Massively OP’s 2021 Awards: Worst MMO Business Model


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

Today’s award is for the Worst MMO Business Model of 2021, which was awarded jointly to Star Citizen and ArcheAge last year. The award is intended to recognize a live MMORPG of any age that has demonstrated an abysmal business model specifically in 2021, regardless of its past performance. 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 Worst MMO Business Model of 2021 is…


Andy McAdams: Star Citizen, crypto, Ashes of Creation. I have zero problems continuing to give worst business model to the game that continues to sell pipedreams to people without actually delivering anything, while still somehow managing to maintain a cult-like following of devotees. I fully expect Star Citizen will announce its first NFT-ship sale in 2022. Star Citizen scammery and crypto-nft scammery are like a match made in heaven. Definitely the worst business model.

Ben Griggs: World of Warships. I wanted to vote for Star Citizen, but I can’t overlook the fact that WoWS is practically driven by gambling mechanics and systems designed to lure players into opening crates and lootboxes so when the time comes to sell them, it feels natural. When your phycological manipulation causes nearly 20 of your official community contributors to walk out the door, you need to take a hard look at your business practices.

Brianna Royce: Star Citizen is the obvious pick as it’s continuing to fundraise from backers while paying dividends to real investors. I’m pretty sick of the constant barrage of crypto and NFT games leaping into our genre trying to scam suckers and whales. And can we give a nod to Dual Universe, which not only charges beta players a sub but increased the cost of that sub this year? And yeah, I’m with Carlo – I have no idea what it is that WoW players are getting for their $15 a month and box fee nowadays; y’all could be getting way more content in any other game. That sub is good only when the content keeps coming.

Carlo Lacsina: World of Warcraft – players practically pay $15 to be disappointed.

Chris Neal: Dual Universe. Also death to crypto.

Colin Henry: Anything with crypto/NFTs.

Eliot Lefebvre: Star Citizen, come on down for your lifetime achievement award! An honorable mention to World of Warcraft collecting a subscription to not put out new content, though.

Justin Olivetti: Anything with the words “blockchain” or “NFT” in them. Seriously, kill that disease before it infects everything.

Mia DeSanzo: Gamigo. The Whole Company.

Sam Kash: ArcheAge.

Tyler Edwards: It will always be Star Citizen until they either actually release a game or stop taking people’s money.

Star Citizen & crypto scams took our award for Worst MMO Business Model. What’s your pick?

Reader poll: What MMO had the worst business model in 2021?

  • Star Citizen (32%, 751 Votes)
  • Anything crypto/blockchain/NFTs (27%, 640 Votes)
  • Dual Universe (1%, 29 Votes)
  • World of Warcraft (12%, 285 Votes)
  • World of Warships (3%, 65 Votes)
  • ArcheAge (1%, 29 Votes)
  • Anything Gamigo (2%, 47 Votes)
  • Genshin Impact (2%, 46 Votes)
  • Elder Scrolls Online (1%, 24 Votes)
  • Final Fantasy XIV (1%, 16 Votes)
  • EVE Online (1%, 21 Votes)
  • Black Desert (1%, 33 Votes)
  • Pokemon Go (1%, 13 Votes)
  • Ashes of Creation (0%, 9 Votes)
  • LOTRO (1%, 21 Votes)
  • Camelot Unchained (1%, 12 Votes)
  • Pantheon (0%, 2 Votes)
  • Neverwinter (1%, 22 Votes)
  • Star Trek Online (1%, 12 Votes)
  • Elyon (0%, 3 Votes)
  • Swords of Legends Online (0%, 2 Votes)
  • Bless Unleashed (0%, 4 Votes)
  • Crowfall (0%, 4 Votes)
  • Albion Online (0%, 5 Votes)
  • EverQuest II (0%, 4 Votes)
  • Phantasy Star Online (0%, 4 Votes)
  • Anything buy-to-play (0%, 3 Votes)
  • Anything crowdfunded (0%, 9 Votes)
  • Anything with a sub (1%, 24 Votes)
  • Anything pay-to-win (8%, 183 Votes)
  • Anything free-to-play (1%, 33 Votes)
  • Something else (let us know in the comments!) (0%, 9 Votes)

Total Voters: 1,604

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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 a few others we thought should be included.
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