Massively Multiplayer Online games, or MMOs, have come a long way since the days of Multi User Dungeons and Meridian 59. Now, MMOs are a staple of gaming, with many different flavours and varieties giving players a huge amount of choice in what kind of MMO they want to play. From space to swords and everything in between, here’s our picks for the best MMOs you can play in 2021.
Guild Wars 2
It’s hard to believe that Guild Wars 2 is nearly ten years old. One of the MMOs that pioneered the ‘buy once, play forever’ approach to picking up the game, Guild Wars 2 contains a truly immense amount of content and revitalised how MMOs play.
With frequent, easily joinable collaborative events dotting the world and rewards for exploring its high fantasy world, Guild Wars 2 is a brilliant game for anyone to dip into. The true highlight of Guild Wars 2’s systems is it’s peerless PvP, making it a must-play for anyone who enjoys the thrill of the fight.
PlanetSide 2 is a game that puts the ‘massive’ in Massively Multiplayer. Able to support thousands of players in a huge war between three factions across its science fiction setting, PlanetSide 2 is a truly stunning achievement.
Combining first-person shooter action and role-playing systems with up to 2000 players active on each in-game continent, you’ll never be starved of targets to hit or team up with. PlanetSide 2 is immense in every sense of the word and is still going strong in 2021.
Speaking of immense, here’s the other science fiction MMO that has truly colossal ambitions. EVE Online may on the surface appear to be a game about piloting a spaceship, upgrading it, making alliances, trading, or indulging in combat. When you’ve been playing for a while you realise that EVE Online is no less than an attempt to simulate the economy and political maneuvering of an entire galaxy.
Giant corporations battle for control over space stations and resources, with complex stories of betrayal, victory, and loss emerging organically through play. EVE Online has a steep learning curve, but once you’re embedded in it you’ll see why it’s not just one of the best MMOs in 2021, but one of the best MMOs of all time.
From the far future we’re heading to the past, or at least the past in the Elder Scrolls universe. Set a thousand years before Skyrim, The Elder Scrolls Online is an MMO that puts the focus on its story, with hundreds of fully voice-acted quests that embed you deeply in the lore of the series, spinning tales of inscrutable daedra, racial conflict, and powerful magics.
It took a while for this MMO to find its feet, but now it has it’s absolutely sprinting with each expansion improving on its formula and adding new features. Its latest chapter, Blackwood, has seen AI companions enter the fray, giving everyone a spot of company on their adventures. The Elder Scrolls Online is a must for any Skyrim, Morrowind, or Oblivion fan, and is a truly engaging MMO that’s accessible to all.
Finally, we come to the current leader of the pack. Final Fantasy XIV is a game that, like other MMOs, struggled on its release. Square Enix were bold with it, however, taking it off the market and retooling it. What emerged from this period of re-development wasn’t just a brilliant MMO, but one of the best MMOs ever created and even potentially one of the best Final Fantasy games.
With each expansion for Final Fantasy 14 bringing new stories that sweep the player up in world-changing events, facing bosses that dwarf the player and their party and running dungeons that test your abilities whilst telling compelling stories. Final Fantasy XIV is currently taking over the world and when you play it – even for a short while – you’ll understand why.
With many MMOs currently available it’s hard to pick out the cream of the crop but hopefully you should now have an idea of what some of the best MMOs of 2021 are. If you’ve played an MMO before, let us know which is your favourite over on our community forum – we’d love to hear what you have to say.