18 reasons why the Mac is perfect for MMO lovers (including free ones)

This is meant to answer a couple of questions, with the main one being: Are there any good MMO games on the Mac?

This comprehensive list should answer that. In this article, we go over all the MMO games currently available on the Mac, including subscription-based (those you have to pay every month to play), pay once and free-to-play games. Do keep in mind that we decided to exclude all browser-based games (can’t call it a Mac game can’t you).

The second question we will answer here is also an all-time favorite: What’s the best one for me?

The answer is obviously not easy to answer because it depends on what you expect and want from an MMO. But by the end of this article you should have a pretty good idea of what each game has to offer and which one matches your needs the best.

Don’t forget to tell us in the comments section which one is your favorite and why!

Without further ado…

 

“Classic” Mac MMOs

World of Warcraft Mac artWorld of Warcraft

Subscription-based

Get it here

The mother of all MMOs, you cannot talk about the genre without mentioning World of Warcraft.

WoW is not only the most famous MMO, it’s also the most successful.  At one point, WoW had over 12 million subscribers! To put this in perspective: WoW has more active players worldwide than all the other MMOs combined.

At the heart of WoW you will find nothing more than the classic story of good versus evil. However, no matter what side you play for, Horde or Alliance, they both have good reasons to do what they do. The Horde is the misunderstood outsider on the lands controlled by the Alliance, while the Alliance is trying to protect their homeland from the invaders.

World of Warcraft Mac

As you’ve probably heard a thousand times before, WoW is extremely addicting (and that is not an understatement!). That is because every aspect of this game is perfectly tuned to be easy to try but extremely difficult to master. This applies to everything: the missions (PVE), the Player versus Player (PvP), the professions, the crafting, the dungeons, raids, everything.

Once you taste the satisfaction of leveling up and getting more powerful items (and hence go from the newbie to the mighty warrior like the ones you admired back in Stormwind) , it’s hard to stop.

As most MMOs, WoW is most fun when played with friends. This is especially true for the endgame content which is virtually impossible without a tight guild.

After close to a decade, I can still sit down and lose myself in the familiarity of the lands, the characters, the quests, the story, and just have fun with friends online.

 

The Elder Scrolls Online

Elder Scrolls online Mac

Subscription-based

Get it here

The Elder Scrolls Online is the latest big MMO to join the party. Considering the success of both The Elder Scrolls Oblivion and Skyrim, this MMO was one of this year’s most expected games. You have access to four classes: Dragon Knight, Templar, Sorcerer, and Nightblade. As in previous The Elder Scrolls titles, the gameplay is mostly nonlinear with a mixture of quests, random events and encourages players to simply explore the world. Expect to spend hours simply exploring and discovering strange things in this huge world!

The game has no offline mode, although the developers have stated that there will be “plenty of content” designed to accommodate players who prefer to play solo. Keep in mind that this is perhaps the most expensive game on this list, with a premium price to buy the game and a mandatory monthly subscription.

 

Guild Wars 2 Mac artGuild Wars 2

Buy Once, Play forever

Get it here

Set in the fantasy world of Tyria, Guild of Wars 2 is the only MMO that has enough merits of its own to compete with World of Warcraft.

What I love the most about Guild Wars 2 is that it goes to great lengths to remove (or at least limit) the “grinding” that reigns on most MMOs. Guild Wars 2 focuses on group events and world-wide stories to progress through the world instead of repeatedly killing 10 rats (or wolves or whatever), making the grinding close to non-existent. However, the forced group aspect makes playing the game at non-peak times difficult (when others aren’t online) – something that had already been a big issue in the original Guild Wars.

The other thing that sets Guild Wars 2 apart is the fact that it doesn’t require a monthly subscription. You have to buy a copy to play, but unlike WoW, that’s all you’ll ever have to pay. Taking into account that the game is constantly updated and improved, this is a pretty good deal.

Guild Wars 2 Mac gameplay

Overall, Guild Wars 2 is the most polished and perfected MMO available on the market. GW2’s unrivaled quality, attention to detail, dynamic events and “grindless” missions make it much more exciting than most MMOs.

 

Star Trek OnlineStar Trek Online (Open Beta)

Free-to-Play

Get it here

The first time I ran the original beta for Star Trek Online, I wasn’t impressed. But then Cryptic went free to play and released an OS X client, giving me good reasons to give it another shot. I’m glad I did.

After an entire weekend cruising the solar system and rescuing emissaries from forgotten planets, this was not the same game I tested a few years ago. Cryptic changed the entire tutorial part of the beginning of the game and inserted a real storyline for new players. The ability to give the players a spaceship and command their own decisions makes STO something MMO fans need to try at least once.

