It’s at once the most important and most underserved genre in MMOs, aside from gigantic robots – it’s the valuable genre of internet spaceships. They’re games where you get to fly a spaceship. On the internet. Why would you want to be a boring human, an ethereal elf, or a squat and irritating designated short race when you could be a space human, or a space elf, or a space hobbit who still smells like peat bogs and breadcrumbs in a way that your ship’s air filter somehow doesn’t fix?
You’d think that this would be an extremely well-served genre, but for some reason it really isn’t. Star Control Online doesn’t exist, for example, and maybe we can blame that for our dearth of overall games about spaceships which are in fact extremely on the internet. Still, you aren’t devoid of options for games that let you put your spaceship on the internet, so let’s look at your internet spaceship options in list format. Spaceships.
1. Star Trek Online
Space. Not really much of a frontier after all in this game, since you are always going back to places that have always been explored in a prior series. These are the voyages of the starship USS Bonerfling. (You might have given your ship a better name, but you probably didn’t.) Its continuing mission: To explore familiar worlds voiced by established actors. To seek out the same old life in increasingly ornate post-television plots. To boldly continue adventures that a large number of other players have done before!
Also, to farm up so much reputation and spend money in the cash shop. I probably shouldn’t mock the spaceships of this game, though. Fans aren’t unhappy about these spaceships, they’re more unhappy about the fact that at some point you have to leave the spaceship and suffer through ground combat. Oh no.
2. EVE Online
If you’ve ever participated in any sort of large battle in EVE Online, you have probably zoomed out so far that everything is just dots colliding with one another. You are probably also primarily looking at your spreadsheet while you are playing. But here’s a fun life hack: you can actually zoom back in in the game and find out that rather than just really weird names for dragons and knights, you’re actually flying spaceships in this game!
That probably makes several other aspects of the game make a lot more sense! At least, until you zoom back out and head back to your spreadsheets. These markets aren’t going to corner themselves.
3. Star Wars: The Old Republic
Look, I never promised all of these games were actually good at doing Spaceship’s Big Day on the Internet. Star Wars: The Old Republic mostly wants you to be on the ground having adventures as a space wizard with a laser sword. But it knew you needed some spaceships, and so it made Star Fox But They’re This Game’s Ships. That wasn’t well-received, so then they released whatever the heck the starfighter PvP system was. I could never queue into a match when I played, maybe it’s great.
Also, you have a personal ship that carries around the people you want to bang. This is a BioWare game, after all.
4. Star Citizen
The entirety of Star Citizen’s business model is selling you pictures of spaceships that don’t exist in any playable form, but when they do, you’ll be able to have so much fun with these spaceships. These spaceships will do everything. You can mine with your spaceship, or fight in space with your spaceship, or blanket the area in radio static to prevent people from fighting. Or counter the people preventing people from fighting. Or probably even occupy a strange sort of space-borne pleasure barge, but for some reason that picture hasn’t actually been sold yet.
If you wait long enough, you may be able to take a walking tour of the spaceship you bought a picture of for $400. Theoretically, you might be able to fly that ship in a mode of gameplay sometime in 2028.
5. Elite: Dangerous
Elite: Dangerous is like a version of Star Citizen that’s actually a game you can play, where you get a ship and then you can play the game and fly it right now.
6. No Man’s Sky
What always sticks with me about the spaceships in No Man’s Sky is the way that NPCs on space stations would offer to sell them to you. Like, someone pulls up in a nice cargo hauler on this tiny space station with no long-term stay amenities. You walk up like “hey, I like your ship.” The NPC responds “thanks, I’ll sell you my only means of transport off of this space station for a pittance!”
Then again, maybe they’re just as lonely as everyone else. This is a lonely dang game.
7. Prosperous Universe
Have you ever noticed that there seems to be a distinct overlap between internet spaceships and spreadsheets? I’m not sure why that is. Like, don’t get me wrong, there’s a lot of advanced math involved in actually flying a spaceship, but I’m pretty sure most astronauts do not keep actual spreadsheets on hand when flying. And these spreadsheets would be about velocities and vector math, not about whether certain sorts of ore are selling better at one port or another.
If you’ve somehow missed it, Prosperous Universe definitely seems like the sort of game where you will be keeping those spreadsheets while you watch those majestic space boats fly around. Those beautiful, elegant space boats.
8. Star Wars Galaxies
There are definitely internet spaceships in this game. Heck, if you listen to the fans, there’s everything in this game, up to and including your father’s love and approval. I’ll never know that one.
Where was I? Oh, yeah, spaceships. Obviously this game is officially gone at this point, but I suspect you wouldn’t have much trouble tracking down some sort of rogue server if you were into it. Cough.
Do you like internet spaceships? I can only assume you do because otherwise why would you have read this much about them today. Do you like robots? I sure hope so because Starbase has both of those. Internet spaceships and robots! It’s a match made in a mechanical, robotic heaven with lots of flashing lights and stuff.
Of course, unlike many of the games on this list, you can’t really play much of Starbase yet. But it sure does have an ambitious look to it in terms of building your very own internet spaceships.
10. Dual Universe
Speaking of ambitious and letting you build your own internet spaceships, we oughtn’t forget about Dual Universe, which also has that! As well as a whole economy that’s going to be built around selling the plans for your own custom internet spaceship and then gathering the materials to make that nice new spaceship, competing with other people selling spaceship plans at the same time. It’s a whole new galaxy of internet spaceships.
In summary… these are games with internet spaceships. What? Not every one of these has to have some grand meaning beyond the presence of lovely spaceships flying in space blackness. Oh, my sweet internet spaceships.