MMORPG List - Games and Reviews
Below is a carefully selected list of the best MMORPGs around. It is not a complete list as our aim with this directory is quality and not quantity. If you'd like a more complete list you can find it at our voting page here, where users from around the internet vote for their favoured MMORPGs and other online games. On the left hand side you can find MMORPG and games reviews listed in alphabetical order.
So what are MMORPGs? The term means 'massively online multiplayer games' and covers a wide range of categories. In recent times this has often meant graphical games spread across multiple servers. In some cases thousands of players share a persistent game world. Though it is by no means mandatory for an MMORPG to be a graphical game. Indeed, the best MMORPG we've found thus far has actually been a text game called Avalon; Online RPG - The Legend Lives.
Originally the concept of multiple players from around the globe all playing at the same time in a single world were called online multiplayer games. So how do MMORPGs and online multiplayer games differ? In game terms, they don't. The simple distinction comes from the size of the player base or, more specifically, the potential size of the player base. Games like Star Siege Tribes (link on the right hand side), were often limited to 32 players because of the network stress placed on the servers. However, MMORPGs have in more recent years been released from the corporate games world which traditionally dealt with console games and the like and have been able to support thousands of players; hence the term MMORPG instead of simply Multiplayer Games. One such example of these new generation of games is the woefully repetitive World of Warcraft which was released by Blizzard Entertainment Inc, a company which came from a merger between Vivendi Games and Activision. Despite the hype, massive player base and large marketing budget, when one looks at the details, World of Warcraft is actually a terrible game. Popularity has never accounted for taste in my opinion. (A review of this particular MMORPG will be coming soon and I will backup this unashamedly biased opinion there.). The list below is not biased against corporate games, indeed some of the best, such as Starsiege Tribes, broke the mould in many important ways, but just because a game comes from a large budget, doesn't mean it will be listed here. It has to be good first.
Why is the above introduction relevant to this particular list of MMORPGs? It's relevant because you may be surprised to see a lack of corporate MMORPGs and instead a list of games you may never have even heard of before. Make no mistake though, these games are 'massive' in the sense that they are not limited in their potential player base (thus you can expect to find large numbers of players playing alongside you) and they are also high quality roleplaying games. This directory thus offers a subjective list from a discerning eye of the most interesting or high quality MMORPGs around today.
So what constitutes a good MMORPG?.
Quite simply, the answer is like any other 'quality' question. It entirely depends on what you're looking for. If all you're looking for in an MMORPG is a bit of hack'n'slash games play with plenty of monsters to kill, a lot of 'levels' to gain and nothing too taxing or time consuming then there are plenty of graphical MMORPGs out there that can offer this. World of Warcraft is exactly this sort of game. Mindless fun is what you'll find there. Which is fine, of course. There's nothing wrong with mindless fun now and again. If you'd like to find an MMORPG with a little more depth then here are the criteria that helped us assemble the list below: we looked for original concepts, unique technological advancements brought to the genre, complex social stratifications that leave plenty of opportunity for role playing in game (player run governmental systems for example), player generated world events such as wars or political take-overs and above all else, intelligent, solid design and consistent growth.
Below is our choice list of MMORPGs in order of ranking. The ranks are awarded by our editors based on the criteria mentioned above. If you'd like to see your game reviewed by one of our editors then feel free to contact us via the contact link at the top of the page. We will respond to all requests, regardless of our decision.
MMORPG LIST - Rank 1
Avalon; The Legend Lives - Rating: 10/10
This site is an example of the type of high quality text based MMORPGs mentioned above. It is a beautifully written world of enormous depth and complexity and has undergone enormous expansion to its game system in recent months. With a growing playerbase and major coding additions, it is one of the few commercial text-based games around which has managed to bridge the RPG to MMORPG gap. This achievement is purely down to its quality of writing and intelligent game design.
As a game world, Avalon is totally original in its conception and has one of the most complex and brutal player versus player combat systems there is whilst still offering a complex economics system and 'Pacifists life-choice' for those who are not interested in combat and want to purely role play. Indeed, many of the games you are used to playing will have been based on the complex interaction between 'fighters' and 'non-combatants' which Avalon caters for. On the one hand you have those fighting toe-to-toe and on the other you have pacifists scheming and politicing behind the scenes.
At the top of the social strata sit the Gods of Olympus who are players who all started as absolute novices but who have won the ultimate prize through a competitive 'Ordination' quest. The Gods of Avalon are a bit of an enigma, which to my mind adds to the game atmosphere. Below the Gods are four city states which are run by mortal players who exist within a governmental system of 'barons' who are all voted for by other players of the same city. The second tier, which runs parallel to the city states are the player run guilds, all of whom have their own profession and chosen skill set. Avalon is a game which set the standards for real time games play and deserves to be at the top of our MMORPG List. It is a game of huge complexity and fantastic atmosphere.
