Once rare like a legendary loot drop, new MMOs are now more common than ever. And as part of a genre built upon freedom and vast numbers of players coming together, they are among the most ambitious games around. Each one promises a sprawling world, a vibrant community, and enough content to make you blush and go all dizzy.
New MMORPGs are full of potential, but they’re also precariously close to failure – history is littered with MMOs that have had their moment in the spotlight or never garnered the attention they deserved.
In the interest of saving you hours spent in character creation for a game you might not even like, we have compiled a handy list of all the new MMOs that are worth your time. But we have also gone one step further: as the worlds of MMORPGs are ever-changing, we have included games with recent updates, new content drops, and the like, plus new massively multiplayer online games with RPG elements. So, from newly updated sword-and-sorcery classics to emerging action-RPGs, these are the new MMOs you should be paying attention to.
The best new MMOs are:
Guild Wars 2
When it launched in 2012, Guild Wars 2 was almost certainly the strongest MMO since World of Warcraft, and six years on and it is showing no signs of failing. It’s latest expansion, Path of Fire, tasks players to kill Balthazar, the rogue god of war, before he brings Tyria to ruin, while the latest episode of the Guild Wars 2 Living World story introduces an open-world jungle. It is all very exciting, and continues to prove Arenanet’s storytelling chops.
Guild Wars 2’s expansive, beautiful world is its main pull – just check out the Guild Wars 2 concept art – but there is elegance in its systems, too. Dynamic events pull players – friends and strangers alike – together for mad dashes across its landscapes, while the combat feels pacey and dramatic despite being based on the traditions of hotbars and cooldowns. The core game is free, but you’ll need to buy the expansion packs, and best of all it’s refreshingly light on microtransactions.
Blade & Soul
Blade & Soul is a new MMORPG for fans of high-wire martial arts and movies like Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. Every MMO can boast something distinct about its combat and Blade & Soul gets the bragging rights for its visually arresting battle scenes, replete with complex animations and devastating combo attacks.
This new MMO proved so popular in Asia that a 10,000 signature petition was signed to convince its publisher to release it in North America and Europe. Explore a fantasy world inspired Chinese mythology, choose one of the 11 distinct classes, and discover a tale of revenge so devilish it would make Hamlet blush. Be sure to check out our Blade & Soul guide for some tips and tricks for conquering this MMO.
Think Mad Max with even more vehicular combat and you have Crossout: a post-apocalyptic MMO based around building and customisation. There are a multitude of body parts, weapons, electrical gadgets, and cosmetic oddities with which to create your mobile death machine. Then join one of many weird and wonderful Crossout factions, each with their own distinct style and selection of vehicle parts, and make use of a robust marketplace where you can trade with other players.
The game’s economy ensures that you get drip-fed as you progress. There is also a limit to what can and can’t be welded to your car’s exterior, and managing this is just as important as clever manoeuvring and decent marksmanship. If you are looking for a trip into a nightmarish future full of crumbling cities and desolate barrens – and hey, who isn’t? – then jump behind the wheel. Just be sure to get your license first; that’s what our Crossout beginner’s guide is for.
Final Fantasy XIV
The all-online iteration of Final Fantasy has been around for a while, but like all great MMOs, it’s still growing. Recently the game was updated with a new Rival Wings PvP MOBA-style mode, while most recent major content drop is Stormblood. This being a paid expansion, Square Enix aren’t being shy with how much content they’re pouring into the already sizeable MMO.
Stormblood has brought a new major quest in the land of Ala Mhigo, new jobs, including the Red Mage, as well as swimming and diving for the first time in the MMO. There’s also a level cap increase to 70 from 60, a new Primal, and additional dungeons, gear, raids and a fourth residential district.
MapleStory 2 is a new MMO from Korean developer Nexon, and it’s a sequel that shouldn’t escape your attention if you’re looking for a fresh massively-multiplayer timesink. Set in the eye-catching, voxel-based Maple World, you and your fellow Maplers must rid the world of evil with plenty of powerful weapons and fancy armour sets at your disposal.
But that doesn’t mean there isn’t time for fun, too. Besides the deep dungeon crawls, devilish bosses, and tough public events to tackle with your anime-style mates, you can unwind with mini games and by decorating your own home – all of which you can learn more about through our MapleStory 2 guide. In this massive world that is just as sweet as its name suggests, there are activities for all tastes.
Revelation Online is one of many new MMORPGs making the journey from East to West, but it stands out amongst many of its competitors because of its stylish, free-flowing combat, ludicrously deep character creation and progression systems, and gorgeous open world. It also has plenty of content for players of every MMO denomination, whether you’re after a solid PvE grind packed with questlines and NPCs or just want to hunt down and kill your fellow virtual man in PvP duels and battles.
It’s also got one particularly neat trick up its sleeve: you can reset your character at any point. For free. If you’ve ever ploughed 60 hours into an MMORPG and realised you’d rather be a ranged build than melee then you’ll know how valuable such a feature is to the amount of free time you have.
If you’re also a fan of the MOBA genre then good news: the Revelation Online Mythical Combat update adds a separate game mode inspired by MOBA titans like League of Legends and Dota 2.
Riders of Icarus
Every new MMORPG nowadays has to have a unique selling point, and for Riders of Icarus that feature is mounts. Sure, plenty of MMOs have mounts, but as you might have guessed from the title, mounts are pretty central to character progression and questing in Riders of Icarus, which is just as well, because there are hundreds of potential pets to ride and battle with in this otherwise traditional MMO.
