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The 10 best MMOs and MMORPGs

Where to play with your massive friends

Finding the right MMO or MMORPG for you can result in you basically finding a second life - or at least a serious new hobby, spending many happy evenings immersed in a new world with your pals, working on your big list of quests or the new raid that just dropped. That being the case, it's best to figure out which will be your favourite MMORPG before you spend too many hours on a lost cause. So we've put together a list of our 10 favourite MMOs and MMORPGs to save some time for you. Whether you like shooters, fantasy, or hobbits, there's an game for you here, and you can pick one that you want to dive into and forge lifelong connections with friends, while you grind for a cool new mount. So what are you waiting for? Sally forth, brave adventurer! Find your favourite MMO or MMORPG right now.

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The 10 best MMO and MMORPGs

To help make things nice and easy for you, you'll find links to all of the MMOs on this list below. Think of these links like a "raid-finder", but less fighting a massive dragon and its peons, and more reading a paragraph of - hopefully riveting - text, that'll ensure you at least level up your video gaming experiences.

10. Destiny 2

Artwork for Destiny 2 expansion The Final Shape showing three helmeted folks in front of floating triangles
Image credit: Bungie

Destiny 2 hasn't been on this list for a while, but 2024 is set to big a big year for Bungie's shooter. This year sees the new The Final Shape expansion, which wraps up the game's first major saga and adds new missions, gear, PVP maps, a new raid, and even a whole new world to explore. It's a chonker, so now is a great time to get into Destiny 2 and experience the most game that this game has ever had, after seven years of seasons and expansions and new raids slotting in.

And around that, of course, is that it's a good game! The guns just feel good! The action is exciting and satisfying! And it's a dramatic space opera with beautiful maps, which helps. As a Guardian, your job is to protect the last safe city on earth, as one of three versatile classes. Destiny 2 has improved matchmaking over the original and has a large and dedicated community. A wrinkle is that it has only been free-to-play since 2019, and there were complaints from the existing players that microtransactions really ramped up in 2023, but dammit, Bungie are very good at making shooters.

9. The Lord Of The Rings Online

An elf rides a stag away from a beautiful settlement in Lord Of The Rings Online.

For fans of Middle Earth, The Lord Of The Rings Online is definitely worth considering if you're after a new MMO. Of course, the main selling point here is that you've got Tolkien's world to embed yourself in. You can play as a hobbit, fight alongside Gimli, and take on the Witch King in Angmar, just to name a few.

Lord Of The Rings Online is also faithful to the books, with plenty of neat little touches for those into the lore. It's an aging MMO now, first released in 2007, and it was fairly old-fashioned even at release, but it continues to receive updates even now. For reference, the devs Standing Stone Games have promised additions to classes, crafting, in-game events, treasure hunts, and countless more. Not to mention a huge amount of its content is free-to-play, and will take you all the way up to level 95 through the Helm's Deep expansion.

8. Black Desert Online

Black Desert Online

Black Desert Online might be one of the nicest looking MMOs out there, with a vast, gorgeous world that puts a lot of others in the genre to shame. It's worth downloading just to play around with its gorgeous characters creator.

You've also got fast-paced combat with an emphasis on aiming, dodging, and blocking in real time, but what really sets Black Desert Online apart is its focus on building empires and civilisations. Yes, you can play this as an action-RPG or MMO, but there's a huge amount of depth if you want to go a bit Age of Empires. You can hire workers, set up production chains, and even set up full-on businesses, like this one centered around brewing beer.

7. The Elder Scrolls Online

The Elder Scrolls Online

If you can't get enough of Skyrim or Oblivion, then I reckon you might just like The Elder Scrolls Online. It combines multiple settings from the various iterations of Bethesda's singleplayer RPGs, allowing you to explore from Tamriel, to the High Elf realm of Summerset and the Khajit homeland Elsweyr.

As if knowing its audience, The Elder Scrolls Online also does a fine job of balancing being an MMO and a decent singleplayer experience. For those who want a solo experience or a massively multiplayer one, there's no judgement here, and if anything, it has increasingly offered more of the former. Plus, it upholds certain Elder Scrolls tenets, like being able to pickpocket every NPC.

6. Star Wars: The Old Republic

Star Wars: The Old Republic

One of Star Wars: The Old Republic's biggest selling points is its storytelling. This is one of the few MMOs where your character development isn't all about making numbers go up, but in the relationships you form with others. You can befriend and betray, murder or confess your undying love to NPCs who aren't just static quest-givers.

