MassivelyOP’s 2023 Awards: Indie MMO of the Year


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

Today’s award is for the Indie MMO of the Year, which was awarded to Zenith last year. All indie MMOs, crowdfunded or not, are eligible for this award; the game needn’t actually have launched yet, though it does need to be in some form of playable state. 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 Indie MMO of 2023 is…


​Andrew Ross: Orna again. We got new ways/more rewarding ways to play the game, new specializations, even new animated skins, which doesn’t sound like a ton, but it’s also a new monetization strategy that isn’t gambling, so good on Orna!

Andy McAdams: Project Gorgon. I own Gorgon, but I haven’t played it much. I’m not a graphics snob, but I had a lot of trouble getting past them. Still, the game is more innovative than games with 10x its budget, humorous, and they’ve managed to keep it going even in light of some really harrowing personal stuff. If that’s not Best in Class, well I dunno what is.

Brianna Royce: Project Gorgon has won this award before, and I even voted for it because it’s unique and creative on paper. But this year, I finally sunk some serious personal time into the game and my main feeling is regret… regret that it took me so long. I’m obsessed with it now; it’s the closest I’ve come to being able to replicate the old Ultima Online and Asheron’s Call gameloop feeling in ages, without a lot of the annoyances common to “throwback” titles that wholly misunderstand the source of the early era’s magic. The game deserves to be far bigger than it is, and it’s most definitely deserving of this award.

Carlo Lacsina: Project Gorgon. I only played a little bit of Project Gorgon, but considering how my fellow writers really enjoy it this year, it’s infectious. The simple fact that there were players out there also willing to keep the game afloat with their generous donations after the sad news of the game’s possible closure came out just speaks volumes of the dedication a playerbase has when they find a game they can really attach to. So I give the award to Project Gorgon!

Chris Neal: Foxhole, Project Gorgon. While we can’t really say this is a happy ending for Project Gorgon, we can say that people rallying around the banner of this two-person indie that is impossible to ignore. And besides that, Gorgon manages to understand gaming nostalgia more correctly than those who claim they know what old games were like while also being a unique title itself. Perhaps it’s not to everyone’s tastes, but it deserves to move on.

Colin Henry: Project Gorgon. To be honest, I can’t say I have ever actually had the pleasure of playing Project Gorgon (although it’s sitting there in my Steam library waiting for me), but the outpouring of support for the game and its devs this fall shows that there is something special about it.

Eliot Lefebvre: Project Gorgon specifically because of the rally.

Justin Olivetti: Palia. This life sim MMO didn’t have the best initial early access rollout, but it’s been getting steadily better. I think this has a good shot at garnering that word-of-mouth and second looks in the new year if Singularity Six continues to listen to the community and beef up its multiplayer components. It’s a really cute and relaxing game for sure.

MJ Guthrie: I throw my hat into the Project Gorgon ring for best indie. I haven’t played in an extremely long time., but I still love how development keeps plugging away despite the immense setbacks. And yeah, I am rooting even more for them as they work to surmount the massive life hurdles they are facing right now!

Project Gorgon took our award for Indie MMO of the Year. What’s your pick?

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

  • Project Gorgon (39%, 127 Votes)
  • Orna (2%, 7 Votes)
  • Ashes of Creation (5%, 18 Votes)
  • Embers Adrift (10%, 34 Votes)
  • Wagadu Chronicles (5%, 16 Votes)
  • Fractured Online (3%, 10 Votes)
  • Monsters and Memories (4%, 14 Votes)
  • Book of Travels (3%, 9 Votes)
  • Ship of Heroes (1%, 3 Votes)
  • City of Titans (1%, 3 Votes)
  • Pantheon (3%, 9 Votes)
  • Temtem (3%, 10 Votes)
  • Foxhole (5%, 15 Votes)
  • Villagers and Heroes (3%, 10 Votes)
  • AdventureQuest 3D (5%, 15 Votes)
  • Mortal Online 2 (4%, 12 Votes)
  • Something else (tell us in the comments!) (5%, 16 Votes)

Total Voters: 272

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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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