Massively Overthinking: What will be your three most-played MMOs in 2023?


Last week in Massively Overthinking, we discussed our three most-played MMOs of 2022 – and whether we’d guessed right at the top of that year what they’d be (and several of us didn’t!). Now, we’ve got to talk about the year ahead. Taking into account both your most-anticipateds (should they indeed launch) as well as your old stalwarts: What do you expect will be your top three most-played MMOs of 2023? And yes, there will be a reckoning at the end of the year to see whether we guessed right!

Andrew Ross (@dengarsw): I expect Pokemon GO to remain my top game, sadly. Or at least for the first half of the year at the minimum, depending on how bad things get. Orna will probably be the most traditional MMO I play, but its MMOARG features are a bit more sedentary than I want in my ARGs, so I’m not sure if it’ll increase, and it’ll probably be #3. So in second place, I’m going to gamble and say Pokemon Violet, only because it has so much passive play it’s easy to rack up the hours. I spend a lot of time AFK breeding and sending out the results to hopefully help the community keep up with the raid meta, and that will probably continue with the DLC, whenever that comes.

If we’re talking about active engagement, Splatoon 3 will probably take that slot. There’s no passive play there, and I still have outfits I want to kit out with Super Snail bonuses. And lord help me when the trading card game goes online!

Andy McAdams: I don’t actually know – I would guess WoW and GW2, then maybe FFXIV or ESO? I dunno, I don’t really see much coming up that piques my interest. Maybe New World? As an MMO-nomad, I know predicting my most-played MMOs for 2023 requires like a PhD in Statistics. The ESO stuff looks fun, so I’ll probably end up picking that up and playing that, and I always find my way back to GW2 at some point. FFXIV too. I just don’t know where I’ll be spending the most time. I just go where the mood takes me, I guess.

Ben Griggs (@braxwolf): This is an easy one for me because I tend to either latch onto a game and play it for months at a time or burn out on it and drop it completely. I predict that the majority of my year will continue to be filled with World of Warships and Hell Let Loose. The third slot is a bit more tricky, since I’m mostly burned out on both EVE and ESO at the moment. I think it’s possible that I might get the ESO itch again by midyear and perhaps even catch up on my unplayed chapters before December.

Brianna Royce (@nbrianna, blog): My top three will prooooobably be the same as last year, with caveats. I’m sure I’ll be in Lord of the Rings Online as it’s become my themepark home, and of course I’ll keep cooking the food in my sandbox home, SWG Legends. I fully expect to be back in Guild Wars 2 when the new season kicks off too, whenever that finally happens. I had both Nightingale and Wayfinder on my anticipated list too, but they are big ifs: If they actually launch into something that isn’t just a half-finished early access (I’m still leery of early access anything), and if they become something that catches on with my family or guildies, I can see them both dominating my playtime.

Chris Neal (@wolfyseyes, blog): I don’t foresee Final Fantasy XIV falling to the wayside, and I also want to run my face far deeper into Guild Wars 2, so that kind of leaves my third game as my wild card pick, and I’ll be going with Blue Protocol.

I don’t have too many compelling reasons as to why I think this one will be a regular visit if I’m very honest, nor am I spinning up my hype drives, but at the same time it looks very good and promising, or at the very least like a good time. And really, I can’t ask much more out of an MMORPG than that.

Colin Henry (@ChaosConstant): I’m pretty predictable when it comes to MMO playtime these days. Guild Wars 2 will be my top, of course, followed by The Lord of the Rings Online. LOTRO is just so comfortable, and I’ve decided that this is the year I actually get a character up to cap (or at least close). Third is less certain, but The Elder Scrolls Online has my attention again lately, and looks like it will hold it after announcing a new class. I’m not a big fan of Cthulu tentacle horror, but a new class is a new class; I’ll try anything. So often I find a class playstyle I enjoy with a theme I don’t.

Justin Olivetti (@Sypster, blog): My problem with this question is that at any moment, I always assume the MMOs I’m currently playing will be the ones I’ll be playing forever. So if that’s the case, then Lord of the Rings Online and Elder Scrolls Online have a good chance of being my 2023 mainstays. A third game? New titles are always dicey to predict, so I’m going to throw Guild Wars 2 out here and run away laughing into the snowy night air. Probably won’t happen, but one never knows.

Mia DeSanzo (@neschria): I commented on this last week, but I have thought it over a bit more, and while I do still think I will probably spend more time in EverQuest II, DDO, and LOTRO, I may also find my way into ESO and FFXIV, which could eclipse everything else. I know people currently dipping back into old games, and the prospect of a regular group is enticing.

I have my eye on a few games currently in alpha, and if I get admitted to test some of those, I will be very excited about that. I do want to play something new and shiny, but I am cautious about hoping too much.

MJ Guthrie (@MJ_Guthrie, blog): The game I will play the most in 2023 is almost certainly AdventureQuest 3D. I play it for the most hours now and stream it weekly (both on OPTV and my own channel). The new content is frequent, giving me something new to do most weeks, and I enjoy the many creative and holiday events. I’m fairly confident Guild Wars 2 will also be in my top three, especially since I stream it weekly with my group. I’ve also got many expansions still to work through, since I skipped all but getting the mounts. As for the third… that one is who knows! If Soulframe comes out, it will likely suck up much of my gametime. Nothing else has captured me for a long haul this year, and I don’t feel overly optimistic about this next year either. But we’ll see in 12 months!

Sam Kash (@thesamkash): I can pretty confidently say that Guild Wars 2 will still be in my top three. Hopefully I’ll even make time to finally play End of Dragons.

I actually think that Harry Potter Magic Awakened will make it into my top three as well. It just looks like it’s going to have a lot of good MMO features without sacrifice.

The last game I bet will be something that completely catches me off guard, just like MultiVersus did this year. I expect to still be playing MultiVersus too, but I bet my game time continues to roll down – kind of like what happened after a year or so of consistent Rocket League.

Tyler Edwards (blog): I expect New World will remain my focus for the foreseeable future, as far as MMOs go. I’m not sure what would end up in the second or third spot. A return to Lost Ark is possible but not something I’m in a rush to do. I’ve considered giving LOTRO a second chance when they roll out that difficulty slider for all servers, but I don’t expect that to stick. I’ll probably continue playing GW2 with my friend, but that will remain sporadic, I’m sure. I’m interested in Blue Protocol, but I don’t know if it’s going to be a brief flirtation or something more serious, and I’m not 100% convinced they’re going to make their 2023 launch date, either.

Every week, join the Massively OP staff for Massively Overthinking column, a multi-writer roundtable in which we discuss the MMO industry topics du jour – and then invite you to join the fray in the comments. Overthinking it is literally the whole point. Your turn!
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