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The 10 best MMORPGs on PC

Ever since I was a tiny child, I've had a love affair with an MMORPG. From Runescape, through to World of Warcraft, to more complicated fare like Eve Online - MMORPG games remain my preferred way to play. 

And I think that if you choose the right game, they could be yours, too. Here’s my list of the 10 best PC MMO games on the PC. They’re in no particular order, but whichever place you choose to explore, will stay with you. Here’s to growing old in strange new worlds.

Warlords of Draenor Dark Portal Khadgar

1. World of Warcraft: Warlords of Draenor

Warlords of Draenor is the latest expansion pack to grace the decade old classic, and it just goes to show that Blizzard can still refine the formula even further. World of Warcraft is at its prime.

Players who have maybe given the game a break can dive right into the new expansion with a complimentary level 90 character boost. It’s sad that to admit, but very few people enjoyed slogging through four expansions worth of stuff, just to get to the current content.

The character models have all received a facelift. World of Warcraft always had its charm when it came to the graphics, but the new models and animations are a welcome improvement by all.

Then we have the new Garrisons: your base of operations in Draenor, where you command your loyal forces of either the Horde or the Alliance. They’re teeming with stuff to do, click and loot - your followers dispatched daily on lucrative missions to further your exploits.

Quests are a more narrative heavy experience, and it is infinitely better for it. This extends to the raids: mega-dungeons with challenging bosses from all walks of life.

World of Warcraft is still king; and Warlords of Draenor is its superbly crafted, golden crown.

Buyers Guide: Head over to this page to either return for a free seven days, or create a free account which you can level all the way up to 20. If you have some friends already playing, why not consider using either a Scroll of Resurrection or Recruit a Friend for some neat bonuses.

Guild Wars 2 PVP

2. Guild Wars 2

Where World of Warcraft is as traditional an MMO as they come, Guild Wars 2 is the weird, contrarian opposite. Its design can be seen as an attempt to fix and improve on every broken mechanic that online games persist in pursuing. 

It has no quests: instead players gang together to fight in rolling ‘events’ - mini storylines that playout in stages depending on how gamers perform. It has no raids: it’s endgame is more about exploring the world or levelling alternative characters. It is heavily PvP focused: it is trying desperately to create an eSport with in-game tournaments and a spectator mode. But most importantly, it doesn’t demand a subscription fee from players. 

That last point is incredible, given the focus the game’s developers Arenanet have placed on improving and expanding the game. Every two weeks on the dot ArenaNet ship out the next chapter of Guild Wars 2. Dubbed the “living story” — changing the world with each release — these bi-weekly updates accommodate the players needs with fresh things to do and major improvements. 

Highly recommended. 

Buyers Guide: Can be picked up at most online/retail store, or straight from ArenaNet. Watch out for flash sales: Guild Wars 2 is occasionally discounted on weekends or during holidays. 

FFXIV ARR

3. Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn

Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn is a story of heartwarming redemption. It was originally released two years ago, but it wasn’t very good. In fact, it was terrible. This triggered Square Enix to take drastic action: ditch the old team, hire a new team and remake the game.

The outcome is A Realm Reborn. And it’s good.

If you’re a Final Fantasy fan, you’ll adore Eorzea. It hits everything the series is known for: epic stories of good and evil fighting it out, varied environments, great characters and flashy cutscenes. 

It’s also clever: players have a great deal of flexibility within their class choice. As soon as you hit a paltry level 10, you gain the ability to switch to any of the games eight combat classes at just the switch of the weapon. The upside is that players don’t need to create alts to try out other roles. 

It’s also one of the few cross platform MMOs, in which PC and Playstation players share the same world.

Buyers Guide: Sold in most retail/online stores, or from Square Enix.

Planetside 2 MAX

4. Planetside 2

Yes, Planetside 2 counts as an MMO. It’s an MMOFPS: a huge, persistent open world filled and fought over by thousands of players, some on foot, some in tanks and quad bikes and jeeps and jetpacks, others in bombers and air transports and air fighters. At its best, Planetside 2 is like nothing else. 

It’s bloody massive. 

