The 10 best MMOs and MMORPGs to play in 2021
Massively multiplayer online roleplaying games, aka, games that will consume your life. Your first task: fetch thirty kobold beaks for Gary and receive a stubby longsword in exchange. Fast forward ten thousand hours later. You sport fiery pauldrons, slay a dragon, and nab some legendary loot. What a feeling. And there are plenty of MMORPGs that can give you this experience, but with different makeups. Some are fantasy, some lean into the JRPG side of things, while others go full sci-fi. Well, we've put together a list of the 10 best MMORPGs to try out if you're into levelling, raiding, and roleplaying.
The 10 Best MMO games
Think of the links below as a matchmaking tool for finding a group to raid with, but the raid is a paragraph on an MMORPG, and there's no party - unless you're reading this with someone in real life over your shoulder, of course. Don't be afraid to write your own entry in the comments below if you feel strongly about a favourite of yours, and we may just consider it for a future update. Who knows? Maybe New World will end up on this list. Have a look at some gameplay in the video above, if you're interested. Anyway, that's enough of us, please click away:
10. Planetside 2Where can I get it:Steam, Direct
What is the payment model: It's free-to-play with microtransactions.
Planetside 2 is an FPS which focuses on huge wars between thousands of players. You can pilot ground and air vehicles, or just run headlong at things with your assault rifle in tow in battles for interplanetary supremacy.
At its core Planetside 2 is a fairly straightforward class shooter about capturing and holding bases, but it comes alive when played alongside other players in organised squads. Plotting a course across a massive battlefield, leading counter-attacks or daring raids on enemy bases, is a thrill and a spectacle on a scale most other shooters can't get close to.
9. The Lord Of The Rings OnlineWhere can I get it:Steam, Direct
What is the payment model: It's free-to-play with microtransactions.
For fans of Middle Earth, The Lord Of The Rings Online is definitely worth considering if you're after a new MMO. Of course, the main selling point here is that you've got Tolkien's world to embed yourself in. You can play as a hobbit, fight alongside Gimli, and take on the Witch King in Angmar, just to name a few.
Lord Of The Rings Online is also faithful to the books, with plenty of neat little touches for those into the lore. It's an aging MMO now, first released in 2007, and it was fairly old-fashioned even at release, but it continues to receive story expansions even in 2021. And as an added treat, it's due a visual update in 2022 to tie in with Amazon's LOTR TV show.
8. Guild Wars 2Where can I get it:Steam, Direct
What is the payment model: It's free-to play. You will need to purchase expansions, though.
Guild Wars 2 isn't a traditional MMO, in the sense that it replaces a lot of boringly structured fetch quests with more emphasis on live events you can stumble across while exploring the world. These are dynamically generated by the game's systems, and allow you to hop into fights alongside swarms of other players. The fighting is more dynamic than most MMOs too, as you dodge out the way of enemy attacks and aim your own, as opposed to being locked into an animation.
Players praise Guild Wars 2 for its lack of grind as well. Nearly everything you do awards experience, from crafting to exploring to combat. Even if someone else has attacked a big monster before you, helping them out will still give you some EXP. Guild Wars 2 wants you to have a nie time, and to see its world and story without needing to work thousands of hours for it.
7. The Elder Scrolls OnlineWhere can I get it:Steam, Direct
What is the payment model: It's free-to-play with microtransactions.
If you can't get enough of Skyrim or Oblivion, then I reckon you might just like The Elder Scrolls Online. It combines multiple settings from the various iterations of Bethesda's singleplayer RPGs, allowing you to explore from Tamriel, to the High Elf realm of Summerset and the Khajit homeland Elsweyr.
As if knowing its audience, tThe Elder Scrolls Online also does a fine job of balancing being an MMO and a decent singleplayer experience. For those who want a solo experience or a massively multiplayer one, there's no judgement here, and if anything, it has increasingly offered more of the former. Plus, it upholds certain Elder Scrolls tenets, like being able to pickpocket every NPC.
6. Star Wars: The Old RepublicWhere can I get it:Steam, Direct
What is the payment model: It's free-to-play up to level 60 with two expansions included. You can subscribe for around £9 a month to unlock the full experience.
One of Star Wars: The Old Republic's biggest selling points is its storytelling. This is one of the few MMOs where your character development isn't all about making numbers go up, but in the relationships you form with others. You can befriend and betray, murder or confess your undying love to NPCs who aren't just static quest-givers.
Like ESO above, TOR's developers know a lot of people are coming to it from their love of Knights Of The Old Republic, and once you've reached the expansions, you're hit with this episodic structure that's frankly more like a singleplayer game than an MMO. You're thrown into your own instance and free to make plenty of tough decisions that'll affect your story alone, no one else's. This is easily one of the best Star Wars games out there.
5. Black Desert OnlineWhere can I get it:Steam, Direct
What is the payment model: The game costs £8.99 and there is no subscription model. However, there are microtransactions.
Black Desert Online might be one of the nicest looking MMOs out there, with a vast, gorgeous world that puts a lot of others in the genre to shame. It's worth downloading just to play around with its gorgeous characters creator.
You've also got fast-paced combat with an emphasis on aiming, dodging, and blocking in real time, but what really sets Black Desert Online apart, is its focus on building empires and civilisations. Yes, you can play this as an action-RPG or MMO, but there's a huge amount of depth if you want to go a bit Age of Empires. You can hire workers, set up production chains, and even set up full-on businesses, like this one centered around brewing beer.
4. RunescapeWhere can I get it:Steam, Direct
What is the payment model: A great deal of content is free. You can pay £5.25 a month for a 12 month membership that will unlock the entire world map, quests, and more.
Not only is Runescapefree-to-play, it's an MMO with a wealth of skills to get stuck into. I'm talking about everything from fishing and farming, to divination and dungeoneering. There's a huge amount of depth to each class, with money to be made on the marketplace, or by standing in banks and yelling "Iron bars for sale!!!" over and over again.
The quest variety is also on point in Runescape, as you won't find the usual barrage of fetch quests, but actual stories with engaging conversations, fights, and puzzles; there's even some longrunning quest lines and penguin conspiracies.
Let's not forget Old School Runescape too, which allows you to experience the 2007 version of the game with updates based upon player voting. Nice.
3. EVE OnlineWhere can I get it:Steam, Direct
What is the payment model: There's a free-to-play model which is fairly limited. You can pay £8.33 a month for a year's membership to unlock the full experience.
EVE Online has earned a name for itself as being a cold, callous universe filled with exploitative players - and that's justified. This is an MMO where war, betrayal and espionage between real players is the norm, with results that are engrossing for those involved and fascinating for everyone else to read about.
