Perfect Ten: MMOs where you can play as robots and cyborgs

Effing OOPS

Robots are, let’s face it, very important. You might say that’s not true, and to that I say: When you get to write the columns, you get a rebuttal, but otherwise hush up. Robots are the best. And cyborgs are acceptable too because sometimes you can’t get a full robot but you need something that’s at least within spitting distance. Except you cannot spit because your mouth is made of metal. Curse this perfect robot body!

Despite all of this, MMOs are oddly reluctant to let you play as robots a lot of the time, never mind the fact that robots are fueled by old people’s medication and are made out of steel. Fortunately, some MMOs do allow you to play as robots, or at least as cyborgs, which is almost as good. So let’s take a look at your robot roleplay options. Who doesn’t want some robots? I sure do.

But robots.

1. WildStar

The Mechari were the best race in the game, and it’s not even close. (The Dominion in general kind of got overburdened with amazing races, but that’s neither here nor there.) These surly and imperious robots were a real favorite, not just because they were manipulating other races but also because there was a faint sense that they were halfway better informed than others and halfway trying to figure it out while spinning a convincing line of nonsense. I loved them. Shame about this game’s failings.

2. Dungeons & Dragons Online

I kind of bounced off Eberron as a setting when I was first introduced to it, but over the years I’ve started to appreciate it way more, and the inclusion of Warforged definitely helps. I really like these weird fantasy robot golems. They’re just neat, and they’re also neat in part because this isn’t the setting where you’d expect to get them. The more you know!


3. Star Wars: The Old Republic

Look, you can be mad all you want about not getting Ithorians, but the real shame is that we’ve had two separate games set in a galaxy far, far away and neither of them has allowed you to roll a droid. This is especially weird when you consider that in the actual films, basically every other non-human race you can play in these games is less recognizable and less important than at least two separate droid characters. This one does let you play a cyborg, although I don’t know why cyborgs are somehow limited to humans? Like, what, if a twi’lek loses an arm is everyone just like, “Sorry, pal, dunno what you want us to do here”? (SWG also lets you be a cyborg! -Bree)

4. City of Heroes

All right, so you can really be whatever you want here. Robot? Cyborg? Psionically animated bits of metal that pretend to be robots? A bee with teeth? That last one isn’t robot-related, but I make at least four bee references a month, and this month I’m trying to get out ahead.

Sure, all right.

5. Allods Online

“What if our undead were cyborgs?” asked some very intelligent Russian designer ages ago, and then we got the Arisen, which are just plain incredibly cool. Like, you might think “dead person gets a 50/50 blend of necromancy and cybernetics” doesn’t sound all that great, but pure dead person plus cybernetics got us Robocop, and that got us a good movie! One time out of four. All right, maybe that’s a bad example.

6. No Man’s Sky

Character creation in No Man’s Sky isn’t. But you can choose several aspects of how your character looks, and based on your selection of weird heads, it’s impossible for me to not assume that some of those are Ye Goode Olde-Fashionedde Robbottes. Except not because it happens in the future? Or a parallel universe? Actually, the setting is really unclear. But it’s fun, and I do look forward to the studio’s next game.


7. Star Trek Online

Because of the flexibility afforded to you by this game’s extensive character creator and the fact that there are numerous androids in the game’s setting – seriously, there’s a whole season of Picard about exactly this – you can definitely pull a City of Heroes here and just proudly declare that your character is a robot. Heck, Lower Decks has even given us the first Starfleet robot officer who is also just a tremendous piece of garbage. But if that doesn’t tickle your Adeptus Mechanicus needs that you refuse to acknowledge are basically that because you hate Warhammer 40,000 (and I get you, dawg), you can also make a Liberated Borg, who just sort of show up all over the place now. The Borg have undergone pretty severe Villain Decay. We can own that now.

8. Phantasy Star Online 2

I may still feel a bit weird about these games happening in a weird parallel universe compared to the original quartet of RPGs on the Master System and Genesis, but the MMOs have preserved the idea that you sometimes just wind up hanging out with robots. Some parts of those robots look like human bits, and some parts look mechanical. Why? Shut up and enjoy your robot girlfriends, weirdos.

I also appreciate that this particular game decided that it was unfair to not let robots be mages even though in-universe that’s supposed to be the big difference between robots and not-robots. Sometimes it’s more important to give people more options even if the written lore seems like it should point in the other direction. These are games and they’re supposed to be fun. See, people? Lore restrictions aren’t a magic bullet!


9. Warframe

So technically, the Tenno are not what we traditionally think of as robots. They are biomechanical armors controlled by a living operator serving as the core as a part of Warframe’s intensely weird and convoluted setting, and I am sure that there is an explanation with seventeen capitalized words (four of which are English) that means I really should not lump them in with robots. But I do not care. They are shark ninja robots doing laser pew pew in space, and I love them for that, and that is the hill I am willing to die upon.

If you think that sounds reductive, that is because it is. Warframe’s lore is way too dense for a game where your average engagement with it is about running in hallways and shooting things. If you think it sounds like I don’t like it, that is wrong. I love that people made up the most convoluted prog-rock insanity possible for a game about shark ninja robots shooting things in hallways before running and jumping. If you think you want a taco… I can’t help you. Please get some food.

10. World of Warcraft

Technically a bunch of races in this game are actually robots made by aliens treating the planet as an egg and those robots got infected with fleshy bits and that’s how we got people. I’m not exaggerating. Of the 24 playable races in the game at the time of this writing, eight of them are absolutely robots who grew organs! We don’t know whether that’s true of trolls at this point, but if it is, it expands to being the vast majority of them! That’s a lot of robots who learned to be real boys and girls!

You also have mechagnomes in there, so you still get your cyborgs if you decide that doesn’t count, though.

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 or with the subject line “Perfect Ten.”
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