Best MMO games - multiplayer worlds to sink into on PC and console

Soldiers ride horses in front of a brick building
(Image credit: Bethesda)

The best MMO (massively multiplayer online) games let you experience brand new worlds alongside thousands of other people, allowing you to become part of something bigger than yourself. 

These titles combine the storytelling elements of the best RPGs with the multiplayer offered by the best co-op games to create something unique. Whether you're adventuring across a rich fantasy world or taking flight in a sprawling space opera, you won't be doing it alone. Contrary to the best single-player games, nothing you do in an MMO happens in a vacuum, a quality that leads to all sorts of emergent stories and unforgettable experiences.   

Here at TechRadar Gaming, we know our MMOs. Collectively, we've spent thousands of hours with the genre. Speaking for myself, I've played every single entry on this list and can vouch for the high quality of each. With any luck, our research will help you save time and effort when it comes to choosing your next adventure. Read on to find out more.

The best MMO games 2024

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best MMO games: a Dragon Rider with her Dragon in World of Warscraft Dragonflight

(Image credit: Activision Blizzard)

World of Warcraft

Old reliable
Why we love it

World of Warcraft is the forerunner to the modern MMO, artfully combining exploration and accessible quest design. Despite its age, Blizzard's flagship MMO has an enduring appeal on account of its deep lore and rewarding endgame content. 

Platforms: PC

Payment structure: Free trial up to level 20, then a monthly subscription fee.

Easily one of the best MMO games ever made, Blizzard Entertainment's World of Warcraft has been going since around 2004. A cornerstone of the MMO pantheon for nearly two decades now, World of Warcraft is responsible for shaping the modern genre as we know it.

Though World of Warcraft: Shadowlands disappointed fans, the latest offering, World of Warcraft: Dragonflight has been warmly received. Aiming to take the game back to its roots, Dragonflight reintroduces old-school talent trees, allowing players to meaningfully customize their builds. The Evoker class has also spiced things up somewhat by adding a more dynamic and reactive combatant to the game's already impressive ensemble. With three new expansions on the horizon, including The War Within which is set to release in late summer  (that's sometime from August onwards, we reckon), it looks like there will be plenty more to enjoy in the future, too.

best MMO games: a group of soldiers advancing on the bottom of the sea

(Image credit: Daybreak Game Company)

PlanetSide 2

Three empires strike back
Why we love it

Planetside 2 is a massive battle simulator where armies clash in glorious sci-fi warfare. There's nothing quite like riding out in a troop carrier with 12 buddies as part of a massive ongoing war. Once you drop, battles are fought, territory changes hands and heroes are forged.

Platforms: PS4 and PC

Payment structure: Free-to-play with optional purchases.

Planetside 2 is a first-person shooter on a massive scale and is arguably the best MMO game of its kind. If you're not interested in the more grindy kind of play, then this game's focus on an all-out war against other players might appeal to you.

This sci-fi first-person shooter (FPS) revolves around three factions in a constant state of conflict. Players choose their faction and then spend their time attacking and defending bases on a huge map to remain ahead of the competition. One day you could be on the attack, besieging an enemy base, the next you could be desperately defending your own. Either way, you're always fighting. 

These days, there are of course other, more popular options when it comes to free FPS offerings, such as Destiny 2. However, Planetside 2's massive online battles are still going strong. It may be an older title, but the gunplay, action, and community-based conflicts on offer in PlanetSide 2 have an enduring appeal that keeps players coming back. To this day, there's nothing quite like it.

Three player characters in in Guild Wars 2 standing side by side

(Image credit: NCSoft)

Guild Wars 2

High fantasy, low hassle

Guild Wars 2 is a refreshingly accessible MMO experience, offering plenty of content upfront with no need to put down any cash. Action-oriented combat and heavy use of high-quality voice acting make for a satisfying and distinctive experience.

Platforms: PC

Payment structure: Free base game with expansions for purchase.

Though it's over a decade old, fantasy MMO Guild Wars 2 still has some of the strongest combat out there, distinguishing it from the other entries on our best MMO games list. Its action-oriented system allows you to customize your build, using different weapon loadouts to access varied move sets. The title also rewards players for exploration, bursting with rewards for players who choose to venture off the beaten path.  

Guild Wars 2 also boasts a gripping single-player story, full of memorable writing and lovable characters. Thanks to the latest expansion, Secrets of the Obscure, there's never been a better time to give Guild Wars 2, especially since the update was especially designed to take the MMO in a bold new direction.

best MMO games: two elves from Lord of the Rings Online in conversation in a garden

(Image credit: Standing Stone Games, LLC)

The Lord of the Rings Online

Online to rule them all
Why we love it

The Lord of the Rings Online is a devoted love letter to Tolkien's beloved fantasy universe. The graphics may be dated, but the loving recreation of Middle Earth is a must-see for fans of the epic tale and its iconic characters.