In the shallows of space, where you start out, you might be surprised by how generous people are. Player-run corporations need new players to join the fray, and strangers are often willing to hand over ships, blueprints and in-game currency to help you get started. Some players even started an in-game university to train you in how to survive. Play it long enough and EVE Online is one of the deepest games ever made - a space game with actual politics and council meetings driven by real people - but its experience for new users has improved year on year.
In Brendan's recent interview with EVE Online's CEO Hilmar Petursson, he also said that the game "will never die". So that's a bonus.
2. World Of WarcraftWhere can I get it:Battle.net
What is the payment model: You can play free up to level 20. A 6 month subscription costs £8.69 a month. You will also need to purchase the latest expansion to get access to all of those before it too.
I mean, you've heard of this one. World Of Warcraft is that MMO everyone thinks of when you say "MMO". World Of Warcraft took the model of the MMOs that came before it - EverQuest, for example - and applied a level of Blizzard polish which you'll be hard-pressed to find anywhere else. Today, it's a beautiful world to explore and almost frictionless to play - for better and worse.
World Of Warcraft's latest expansion, Shadowlands, also shook the game up and made it more interesting. It squeezed the level cap, streamlined the beginner experience, and added a better flow to combat. For new players, the lore isn't a mess to jump into but pretty easy to follow now. All the old faction leaders and warchiefs and pandas are references to be experienced later on, at your own pace - if you want to.
1. Final Fantasy XIVWhere can I get it:Steam, Direct (the latter is the better option in my opinion)
What is the payment model: There's a free trial which lets you play up to level 60 with no time restriction. You can also pay £7.69 for 180 days game time to unlock the full experience. The "Complete Edition" unlocks all of the expansions too, so you'll probably want to purchase this version of the game.
Final Fantasy XIV has an undeniably slow start and initially feels very similar to other MMOs, but over time you'll have an increasingly diverse range of activities to do. I think that's down to the fact it doesn't impose any limits. On one character you can bounce between different Jobs (classes) that'll evolve into more complex roles as you level them up. This extends to your secondary Jobs, like crafting, fishing, cooking and more. Again, you can pick up whatever you'd like and just give it a go.
Final Fantasy XIV's story is a high fantasy epic, and even within the free trial, you'll be doing stuff that doesn't just involve smacking things to right wrongs. Instead, you might need to help a 'beast tribe' reincarnate their god, with less time spent fighting and more time spent actually digging into the nitty gritty behind their need to do so.
In other MMOs you may find you feel quite hemmed in by your choices, but with Final Fantasy XIV there's this sense of freedom. And it's this which makes it such a popular choice. Oh, and each expansion seems to get better and better. If you want to play an MMO that's on the rise, this is the one for you.
15 Best MMORPG Games and Compare Prices
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What are the best 15MMORPG Games ?
1. Destiny 2
FPS Action Co-Op MMORPG Co-op Potatoes PC 01/102019 Bungie Steam
Save the Last City of humanity against the dark forces in a responsive first-person shooter, and experience the epic cinematic story alone or with friends. Choose your Guardian class, featuring Titan, Warlock and Hunter, collect an amazing array of exotic weapons and armor, and play with or against your friends and other Guardians in PvE and PvP game modes. So, customize your unique gear, unleash powerful elemental abilities and explore the mysteries of the solar system. You decide your legend.
RPG Massively Multiplayer MMORPG Fantasy Not Potatoes PC 30/01/2020 Studio 8 Steam
Answer the call of Astellia to be the hero they need and stop the demonic invasions in this classical MMORPG. Play as an Archer, Warrior, Scholar or Rogue and venture through dungeons and epic battlefields either solo or with friends to write your story amongst the stars. Collect Astel cards and summon them to your side, using their unique skills to turn the tide in battle. Enjoy the endless end-game content with PvE, raids, guild wars and of course the Colosseum, where you can test your skills in PvP action.
3. Black Desert
Massively Multiplayer RPG MMORPG Open World Potatoes PC 18/09/2019 Pearl AbyssSteam
Jump into a vast open world and immerse yourself in this fast-paced, action-packed MMORPG with its stunning graphics, skill-based combat and siege wars. Fish, trade, craft, cook and hunt monsters and huge bosses in a world that offers seamless movement with no loading times. Experience true day/night cycles, unique weather, mounted combat and taming and breeding of horses and elephants Make the character you want to play with a robust character creation tool and, with your Black Spirit, discover the secret of the Black Stones and the history of their corrupting effects.
4. New World
Adventure RPG Massively Multiplayer Action NOT Potatoes PC May2020 Amazon Games Steam
Sculpt your own destiny in New World, a massively multiplayer game, in an open world located on an accursed land, a world in constant evolution, the seasons, the time of day, and the time of day. Join forces to hunt down monsters and build prosperous civilizations, or survive against supernatural terrors and murderous bandits. Massive battles, fortress sieges against other players and supernatural invasions. Up to 100 players on the battlefield. Game release planned for May 2020 with a beta in April 2020
5. ArcheAge Unchained
Space Massively Multiplayer Gore PVP Potatoes PC 17/10/2019 XLGAMES Steam
Over the past five years, ArcheAge players have pursued their dreams of freedom, glory and wealth. Players can now travel the lands and seas of the epic world of ArcheAge: Unchained freely. Burning deserts, rainforests or the remote Hiram Mountains, home to the reclusive Hiram people, are just waiting to be explored or even conquered. Talent alone will determine each player’s success in the game’s many challenging quests and dungeons. Tenacity, skill, and a little luck will decide who will emerge victorious from the PvP battlefields of ArcheAge: Unchained. For the first time, pirates can now participate in PvP battles thanks to the new siege and territory system.
Massively Multiplayer Action Open Early AccessNot Potatoes PC 22/12/018 Grapeshot Games Steam
ATLAS is an action, adventure, massively multiplayer and role-playing video game. After generations, the descendants of the Heart’s protectors known as “Pathfinders” emerge with the intention of finding the pieces of the Heart and raising the continents of water again. A large-scale MMO with up to 40,000 players and thousands of areas to discover. Players can design and build their own ships, choose their crews and assign them their stations. Enter ATLAS and immerse yourself in an epic pirate adventure.
7. FINAL FANTASY XIV ONLINE
MMORPG Fantasy Adventure Anime NOT Potatoes PC 18/02/2014 Square Enix Steam
Create the Final Fantasy character you have always wanted to and jump into an epic and ever-changing adventure either alone or with friends in this MMORPG set in the realm of Eorzea. Experience unique disciplines to become a Disciple of War, Disciple of Magic, Disciple of the Hand or a Disciple of the Land. Gain access to powerful skills, magic, weapons and armor exclusive to each class. Its unique Armory System means that your equipped weapon or crafting tool determines your character class, allowing you to switch roles at will – meaning only character is needed rather than multiple.