Wherever you travel to in Riders of Icarus, you are bound to encounter plenty of new and powerful creatures to capture and use for yourself, from adorable kangaroo-like woodland critters to ancient, fire-breathing dragons. Of course you will have to tame them before you can utilise their strengths, and Riders of Icarus makes this a game mechanic as important as dialogue or combat – check out our Riders of Icarus guide for help on this. It being an MMO and all, you will also get to show off your mount to friends. Sort of like Pokémon, except in a fantasy setting and with much, much more killing and bloodshed.
Like so many new MMOs, Riders of Icarus is also constantly being updated with major new features and fresh content, like the Rift of the Damned expansion, which brings floating islands and a suite of new dragon mounts to the game.
Not many game franchises have been as successful as instilling a sense of immortal power in their players as Blizzard’s Diablo series has. Enter Mu Legend, a top-down, action-RPG that manages to make mowing down a horde of demons with a greatsword feel as great as it sounds. This new MMORPG boasts a diverse character creator, a range of levelled and endless dungeons, and PvP for you to sink their teeth into.
As the focus is predominantly on fast-paced and brutal combat, there is a lot less helping farmers bring in their crop and hunting down badgers in Mu Legend than in other MMOs. Mu Legend is also the follow-up to the immensely popular Mu Online, so expect more highly addictive loot drops and a level cap you could never, ever reach.
Finally, space piracy and corporate evil are now open to everyone as Eve Online goes free-to-play, ditching its paywall in favour of a stripped back (but still expansive) F2P experience. The Ascension update means you can live out your space trucker fantasies without having to commit to a subscription fee: whether you want to wage enormous galactic war on your foes or profit off all the bloodshed, it is totally up to you. The galaxy is constantly updated, too; recent content drops like Eve Online’s Into the Abyss expansion added a huge new region.
Related: Read our list of the best pirate games for more thievery.
Entering Eve Online as a free player only holds you back from the highest echelons of upgrades and abilities, so you’ll still be able to work your way up the ranks of whichever space trade you fancy the look of most. Fortunately, CCP Games have also reworked the game’s introduction to ensure that getting to know this famously complex space game is much easier.
The Elder Scrolls Online
Thanks to constant updates from Bethesda, The Elder Scrolls Online is now one of the biggest, grandest, and deepest MMOs around. If you are familiar with The Elder Scrolls franchise – and frankly, who isn’t? – then this is effectively a fresh fix of the same kind of fantasy RPG gameplay that made Skyrim and Oblivion such huge successes. Of course, there is an online element too that allows you to finally duel your friends and enter a dungeon with more than a clunky AI NPC by your side, but at its core this is classic Elder Scrolls through and through.
It is also still getting bigger, with frequent The Elder Scrolls Online expansions adding new regions to the game like Morrowind and the beautiful Summerset, while updates like Dragon Bones adding new dungeons and PvP Battlegrounds. This MMO is now exploring places the main games have only mentioned in passing like the Argonian homeland of Murkmire, so if you want to stay on top of the lore before the Elder Scrolls 6 release date then this is your best bet.
Not everyone can get enthused about traditional MMO combat, which is where TERA comes in. It is an action-focused game, with Devil May Cry-style flips, slices, and sword thrusts that are a far cry from the click-and-wait cooldown systems seen in pretty much every other MMO. Combine that combat with the flashy visuals you will see everywhere else in the game, and TERA is quite the sight to behold.
It is getting on a bit now, but the future holds as much for TERA as when it launched back in 2011. Regular events, such as Return to the Forsaken Island and the addition of the male Brawler, keep the world of Arborea a vibrant, busy place. And since TERA is also one of the best free MMORPGs, there is no reason not to dive in and see what is going on.
ArcheAge is an ambitious MMO; a giant sandbox where you can fulfil your dreams of living like a fantasy pirate. Like so many MMOs, its world is ever-evolving through frequent updates, the latest of which is ArcheAge Legends Return.
In addition, you can now raise your own dragon mount in ArcheAge – allowing players to swashbuckle in the skies. What’s more, thanks to progression servers, it is now possible to experience the game as it was at launch and see newer features re-added piece by piece. That way, there’s no catching up to do.
Rift felt like a breath of fresh air in a stagnant genre back in 2011, and it has only got better since. For starters, it costs a lot less than it did: gradually, the base game and all of its expansions have gone free-to-play. Meanwhile, new updates work to keep Rift fresh. In the Rift Crucia’s Claw update, a new raid introduces ginormous bosses, while one of the cleverest class systems around continues to expand with magical archers and more.
Everything that helped Rift garner rave reviews at launch still holds true: this is a game that excels at pulling large groups of players together and throwing them at convincing threats. It handles quests and raids with practiced ease, and weaves spontaneous events into the mix too. Classical yet modern, Rift is a fantasy MMO for this decade.
Related: Check out our list of the best free PC games
And that’s it for our all-encompassing look at the freshest massively multiplayer experiences you can get on PC. If you’re looking for quality over recency, our list of the best MMOs will serve you well, or if you’re ok with less than a world’s worth of players then why not check out our picks of the best multiplayer games? As you can see, playing together with friends and strangers is a pretty big deal these days. Don’t resist; leave your single-player games alone for a while and become one with the massively multiplayer machine.