Platforms: PC

Payment structure: Free-to-play, with purchasable DLC and optional subscription.

Few fictional worlds are as suited to the MMO as Tolkien's Middle-Earth. Sure, Frodo's quest was thrilling, but it's OK to admit that we'd all like to have our own adventure in the iconic fantasy world, too.

Expect to find the usual World of Warcraft style of questing here, alongside crafting systems and even the ability to purchase and set up your own home. Overall, it's a pretty standard MMO in terms of mechanics, but the game's lavish treatment of its setting elevates the experience, making The Lord of the Rings Online one of the best MMO games out there, especially for Tolkien fans.

Though the game is free-to-play, there are expansions available for purchase that add to the game's story and introduce new items and mechanics. The Lord of the Rings Online is a love letter to Middle Earth well worth exploring.

Eve Online an elegant ship flies towards a planet

(Image credit: CCP Games)

EVE Online

A cruel and beautiful void
Why we love it

EVE Online is a ruthless sandbox where players rise and fall alongside great corporations and empires. In EVE, you pit your wits against thousands of other players. For the right sort of player, EVE allows you to write your own sci-fi epic.

Platforms: PC

Payment structure: Free-to-Play or subscription.

EVE Online may be complex, but, in terms of providing a realized and persistent player-driven world, it's one of the best MMO games out there.

First and foremost a sandbox, EVE Online places a huge emphasis on player agency, by giving you a space ship, some resources, and telling you to get to work. The sci-fi MMO's game world is driven by its player base; a community capable of dragging out wars and schemes over periods of months with plenty of fighting, smuggling, and sabotage in between. Machiavellian power plays and massive battles between player-owned corporations are just another day of the week for the citizens of New Eden.   

Though the game has a scarily steep learning curve, developer CCP has attempted to make EVE Online more accessible and put together a thorough and helpful tutorial for beginners. Besides, sometimes there's no better lesson than to get something horrifically wrong.

A soldier faces off against two enemies. They all stand on the deck of a ship

(Image credit: Bethesda)

The Elder Scrolls Online

Stop scrolling
Why we love it

The Elder Scrolls Online offers a mind-bogglingly large world to explore, worthy of Skyrim or Oblivion in its scale and ambition. However, contrary to its single-player cousins, this MMO lets you share those adventures with thousands across the globe.

Platforms: PC, PS5, PS4, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S

Payment structure: Buy-to-play base game with purchasable optional expansions. 

The Elder Scrolls Online (ESO) is one of the best MMO games when it comes to capturing a single-player experience and placing it in a multiplayer context. With The Elder Scrolls 6 still a long way off, The Elder Scrolls Online is your best bet for getting your fill of Bethesda's beloved high-fantasy setting. As with its single-player predecessor, The Elder Scrolls 5: Skyrim, you'll be roaming across a vibrant fantasy world in first or third person, taking on quests, battling monsters, and leveling up.  

Here, you'll find the traditional Elder Scrolls systems and combat, but all neatly tied in with those traditional MMO features like crafting systems, player housing, and plenty of PvE and PvP to boot. ESO is still regularly updated and full of events. The upcoming expansion Gold Road is slated to drop later this year and features some classic locales from The Elder Scrolls 4: Oblivion as well as customizable skill visuals and a new hub city.

a young woman with a sword advancing on a red-eyed dragon

(Image credit: Jagex)


Golden oldie
Why we love it

Runescape is charmingly simple, offering an accessible fantasy sandbox that's ideal for those new to MMOs who might want to see what the genre is capable of. It can also be played on a phone - appealing if you lack a dedicated gaming PC.

Platforms: PC, Android, iOS

Payment structure: Free-to-play, optional membership for extra content and mobile access

Like World of Warcraft, Runescape is a must-include in any list of the best MMO games, partly because it's one of the oldest games in the genre still going. However, given that Runescape's user base has only continued to grow in recent years, it looks like the old warhorse is still very much alive and kicking.

Originally a browser-only game, over the years Runescape has expanded into its own program with vastly improved visuals and mechanics. At its heart, though, it remains a game that's dedicated to giving players freedom across an impressively large, if rather generic, fantasy world. It's perhaps the isometric RPG's commitment to this core principle that has kept Runescape one of the most popular and updated games in the MMO genre. 

If you want to start playing Runescape, be aware there are now two versions. The modern version enjoys regular updates, while Old-School Runescape offers an experience reminiscent of the early browser game, reminiscent of World of Warcraft Classic in its nostalgic appeal.