Survival Zombies Massively Multiplayer Potatoes PC 14/12/2018 Bohemia Interactive Steam
Survive the frenzied infected, and other survivors, as one of the few immune to the virus that is destroying humanity in an open-world featuring 230 square kilometers of hand-crafted environment. Survive environmental dangers, including weather, infected and animal predators in persistent servers that have complex loot economies and support up to 60 players. Enjoy a rewarding and authentic experience, including driving vehicles, visceral and authentic gun play and melee systems. Hunt, craft, loot and survive in your own story, by any means necessary.
RPG MMO Adventure Indie Potatoes PC 22/01/2020 Crema Steam
Embark on an incredible massively multiplayer creature-collection adventure and attempt to end the evil Clan Belsoto’s rule over the Airborne Archipelago. Catch, train and fight your Temtem in the wild, the arenas or against other tamers in an ever-expanding world spanning six floating islands, all with unique creatures, characters and events. Customize your character, your house, name your Temtem and join forces with friends to bring down the eight Dojo leaders in your bid to become the ultimate Temtem tamer!
10.The Elder Scrolls Online – Elsweyr
RPG Massively Multiplayer MMORPG Potatoes PC 21/05/2019 Zenimax Online Studios Steam
The Elder Scrolls Online: Elsweyr is a massively multiplayer role-playing video game developed by Zenimax Online Studios and published by Bethesda Softworks. It is part of the year-long adventure called Season of the Dragon. This brand new chapter in the saga The Elder Scrolls Online will take you through the savannahs and sunny canyons to defend the homeland of the Khajiti. A new class is available and it’s the Necromancer – you’ll be able to “tap into the power of death itself”. This class will consist of three terrifying skill lines: the Grim Reaper, the Bone Tyrant and the Living Death.
11. Conan Exiles
Survival Open World Crafting Building Not Potatoes PC 08/05/2018 Funcom Steam
Jump into the vast open-world of Conan the Barbarian and learn to survive from the weather, extreme temperatures, animals and other players. You will need to gather resources to craft tools, weapons and shelter, with you able to build anything from a small home to an entire city. Place traps, elevators and defenses or craft furniture. Experience the brutal combat and wield bows, daggers, swords and axes in combo-based combat. Pick your deity from a choice of four, enslave thralls to do your bidding and discover ruins, snow-capped mountains and foul magic in single-player, multiplayer or online in a persistent world.
12. The Elder Scrolls Online
RPG MMORPG Open World Massively MultiplayerPotatoes PC 04/04/2014 Zenimax Online Studios SteamJoin with more than 13 million players in this award-winning online multiplayer RPG and experience a persistent Elder Scrolls world. Battle, craft, steal, siege and explore all the secrets that Tamriel has to offer in a limitless adventure. The choice is yours as you create your own style using different combinations of equipment and abilities to play the way you want to. Experience any story in any part of the world, in whichever order you choose. You have complete control over how you shape your destiny in the ever-expanding story, alone or with others.
13. The Crew 2
Action Massively Multiplayer Flight Co-op Not Potatoes PC 29/07/2018 Ivory Tower Steam
Dominate the land, air and sea across the entirety of the USA in a wide range of cars, bikes, boats and planes to rise as a multi-skilled motorsports champion. Hit the streets of New York, cruise through L.A, fly through fog above the Rocky Mountains and cut through the Mississippi River with the ability to switch between vehicles with a press of a button. Join a connected open-world and challenge others to rise to your records, and capture and save your best moments in an instant by pressing a button.
14.Kingdom Under Fire 2
Massively Multiplayer Action Strategy RPG RTS Potatoes PC 19/11/2019 Blueside Steam
Kingdom under Fire II is a PC strategy game that offers both a single player campaign and a massively multiplayer mode where thousands of people can play cooperatively. The storyline introduces a third mysterious faction in addition to the Human Alliance and the Black Legion. It’s time for war on the continent Bestia. The game gets its originality from its original mix of genres. While you have your character to complete quests and discover the game’s history like in an MMORPG, there are also strategy sequences in which you control an army like an RTS. The game therefore oscillates between ultra dynamic action and epic, strategic battles.
15. ARK: Survival Evolved
Open World Survival Craft Massively Multiplayer Co-op Potatoes PC28/08/2017Studio Wildcard Steam
Learn to survive on a mysterious island full of primeval creatures and other players all trying to do the same. Begin naked, freezing and starving on an unknown island and learn to hunt, harvest resources, craft items, breed and ride dinosaurs, grow crops, build shelters and research technologies, all while avoiding the predators that roam the land. Join or create a tribe, or go at it alone in a game that challenges you to drink, eat and survive the weather in a dangerous and living world.
What Is an MMORPG Game ?
A massively multiplayer online game (MMO) is an online game that typically has a large number of players, often hundreds or thousands, based on one server and more often than not in a persistent open world.
MMOs challenge players to cooperate and compete against each other on a large scale, offering high rewards, usually with a random loot system, for both PvE and PvP.
MMOs often have their own in-game economy as well, with players able to fill their purse by defeating non-player characters such as bosses, completing quests or selling and trading items via in-game auction houses or shops to other players.
A perfect example of a virtual economy in games is the space MMO from CCP, EVE Online. The game offers stock and shares in player-run companies, contracts and bounties set by players for players and they even hired a real-life economist to assist and analyze their virtual economy.
There are plenty of subgenres when it comes to MMOs and below are a few of our favorite examples:
- Role-playing games (MMORPGs) are often set in fantasy worlds with the biggest example today still being that of World of Warcraft, which still sits as the biggest MMORPG more than fifteen years after its release.
- First-person shooter games (MMOFPSs) have a variety of settings, from world war 2 to futuristic planetary battles as players endlessly fight for their chosen faction in first-person team-based combat to control the biggest chunk of the map. World War 2 Online is a perfect example and was released all the way back in 2001.
- Racing games (MMORs) put players into the seat of a racing car and challenges them to learn, develop and fine tune their skills in ever-increasing levels of skill-based races to become the world’s best racer. iRacing is a racing-based MMO that is showing that sports and racing games have a place in the MMO genre.
