Perfect Ten: 10 MMOs where you can live out your giant robot fantasies

Two years ago, NCsoft dealt a harsh blow to a certain subset of gaming fans when it canned the development of Project HON. This MMO was to be a glorious exercise in mecha combat, but scandals and a decision to reallocate development resources meant that it was never to be.

So where can that kid who grew up playing with giant robots go to get a Voltron, Transformers, or Macross fix these days? While many MMOs offer the occasional mech experience, there aren’t as many games that go all-in on that Pacific Rim experience.

But in the interests of a thought experiment and because I have fond memories of slapping five metal lions together to form the ultimate defender of the universe, here are 10 online games that offered or still do offer the thrill of high-tech mech and robot warfare.

1. MechQuest

From the game savants at AdventureQuest 3D came the ultimate giant robot battling simulator MechQuest. Featuring “amazing art, wild animation and horrible puns,” MechQuest pits players against other super-sized foes in a mission to cause all sorts of property damage. Oh, and it’s available in either browser or mobile formats!

2. MechWarrior Online

When I was growing up, I had purchased one of the tabletop guides to MechWarrior and was simultaneously intrigued and cowed by the meticulous detail behind these stomping tanks. There were also some popular video games as well, the latest of which was the arena-based MechWarrior Online. It’s about as detailed and serious of a mech simulator as you’re going to get, at least until we get a wicked awesome VR version.

3. Transformers Universe

It’s hard being a die-hard Transformers fan these days. First you have Michael Bay, and then you have the potential of this killer franchise frittered away on a robot brawler. Still… it is Transformers and it does let you play as Optimus Prime. A small taste is better than no taste? Or is it more cruel?

4. Exteel

Operating from 2007 to 2010 as a free-to-play game, Exteel brought players together and made them mech pilots of some of the most lethal hardware you’ve ever seen. While the game had some PvE content, it was mostly centered around PvP battles in limited arenas. And despite hopes and dreams, there is no sign that the long-awaited Exteel 2 will ever be made…

5. AirMech

Set in a post-apocalyptic world, AirMech is an “action-RTS” in which players form up armies of specialized mechs and go to war cooperatively or competitively. It’s been in beta short of forever with no sign of launch, however, even after it teased coming to the Oculus Rift last year.

6. Perpetuum

Let’s get this out of the way: Yes, Perpetuum is in dire straights as the team has ended active development this past September. However, this giant robot sci-fi MMO isn’t completely giving up the ghost, as it’s keeping the lights on and eyeing private servers as a way to go. Even with the trouble that it’s in, it’s pretty much the first title that many MMO players think of when they’re asked for “giant robot online games.”

7. Gundam Online Wars

From another popular eastern sci-fi franchise, Gundam Online Wars hasn’t really been able to capitalize on its IP as well as it should due to a shoddy-looking game and a bad business model. Still, with 52v52 battles on giant playfields, it’s worth considering if being a mobile suit pilot is your life’s greatest ambition.

8. RF Online

On-again, off-again MMO RF Online has struggled over the years, but it’s currently operating and does offer at least one flavor of giant mech gameplay if you play the Bellato Union faction. Maybe you want to be a foot soldier hacking away at a big robot with your sword? More power to you, fella.

9. Aion

For our last couple of entries, we’re going to look at standard MMORPGs that also happen to feature some sort of giant mech class. First up is Aion and its Aethertech profession. Huge magical mechs seem pretty awesome, especially when you’re sporting an arsenal of gatling guns, rail guns, blades, electric whips, gigantic fists, and rocket launchers. Wait, why am I not playing this game right now?

10. MapleStory

And just because something is small and cute doesn’t disqualify it from being on this list. MapleStory’s Mechanic is a pilot who just so happens to have a blocky mech suit at the ready. Just like every auto mechanic we’ve ever met. It’s a pretty tough class with some fun attacks, but like everything else in this game, it’s hard to take too seriously without wanting to pinch its cheeks.

