MOP’s quick and dirty guide to finding the perfect MMORPG for your tastes

    
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she's a killah

Probably one of the most commonly asked questions both here on Massively OP and in various MMORPG discussions everywhere else too is simply, “What MMO should I play?” We’re not living in 2000, after all, when the available options could be counted on one hand; there are hundreds of massively multiplayer online roleplaying games out there spanning a wide range of interests, genres, and designs.

So how do you pick a new one when you’re first starting out, or you’re looking for your next conquest, or you haven’t quite found the right match yet? That’s where we come in to help! In this guide, we’re whipping up recommendations to meet all sorts of different preferences, playstyles, and tastes. It won’t be fully comprehensive — what could be? — or list games that haven’t released yet, but our hope is that this list helps some of you find your next MMO love.

If you’re looking for the most popular MMORPGs…

…then you’re going to want to peruse the “Big Five,” the most popular and populated MMOs on the market. These are World of Warcraft, Final Fantasy XIV, Guild Wars 2, Elder Scrolls Online, and Black Desert.

If you’re sick of World of Warcraft and are looking for a new home that feels different but not too different…

…common destinations for refugees include Lord of the Rings Online, Final Fantasy XIV, and Star Wars: The Old Republic.

If you want to set up a cozy home in a virtual world…

…realtors recommend EverQuest II, RIFT, Elder Scrolls Online, ArcheAge, and Black Desert for your housing fix.

If you enjoy exploring post-apocalyptic landscapes…

…there’s not an awful lot out there right now, but Fallout 76, Crossout, and Last Oasis might suit ya.

If you want an MMO tied to a pop-culture franchise…

…then dig into SWTOR, Star Wars Galaxies, Star Trek Online, Lord of the Rings Online, and DC Universe Online.

she's a killah

If you love the open-world sandbox scene…

…then take your chances with Wurm Online, ArcheAge, Star Wars Galaxies, EVE Online, and Albion Online.

If you want an MMO packed with years of expansions and features…

…you’ve got great content feasts awaiting in EverQuest, World of Warcraft, EVE Online, EverQuest II, and Lord of the Rings Online.

If you want deep and involving crafting systems…

…then roll up your sleeves and get to creating in EverQuest II, Final Fantasy XIV, Star Wars Galaxies, and Elder Scrolls Online.

If you want an MMO off the beaten path…

…then explore the wild realms of Dungeons and Dragons Online, Project Gorgon, Wakfu, Wizard101, and A Tale in the Desert.

If you prize story and narrative above all else…

…then crack open SWTOR, Final Fantasy XIV, Secret World Legends, and RuneScape for a great tale!

If your rising bloodlust demands some intense PvP…

…then sate your violent nature in Albion Online, Crowfall, Dark Age of Camelot, Warhammer Online, EVE Online, and Sea of Thieves.

If you enjoy a good looter shooter…

…you’re not going to go wrong spending some quality time in Warframe, The Division 2, and Destiny 2.

If you’ve dreamed of blasting off into outer space…

…then welcome aboard Star Citizen, Elite Dangerous, Star Trek Online, and EVE Online!

If you want to check out virtual reality and augmented reality MMOs…

…there are always OrbusVR, Pokemon Go, and Harry Potter: Wizards Unite.

If you want an action RPG that has an MMO-like feel…

…we would recommend Path of Exile, Diablo III, and Magic Legends.

If you’re open to a text-based MMO…

…good for you! Some fun candidates for an excursion into ASCII-space are HackMUD, Gemini Station, Starmourn, and Lusternia.

If beautiful eye candy is all that it takes to make you truly happy…

…then feast your face-orbits on Black Desert, No Man’s Sky, TERA, and Guild Wars 2.

If you want to get the best value for your buck (or for nothing)…

…then your budget will be happy with Star Trek Online, Guild Wars 2, Trove, Elder Scrolls Online, and Final Fantasy XIV.