There are plenty of options for anyone seeking to enter either a free-to-play or subscription-based world in order to play with or against a large number of players. The MMO genre is the perfect opportunity for players to test their flying skills, racing skills, shooting skills and even their communication skills. They are a wonderful way of making friends and enemies and can be very rewarding for those wanting to learn a wonderfully crafted story in a more interactive way.
This is where Tags come in.
Why Are We Doing a Top 15 MMORPG Games List
In the world of MMORPG Games, fantastic games can be found at incredible prices but you can also be at a greater risk of being left disappointed.
Not all games reach their potential and get a release, unfortunately many games are left abandoned by their developers or are even released in a poor state and are yet still available to purchase on Steam.
Steam is in the business of selling games and sometimes that can mean a drop in quality in order to get more titles onto the Steam Store and available for purchase.
At Allkeyshop, we believe in quality over quantity and because of that we use every bit of data that Steam offers and we use that to provide the most detailed analysis of a game’s ranking.
How Do We Get Our Rankings?
Our rankings will take all available pieces of data into account, in particular we focus on the real ratings, real opinions and recommendations of those that play the game.
As a part of our ranking, we ensure that only those that own the game, have it currently available in their library and are logged into their account can vote for their favourite games. This, along with our other data, ensures we have the most accurate ranking system possible.
We only show the top 15 games so that you are not overwhelmed with hundreds of games and swamped in too much data. We plan on refreshing our top 15 each week, but we may change this plan if we find it has a real demand from you, our users.
Allkeyshop is a price comparator site with the intention of giving players the best price possible for the best games available. We remain fully impartial on prices and sellers, displaying both online sites and platforms such Steam, Origin and Epic, and we remain completely impartial on the rating of those games that we highlight in our rankings.
Our rankings are based on our users with no influence from us and we will remain impartial on the ratings and the rankings of all games.
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Best MMO games: live a second life on console and PC
The best MMO games, also known as Massively Multiplayer Online games, set themselves apart from the crowd thanks to their nature. Playing one gives you a unique gameplay experience because not only are you offered an almost completely empty canvas to start with, but you’re also exploring and interacting with thousands of other players from all over the world in vast fictional worlds.
In essence, the best MMO games will let you lead an alternate life in an alternate version of yourself. You can create and customize your own avatar, which you can build through interactions, battling and leveling up. That’s while you’re doing things like meeting new people and going on new adventures, offering a sense of freedom and a taste of things you may never experience in your everyday life.
There’s a reason why the MMO games are well-loved. Even online giant Amazon is coming out with its own entry named New World, which takes place in the 17th century. Regardless of whether you’re looking for your first MMO, a new adventure to dive into, or in its popular variant, the MMORPG (RPG stands for Role Playing Game), we’ve collected the best MMO games for you to dig into.
World of Warcraft
Let's face it, this was an obvious one. Blizzard's World of Warcraft has been going since around 2004 and it's been the reigning champion of the MMO genre for a long time. But, in that time, it's changed quite a lot.
World of Warcraft is one of the most successful and influential games in the genre, with new content frequently being added for a thriving, dedicated player base. If subscriber numbers look like they're wavering even slightly, you can be sure Blizzard will come out with another great expansion to corral everyone back into the fold and maybe bring some newbies with them.
Its latest expansion, World of Warcraft: Shadowlands, has to be among the best expansions in its history, offering stunning visuals on top of excellent dungeons and a linear questing systemas well as a whole slew of exciting new content.
World of Warcraft is kind of essential for anyone interested in the high fantasy MMORPG and we can’t see it being knocked from prominence any time soon.
You can download the game for free on the official website.
What can I play it on? PC
What’s the payment structure? Free trial up to level 20, then a monthly subscription fee
Planetside 2 is a first-person shooter on a massive scale. If you're not interested in the kind of granular play offered by games like Black Desert Online, then this game's focus on all out war against other players might appeal to you.
The game revolves around three factions in a constant state of war. Players choose their faction and then spend their time attacking and defending bases on a huge map to remain ahead of the competition. One day you could be on the attack, the next you could be desperately defending. Either way you're always fighting.
Planetside 2 is now seven years old and, though it doesn't have quite the same popularity or player base as it once did, it offers something a little different to the rest of the MMOs on this list.
You can get going for free on the official site.
What can I play it on? PS4 and PC
What's the payment model? Free-to-play
Secret World Legends
Rather than a sprawling world with endless choice, Secret World Legends is an MMO which places a lot of focus on storytelling. If you're tired out by the usual high fantasy and space fare, this is a game which is set in a world very close to our own. Well, kind of. It's our world if cults, mythological creatures, crazy conspiracies and supernatural phenomenons were commonplace.
There's more than 100 hours of story to enjoy here and players are able to explore locations all over the world and take part in a range of missions to unlock the mysteries of the world.
While it's possible to play through the story on your own, you can also team up with others and adventure with players from across the world.
You can start your story via the official website or on Steam.
What can I play it on? PC
What's the payment model? Free-to-play
Guild Wars 2
If you're looking for player-versus-player combat then you should definitely give Guild Wars 2 some of your time. Whether you like fighting other players in contained structured modes or you'd be interested in fighting against hundreds across sprawling maps in World-versus-World mode, Guild Wars has you covered.
For those that don't enjoy the grinding that's traditionally involved in MMOs then Guild Wars 2 will also appeal – this is an accessible game and it doesn't try to copy World of Warcraft. The game's world is dynamic and player decisions have real consequences which promises a story that feels individual.
You can download the base game for free on the official site.
What can I play it on? PC
What's the payment structure? You can download the base game for free and then each expansion is buy-to-play
Lord of the Rings Online
Few fictional worlds are as perfect for the MMO treatment as Tolkein's Middle-earth. Sure, Frodo's adventure was thrilling, but we all know we could have one equally as exciting if we had the chance.
You get to choose between being a Human, Elf, Dwarf or Hobbit before you drop into Middle-earth and explore the locations you know and love with an intimacy that no other Lord of the Rings game has allowed.
You can expect to find the usual World of Warcraft style of questing here, alongside crafting mechanics and the ability to purchase and set up a home. Overall, it's a pretty standard MMORPG in terms of mechanics, but its setting really helps it stand out.
The best free MMORPGs
Since the days of World of Warcraft, developers have been on a constant search for the best way to monetize massively multiplayer online role-playing games (MMORPGs).
Some games, like Final Fantasy XIV Online, stick with the tried-and-true monthly subscription, while others, such as The Elder Scrolls Online, charge a flat rate for each expansion. Most MMORPGs are free-to-play games, though, monetizing through in-game purchases and content packs.
