled right out of the gate and missed the mark – either in overall design, or quality, or finding a good game-community fit.

Ben Griggs: Elite Dangerous Odyssey. From the moment that I saw an Elite Dangerous cinematic featuring a player stepping out onto a planet to the tunes of David Bowie, I was all in. Unfortunately, instead of giving players unique planets and life forms to discover throughout the universe, Frontier Studios tried to make Elite into a first-person shooter and bungled both the design and execution of its major expansion badly.

Brianna Royce: We had a tremendous number of launches this year, and most of them fizzled or fell off. But I think New World might be my biggest disappointment; I was really hoping Amazon could avoid spending all fall after that huge launch making mistake after mistake and bleeding players. But here we are.

Carlo Lacsina: DokeV and Crimson Desert will no longer be pure MMOs. This one sucks. Both games would’ve made awesome MMOs. But at the same time I’m not surprised. And while it might be disappointing, there’s a silver lining: That means BDO will remain the flagship MMO for Pearl Abyss. And both Crimson Desert and DokeV will be able to grow without the shortcomings and limitations that MMOs often have. So while it might be a blow to the industry. It’s a gain for Pearl Abyss.

Chris Neal: Elite Dangerous Odyssey. This expansion broke my heart and sucked nearly all of the joy out of the only space sandbox game that I’ve otherwise wanted to play.

Colin Henry: GW2 Icebrood Saga’s ending, New World’s problems. Up until the end, The Icebrood Saga was shaping up to be some of Guild Wars 2’s more interesting stories. I had some issues with the small bites in which it was delivered, and the fact that ArenaNet tried to play the “saga” off as being on the level of an expansion when in practice it had much more in common with just another living world season. But as far as the story was concerned, there were a lot of interesting twists and lore bits. Then, the Champions releases happened. I tried to stay positive, hoping that maybe the finale would bring a satisfying ending to the epic story Icebrood Saga was telling, but what we got was incredibly weak. I understand that as soon as ArenaNet got the green light for the End of Dragons expansion, it wanted to throw all of its resources behind that. I’m thrilled that we’re getting a new expansion. But there were so many ways this ending could have been handled better. I would also be remiss if I failed to mention New World’s post-launch bugs, exploits, and endgame issues. New World has so much promise and generated so much hype at launch that it’s sad that it had to be marred by an unending deluge of problems. Every launch is rough at first, but New World’s has just been one after another.

Eliot Lefebvre: Blizzard, I didn’t think you could disappoint me any more than you already had. Then 2021 happened.

Justin Olivetti: The biggest disappointment for me was seeing a year of potentially great MMO releases spit out lackluster and underperforming titles left and right. SOLO? Elyon? Crowfall? New Genesis? We forgot about those a week after launch, and that was never a good sign.

Mia DeSanzo: The general lack of AAA interest in making MMOs.

Sam Kash: Crowfall releasing with such little fanfare.

Tina Lauro Pollock: Guild Wars 2’s Icebrood ending.

Tyler Edwards: The deaths of Anthem and Magic: Legends. Both games with great potential that deserved better. Anthem feels like the community never gave it an honest chance, while ML was let down by the people who pushed it out long before it was ready. Both injustices in my view, albeit in very different ways.

Underperforming New MMOs took our award for Biggest MMO Disappointment. What’s your pick?

Reader poll: What was the biggest disappointment in the MMO world in 2021?

  • Underperforming MMOs in general (8%, 168 Votes)
  • New World's launch issues and post-launch bugs (26%, 544 Votes)
  • Guild Wars 2's Icebrood Saga (3%, 54 Votes)
  • Elite Dangerous' Odyssey (3%, 70 Votes)
  • The death of Magic Legends (2%, 46 Votes)
  • The death of Anthem (2%, 51 Votes)
  • Crowfall's lackluster launch and sale (4%, 79 Votes)
  • SOLO's launch (1%, 12 Votes)
  • Elyon's launch (1%, 23 Votes)
  • PSO2 New Genesis' launch (2%, 51 Votes)
  • Lost Ark's delay (1%, 27 Votes)
  • End of Dragons' delay (0%, 2 Votes)
  • Lack of AAA interest in making MMOs (6%, 115 Votes)
  • DokeV and Crimson Desert downshifting to not-MMOs (0%, 7 Votes)
  • Blizzard and WoW in general (26%, 537 Votes)
  • The loss of Defiance and other Gamigo MMOs (1%, 29 Votes)
  • The industry doing gross crypto and NFT things (8%, 159 Votes)
  • Final Stand Ragnarok's fizzle (0%, 4 Votes)
  • Torchlight III's fizzle (2%, 50 Votes)
  • Palia's alpha bungle (0%, 2 Votes)
  • Astellia's sunsets (0%, 3 Votes)
  • Overwatch 2 and D4 delays (1%, 28 Votes)
  • Something else (tell us in the comments!) (1%, 12 Votes)

Total Voters: 1,481

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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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