MassivelyOP’s 2022 Awards: Best MMO Business Model


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

Today’s award is for the Best MMO Business Model, which was awarded to Guild Wars 2 last year. The award is intended to recognize a live MMORPG of any age that has demonstrated an exemplary business model specifically in 2022, 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 Best MMO Business Model of 2022 is…


​Andrew Ross: Orna. Free-to-play, with some minor things in the cash shop that readily drop, aside from skins which you have to purchase. However, the costs (usually like $6-$10) get you a pack of skins. And backing the studio on Patreon via a subscription gives you access to even more skins plus the test server. It’s an indie game that’s probably not making mad bank like other games, but it’s fair and uses minimal gambling, plus is clearly keeping the lights on.

Andy McAdams: Guild Wars 2.

Brianna Royce: Guild Wars 2. This has been my nomination for the last many years now, and it’s still true: There is no MMORPG on the market right now with this much content with a cheap buy-to-play model and a totally skippable cash shop and no sub. It’s a low price with extraordinary value, and that makes it perfect for families, which is exactly why my kids play with me. The only other MMO that comes close is Guild Wars 1, and that’s not an accident.

Carlo Lacsina: Guild Wars 2.

Chris Neal: Guild Wars 2. While I’m starting to appreciate this game’s cash shop can be rather pricey, I also have to appreciate how there’s quite a bit of value in its offerings, and the fact that expansions get put on sale so much is great. Also, they released a plush bird skin for the Springer mount, which is the best mount skin in all of history.

Colin Henry: Guild Wars 2, LOTROGuild Wars 2 adding all of Living World Season 1 to all accounts for free, permanently, rather than only during the login period the way it usually does, was the right choice. Not to mention that $30 for all of the content you get in End of Dragons is a steal. I think it’s also worth mentioning Lord of the Rings Online here, given all of the zones and expansions it added to all free accounts going forward.

Eliot Lefebvre: Hey, I still like a subscription fee in exchange for content I enjoy. It’s never going to win, but I still vote for Final Fantasy XIV, that’s just better for me.

Justin Olivetti:  I love seeing subscriptions that increase in value over time, either by adding more features and perks (such as with LOTRO) or covering more than one MMO (RuneScape, WoW).

Sam Kash: Guild Wars 2.

Tyler Edwards: New World. New World has the most generous business model of any major MMO by a significant margin. Just a reasonable box price and a spartan cash shop whose offerings are almost 100% cosmetic. There’s no lockboxes, pay for power, or inconvenience, and they released an expansion roughly equal in scale to one of ESO’s $50 annual chapters for free. It simply doesn’t get any better than this.

Guild Wars 2 took our award for Best MMO Business Model. What’s your pick?

Reader poll: What MMO featured the best business model in 2022?

  • Guild Wars 2 (40%, 247 Votes)
  • New World (11%, 69 Votes)
  • Final Fantasy XIV (16%, 100 Votes)
  • World of Warcraft (4%, 27 Votes)
  • Black Desert (1%, 5 Votes)
  • RuneScape (1%, 4 Votes)
  • Lord of the Rings Online (9%, 54 Votes)
  • Orna (0%, 3 Votes)
  • Star Trek Online (1%, 7 Votes)
  • No Man's Sky (3%, 17 Votes)
  • Neverwinter (0%, 3 Votes)
  • Trove (0%, 1 Votes)
  • Albion Online (1%, 8 Votes)
  • Dungeons and Dragons Online (0%, 3 Votes)
  • DC Universe Online (0%, 3 Votes)
  • Elite Dangerous (1%, 6 Votes)
  • SWTOR (2%, 15 Votes)
  • Zenith (0%, 0 Votes)
  • EverQuest II (0%, 2 Votes)
  • ArcheAge (0%, 0 Votes)
  • EVE Online (1%, 5 Votes)
  • Phantasy Star Online 2 (0%, 0 Votes)
  • Swords of Legends Online (0%, 1 Votes)
  • Embers Adrift (0%, 2 Votes)
  • Anything free-to-play (1%, 4 Votes)
  • Anything crowdfunded (0%, 0 Votes)
  • Anything crowdfunded (0%, 0 Votes)
  • Anything with a sub (3%, 20 Votes)
  • Anything buy-to-play (2%, 11 Votes)
  • Something else (tell us in the comments!) (1%, 6 Votes)

Total Voters: 514

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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 commentary from writers so that you can see our thought process. 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 MMOs nominated plus a few others we thought should be included.
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