Welcome to the self-declared most prestigious awards in MMO gaming. Over the course of what has been a fantastic year for MMO games (and MMO Games), players have begun returning to the genre in droves. We suspect a new renaissance of MMO gaming is en-route, and that’s in large part thanks to some extremely impressive games and development studios.

While there are a great many studios, developers, publishers, and games that are deserving of praise and commendation, we want our MMO Games Awards to be meaningful. That entails only highlighting a few winners who have particularly excelled. So, without further ado, here are the studios and games whose excellence shines so brightly that they do a service to the genre itself.

MMO Game Development Studio of the Year – CCP Games

Why CCP Games? Well, how could it be anyone else? Every month in 2021, we’ve conducted EVE Interviews with CCP Games’ directors. Beyond learning about EVE, we’ve gained so many insights into CCP’s ethos, their ambitious philosophy for an EVE that will outlast us all, their infectious optimism as to what gaming could achieve, their commitment to and appreciation of their fanbase, their unfaltering curiosity, benevolent outlook, and perhaps most of all, their genuine love for the game they’ve created.

Our impressions of CCP Games have been confirmed by all who cross paths with the team. In a special three-part series, we spoke to Attila Szantner of Massively Multiplayer Online Science about the incredible Project Discovery. He was not only blown away by the trust CCP Games were willing to put in him for the advocacy of science, but remarked on how no other game studio could pull off CCP Games’ unique success. He specifically praised their flat-power structure, evidencing how an intern was allowed to answer panel questions like an equal while sitting next to Nobel Prize winner Michel Mayor at an important roundtable.

MMO Games Awards EVE Online

CCP Games is a game studio as iconic as it is impressive. And just like the Capsuleers of New Eden, we hope it outlasts us all. EVE turned 18 this year, so that’s not a bad start.

Best New MMORPG – New World

MMO Games Awards Best New MMORPG

While New World’s player-count has fallen following its launch, we challenge you to find us an MMORPG whose player-count didn’t do the exact same thing. It’s far better to concentrate on the positives that New World has brought to the table, and we think New World’s contributions to the genre are significant and myriad.

It’s been a while since the last AAA MMORPG release grabbed gaming headlines the world over. During the last ten years, the genre has seemingly been in decline waiting for a hero-title to come and breathe new life into it. Whether or not New World will be the genre’s long-term saviour is yet to be decided, but what’s undeniable is the buzz and excitement that it has successfully brought back to the genre.

As the first of the much-hyped upcoming MMORPGs to launch, New World had a heavy weight upon its shoulders. The game they delivered, even after just one update, is stunningly beautiful, unique, creative, and mighty addictive. The crafting is engaging, the combat is compelling, and the factional politics successfully incentivize players’ engagement in the wider community.

MMO Games Awards - Best New MMORPG New World

As well as weapon guides, crafting guides, helpful tips, and interviews, we’ve been inspired to write a number of reviews that delve deep into the game, including this review-love story that explores the game that we believe New World could evolve into if Amazon Games are brave and smart over the coming years.

Best Upcoming Indie MMORPG – Wagadu Chronicles

MMO Games Awards Best Upcoming Wagadu Chronicle

As much as we love traditional fantasy worlds of goblins, bearded old wizards, and warrior princesses, it’s undeniably true that our favourite MMORPG genre is far too heavily dominated by these stereotypically western fantasy tropes. While K-RPGs and J-RPGs do offer an East-Asian alternative, it takes a brave development team to throw out the status quo completely. And it takes an exceptional team to do so with enough class and compelling ideas that all our heads are turning. Enter Wagadu Chronicles.

Wagadu Chronicles is an Afro-Fantasy MMORPG that stays true to 5th edition D&D-style roleplaying while exploring the untapped lore of African fantasy and folklore. The land of Wagadu is a purgatory formed of archipelagos inhabited by the Fallen. Mysterious ‘Cycles’, powerful spirits, and fickle ancestors are just some of the perils that will await players when the game gets its release.

MMO Games Awards Wagadu Chronicles

We first wrote about Wagadu Chronicles for one of our Indie Spotlight articles wherein we write about the upcoming MMOs that we’re most excited about. Ever since then, we haven’t managed to get the game or its inspired artwork out of our heads. We can barely wait for its release. Hurry up please, Twin Drums.

Best Expansion or Update – FFXIV: Endwalker

Some expansions are worth waiting for, and boy was Final Fantasy XIV’s delayed Endwalker one of them! Poignant, picturesque, and almost perfect, Endwalker is an exceptional expansion that beautifully concludes the prolonged Hydaelyn and Zodiark storyline that has had its fans glued from the start.

Across both our own upcoming review and countless others, FFXIV: Endwalker has received nothing but sensational reviews. It has received universal accolades for its emotional storytelling, series of powerful villains, new lands filled with dense jungle and hidden ruins, new in-game jobs, new cities, new maps, new dungeons, and new trials. Moreover, on top of this newly introduced content, there have been some well-considered adjustments to existing mechanics that have been welcomed across the board. It has even become the year’s highest rated game on Metacritic, which is one heck of an accolade.

It’s also blooming gigantic. It’s essentially a full length JRPG that will take at least 50 hours to complete. While other MMORPGs milk their fans for every dollar that they can get, Square Enix deliver an expansion so large it could have easily been split into three. Oh, and did we mention that you get to go to the moon?

Thanks to Endwalker, Final Fantasy XIV is the best it’s ever been. Square Enix, we salute you!

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