Online games have become incredibly popular with gamers, and most AAA titles tend to focus a lot of attention on multiplayer. Of course, the biggest juggernaut in this field is Blizzard’s World of Warcraft, but they are aren’t the only big players. From medieval fantasy to space, we’ve compiled a short list of some of the best MMORPGs that have different payment schemes to fit your wallet.
Best Subscription Based MMORPGS
Subscription based MMO’s are the original standard when it comes to monetary practices. The advantage usually lies in the fact that you aren’t really required to constantly buy new content or new expansions to experience all aspects of the game. That being said, some subscription based MMOs do ask you to buy expansions, although they are usually cheap and lay far apart.
Eve online, even though not technically an RPG, is probably one of the most hardcore RPG games out there. The level of detail and depth in the game is mind-boggling, and there’s a playstyle for everybody. You can mine, manufacture, fight, run a corporation, have your own space station, quest, the list goes on and on. In fact, some people shy away because of the depth and work required to fully take advantage of the game.
The game is also incredibly pretty, with lots of star systems to explore and conduct your business in. The developers are also really good at their jobs, constantly updating and patching the game, and carry out balancing for the mechanics. It’s actually quite amazing what they’ve achieved engine and server wise.
So if you’re in the mood for a really good space game, and have the time and inclination to put the effort to get to the top, this is the game for you! As a plus, you could actually reach a point where pay your subscription through in-game methods.
Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn
Given Final Fantasy’s original panned released, the ‘reboot’ FFXIV: A Realm Reborn, is considered one of the best MMORPGs. Taking a lead from the previous Final Fantasy Online game, and getting as far away from the original release, FFXIV: A Realm Reborn brings back some of the best and most fun mechanics of the Final Fantasy franchise.
While the story is a little bit complex, we *can* talk about the mechanics. Firstly, the fights don’t follow the traditional turn based system that other entries in the franchise do, but instead allow players to move around the battle field, attacking whenever the cooldowns of the spells have finished. There are 6 ‘standard jobs’ or classes, with an additional 14 sub-classes or ‘sub-jobs’, which include things that you would expect from an RPG such as ranged, ranged offensive, tank and so on. A nice addition to this entry is a deep crafting and hobby system, which generally involve a mini-game and side-quests that need to be completed.
Overall, the game is great, and there’s too much to talk about in this article, so if you love the Final Fantasy franchise and RPGs, this is a great MMO to play if you’re so inclined.
Best Buy to Play MMORPGs
The great thing about Buy to Play MMORPGs, is that you don’t have to pay monthly fees like you would for subscription style MMOs. Except for the odd expansion here and there, you mostly worry about playing the game, rather than paying for the game. So for people on a tighter budget, this a great alternative to a subscription!
Guild Wars 2
Really one of the best High-Fantasy MMORPGs around, Guild Wars 2 takes places in the world of Tyrian, around 250 years after the first Guild Wars game. You are tasked with regrouping an old guild, which manages to meet and defeat five dragons that are threating the world of Tyrian. The interesting thing here is once you finish the main storyline of the game, you play something called “The Living Story” which is essentially an unpaid expansion and a continuation of the base game’s story.
In the game, you have the choice to create a character within one of five races, and one of eight ‘proffesions’ or classes, mostly following traditional RPG mechanics. Ultimately, your choice of race and profession gives you a set skill pool, of which you must choose 10 to use in your normal play. In addition to that, the world that you play in is quite dynamic, making it possible for other wondering players to join in while you complete quests or fight elite mobs.
All in all, Guild Wars 2 adds an interesting twist to the traditional RPG, while still keeping within the themes that we’ve all grown accustomed to.
The Elder Scrolls Online: Tamriel Edition
Another success story like FFXIV, the first release of The Elder Scrolls Online had a mixed reception, which ultimately prompted the developers to go back and add a lot of work. The end result was Tamriel Unlimited, which brought the game much closer to the expectations that gamers and critics had. Given the work and passion put into bringing the best out of the world of The Elder Scrolls, it’s no surprise then that the game finds a spot on this list.
If you’re a fan of Skyrim, then you already know what to expect in terms of gameplay and story. The game features 10 races from the world of the elder scroll, and 4 character classes to choose from. Set in the world of Temriel, and a millennium before Skyrim, you are in a world of conflict, the end of which decides the ultimate fate of Temriel. Your part of the journey is to restore your soul, which has been stolen by the evil Molag Bal.
Of course, if you’re any kind of RPG player, then you’ve probably already played most of the elder scroll games. If you have, and you loved them, then this game will fit perfectly in your install folder.
Best Freemium MMORPGS
For those who don’t have the financial resources either to buy a game, or pay a subscription, there’s always the freemium model of games. Of course, the downside is usually that they are pay to win, but thankfully, the below titles don’t fall under that trap.
While admittedly still in beta, the MMO has so far made good impressions all around. Developed by Allods Team with collaboration from Obsidian Entertainment (Yes, that Obsidian), Skyforge is set in a world of both sci-fi and fantasy, you are an immortal warrior trying to achieve godhood.
The gameplay is fun, and tries to mix in some old-style and modern weapons and gear, which gives a very interesting perspective gameplay wise. Skyforge also uses a pseudo – class style system, where you advanced based on stats rather than a progression bar you fill. The game also looks great, which is always a plus when you spend hours on it having fun!
Star Wars: The Old Republic
There’s really not much to say about Star Wars that you don’t already know, so I won’t. Instead, I’ll talk about the Star Wars MMORPG, which was one of the most expensive games developed at the time, and had an unfortunate and shaky release. Over time though, Star Words: The Old Republic (SWTOR) has bloomed into a beautiful and fun universe to play in, especially if you’re a fan of Star Wars. Some of you may or may not be upset to hear that the game doesn’t take place in a time related to other games or movies, but instead takes place 300 after Star Wars: The Knights of the Old Republic, and 3600 years after the events of the movie.
Even though there is a slight disconnect between the previous game and this one, SWTOR manages to capture the essence of Star Wars. For fans who always wanted to be a Jedi, I’m happy to inform you that you can play as one, as well as a Sith, a smuggler a trooper, and a few other ones. The gameplay is much like you would expect in an MMORPG, with a few added elements tossed in to make the game stand out.
Overall, SWTOR does a great job of bringing the franchise alive. If you’re a diehard gamer and a fan of Star Wars, then this really isn’t the game to miss out on!
What do you think of our list? Are there any other games that deserve to get on here? Let us know in the comments.