One moment you could be storming an enemy base on foot, and then the next providing air support to the flank of a fleet of Galaxy’s. 

It’s best fought with friends: a friendly outfit (Planetside’s equivalent of a clan or guild) can work together to achieve extraordinary feats. Different classes fulfill different roles: light troopers using their jump packs to leap over walls, Inflitrators providing sniper cover or hacking their way into a base. There’s always something that fits into your personal playstyle, and it makes Battlefield feel like the breadsticks before a five course meal.

Buyers Guide: Planetside 2 is free to play and can be downloaded via Steam. Boxed versions of the game include bonus currency and are worth seeking out when you’ve settled in. A subscription will boost your progress, but isn’t necessarily worth the outlay.

The Secret WOrld

5. The Secret World

What if myths, legends and conspiracies weren’t works of fiction at all? The Secret World asks exactly that - it’s an action MMO set in the modern world: except this modern world is filled with cults, zombies, ghosts, demons and the boogie monster. 

It works because the quests it presents are a cut above what MMO players are used to. Taking an example from our Petter Martensson: there’s a mission where you’re investigating a haunted house, where young girls appear and disappear from photographs in front of you. Creepy. 

Leveling in The Secret World works a bit differently too. When you level up, you gain skill points and ability points. Skill points are used to help you equip more weapons, to which there is a massive degree of variance. Ability points on the other hand help you develop your special abilities such as throwing fireballs or enhancing your character with powerful buffs. There are plenty of combinations of the two that will help you make your avatar unique to you.

Buyers Guide: There’s no subscription fee, but new expansions are paid for. There’s a master edition available on Steam that includes all content released so far.

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Crimsoner's picture
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Seriously? You're doing Top 10 lists now? This is utter clickbait, and you know it. I mean, feel free to do a "Our favourite MMO" list, but "10 best mmo list" is real N4G clickbait.

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Shriven's picture
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"This list [is] in no particular order".... that is why I numbered them..... when I could have just listed them.... yep.

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Nick Wilson's picture
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Hey there Crimsoner,

Thanks for your feedback. Just wanted to clarify that I mentioned in the intro that this list was in no particular order. It can be astounding how many people missed that part =D.

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magicus's picture
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Except that it's pretty obvious which is your favorite game, considering you have it bannered at the top of the article, give it a perfect review, and say you're installing the client again as you're writing! And by the way, I played Quake 3 for 10 years, no PvP in any MMO out there comes remotely close to that kind of competitive FPS gameplay.

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Malakie's picture
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Sorry but I think there is one other game that should have been included on the list above all else. It does not have the flashiest graphics, the coolest weapons nor the fastest pace but it IS the grand dad of them all and it IS still running and it is still fun to play... Ultima Online.

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Shadowhelm's picture
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None of these MMOs can come close to ESO for me and I've played all of these. TOR's story is a bit better, but that's about all I can think of.

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djedw12's picture
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Tera and Path of Exile are better than pretty much all these imo. I can't speak for The Secret World as it's the only one on the list I haven't played. I do enjoy Planetside 2 though, just enjoy melee and magic more than fps, but that's just me, if I was into fps Planetside 2 would be hands down my favorite game.

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Dizney's picture
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PoE is an amazing game, but sorry, Tera falls short most of these titles. Combat is great, endgame is decent and PvP gets intense, BAM battles are super fun, but the actual PvE and leveling is terrible. EVERYTHING is either kill x amount of guys and not enough dungeons in the leveling process. It's an unfortunate grind. After level 30 it's pretty much pounding sand.

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the fact that everquest is not even mentioned once in your article tells me just about all I need to know.

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weejohnathon's picture
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Had to leave a comment here about this. I won't speak for the other games as I don't know them enough except perhaps WoW but this part here for SW:TOR

Just be aware that the restrictions on what you can and can’t do with a free account are a little ludicrous: you’ll be prevented from owning a mount, have reduced bag space, even a reduced levelling speed unless you pony up.

This reads like no research was done at all apart from going on the home page.

