Massively OP’s 2021 Awards: Best MMO Trend


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

Today’s award is for the Best MMO Trend of 2021, which was awarded to the MMO console port craze last year. This award is meant to highlight a pervasive trend that we can identify and actually appreciate seeing in the industry. 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 MMO Trend of 2021 is…


Andy McAdams: The rise of cozy MMOs.

Brianna Royce: We didn’t have much of a consensus on this topic this year, but personally, the trend that gives me hope is seeing video game developers finally taking real steps toward organizing and unionization, standing up for themselves and their colleagues in the face of small- and large-scale abuse. It’s only the start of the war.

Carlo Lacsina: Updates to aging game engines. With games like Blade and Soul and Guild Wars 2 getting some pretty major engine updates for modern systems, it’s a good way to keep the games relevant and also running relatively well on newer systems! I’m especially excited with Guild Wars 2 getting the update. Even back in 2012, the engine was already pretty outdated since it only ran in DX9. I tried out the DX10 mod and I loved it, my only wish was that it was official. And now my wish is coming true!

Chris Neal: Devs inching closer to unionization. If a silver lining had to come out of all of the revelations about the way big game studios treat their employees, I’m glad it’s a stronger push for representation and unionization of game devs. It is well past time for this to happen, and I truly hope it happens. Soon.

Colin Henry: Willingness of studios to delay to shoring up content.

Eliot Lefebvre: The revival of games we thought were gone makes me very, very happy. Especially Fallen Earth. It’s the little weird title that could.

Justin Olivetti: Seeing more MMO studios favor game resurrections and legacy servers is something I’ll never stop cheering. Heck, I was even gratified that NCsoft launched a version of Lineage II that was far more casual-friendly, just to get new eyeballs on the older title.

Sam Kash: Players getting way more savvy to Kickstarters and not falling for scams.

Tyler Edwards: It’s great to see some movement towards unionization in the gaming industry. I really hope it starts to lead to meaningful change so that the worker abuse that has become normalized in the industry can become a thing of the past. The people who’ve built the hobby we so love deserve so much better.

Gaming industry unionization efforts took our award for Best MMO Trend. What’s your pick?

Reader poll: What was the best MMO trend of 2021?

  • Industry unionization efforts (28%, 198 Votes)
  • The rise of cozy MMOs (11%, 77 Votes)
  • Engine and graphics revamps for MMOs (15%, 105 Votes)
  • Delays, delays, and more delays but for good reasons (9%, 64 Votes)
  • Game resurrections and revivals (8%, 55 Votes)
  • Retro and legacy servers (8%, 56 Votes)
  • Players wising up to crowdfunding and scams (7%, 49 Votes)
  • The push for mobile ports (1%, 4 Votes)
  • MMO studio consolidation (0%, 1 Votes)
  • Lots of new MMOs on the horizon (6%, 39 Votes)
  • Resurgence of co-op play (8%, 53 Votes)
  • Something else (tell us in the comments!) (1%, 4 Votes)

Total Voters: 505

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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 trends nominated plus others we thought had a chance.
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