Everyone likes a good list, and we are no different! Perfect Ten takes an MMO topic and divvies it up into 10 delicious, entertaining, and often informative segments for your snacking pleasure. Got a good idea for a list? Email us at justin@massivelyop.com or eliot@massivelyop.com with the subject line “Perfect Ten.”
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14 Comments on "Perfect Ten: 10 MMOs where you can live out your giant robot fantasies"

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Tarax

Ah I remember the good ol days of MechQuest.

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Sorenthaz

Sorry but I can practically hear the sound of barrel scraping just from looking at the list. Transformers Universe isn’t even a thing. Half of these games are PvP arenas. Maplestory and Aion are literally grasping at straws. Perpetuum and RF Online are the only ones that look anywhere near MMO-ish.

It’s a freaking shame too because there’s so much potential for a good giant robot game. You’ve got at least two forms of play with both pilots and their giant robots, and then so many ways you could build up a pilot and the mech itself. The Super Robot Wars series honestly lays out one of the best foundations for what a great giant robot MMO could look like, because they break up robots into two major types (Real, Super) and have SO many variants and ways that you could obtain/build up mechs and specialize a pilot.

Sadly I doubt it’ll ever happen unless we get more stuff like Pacific Rim to boost up the popularity of giant robots. Pretty much my entire ‘dream game that I wish I could one day somehow design’ is an evolving sandbox MMO that revolves around this type of stuff.

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Zen Dadaist

Most MMOs have some kind of big robot tucked int here somewhere, usually as a mount of some kind. Even Anarchy Online has Mechs you can use in certain places. Mostly to kill a couple of Dreadloch bosses and that’s it but technically that counts!

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Oleg Chebeneev

There is a robot mount in WoW too

Reader
Utakata

That’s what Star Citizen needs, giant robots Gundam style!

“Err…wouldn’t that be another feature creep if they did that, Uta?”

…oh, right! :(

Reader
JonBuck

Said it before, will say it again. Transformers is perfect true MMO material. The character customization alone, if done right, would be spectacular.

Eliot Lefebvre
Staff
Eliot Lefebvre

Set it in the IDW continuity immediately post-Chaos. Yes, the comics have already taken it in another direction, but it would work perfectly for two (or three) factional conflicts without invalidating the overall premise; you’ve got ample enemies in and out of safety, and neither the Autobots nor Decepticons really have control of the situation.

Of course, I imagine part of the issue with that is that Hasbro is still not exactly sure what to do in the wake of the Aligned continuity not working out at all, so.

Xijit
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Kickstarter Donor
Xijit

Uhhh, those images are WAY out if order.

Reader
Schmidt.Capela

It’s about as detailed and serious of a mech simulator as you’re going to get, at least until we get a wicked awesome VR version.

Not quite. Meet the Battletech Pods:

BattleTech Pod Interior.jpg
BattleTech Pod Exterior.jpg
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Kickstarter Donor
Pandalulz

We had a good team building event at Dave & Busters one year that involved a lot of beer and I think four of those linked.

Cyclone Jack
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Kickstarter Donor
Cyclone Jack

Ah, good ole Virtual World. Battle Tech and Red Planet. Many dollars spent there. :)

Skoryy
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Skoryy

PERFECT TEN: 10 MMOS WHERE YOU CAN LIVE OUT YOUR GIANT ROBOT FANTASIES*

* – Three actual MMOs, one in beta, one unavailable stateside, one on life support, one literally dead, and three others we threw in to fill the quota.

Champions Online has two giant robot power sets and a whole mess of giant robot costume parts. How’d a dead game like Exteel make it in over this?

Reader
Sorenthaz

Might as well throw in Hawken since Transformers Universe (which was canceled two years ago) is somehow on the list.

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Kickstarter Donor
Legend Of Vinny T

Your characters are still normal size, though. That’s only in the Iron Man/Cyborg/Pharah class. If CO let you make a PC as tall as a Mega-Destroid, Mechanon Mk 50, or Clarence, then it would count. The closest you can get is that stage of Resistance where you override a Mega-D as a vehicle.

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