In this guide, we’re going to break down the best free MMORPGs, playing close attention to games that are free-to-play rather than pay-to-win. Although all of our picks feature microtransactions in one form or another — it’s unavoidable when talking MMORPGs — you can still download and play a good chunk of each game without spending any money.
Phantasy Star Online 2
After years and years of waiting, Phantasy Star Online 2 finally came to the West officially in 2020 after a beta period. The Phantasy Star series as a whole has always been incredibly popular among RPG fans, and the first game had a dedicated player base for the time, making the wait for the sequel even more unbearable. Thankfully, about eight years later, Phantasy Star Online 2 has arrived and, despite some technical issues, it’s just as good as we hoped. It also doesn’t hurt that it is completely free.
Taking cues more from the mainline series than from other MMOs, Phantasy Star Online 2 isn’t a full-on open world, but instead it uses large hub areas you travel between. Missions are picked up from a central location, from which you then travel to one of several different worlds to complete your objective. The gameplay is very action focused, with plenty of diverse weapons and play styles to experiment with. Aside from the class system, you can have up to three weapons equipped at a time, giving you variety and versatility. Attacks are done in real time, allowing you to execute combos that inflict extra damage. This makes it one of the most satisfying MMOs to actually play.
The story of the game is that you are an operative for Artificial Relict to Keep Species, aka ARKS, which is a group tasked with adventuring to new planets and destroying any signs of the dark Falspawn forces. Honestly, though, the story isn’t what makes this one of the most popular MMOs on the market today. You don’t need to know anything about the previous games or even pay close attention to this one. Combat is the star here, along with some exciting and unique quest types, especially Urgent Quests, which are server-wide events that you have to experience for yourself to fully understand the excitement they bring.
Guild Wars 2
With a 90 on Metacritic and a 90% rating on GameRankings — second only to World of Warcraft and three of its expansions — Guild Wars 2 is one of the most critically acclaimed massively multiplayer games of all time. Though it will never unseat Blizzard’s gaming goliath in terms of sheer popularity, Guild Wars 2 does many things better than World of Warcraft, and without charging a monthly fee.
Guild Wars‘ fluid combat system provides an excellent counterpart to the rigid, role-based combat that Blizzard began with the Diablo series and built upon with World of Warcraft. Though it lacks the kind of depth and difficulty that forces players to work together in demanding raid environments, the system in Guild Wars 2 encourages players to team up however they see fit — trying to plow through some difficult PvE content in Guild Wars doesn’t necessarily require a dedicated tank and healer, for instance.
The in-game gem store also allows developer ArenaNet to continue profiting from the game and create new content, while simultaneously allowing for new players to jump in at no cost. Special seasonal events and other content updates have added additional content, as well, such as new mounts, story events, challenges, and weapons, several years after the game originally launched.
Trion Worlds’ Riftlooks and plays like a carbon-copy of World of Warcraft at its core, but who says you have to reinvent the wheel to make a great MMORPG? The game was one of the most stable and expansive MMOs when it launched back in 2011, bursting with striking environments, superbly crafted character models, and gameplay culled from some of the best aspects of similar titles. Though the early-game quests and lore are drearily dry, the game becomes more interesting as the story dissipates and you begin closing the sporadic, dimensional rifts that unleash a flurry of demonic beings into the game’s sprawling landscapes.
Rift‘s best feature is a flexible and immersive class system. Players begin by choosing one of two opposing factions — either the Guardians or Defiant — followed by one of six races and a standard archetype such as a mage, rogue, cleric, or warrior. Additionally, players take on three souls at a time, which function like subclasses, and develop their character using an elaborate skill tree. This level of customization adds to the game’s strategy and makes the accompanying co-op dungeons that much more dynamic and intriguing. The learning curve is steep, even after level 50, but the originality is there.
Rift went free-to-play in 2013, but a paid expansion titled Starfall Prophecy was subsequently released in 2016, featuring additional content that free users wouldn’t be able to see. However, it was then renamed Prophecy of Ahnket and made free once again. Since then, the game has continued to receive additional updates, including special autumn-themed packs, and battle passes.
Star Wars: The Old Republic
Any of the best Star Wars games were a massive undertaking considering the legion of devotees and die-hard fanatics that possess an attachment to the material. Luckily, BioWare’s Star Wars: The Old Republic is both easily accessible and instantly recognizable. The writing and fully voiced dialogue are excellent, bolstered by class-specific narratives and a wealth of contextual backstory that any fan of the franchise will admire. The visuals still hold up fairly well, and users can easily customize graphics settings to fit a broad range of gaming rigs. The gameplay mechanics are rooted in real-time, hotkey-based combat, and offer additional variation in the form of on-rails space combat and PvP warzones.
Though it is online, SWTOR is an enjoyable solo experience. Players choose from one of two factions, either the Republic or the Empire, and select from one of four distinct character classes specific to each side of the force. If you choose the Republic, you’ll have access to the smuggler, trooper, Jedi Knight, and Jedi Consular, while the Empire provides options to be a bounty hunter, Sith warrior, Imperial agent, and Sith Inquisitor. The story-driven flashpoints, SWTOR‘s equivalent to co-op dungeons, offer some of the most rewarding and challenging gameplay in the entire Star Wars universe, throwing players at drifting Republic warships and distant Imperial prisons as they battle alongside others to complete the designated objectives in exchange for valuable loot.
Though SWTOR has been out for more than five years, BioWare keeps churning out new content and released the Knights of the Eternal Throneexpansion inlate 2016. An expansion called Onslaught was then released in 2019, which added a new storyline that puts the Galactic Republic in conflict with the Sith Empire, as well as the world of Onderon, a special Flashpoint activity, and an Operation to complete with friends.
Read our full Star Wars: The Old Republic review
TERA boasts one of the most dynamic and pleasing combat systems in MMORPG history. Like TERA‘s counterparts, the game offers a diverse assortment of characters and classes — from the giant-bred Amani to the adorable Popori — each of which is accompanied by a familiar set of classes available to all races. The environments are dazzling and bright, with lush vistas and sprawling plains, and the character models are a joy to look at no matter what your machine’s graphics settings call for.
While the general questing-and-crafting gameplay in the early hours of TERA is standard fare, the aforementioned combat mechanics feel much different compared to the stand-still combat that characterizes most MMORPGs. The game requires the player to engage in a variety of fleet-footed maneuvers as they dodge and jab at opponents. The result feels more like a third-person action game than a hotkey-heavy WoW-style affair. Hunting and eradicating “big-ass monsters” alongside a group of fellow players is exhilarating, as are the group dungeons, but the events and quests are all loosely connected by a story arc that barely qualifies as mundane. However, additional components, such as in-game elections and open-world PvP, add enough individual flair to make TERA a world all its own.