Avalon provides an expansive web site for additional help plus detailed story line history that goes as far back as the world's creation. There is also an advanced Java client for immediate play with no downloads necessary and an in depth introduction for those who haven't played either Avalon or MMORPGs before. If you are experienced with the this type of game then you should be able to speed through the introduction quickly but if you aren't, you will be given plenty of time and assistance to learn your way around.
As an easy reference, here are some useful pages about Avalon:
MMORPG LIST - RANK 2
To play this MMORPG you will need an internet connection and monthly subscription to their service.
Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning (WAR) is the new MMORPG from the creators of Dark Age of Camelot. Based on Games Workshop's popular Warhammer fantasy war game, WAR features next generation Realm vs. Realm (RvR) game play that is designed to immerse players in a world of perpetual conflict. The thinking behind the 'Realm' vs. 'Realm' battleground is to richen the intricacy of army based combat by introducing conflicting goals between the armies.
One has to hand it to the EA Mythic, the gameplay, especially the warfare, in Warhammer online is extremely good. The introduction of concurrent quests running during warfare that have two sides conflicting against each other to achieve their goals is an excellent evolution on player versus player gameplay. At present, the game is still in Beta development. If you apply now you stand a good chance of getting in on the closed beta test scheduled for some time this year (2008).
MMORPG LIST - RANK 3
Guild Wars takes the best elements of today's massively multiplayer online games and combines them with a new mission-based design that eliminates some of the more tedious aspects of those games. The following professions exist within GuildWars: Warrior, Elementalist, Monk, Dervish, Ranger, Mesmer, Necromancer, Paragon, Ritualist, or Assassin. Every profession has its own strengths and characteristics, a weapon or magic specialty, and a unique set of skills with which to deal damage, manipulate the enemy or environment, or protect and heal allies. Each profession provides a set of attributes which determines the effectiveness of weapons and skills in battle. According to the developers, each new 'chapter' (game update) includes new skills, items and areas. So in theory this list will be expanded upon in the next update. GuildWars is truly a 'massive' MMORPG and contains a lot of unique features. Most impressive of all is the 'single server' aspect to the game. There is only one GuildWars server so all the players who play the game, all play together.
MMORPG LIST - RANK 4
EVE Trinity is truly a massive game system. Staggeringly large in fact. EVE is a step in the right direction as far as graphical MMORPGs are concerned. It uses reasonable graphics and one can modify and buy new ships within classes of combat. There are literally thousands of permutations available for choosing both race and type of ship one will fly. Unfortunately however, the complex statistical and battle system available for players to puzzle through and get to grips with is ruined somewhat by the unimaginative administration. As always happens from time to time in competitive MMORPGs, one group has totally dominated the game and the administrators of EVE have failed to remedy the consequences of this.
MMORPG LIST - RANK 5
Jumpgate Evolution is a substantial update to the previous Jumpgate(TM) MMO released in 2001, which they claim was the world's first massively multiplayer space combat game. Staying true to its early vision, NetDevil has improved upon the original in every way, with a complete graphics update, and the integration of advanced AI features to ensure unpredictable and compelling situations. The enhanced game play makes the game accessible to the widest possible range of users, while catering to the games' existing and loyal fan base.
"Combat in Jumpgate Evolution is pilot centered and action based. Players can fight in PvE campaigns against a multitude of AI controlled opponents of large variety and difficulty, or engage in intimate or large scale community PvP combat."
Though a seemingly excellent evolution on the previous JumpGate MMORPG, one has to wonder after a quick glance at their forums why a space game would allow forums to include 'smack talking' competitions. If it weren't for this lack of role playing evident in the game then its ranking here would be higher.
MMORPG LIST - RANK 6
After the apocalytptic divine war, the continent of Avalon is bathed in a new dawn where you the mortal can play a major role. This is the original format of the classic Avalon role playing game before civilization evolved and removed the rough edges. Expect blood and gore once you are through the initial new player support and you had better be on your mettle. First Age is free to play and provides a java client for immediate play from your browser.
A fascinating addition to the Avalon role playing saga. If you were ever curious to know how early versions of Muds looked, then this is the game for you. It is, surprisingly for its age, extremely well designed. Testament to its quality and proof of why it has existed for so long in the multi-player games genre.
MMORPG LIST - RANK 7
Set in Japan at the beginning of the 16th century. Though not the most advanced in terms of graphics, this MMORPG has some interesting features. You can help your friends overthrow the Shogunate, or take up arms and hunt down the man who assassinated your father. Fish for rare creatures as trophies and food, or craft decorative armour for the Emperor himself.
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