If you want a full-fledged MMORPG experience on a phone or tablet…

…you’ll want to download AdventureQuest 3D, Albion Online, EVE Echoes, RuneScape Mobile, Old School RuneScape Mobile, or Villagers and Heroes.

If you dig fast-paced action combat…

…sharpen up your reflexes for Neverwinter, Elder Scrolls Online, TERA, and Black Desert.

If tab-targeting is more your thing during a fight…

…settle into LOTRO, World of Warcraft, Guild Wars 2, and Final Fantasy XIV for some more strategic combat.

Oh my.

If you dream of flying up, up, up and away as a superhero…

City of Heroes, Champions Online, or DC Universe Online will be your main choices. At the moment.

If you want to jump back into an earlier era on a legacy server…

…then take a gander at WoW Classic, Old School RuneScape, or Aion Classic.

If you want to explore the robust rogue server (emulator) scene…

…you’ve got so much from which to choose, including Star Wars Galaxies Legends, WAR: Return of Reckoning, and City of Heroes Homecoming.

If you want to encounter a dedicated community in a MMO that’s more or less in maintenance mode…

…you might have a great time in Guild Wars, Secret World Legends, RIFT, and Final Fantasy XI.

If you want an MMO to play with your kids…

…there are several kid-friendly titles out there, including Adventure Academy, Prodigy, Wizard101, and Trove.

Tell us what you think folks should play!

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Khrome

EQ2 would have been at the top of many lists if it wasn’t neglected by SOE/Daybreak in the way it has been over the past decade.

I tried getting back into it 2 weeks ago. Literally zero people not on max level. Everyone decked out in cash shop costumes. No community feel whatsoever. Inflation was at Zimbabwe levels around 2009 (like, seriously: You get dozens of coppers for early quests, while low level items cost platinum pieces: hundreds of thousands of times more, let alone high level items).

Some of the game’s alternate progression is also paywalled, which is an absolute shame.

Given the state of MMO’s currently, a properly maintained EQ2 would definitely have been on par with FF14.

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ghoulas

Strange thing in the list is that you did not put New World Elyon or SOLO in it but included Star Citizen. Why?

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Cristina Z

If no one minds, maybe I can add to this list.

If you want fast-paced action thats anime themed and open world where you can either grind like heck or just chill and chat hilariously with the community, Phantasy Star Online 2: New Genesis just recently released (literally days old from this post).

However, due to how recent it is, it’s still unstable lag-wise. The Japanese server is already very smooth tho so hopefully it will improve eventually for the Global Server.

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Meta Cube

“eye candy”
“Tera”

Wat

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Kickstarter Donor
Louie

TERA has a gorgeous game world tbh. It’s my favorite part about it.

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Meta Cube

I mean from a technical standpoint the game looks pretty bad even by MMO standards.

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Zero_1_Zerum

I checked out Neverwinter because you mentioned it had action combat similar to ESO. I can’t stand tab-targeting, so I’ve been itching for another MMO game with action combat.

I don’t like the third person POV, with the cursor floating over my character… but the combat is pretty good. Not sure about the store, but…it is F2P. Not sure how much of the story I can play without paying for anything, but I’ve liked it so far. Keep wondering if Drizzt or Wulfgar or some of those other characters will show up.

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Kickstarter Donor
Phubarrh

Age of Conan still merits some love, though I’m not sure which list I’d drop it into. Pop-culture franchise maybe?

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_a4

LOTRO for me, thank you.
If ESO fixes its combat, I might give it another try.
If my memories of Vanilla WoW are completely wiped, I will abandon everything else and play just that.

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texyFX

frustration as initial result of scrolling tru this list, somewhere between despair and anger i realised the miracle of my mental health – i survived all those skinner boxes without developing any amok tendencies, guess i had fun then.

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gr33neggs

Project 1999 would be a good pick under rogue or legacy.
Planetside should be listed with the pvp.
Elite is another quasi mmo that could fit in a couple places on the list as well.

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jealouspirate

Nice list. I would have included a dungeon/raid category. Some people primarily play MMOs for that content.