A massive 2014 update increased the level cap from 60 to 65 and added several new zones, all for free. Two new playable classes were also added, while smaller updates continue to roll out regularly, including new dungeons, battlegrounds, and skills for each of the game’s 11 classes. The level cap was further increased to 70 in 2019, and an update called “Unmasked” arrived in October 2019. This latest update added a new story-driven dungeon called Red Refuge, additional Guardian Legion missions, guild-versus-guild combat, a revamped Gridiron battleground, and new leaderboards.
TERA is currently available on PC, PS4, and Xbox One.
The Lord of the Rings Online
Like SWTOR, the world surrounding that of J.R.R. Tolkien’s Middle Earth has been one hugely solidified in popular culture thanks to Peter Jackson’s feature-length films. Fortunately, Lord of the Rings Onlinecontains a wealth of content from Tolkien’s work, stuff that Jackson’s films never touched, and its cartoonish visuals color the rich environments of Middle Earth. The places you’ll visit are as diverse and eclectic as they are in the various books, ranging from snow-capped peaks to rolling hills, and the creation tools allow players to tackle the story as a hobbit, human, dwarf, or elf. Classes are as equally diverse, ranging from burglar and hunter to lore-keeper and guardian, but the selection is specific to your race.
With multiple expansions out the door, the game has undergone substantial changes since its initial release in 2007, yet the core mechanics and gameplay remain roughly the same. The most recent expansion, Minas Morgul, just arrived in late 2019 and adds a new race — the Stout-axe Dwarves — two new regions, a new raid, level cap increase, the Black Book of Mordor, new crafting benefits, and new adventures to push the lore forward.
The storyline is still epic, driving players through familiar spaces filled with recognizable figures from both the books and films, and the overall narrative gives otherwise bland quests substantial, contextual weight. Character progression and PvP combat are limited, but additional elements like deeds and Monster Play — which essentially allows you to play in the role of one of Sauron’s minions — add greater depth to the game’s seemingly straightforward approach. LOTRO is often dubbed a World of Warcraft rip-off, and perhaps it is in many ways, but it’s a hard argument to make when so much of the latter MMORPG was likely inspired by the immersive world of the former.
Developer Cryptic Studios combined the simplicity and combat-focused gameplay of Diablo with a more traditional fantasy setting to create Neverwinter, based upon lore from the Dungeons & Dragons universe. The combat system utilizes a computerized version of D&D’s 4th Edition by rolling imaginary dice to determine hits, misses, and damage dealt. The game, initially released in 2013 for PC but also available on Xbox One and PS4, features robust PvE and PvP experiences. Though Neverwinter assumes a linear approach, the fluid, Darksiders-esque combat feels fresh — especially for Xbox One and PS4, where the game’s aversion to social interaction and traditional RPG elements feels less oppressive.
Though the game’s performance can tank if you’re in high-level zones on a console or a low-end PC, the game features excellent spell effects and sound design, two underrated aspects of fantasy games that can be make-or-break your immersion in the experience. Though some of the game’s systems, such as its lack of communication channels and an insanely expensive in-game store, seem poorly executed. Even with those faults, though, Neverwinter is a fast-paced game that provides a different feel relative to most of the MMOs on our list.
Dungeons and Dragons Online
For most of us, Dungeons and Dragons has always been the tabletop game we kept to ourselves in fear of being ostracized (no shame there). However, despite DDO‘s launch woes and flawed beginnings, the sun-dappled city of Stormreach has never been so appealing. Loosely based on the D&D 3.5 ruleset, DDO is a game with extensive customization directly built into the framework. Featuring more classes than any other title on our list, the character creation tools allow players to experiment with a dynamic multiclass system wherein your character can effortlessly combine facets of skill sets. Although the latest updates still heavily cater to group instances and the game’s rooted emphasis in tight-knit teamwork, solo options are becoming exceedingly robust, especially if you can afford to pick up an NPC “hireling” or two to back you up.
Let’s be honest, though: DDO, which launched in 2006, doesn’t hold up when compared to newer, oft-updated titles, particularly in terms of visual fidelity. While it isn’t an eyesore, the game doesn’t pack the polygonal depth and vibrant details of newer MMOs like Tera. The game behind the visuals, however, is captivating, fueled by story-driven raids and dungeons whirling around the never-ending defense of Stormreach.
With titles like City of Heroes and the first Guild Wars under its belt, Korean developer NCSoft knows its way around an MMORPG. Aion is a tightly-polished effort, rooted in a post-cataclysm world that’s been torn asunder by two warring races. Players begin by selecting the hardy Asmodians or the radiant Elyos — each with six distinct classes that are subdivided into two more once you reach level 10 — and are then thrust into the stunning environments of Atreia. The questing and six crafting systems are linear, often requiring you to grind between lulls and recruit other players for the more populated zones.
Aion‘s true calling lies in its ability to balance both PvE and PvP components. Combat is fast-paced and responsive, reliant on chain attacks and fair amounts of button mashing, and incorporates flying mechanics that are truly unique to the genre.
Although most regions are designated as no-fly zones, players can still glide within the regions from any elevated jump-off point. Aion is an immediately enjoyable and beautiful title from the get-go, even if it does take you a while to earn your wings, and additional seasonal events and stories should give you a reason to come back even in-between larger content updates. Even if you just want to craft your own gear or collect pets, you’ll find something great to pass the time in Aion Online.
DC Universe Online
DC Universe Online dropped its subscription shortly after launch in 2011, but the game still offers as much action-heavy MMO fun now as it did when it was a “premium” game. Based on the fictional superheroes and villains in the DC Universe, Players begin by either creating a character from scratch or one inspired by famous DC characters such as Superman, Batman, and the like. The rest of the game unfolds in RPG-like fashion, with stereotypical kill-collect quests scattered across Metropolis and Gotham City, and dungeons that break up the standard MMO grind.
The well-designed cities, NPCs, and other elements also bask in the kind of comic-esque nuances you’d come to expect from such a title, and although the visuals are nowhere near photo-realistic, they are fittingly stylized. The combat is fast-paced and responsive, too, whether you’re engaging in the game’s heated PvP matches or participating in end-game raids.
Long-term players can expect a steady stream of ample daily quests and additional endgame content once you blaze through the game and hit the level cap. While the game is not without its faults — the voice-acting is cringe-worthy at times — there is no finer MMORPG for comic book fans and those that seek a solid alternative to fantasy-blazoned RPGs like Lord of the Rings Online, and TERA.