1. You will be prevented from owning a mount - Not true, subscribers get access to a mount 5 levels before the f2p players. They get their mounts at the levels subs used to get them at launch. If anyone wants them earlier they can unlock it it legacy for credits or cartel coins if the have the legacy level.

2.Have reduced bag space - Again this is wrong, everyone no matter what level of access you have starts with the same ammount of inventory slots, additional ones can be purchased for credits the in game currency or cartel coins.

3. Reduced levelling speed - this part is correct but look at the subscriber benefits for both Rift and Tera they also give subs more XP its the same thing, if your gonna point it out on one do it on all please.

The only part you got right is ludicrous restrictions however you failed to mention any of them at all, some of which are need to purchase unlocks for Hide Head Slot to hide helm, Artifact Equipment Unlock to wear purple (epic) amour, credit caps, ability to send mail across chars. Please do more thorough research before falsely commenting on games as its bad jounralism and can impact that game if people rely on your site.

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Dizney's picture
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I know this is a year old, however, i'm just pointing this out purely for people wanting info.

Rift and Tera offer exp boosts to level FASTER.

SWTOR basically says in order to level at a NORMAL pace, you HAVE to sub. That's a BIG difference from Rift and Tera.

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Interesting list. But I wonder, if WoW is still so great, why is the author only now reinstalling? Something made you leave, and is going back really going to a still great game, or just nostalgia?

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Jado's picture
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lol wtf, WoW and runescape ... you got to be joking, WoW died and ended when TBC ended. ronascape is like just retardedly crappy.

but what suprises me more is that Tabula Rasa and city of heroes and everquest 1 and 2 isn't amongst them ... wich clearly shows that this guy has hardly played any game in my opnion.

eve online, Rift, LoTRO, Star Wars the old republic and TSW well i agree on but the rest meh crap games.

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Thorgi's picture
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Reading comprehension, man. Top 10 MMOs on the market. On the market as in currently available and competing, which CoH and Tabula Rasa aren't.

The top 10 list was pretty much a popularity list. WoW is still the giant and Runescape is one of the few mmos actually getting bigger, which is impressive given its age.

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liviliam's picture
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Tabula Rasa, it was so good they shut down the servers?? WoW has more players than any of the other games on this list, so it stands to reason that it should be here. Just cause it doesn't agree to you, doesn't mean its wrong.

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davidpop's picture
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WoW and most of the other games on that list are not mmos, they are nothing more than Xbox games.

All you do is stand around in a lobby waiting for a que to pop and then you are teleported to location.

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Stranger's picture
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The list is a little messed up.

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Shriven's picture
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Dog Pants's picture
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Glad to see Planetside 2 in here. As far as value for money goes, I tended to buy a wad of in-game cash when they had discounts on, then keep an eye on the daily sales for things I fancied. It can be a bit expensive otherwise, but it's worth spending a bit of cash on a few weapons if you get into it.

Regarding SWTOR, the story mode was good. Like an MMO Mass Effect. Even with multiple people the conversations flowed, with each player getting to choose a bit of the dialogue. The two-player dungeons were great from what I played. It's just a shame the rest of the game epitomised everything I hated about MMOs - specifically grinding through the game's fauna just to be able to get to the next interesting bit.

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ArcusTenshi's picture
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Mainstream MMOs and mostly Western MMOs, damn barely any Korean MMOs and well all know Korea is the capital of MMO nowadays, crappy list.

Play more MMO before you start doing list brah.

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Grungebreath's picture
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"Ever since I was tiny child, MMO’s have been been the backbone of my gaming habits."

What are you, 14?

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My first mmo was called LPMud in 1990. I got into the code and rewrote half of it, then we ran it for some 40-80 players. Text only but otherwise these games haven't changed much since...

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Nick Wilson's picture
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Ahhh, a true veteran of our time. I salute you =D.

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Thorgi's picture
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Not sure I'm following your logic.

Personally, my first MMO was Ultima Online at the age of 8 and Anarchy Online at the age of 12. I'm 24 now.

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Nick Wilson's picture
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The first MMO I played was Runescape at the age of 9. Hope that clears things up for you.

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