A Sith Warrior with a pari of red lightsabers takes the fight to a large droid

(Image credit: EA)

Star Wars: The Old Republic

A long time ago...
Why we love it

The storytelling in Star Wars: The Old Republic is top-notch. Whether you play as a noble Jedi Knight or a sinister Imperial Agent, you'll dive head first into an immersive narrative that, while dated, is still highly satisfying to play.

Platforms: PC

Payment structure: Free-to-play with a subscription model and in-game purchases.

One of the best MMO games when it comes to storytelling, Star Wars: The Old Republic lets you carve out your own tale within the Star Wars universe. Each of the game's eight starting classes has its own bespoke storyline, all of which lovingly capture a different Star Wars fantasy. What's more, this sci-fi RPG has plenty of story expansions to play through, too, many of which offer novel takes on the setting.

Set thousands of years before the films, Star Wars: The Old Republic takes place at a time when the Republic and the Sith Empire were locked in battle for control of the galaxy. This facilitates all sorts of player vs. player (PvP) setpieces and multiplayer content. The graphics may be dated, but, at its best, The Old Republic feels like a living, breathing galaxy.

Final Fantasy 14

(Image credit: Square Enix)

Final Fantasy 14

Critically acclaimed, fan approved
Why we love it

Final Fantasy 14 has one of the best story experiences we've ever seen in an MMO. What's more, you'll get to experience the dramatic tale alongside thousands of others - allowing you all to share in the highs and lows.

Platforms: PC, PS5, PS4, and releasing on Xbox Series X|S March 21

Payment structure: Buy-to-play with a subscription and a free trial up to level 70

Under the stewardship of Square Enix's Creative Business Unit Three, Final Fantasy 14 has risen from the doldrums to become one of the best MMO games on the planet.

With an engrossing storyline that will warm even the hardest heart, Final Fantasy 14 skilfully draws you into the world of Eorzea. However, it's the welcoming community that'll keep you there. Veteran players are incentivized to encourage and mentor Final Fantasy 14's new players, making for a wholesome social dynamic.

Final Fantasy 14 also boasts impressive character customization, as well as the possibility to buy player housing. There are also plenty of Final Fantasy 14 classes to choose from, all drawn from across the series' history. What's more, your hero can freely swap between any classes they've unlocked, removing the need for secondary characters. If you're looking for a great story and a dynamic player base, you'd be hard-pressed to do better. With the Dawntrail expansion on the horizon, it looks like the MMO has a bright future, too.

A mining fleet plies an asteroid belt

(Image credit: CCP Games)

Best MMO games: FAQs

What's the best MMO right now?

Though Final Fantasy 14 is my personal favorite, all of the titles on this list could be considered the 'best' from a certain point of view. The Elder Scrolls Online offers a jaw-droppingly vast open world - ideal if you want to explore. Meanwhile, Star Wars fans are likely to find the stories offered in Star Wars: The Old Republic to be highly satisfying. 

In short, any of the titles on our best MMO games list are worth playing. However, we also recommend playing games that might be outside of your comfort zone. For example, even if you find the idea of EVE Online's hard sci-fi intimidating, it still has the potential to offer you dozens of hours of fun content - you never know until you try. Don't let yourself be pigeonholed. Thanks to the free-to-play model, there are plenty of accessible titles out there that you can enjoy without parting with a single cent.

What should be my first MMORPG?

In terms of accessibility, we recommend Runescape and World of Warcraft. While they're both some of the best MMOs ever made, these fantasy RPGs use straightforward mechanics that are easy for new players to wrap their heads around.  

That said, if you're a fan of a well-established franchise like Star Wars or Final Fantasy then you might find Star Wars: The Old Republic or Final Fantasy 14 more approachable. In the same way, if you're more at home with action games, the fast-paced combat of Guild Wars 2 might be more your speed. Keep an open mind - the genre may well surprise you.

How we made our best MMO games list

Our best MMO games list is the product of thousands of hours of play across a wide range of titles and genres. We wanted our list to reflect the depth and breadth on offer across MMOs of all kinds to make sure that, no matter your own tastes, there's something on our list for you. It was also crucial that we included older titles alongside newer releases to give you as complete a picture of the genre as possible.

Looking for more great titles? Check out our lists of the best Xbox Series X games and the best PS5 games out there.

Cat Bussell
Staff Writer

Cat Bussell is a Staff Writer at TechRadar Gaming. Hailing from the crooked spires of London, Cat is an experienced writer and journalist. As seen on,, and, Cat is here to bring you coverage from all corners of the video game world. An inveterate RPG maven and strategy game enjoyer, Cat is known for her love of rich narratives; both story-driven and emergent.

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