MassivelyOP’s 2023 Awards: MMO Studio of the Year


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

Today’s award is for the MMO Studio of the Year, which was awarded to ArenaNet last year. We asked our writers to consider all MMO studios as well as other online games studios we cover and judge the studios on what they did within the MMO genre this year specifically. 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 MMO Studio of 2023 is…


​​Andrew Ross: Orna’s Northern Forge. They really listen to their players, and even put out a non-GPS version of Orna, Hero of Aethric, that plays enough like the original that both games often benefit from patches/new content. The only reason I mention Orna more than Aethric is because I need Orna’s exercise motivation in my life more.

Andy McAdams: Standing Stone. This was my vote again. This year was the first time I tried LOTRO and was impressed at how well the game holds up. While SSG could just phone it in here, it continues to add more content and expand the game that is genuinely fun. Add in that they had to navigate the Amazon Lord of the Rings announcement and resulting drama for that, which they did really well, Standing Stone Games just had a really solid year.

Brianna Royce: Amazon, SBI, ArenaNet, Elder Game, Standing Stone, ZeniMax. 2023 was a year with a bunch of major contenders for this award in my opinion, at least for me as someone who spends a lot of time watching what the studios are doing even for games I do not play. ArenaNet has won this award in the past and continues to deserve props for several reasons, stemming from its comeback in the comms and transparency department the last few years. Elder Game, I just want to hug them. Standing Stone, well, those dudes have the whole Daybreak thing working against them, and I know they have us on a very black list if you know what I mean, but there are some outstanding devs at SSG who are punching way, way above their weight for not nearly enough money, all for the benefit of LOTR and the MMO genre, and that deserves praise even if the overall corporate situation is a trainwreck. And my initial picks were Amazon and Sandbox Interactive, even though I know they are going to be overlooked, but both studios were absolutely exceptional this year in terms of communications and high-quality video explainers with text for the games. I know we have some real shitbirds in this genre, but 2023 was a good year for good MMO dev teams doing their best. Bless.

Carlo Lacsina: Standing Stone Games. Hey man, their name makes me giggle. That’s reason 0 right there fam. Also, they’re doing a great job with Lord of the Rings Online. Considering how other game and TV studios have made some pretty mediocre products lately with the IP, I’m glad to see someone getting it right.

Chris Neal: Cryptic Studios, Standing Stone. I suppose SSG managing to get its thumb out and communicate is arguably hard to laud, but on the other hand, the players of this studio’s games deserve this and the studio should get some positive reinforcement for making strides to improve. Plus it’s been a busy house all things considered.

Justin Olivetti: Again, I’m going to put Standing Stone Games up here. It’s such a small outfit, and yet the devs managed to do so much for two MMORPGs in 2023 while being way, way better about communication than they have in the past. I also loved that they had some generous content giveaways this year as well.

Tyler Edwards: Amazon Games. Their transparency and humility as demonstrated in their Forged in Aeternum videos and my interview with Scot Lane have been very refreshing.

Standing Stone Games took our award for MMO Studio of the Year. What’s your pick?

Reader poll: What was the best MMO studio of 2023?

  • Standing Stone Games (46%, 301 Votes)
  • Amazon Games (5%, 35 Votes)
  • Sandbox Interactive (1%, 8 Votes)
  • Elder Game (2%, 10 Votes)
  • Northern Forge (1%, 4 Votes)
  • ArenaNet (9%, 58 Votes)
  • Cryptic (1%, 5 Votes)
  • Zenimax Online Studios (5%, 32 Votes)
  • Square-Enix (12%, 76 Votes)
  • Blizzard (7%, 48 Votes)
  • Kakao (0%, 1 Votes)
  • Daybreak (1%, 7 Votes)
  • Pearl Abyss (1%, 7 Votes)
  • CCP Games (1%, 8 Votes)
  • Artix Entertainment (0%, 0 Votes)
  • Gamigo (0%, 3 Votes)
  • Jagex (2%, 12 Votes)
  • Intrepid (1%, 7 Votes)
  • Grinding Gear (2%, 10 Votes)
  • Digital Extremes (0%, 3 Votes)
  • Airship Syndicate (0%, 1 Votes)
  • Nexon (0%, 0 Votes)
  • Wargaming (0%, 0 Votes)
  • Funcom (0%, 2 Votes)
  • Gameforge (0%, 0 Votes)
  • NCsoft (1%, 4 Votes)
  • Stormhaven Studios (1%, 5 Votes)
  • Something else (tell us in the comments!) (2%, 10 Votes)

Total Voters: 588

Loading ... Loading ...
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.
Previous articlePax Dei ponders a box price with sub monetization balanced with a free trial and possible game time tokens
Next articleMortal Online 2’s Krampos has turned up to dole out free raffle bags

No posts to display

oldest most liked
Inline Feedback
View all comments