Like ESO above, TOR's developers know a lot of people are coming to it from their love of Knights Of The Old Republic, and once you've reached the expansions, you're hit with this episodic structure that's frankly more like a singleplayer game than an MMO. You're thrown into your own instance and free to make plenty of tough decisions that'll affect your story alone, no one else's. This is easily one of the best Star Wars games out there.

5. Guild Wars 2

Guild Wars 2

Guild Wars 2 isn't a traditional MMO, in the sense that it replaces a lot of boringly structured fetch quests with more emphasis on live events you can stumble across while exploring the world. These are dynamically generated by the game's systems, and allow you to hop into fights alongside swarms of other players. The fighting is more dynamic than most MMOs too, as you dodge out the way of enemy attacks and aim your own, as opposed to being locked into an animation.

Players praise Guild Wars 2 for its lack of grind as well. Nearly everything you do awards experience, from crafting to exploring to combat. Even if someone else has attacked a big monster before you, helping them out will still give you some EXP. Guild Wars 2 wants you to have a nie time, and to see its world and story without needing to work thousands of hours for it.

4. Runescape


Not only is Runescape free-to-play, it's an MMO with a wealth of skills to get stuck into. I'm talking about everything from fishing and farming, to divination and dungeoneering. There's a huge amount of depth to each class, with money to be made on the marketplace, or by standing in banks and yelling "Iron bars for sale!!!" over and over again.

The quest variety is also on point in Runescape, as you won't find the usual barrage of fetch quests, but actual stories with engaging conversations, fights, and puzzles; there's even some longrunning quest lines and penguin conspiracies. Seriously, the game has some of the most inventive quests in MMOs that trade bombast and combat for brain-teasers and thinking on your feet.

Let's not forget Old School Runescape too, which allows you to experience the 2007 version of the game with updates based upon player voting. Nice.

3. EVE Online

EVE Online

EVE Online has earned a name for itself as being a cold, callous universe filled with exploitative players - and that's justified. This is an MMO where war, betrayal and espionage between real players is the norm, with results that are engrossing for those involved and fascinating for everyone else to read about.

In the shallows of space, where you start out, you might be surprised by how generous people are. Player-run corporations need new players to join the fray, and strangers are often willing to hand over ships, blueprints and in-game currency to help you get started. Some players even started an in-game university to train you in how to survive. Play it long enough and EVE Online is one of the deepest games ever made - a space game with actual politics and council meetings driven by real people - but its experience for new users has improved year on year.

2. World Of Warcraft

World of Warcraft

I mean, you've heard of this one. World Of Warcraft is that MMO everyone thinks of when you say "MMO". World Of Warcraft took the model of the MMOs that came before it - EverQuest, for example - and applied a level of Blizzard polish which you'll be hard-pressed to find anywhere else. Today, it's a beautiful world to explore and almost frictionless to play - for better and for worse.

World Of Warcraft's latest expansion, Dragonflight, introduced a lovely array of waterfall cliffs along pretty shores and beautiful mountain temples. Perhaps the two biggest things, though? A new race that actually lets you play as a dragon-person, as well as the ability to soar through the sky on the back of a customisable dragon. While not a perfect expansion by any means, it's a DLC that introduces new stuff that can be built on, rather than torn down in future expansions. Not to mention that it's a little more casual friendly too.

In Liam and I's first episode of Inventory Space, we took a look at World Of Warcraft and found it to be a disjointed experience that's a far cry from its glory days. However! There the game does have a "Classic" component (included for free with a subscription) that's essentially a portal to the old days, before all the streamlining and numerous updates. Sure, WoW may not be the juggernaut it once was, but it's always evolving and still features plenty of options for players who either want it to be a lifetime investment or a casual after-work sesh.

1. Final Fantasy XIV

A group of happy characters in Final Fantasy XIV.

Final Fantasy XIV has an undeniably slow start and initially feels very similar to other MMOs, but over time you'll have an increasingly diverse range of activities to do. I think that's down to the fact it doesn't impose any limits. On one character you can bounce between different Jobs (classes) that'll evolve into more complex roles as you level them up. This extends to your secondary Jobs, like crafting, fishing, cooking and more. Again, you can pick up whatever you'd like and just give it a go.

Final Fantasy XIV's story is a high fantasy epic, and even within the free trial, you'll be doing stuff that doesn't just involve smacking things to right wrongs. Instead, you might need to help a 'beast tribe' reincarnate their god, with less time spent fighting and more time spent actually digging into the nitty gritty behind their need to do so.

Each expansion only serves to make the game even better: read our Final Fantasy 14: Endwalker review to get a better idea of how. And last but not least, the game's community is - for the most part - an extremely lovely bunch. They restored my faith in humanity, after all.