MassivelyOP’s 2023 Awards: Biggest MMO Surprise


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

Today’s award is for the Biggest MMO Surprise, which was awarded to TERA’s sunset last year. This category is meant to offer something quite different from big stories, disappointments, and blunder; it’s meant to be something nobody saw coming at all, usually something positive, though not always. 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 Biggest MMO Surprise of 2023 is…


Andrew Ross: The bad news about Project Gorgon’s financials in the face of cancer treatment, oof.

Andy McAdams: SWTOR going to Broadsword definitely surprised me. This was not something I had on my bingo card for this year, or really any year. It was such an unexpected move. If I’m being honest, I still don’t quite get it? But then I guess that’s why it was the biggest surprise,

Brianna Royce: SWTOR moving to Broadsword. For me, it wasn’t a surprise that SWTOR came to an inflection point, and unfortunately it wasn’t a surprise that EA decided to pick 2023 to wreck BioWare. What was a surprise to me was that EA punted SWTOR to Broadsword, although as someone who’s watched Broadsword since it was formed (I’m an Ultima Online fangirl, after all), I probably shouldn’t have been so shocked. I’d file this one under good surprises, too, at least for the safety of the game (not so much for the BioWare staffers moved off the project, obviously). Broadsword may not be made of money, but it maximizes and nurtures the games with what it does have. As long as EA is willing to fund that license, the game is pretty safe.

Carlo Lacsina: SWTOR’s move to Broadsword. I’m going to admit that I wasn’t that surprised this happen. This year was such a snoozer when it came to major shifts in the industry that when something like this comes into the feed, then yeah it’s a surprise! I’m hearing good things about it though, so at least it ain’t a bad surprise right?

Chris Neal: SWTOR moving to Broadsword, NetEase coming for Blizzard’s throat. SWTOR moving shop was not the event I was expecting this year, nevermind the fact that, at least in the initial steps, it’s looking like a pretty happy thing for SWTOR all around. I might have had my time in the game enough that I’m not sure I’ll return, but it also is a game that deserves to keep on and I hope that Broadsword has lots of success.

Colin Henry: SWTOR moving to Broadsword. To be honest, if you had asked me last year after the disappointing Legacy of the Sith expansion if it was more likely that Star Wars the Old Republic would find new life at a new studio or be sunsetted, I would have picked the latter with no hesitation. But now that it has happened, I actually have more hope for this title than I have in a while. It’s no secret that SWTOR was bled for other BioWare projects like Anthem in the past, but Broadsword seems quite content to reinvest profits from its games back into improving them and keeping them running.

Eliot Lefebvre: SWTOR’s move to Broadsword.

Justin Olivetti: BioWare handing SWTOR off to Broadsword. This was definitely surprising, as I did not see it coming, but I’m not sad about it either. BioWare was sorely neglecting SWTOR and clearly wanted to get out of the MMO business, and Broadsword has potential to be a good home to this title.

MJ Guthrie: SWTOR moving to Broadsword. The most out-of-left-field feeling I had this year was SWTOR’s change of management hats! The move to Broadsword also switched up my feelings toward SWTOR from a very dull meh nothing to do to a cautiously optimistic anticipation. Maybe some real good could come out of this and drag SWTOR out of the lack-of-content and story swamp it has been mired in.

Tyler Edwards: I’d say SWTOR moving to Broadsword was really out of left field. Too early to say exactly what the long term repercussions will be, but I can’t imagine it’s good news.

SWTOR’s move to Broadsword took our award for Biggest MMO Surprise. What’s your pick?

Reader poll: What was the biggest surprise in the MMO world in 2023?

  • SWTOR's move from BioWare to Broadsword (18%, 80 Votes)
  • The colossal failure of Overwatch 2, its PvE, and its esports (8%, 36 Votes)
  • Unity's failed attempt to soft-extort game devs (12%, 51 Votes)
  • Digital Extremes abandoned Wayfinder before launch (4%, 19 Votes)
  • Smed left Amazon and his pet game studio there (2%, 11 Votes)
  • Ghostcrawler left the Riot MMO to found his own (5%, 24 Votes)
  • Multiversus got yanked back into closed testing after soft launch (2%, 11 Votes)
  • Amazon revived its Lord of the Rings MMO (10%, 43 Votes)
  • Marvel Heroes emu code exists (5%, 21 Votes)
  • Cryptic revived Gigantic for a weekend (1%, 5 Votes)
  • WoW announced three expansions at once (13%, 57 Votes)
  • Star Citizen claims Squadron 42 is feature complete (6%, 25 Votes)
  • Daybreak is working on EverQuest 3, but not LOTRO Remastered (8%, 37 Votes)
  • Players rally to save Project Gorgon and its sick dev (5%, 20 Votes)
  • Something else (tell us in the comments!) (0%, 1 Votes)

Total Voters: 316

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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. Reader poll options include all MMOs nominated plus a few others we thought should be included.
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