MassivelyOP’s 2023 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, which was awarded to Lord of the Rings Online last year. We’ve been running this award since 2021, and for it we’re looking at games from around 2010-ish and earlier – but only 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 2023 is…


​Andrew Ross: Istaria/Horizons. Really, if you miss Crowfall or wanted to play it without the PvE, this is your answer.

Andy McAdams: Final Fantasy XI, EverQuest II progression servers. I have never even considered playing FFXI, but I have it on good authority that it is in fact a good game that continues to put out content even in maintenance mode.

Brianna Royce: WoW Classic, LOTRO, Ultima Online. WoW Classic got my top nod this year, and you guys know what I think of it and of Blizzard. But this year, the company actually did something new with Classic in the form of Season of Discovery. Sure, it’s not the Classic Plus of everyone’s dreams, but that was impossible anyway. Mad respect for FFXI, though. Not sorry to see it win.

Carlo Lacsina: EverQuest. It’s EverQuest! Come on man!

Chris Neal: Final Fantasy XI, EverQuest. Otherwise known as the MMORPG in Maintenance Mode That Doesn’t Know How Maintenance Mode Works, FFXI has monthly updates aplenty, the new story content, and what I believe are continuing events… it’s hard not to celebrate such a stalwart even if I’ve moved on with my life away from it.

Colin Henry: LOTRO, WoW Classic

Eliot Lefebvre: Final Fantasy XI. Look, any game that went into maintenance mode ages ago and not only has put out monthly updates since then but this year actually finished off a major new story deserves some respect. I don’t think it’ll ever be eligible after this year, but it deserved this year. And it could still surprise me.

Justin Olivetti: WoW Classic had a lot of fun experimenting with rulesets this year. Old School RuneScape continues to be a bafflingly popular throwback MMO.

Final Fantasy XI took our award for Best Classic MMO. What’s your pick?

Reader poll: What was the best classic MMORPG of 2023?

  • Final Fantasy XI (25%, 197 Votes)
  • WoW Classic (18%, 143 Votes)
  • Old School RuneScape (7%, 55 Votes)
  • EverQuest (9%, 67 Votes)
  • EverQuest II (3%, 24 Votes)
  • LOTRO (14%, 112 Votes)
  • Ultima Online (2%, 15 Votes)
  • Istaria aka Horizons (0%, 1 Votes)
  • Dungeons and Dragons Online (2%, 19 Votes)
  • Guild Wars 1 (5%, 37 Votes)
  • Dark Age of Camelot (2%, 15 Votes)
  • Anarchy Online (1%, 10 Votes)
  • EVE Online (3%, 25 Votes)
  • Lineage II (0%, 3 Votes)
  • Fallen Earth (1%, 6 Votes)
  • MapleStory (1%, 4 Votes)
  • Ryzom (0%, 2 Votes)
  • Mabinogi (1%, 5 Votes)
  • Wurm Online (0%, 3 Votes)
  • Tibia (1%, 6 Votes)
  • Meridian 59 (0%, 3 Votes)
  • A Tale in the Desert (0%, 0 Votes)
  • Age of Conan (1%, 7 Votes)
  • The Secret World (2%, 19 Votes)
  • Something else (tell us in the comments!) (1%, 8 Votes)

Total Voters: 665

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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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