Best MMO Games 2021

If you like massively multiplayer online games, also known as MMO games, you will find this list with the best MMO games very useful.

Every MMO player has their own idea of what makes a great MMO.

Is it being able to explore a sprawling open-world? Interacting with other players and making new friends? Or grinding until you obtain the best loot in the game?

Regardless of what draws you to the genre, the best MMO games of 2021 have something to offer to every kind of player.

In this list, we’ll be recommending the best MMOs to play on PC, PS4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch.

We’ll be including a mix of MMOs from established franchises such as Elder Scrolls and Final Fantasy, along with long-running indie MMOs that remain popular decades later.

If we forgot to include your favorite game, feel free to sound off in the comments and let us know. And lastly, make sure to check back as we continue to update this list with new games in the future.

Related:Best Upcoming MMORPGs 2021 (And Beyond)Best Free To Play PC Games 2021Best Upcoming PC Games 2021 (And Beyond)

Table of ContentsShow

Whereas most MMOs prioritize graphics, storytelling, or gameplay, Final Fantasy XIV manages to balance all three while still receiving consistent updates.

The most recent expansion, Shadowbringers, set the stage for a new storyline that sees players working to defeat the forces of light before they can destroy the world.

Additional updates have continued expanding the story and world of FFXIV while also introducing new systems and events such as fishing raids, city restoration projects, and new variants of existing raids and trials.

While its endgame can be a bit tedious if you’re not the type of player who likes crafting, the amount of detail and variety in FFXIV’s world will keep you entertained.

Although it may be a bit more grind-heavy than we’d prefer, Black Desert Online makes up for some of the slog with satisfying combo-based combat and flexible career paths.

There are a variety of disciplines to take up, ranging from merchantry to fishing, mass production, and more, depending on the region and resources available. 

A great feature we’d like to see more MMOs implement is BDO’s automated workers who will farm materials and improve over time, unlocking unique skills.

The game’s PVP offerings are just as varied, with weekly guild wars pitting teams against each other for special rewards.

Star Wars: The Old Republic distinguishes itself from other MMOs by changing up the story based on the class you select.

Considering there are eight in total, with each one offering some degree of excitement, there’s a great deal of variety when it comes to storytelling.

This aspect of the game has only gotten better with time as BioWare continues to pump out new content via expansion packs.

The most recent Onslaught update adds a bevy of story content, including new quest areas, storylines, and more.

Another game that does a great job of using its DLC expansions to tell self-contained stories is The Elder Scrolls Online.

This makes it an absolute must-play for anyone who’s fascinated by the series’ extensive lore and wants to experience pivotal moments through voice-acted side quests.

And if that’s not enough to get you hooked, ESO also features PvP battles, the option to design your own home, and open-ended exploration.

Grinding is also not as bad as previous years thanks to the One Tamriel update, which introduced level-scaling, allowing you to explore dangerous endgame zones without instantly getting killed.

The fact that Lord of the Rings Online manages to appeal to hardcore fans of Middle-earth while still being accessible to newcomers is quite impressive.

The game continues to be updated and expanded with new features and structural changes, including a switch from a subscription-based model to free-to-play in 2010. 

While it’s admittedly grown long in the tooth by today’s standards, LOTR Online offers many of the activities one would expect from a modern MMO.

This includes crafting, home decoration, and a unique take on PvP that sees one person taking on the role of orcs, wargs, and Sauron’s other minions. 

It seems that no matter how hard a new game tries to steal World of Warcraft’s shine, it’s never enough to dethrone Blizzard’s long-running MMO.

Having solidified its presence in the cultural gaming zeitgeist along with the deep pockets of its creator, it’s safe to say WoW isn’t going away anytime soon.

From constant updates that add new features to massive expansions that add new areas, class-specific challenges, and daily quests, Blizzard always finds a new way to reel players back in.

The best part is it’s not as time-consuming as many of the other MMOs on this list, requiring as much or as little investment as you want.

Whether you’re a fan of new or old school RuneScape, there’s something to be said about an MMO released in 2001 that can still pull in millions of players to this day.

This can be attributed to RuneScape’s lasting design as well as consistent updates that introduce new content and quality of life improvements.

The game employs an open-ended approach to its quest structure and overall progression, letting you focus on the activities you enjoy most.

This affords a great deal of flexibility to build characters with hyper-specific skills or spread yourself thin across multiple specializations.

Despite being available in Asia since 2012, Phantasy Star Online 2 didn’t make its way to the West until 2020, when Microsoft struck a deal with Sega to bring the MMO to PC and consoles.

The game offers a staggeringly large playerbase, vibrant sci-fi worlds to explore, and satisfying action-packed combat.

While it can be tough for new players to make sense of the series’ in-depth lore and convoluted ongoing story, every MMO has some sort of hurdle to get past before everything clicks into place.

At the moment, you can only play PSO2 outside of Asia on a PC or Xbox One but expect that to change in the coming months since the game is already officially supported by PS4 and Switch.

Guild Wars 2 manages to separate itself from MMO giants like World of Warcraft by approaching the genre from a fresh perspective.

In favor of a subscription model, the game is free to play and includes a surprising amount of content without any additional fees.

The world is designed to feel alive and will react to your decisions in meaningful ways. This can range from visual changes in the world to additional quests associated with a specific action.

In many ways, this makes Guild Wars 2 play more like a single-player RPG with all of the features and community-based interactions of an MMO.

Trove is a unique sandbox-MMO hybrid with vibrant voxel-based graphics reminiscent of games like Roblox and Minecraft.

Although it doesn’t offer as many in-game creation tools as either of those titles, you can build your own home called a ‘cornerstone’ and fill it with various decorations, crafting stations, and portals.

The game features an impressive number of character classes to level up and gain mastery over, in addition to cool late-game perks like ridable mounts and enhanced player customization.

When you consider that Trove is free to play, the amount of content you get by default is pretty staggering as far as MMOs are concerned.

As far as space MMOs are concerned, EVE Online is one of the most immersive experiences the genre has to offer.

This can be attributed to developer CCP’s decision to focus on just a few key elements rather than trying to make some grand, all-encompassing MMO.

EVE Online makes sure to keep the community at the focus every step of the way while still being meticulous in how it approaches things like its player-driven in-game economy.

There’s depth to just about every aspect of the game, from massive space battles to diplomatic relations between corporations and alliances.

Even those who don’t classify themselves as Star Trek nerds would benefit from checking out Cryptic Studios’ MMO-take on the property.

Part shooter, part space-piloting game, Star Trek Online offers a ton of gameplay variety that’s made even better by the sci-fi universe it’s set in. 

You’ll encounter spaceships, alien species, and space hazards based on that of the films and movies, along with plenty of fan service as well.

The best part is how wonderfully it’s executed in-game, proving that any property can work as an MMO with the right approach. 

While PlanetSide 2 may be far from its heyday, there was a time where it was considered one of the best free-to-play MMO shooters around.

Set on a single connected world entangled in constant war, you play as a soldier tasked with pushing back rival factions and gaining control over the planet Auraxis.

It plays mostly like a reimagining of the first PlanetSide with some slight improvements regarding population sizes and gameplay balancing.

Although the player counts aren’t as high as they once were, PlanetSide 2 has quietly been making a comeback following the release of its Escalation update in 2020.

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Justin Fernandez
Justin Fernandez

As a fan of both indie and triple-A games, Justin finds joy in discovering and sharing hidden gems with other passionate gamers. In addition to reporting on the latest and greatest titles, he manages GamingScan’s social media channels.

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