What’s more, now is the perfect time to dive into DC Universe Online, as an open-world boss added in October 2019 lets you face off against a Metal Man-Bat. The rewards you get for completing missions offer tons of different ways to customize your hero, so you can always stand out from the crowd.
DC Universe Online is currently available on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and PC.
It’s hard to argue a game isn’t one of the best of its kind when it boasts more than 200 million accounts. Jagex’s Runescape — now in its third incarnation — has undergone a series of design and gameplay overhauls since its 2001 debut, garnering the honor of the Most Popular Free MMORPG in existence, according to the Guinness Book of World Records.
The latest version of the browser-based MMORPG doesn’t deviate much from previous renditions of the game. Set in the war-torn fantasy realm of Gielinor, Runescape is a simple and familiar take on the MMORPG. Questing and combat are straightforward and often humorous, typically requiring you to click an enemy to death and collect its loot. Thankfully, the bland repetition is offset by the end-game content and the title’s sheer amount of depth. Much of that content remains hidden behind a paid subscription, but even the free content is engaging and fun.
Skyforge is a self-described “AAA fantasy sci-fi MMORPG.” It ditches the high fantasy setting of most MMOs in favor of the mechanical world of Aelion, where you’ll use a sword and shield alongside heavy machine guns. The art style and graphics are astounding for a free-to-play game and truly deliver on the AAA promise. The game doesn’t as much, unfortunately, with a lot of grinding and near-endless paywalls.
That’s par for the course with free MMORPGs, though. Skyforge is varied enough to make the grind fun, and the microtransactions, although present, aren’t egregious. If you download the game on Steam, you’ll even receive a free welcome pack. It includes a permanent class unlock as well as some Premium account time, so you can get a feel for how Skyforge works when you’re paying. The game is currently available for PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One.
Star Trek Online
Star Trek Online has been around for over a decade, and it’s still going strong. Over the past 10 years, developer Cryptic Studios has continually updated the game with new content. Now, there are over 160 episodes to play through featuring multiple story arcs. Star Trek Online is a must-play for any fan of the series. However, it’s also a great way to get into Star Trek if you’ve been sleeping under a rock since 1966.
Thankfully, Star Trek Online isn’t a case of a subpar developer scoring a deal on the Star Trek license. With over 100 locations unique to Star Trek and voice actors from the TV show, Star Trek Online is fan service at its finest. The game doesn’t skip RPG mechanics, either. You get to captain a ship you designed, either as one of the species from the show or one you make up on your own. You can download the game for free on PC, PlayStation 4, or Xbox One.
Eve Online isn’t an RPG per se, though it shares a lot of the DNA with the other games on this list. It’s more of a sandbox game, just one littered with RPG mechanics. In short, you pilot a ship through space. On your journey, you can choose to contribute or disrupt the in-game economy, participate in massive in-game battles, or simply explore the universe. Eve Online is whatever you want it to be, and with over 15 years of free expansions, there’s plenty to do.
“Massive” doesn’t begin to describe the game world, either. Eve Online has around 8,000 visitable star systems, each of which have four to eight planets inside. With so many players and so much room, Eve Online is the perfect playground for unique gameplay moments. Instead of asking you to stick to the script, Eve Online allows you to create your own stories organically. Undoubtedly one of the most impressive games ever released, Eve Online is a must-play, free or not. You can download it now on Steam.
Path of Exile
Path of Exile is one of those rare free-to-play games that’s had commercial success while satisfying the core community. It’s an action RPG in the style of Diablo 3, though some players say it has even more depth. With seven years of active support under its belt, we can see why. Character customization is almost limitless, there are plenty of missions to tackle solo or with friends, and the competitive scene is bustling.
The free-to-play model is at the center of Path of Exile, but in a way that always respects the player. The Steam page says it clearly: “You cannot gain gameplay advantage by spending real money in Path of Exile.” The grind is still real, and there are still microtransactions, but you can truly play hundreds of hours of Path of Exile without spending a dime. Plus, it’s available on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, so you don’t need a PC to play.
Secret World Legends
One of the more narratively grounded MMORPGs out there, Funcom’s Secret World Legends is a 2017 update of The Secret World from back in 2012. You won’t need to wrap your head around new fantasy worlds to jump into this one, as many of its locations are based on real-world places like London, New York, and Seoul. Supernatural entities inspired by the works of writers like H.P. Lovecraft have manifested around the globe, and it’s up to you to defend the modern-day world against these imaginative evils.
Secret World Legends is a game for those looking to branch out from the large fantasy settings of most MMOs. Its third-person perspective isn’t going to shake up general gameplay too much, but its reliance on weapon skills over classes and leveling makes it straightforward to jump in and enjoy. Unwieldy battleaxes and wands make way for pistols, assault rifles, swords, and good old fashioned fists. And rather than procure sets of huge armor, you can beat up the forces of evil in your everyday fast fashion instead.
Sinister monsters and familiar locales push Secret World Legends away from traditional MMORPG tropes. Instead, it’s a dark and mature title with an emphasis on horror. Quests are more like puzzles and riddles, so much so that it originally shipped with an in-game web browser to help players out in a pickle.
ArcheAge / ArcheAge Unchained
Managed by the folks over at Trion Worlds, who also publish two other titles on this list; Rift and Defiance, ArcheAge is a Korean MMO first released back in 2013, with a Western release taking place the following year. It garnered similar attention to latter games like Black Desert Online and Blade & Soul for its “next-gen” MMO visuals and exciting promises of things like real estate markets and complex, heavily involved player crafting. Upon release, it was criticized for some glaring pay-to-win aspects which ultimately affected the unique player market gameplay it was initially heralded for.
Since then, ArcheAge has continued on while attempting to fix the mistakes of its past. Many of its marketing materials have referenced its rocky start as a way to lure burnt players back in, going so far as to release a separate version of the game, ArcheAge Unchained, to scrub cash shop woes away while keeping the original version of the game intact.
Now players drawn to ArcheAge‘s attempts to create a thriving in-game civilization with housing, taxation, trade routes, deep crafting, and even a criminal justice system, have two ways of doing so: the original ArcheAge complete with questionable cash shop additions, and the single-purchase ArcheAge Unchained with nothing but paid-for cosmetics. Naval combat, swimming, and gliding make this high fantasy MMORPG stand out to this day. It even received a large graphical overhaul in 2019 to make it look like a more contemporary game.
Considering the state of the MMORPG market in the mid-2000s, it’s a miracle just how long it has taken to feature an anime-inspired MMO on the list. It won’t be the only one, but SoulWorker is our first. You might hear that the localization available through Steam isn’t as good as the custom servers you can find out there, but it holding a “Mostly Positive” rating on Steam is impressive enough to suggest it’s the 1% making smaller issues into bigger deals.
