Massively OP’s 2021 Awards: Best Classic MMO


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

Today’s award is for the Best Classic MMO of 2021, which is another new award for us as traditionally we merely address this category in an annual Daily Grind. This year, we’ve decided to honor our elder games more formally. So what counts as a “classic MMO”? We’re looking at games from around 2010 and earlier, but strictly live MMOs from that period, not rogue servers (we have a separate award for them). 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 Best Classic MMO of 2021 is…


Andy McAdams: Anarchy Online. I voted Anarchy Online here. Again. I’m probably a bit of a broken record when it comes to this game, but I still think back fondly with my rose-colored nostalgia about the game. The fact that it still does a bunch of things better than games recently released means that it still holds the Best Classic MMO card, at least my heart.

Ben Griggs: Lord of the Rings Online. I’m so happy that I can occasionally return to Middle-earth and re-experience my first MMO. What a gem LOTRO is, and I hope it stays around forever.

Brianna Royce: Once I cut out rogue servers for classic MMOs, the classic MMO I’ve actually been back to the most in the last two years is LOTRO, in spite of SSG’s bungling. It’s just a comforting world to be in. I’ll always champion Ultima Online too, however.

Carlo Lacsina: Requiem: Rise of the Reaver. Before this game rereleased late in 2020, I’ve only heard good things about this game. And this game certainly didn’t disappoint. It’s as classic as classic can get. I love how gory and visceral this game is, and once again, I love that classic grindy MMO gameplay style. The last time I checked, the player numbers aren’t exactly high, we’re talking double digit numbers. But that isn’t the point. The point is that we’ve got an official server running for an old game. It’s a victory for game preservation!

Chris Neal: LOTRO. When I made the stupendous mistake of entering this one for CMA, I found an aged barrel of wine that just seems to be nearly endless in terms of content and a vibe that demands you just enjoy the long and winding journey. Long live LOTRO.

Colin Henry: LOTRO, Guild Wars. The Lord of the Rings Online continually impresses me with the way that it keeps on cranking out quality new content. It even got a new class this year. However, the thing that has gotten me back into the game has been its recent Treebeard and Shadowfax legendary servers. The difficulty settings add a fun new twist to the game, and, whether you want to speed through the leveling process or savor every moment, Shadowfax and Treebeard give you those options.

Eliot Lefebvre: Lord of the Rings Online. It’s taken a licking – many lickings, in fact, several of them self-inflicted – but it has kept on ticking. It’s not my game, but I have a lot of affection for it just the same.

Justin Olivetti: WoW Classic. Blizzard dumpster fire aside, WoW Classic charged strong into Burning Crusade Classic this year and kicked off the Season of Mastery servers. For players looking for a simpler (and perhaps more focused!) experience, WoW Classic was a great place to go. Plus, it continued to add great value to the subscription package.

Mia DeSanzo: EverQuest, for hanging in there all these years and still having regulars.

LOTRO took our award for Best Classic MMO. What’s your pick?

Reader poll: What was the best classic MMORPG of 2021?

  • Age of Conan (2%, 28 Votes)
  • Anarchy Online (2%, 29 Votes)
  • A Tale in the Desert (0%, 1 Votes)
  • Dark Age of Camelot (2%, 33 Votes)
  • Dungeons and Dragons Online (3%, 51 Votes)
  • EVE Online (4%, 62 Votes)
  • EverQuest (7%, 110 Votes)
  • EverQuest II (3%, 46 Votes)
  • Fallen Earth (1%, 18 Votes)
  • Final Fantasy XI (8%, 131 Votes)
  • Guild Wars (8%, 140 Votes)
  • Lineage (0%, 0 Votes)
  • Lineage II (1%, 18 Votes)
  • Lord of the Rings Online (38%, 637 Votes)
  • MapleStory (1%, 22 Votes)
  • Meridian 59 (0%, 1 Votes)
  • RuneScape (6%, 102 Votes)
  • Ryzom (1%, 9 Votes)
  • Tibia (1%, 17 Votes)
  • Ultima Online (2%, 33 Votes)
  • WoW Classic (9%, 146 Votes)
  • Wurm Online (1%, 13 Votes)
  • Requiem: Rise of the Reaver (0%, 2 Votes)
  • Something else (tell us in the comments!) (2%, 28 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.
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