As COVID-19 continues its spread across the globe, many of us remain isolated in our homes. Fortunately, with the advent of modern technology, we can explore vast, colorful worlds without ever having to leave the house. Massively multiplayer online games (often abbreviated as MMO games) let us connect with friends and strangers from all over the globe.
TechRaptor has compiled a number of different MMOs to try out during this quarantine. All games fall into one of three categories: freemium (free-to-play, perhaps more content/features with a payment), buy-to-play (a one-time purchase nets you the base game), or subscription (a recurring fee gives you access to the game). To help narrow down the staggering number of MMOs out there, some pros and cons are provided to help select the game that's right for you.
Secret World Legends
Secret World Legends is a revamp of Funcom's The Secret World MMORPG. Players take the role of an agent of one of three secret societies. They fend off threats such as zombies, vampires, rabid werewolves, mummies, and the eldritch Filth. All of the DLC from The Secret World is available for free. Investigation missions force players to use their brains (or a quick Google search) to solve puzzles and progress. The quest design is consistently fantastic, sometimes requiring unusual pieces of trivia regarding literature, musical composition, Morse Code, or origami.
- Excellent modern story & quest design.
- Love letter to cosmic horror.
- Revamped, more intuitive builds.
- Missing some TSW content.
- Little new content/endgame.
- Very small playerbase.
Dungeons & Dragons Online (DDO)
All of the fun of the world's most popular tabletop role-playing game in MMO form. Dungeons & Dragons Online shares many aesthetic similarities with Lord of the Rings Online, though both maintain a strong brand identity. If you're a fan of either IP, both games have a rich background lore to them.
- Can have a basic character ready in minutes.
- Plenty of free options for character builds.
- System mastery is very different from tabletop.
- Some content (and quality equipment) behind paywall.
- Rather dated look.
Dungeon Fighter Online
Dungeon Fighter Online is a 2D Korea-based MMO that plays much like Streets of Rage. It was originally brought to the U.S. by Nexon before closing in 2013. After some time, its publisher Neople reopened the game, now calling it DFO Global and allowing accounts outside the United States to play. Most of the content, barring endgame raids, is very solo-friendly.
- Skill-based, active combat.
- VERY alt-friendly.
- Fatigue System.
- Grindy even by Korean MMO standards.
- Raids prioritize specific subclasses.
Guild Wars 2
Now moved to a freemium model, Guild Wars 2 offers cosmetic packs for a small fee. This MMO also does away with the traditional healer role, without a specific class focusing on restoring health. Guild Wars 2 straddles the line of buy-to-play, as some newer DLC requires an additional purchase to access.
- Good race/class variety.
- Fluid combat system.
- Requires purchases for newer content.
- Some maps have odd senses of scale.
DC Universe Online (DCUO)
If high fantasy isn't your bag, DCUO may have you covered. Taking place in the DC universe, players can team up with iconic heroic or villainous powerhouses while exploring Gotham or Metropolis. It also features crossplay with the PS4 and PC versions. Episodes, or game content, may require additional purchases. Consider Champions Online as well for an alternative superpowered experience.
- Smooth action gameplay.
- Well-established characters and lore.
- Some content behind paywall.
- Running the same content can get repetitive.
A long-runner, RuneScape has seen several iterations over the past couple decades. Still, you'll find players approaching you and asking for money or items. In a world of such tempestuous uncertainty, such familiarity can act as a comforting beacon. While there's a decent amount of content for free players, most of the meatier content lies behind a membership paywall.
- Just like middle school.
- Lots of stuff to do, even for free.
- Runs on anything and everything.
- Definitely showing its age.
- Lots of content (areas, quests, etc.) behind membership.
Elder Scrolls Online
Buying Elder Scrolls Online gives you access to its expansive base game. More regions of Tamriel are available with additional purchases. ESO levels with the player, ensuring that loot and encounters are always a suitable challenge. Depending on race choice, players will play as part of one of three different factions.
- Content/loot scales to level, somewhat like in TES IV: Oblivion.
- Class, character, and weapon customization.
- Large open world where choices matter.
- Leveling doesn't always make you feel stronger.
- Must simultaneously level armor, weapon, and utility skills.
- Large installation.
Black Desert Online
This fantasy MMO features a large, open world and high-quality graphics. Its character creator is also quite robust, allowing for a large variety of concepts. Unfortunately, some of the classes are gender-locked, limiting some character ideas.
- Great visuals.
- Active action combat.
- Player housing.
- Great graphics require a great PC.
- Becomes rather grindy.
- Gender-locked classes.
Temtem features turn-based combat. Collect oodles of combat-capable critters and duke it out. Explore the Airborne Archipelago and become the best Temtem trainer around!
- Large playerbase.
- It's that Pokemon MMO you always wanted.
- Player housing.
- If you aren't a 'mon fan, maybe skip it.
- Somewhat small launch content.
Final Fantasy XIV
Square's MMO features a slower combat pace than World of Warcraft, but offers a different MMO experience and anime-inspired aesthetic. Its Shadowbringers expansion has proven extremely popular, and Final Fantasy XIV is a great starter MMO. The PC and PS4 versions feature cross-platform play. Players can play for free up to level 35. Final Fantasy XIV even features housing, though housing plots can be hard to come by.
- In-depth crafting.
- Plenty of tutorials and guides.
- Generally friendly community.
- Single-character friendly, but...
- ...the class/job system can be rather clumsy, especially for crafting.
- Duty Finder attracts some real goobers.
- No class customization.
- Early story (pre-3.0) can drag on, especially 2.1-2.5.
World of Warcraft
The quintessential MMO. World of Warcraft's subscription grants access to both the current retail version and World of Warcraft Classic. Given its infamous Corrupted Blood incident, you may be feeling a bit nostalgic for 2005. Its long history also means you'll have plenty of content to sink your teeth into. Though classes are race-locked, there are enough races and classes with their own specializations that this isn't too much of an issue. A trial is available which allows players to level up to 20 and bank any further EXP in case they decide to subscribe. Consider RIFT for a free-to-play alternative.
- Huge, active playerbase.
- Lots of content.
- Class customization.
- Simplistic crafting/professions.
- No player housing.
- Transmogs are somewhat limited.
Of course, these 11 are only a fraction of the MMOs out there. Finding the perfect MMO can be a time-consuming process, but it's a heady rush when it finally clicks.
Do you have a favorite MMO you think people should know about? How is it doing nowadays? Let us know in the comments below. In the meantime, from all of us here at TechRaptor, stay safe and healthy. Continue to check back with us for the industry's latest.