SoulWorker is a 3D MMO for the action-heavy audience. It’s an arcade hack n’ slash at heart, so if you enjoy games like Bayonetta or Devil May Cry, this one is for you. As is the case with just about any anime-inspired game out there – especially an MMORPG – expect a cash shop to offer just about any outfit you can imagine to help you live out those roleplaying dreams.
That being said, it’s post-apocalyptic paranormal sci-fi setting won’t satisfy those looking for their Isekai fix outside of their favorite weekly anime. It’s a dark game with a bleak story, so don’t go in expecting bright and colorful town markets and lush hills.
SoulWorker is available through Steam.
Albion Online stayed a bit of an outliner since its release in2017, but it has evolved since then. Many paid the developers to get early access with a F2P release. Then the devs abandoned those F2P plans before the launch and opened up the game to the non-paying public in April 2019.
Albion Online has visual effects that may remind you of Runescape 3 instead of Rift. We will make the upfront disclaimer that Albion Online is not a roleplaying game that accurately portrays real-world people and experience. Instead, the game channels Runescape 3’s more traditional model. You get a revival of diehard MMO elements, and the gritty MMO method here is about the players themselves. You’re either gathering materials, working lands, or using materials from others to battle over territory. An interesting side note of this game is that all equipment, structures, and every-day items are creations of past players.
You have limitless possibilities for journeys upon which to embark due to Albion Online’s classless system. You’ll find yourself spending hours exploring this game’s countless paths, and you won’t regret it either because you won’t find a more original MMORPG out there. The game has Android compatibility giving players a bit of flexibility in how they engage with it.
If you live outside the US, you can expect increased lag time in your gameplay. Albion Online operates solely off one US-based server, and that’s not likely to change anytime soon. Albion Online is available through Steam.
New and Trending
The best MMO and MMORPG titles to get lost in right now
The best MMO and MMORPGs beg to be explored, plundered, conquered and enjoyed with pals or on your lonesome alike. But what is it you look for in your own massively multiplayer adventures? Some swallow you with their engrossing lore, while others let off-the-cuff social interactions drive their narratives. Some of the best MMO and MMORPGs lean into their PvE trappings, sending you deep into the bowels of expertly designed dungeons to do battle with terrifying monsters; while others balance risk and reward in meticulous full-loot PvP systems.
But whatever it is that floats your boat/airship/dragon/Death Star (delete as applicable), the best MMO and MMORPGs suit the tastes of every budding adventurer. Good luck on your real and virtual life-consuming quest!
25. Riders of Icarus
Available on: PC
In a post-Pokémon Go world, the idea of a monster collecting MMO seems like a no-brainer, and yet it’s still territory that very few online RPGs have properly broached. Riders of Icarus takes the idea of collecting pocket monsters and gives it an interesting twist, making all the creatures you hoard into mounts that are central to character progression.
Mounted combat is understandably a central mechanic, and while it can be difficult to master, especially while flying, it also provides some very satisfying and dramatic moments. And Riders of Icarus is flush with gorgeous, rare gear, and quests that often deviate in pleasant ways from the traditional “fetch 15 rat pelts” MMO mold.
24. Defiance 2050
Available on: PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One
The fact that Defiance is any good is practically miraculous. Developing an MMO shooter based on a SyFy original television series sounds like a recipe for disaster, but somehow Trion Worlds was able to deliver an excellent game with a lot of cool hooks. It helps that the world of Defiance is an interesting one, the result of a curious set of circumstances. Earth has been rendered almost unrecognizable by the accidental deployment of alien terraforming technology, and a long war with the aliens responsible has left both sides on the brink of collapse. Factions have splintered off and in many cases aliens and humans have banded together in the desperate struggle for survival.
While SyFy axed the television show back in 2015, the MMO lives on, continuing to succeed on the strength of its combat mechanics, satisfying character progression, and the its absolutely massive armory of weapons and gear. It’s the first MMO we've played that makes shooting guns in PvE feel viable and fun, and it now also includes some surprisingly effective melee weapons. The rebooted version of the game, Defiance 2050, is available on PS4, Xbox One, and PC, featuring classes and power trees, but the same world and quests - not enough to be considered a wholly new game, but give it a try if you want to see the world of Defiance through fresh eyes.
23. Black Desert Online
Available on: PC, Xbox One, PS4
A Korean MMO that launched in the US behind a lot of fanfare, Black Desert Online was able to mostly deliver on the hype with its snappy action combat and interesting property management elements. Alongside the standard leveling and questing, BDO offers players and guilds the opportunity to become medieval slum lords, buying up buildings and setting their function as residences or crafting repositories, or even taking wholesale control of entire cities.
While some of these mechanics were a bit clumsy or unavailable at launch, BDO is a game that’s taken full advantage of the long lifespan of most MMOs and has continually improved over time. And Microsoft’s reveal at E3 this year that Black Desert will be making an appearance on Xbox One as a console exclusive means more players will be able to get their hands on this sleeper gem.
22. Revelation Online
Available on: PC
Speaking of incredibly pretty looking Eastern MMOs, Revelation Online proves that beauty and substance aren’t mutually exclusive. This Chinese offering that recently made its way west has incredible depth in terms of character creation and development, and a vast, intriguing open world to plumb for loot and secrets.
Revelation Online is also one of a current bumper crop of games that provides the option to choose traditional, tab-targeting style MMO combat or more dynamic action combat. It even offers a third option that’s an intriguing (if somewhat clumsy) blend of both. And with the option to respec your character for free at any point, it’s an easy game to commit some time to without feeling shackled by your choices.
21. Secret Worlds Legends
Available on: PC
Another recent convert to the free to play model, Secret World Legends is a game defined in large part by its setting, which reads like every conspiracy theory crackpots dream come true (or their worst nightmare realized). Secret societies, mythological creatures, and evil cults define a world shrouded by mystery and bursting with supernatural horrors. Propping up the setting and story is some killer sound design, which successfully ratchets up tension and gives the game’s events a sense of sweeping drama.
In fact, one of Secret World Legend’s strongest features is its dedication to storytelling. Instead of the standard MMO trope of letting players queue up a practically unlimited number of quests--which leads to lots of mindless fetching and slaying without any sense of overarching purpose--The Secret World focuses on a tight handful of quests at a time, all with clearly defined objectives. This narrow focus helps emphasize narrative and points a spotlight at the games writing and atmosphere, which is of a fairly uniform high quality.
Click 'next page' to see entries 20-11 in our countdown of the top MMORPGs.
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