Something to keep in mind, I’m in no way a Star Trek fan, but that doesn’t prevent me from absolutely loving this game and everything about it.  The 3rd person rescue reconnaissance missions, the ship battles, the leveling system, and the redesign of the entire game from that original beta – all well needed. Best of all, I still haven’t spent a dime,  even though I really want a Romulan Warbird…

 

LOTRO MacThe Lord of the Rings Online

Free-to-Play

Get it here

This is another MMO which started with a subscription-based model, but turned F2P (free to play) after seeing the massive success Dungeons & Dragons Online had with the free-to-play formula. Otherwise known as LotRO, this game looks almost identical to Dungeon Defenders Online (graphically speaking), however the story and play is a completely different beast.

Taking place in the lands of Middle-Earth, involving J.R.R. Tolken’s storied canon from The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings time frame, LotRO lives up the fantastic element of RPG with an MMO factor. The gameplay is similar to other fantasy-based MMOs, with the free version offering only 2 character slots (as opposed to 5 for VIP with the option to buy more) and other small items like this.

Turbine allows the free players full access to everything within the game itself, with the small except to send money through the in-game mail system to another player and destiny points (high-end points you have to be a VIP member to use) while everything else is either limited or open to use. LotRO is still one of the best fantasy MMO’s on the market, while making it free added the much-needed player base it so desperately needed.

 


Eve Online

Eve Online Mac

Subscription based

Get it here

Eve Online is set in a science-fiction world where players take part in space battles in 7,500 star systems throughout the galaxy.

In Eve you can choose a variety of professions including mining, manufacturing, trading, piracy, exploration. All professions occur in real-time, even when you’re not logged in. It also includes both PVE and PVP combat.

What sets Even Online apart are the spaceships. Some of the ships are small little puddle jumpers while others are large, giant-sized, indeed larger than some cities.

The thing with Eve Online is that there’s so much to it, I can’t possibly go into the details here. I’ve literally lost touch with friends for months because they started the free trial and that ended up taking over their lives. I’ve heard horror stories about how someone logged off to go to sleep and woke up with her empire destroyed because the bank went under and someone blew up their ship.

I haven’t tried Eve because I know how addictive it is and how much I’d get sucked into the game!

If you like space combat, feel free to give it a shot. It’s on Steam and has around 500,000 users.

 

Dungeons and Dragons MacDungeons and Dragons Online

Free-to-Play

Get it here

DDO was the first “free” MMO I ever played on OSX, since I actually paid for a subscription back when it was called Stormreach and Eberron Unlimited. DDO bases all the content off the Dungeons & Dragons 3.5 rule set, which is still the foundation for many RPG elements within the game.

What I found the most satisfying (or gratifying?) was that there is a narrator or “dungeon master” describing the path and options available to the class played, and it felt closer to the vibe one gets during a tabletop game, not just while playing a video game. Graphically, DDO is similar to Lord of the Rings or Warhammer Online, the biggest differences are the mechanics and storytelling within the game. The player base within DDO is much more forgiving and more patient than the sister games of LotRO and Warhammer. Out of the three, DDO is my favorite, but I’m also biased due to my history.

 

Savage 2 MacSavage 2: A Tortured Soul

Free-to-Play

Get it here

Savage 2 is a mix between real-time strategy, first person shooter, and role-playing game, mixed with MOBA elements. The ability to flip between views and play how want is a nice addition. That said, the RTS components are greatly overpowered compared to the other two. The two sides fight each other, common in basic MOBA games, this time battles between the Man and Horde sides rage to find supremacy. The learning curve is very high, making the tutorial next to worthless. However, the sheer amount of fun and playability in the game makes this one to watch since the players seem more helpful than those in DOTA2.

 

Ryzom MacRyzom

Free-to-Play

Get it here

Also known as “The Saga of Ryzom,” the game started in 2004 under a different company before changing hands a few times. Today, the MMORPG sits on the Apple App Store with a 3-½ star rating from 63 people, from a 10-year-old game. In all honesty, the graphics, engine, story, and most of the art took a redesign in 2010.

Ryzom is a science-fantasy-sandbox MMORPG, which means the world itself takes place 2000 years in the future of today on an alien planet where the world itself interacts with the players and mobs they come into contact with. Overall, Atys is a gorgeous world, where everything makes one stop and admire the handiwork that goes into the detail, even on a low graphic setting.

The first impression I had after installing Ryzom was “This looks like something developed on Linux.” But after tweaking the graphics settings and making my mouse play nice from the default crap settings, all I can say is: Go get this now. You are locked into free mode until you get to level 125 to decide if you want to pay to play. It’s worth a shot.

 

Mac MOBAs

Dota 2 MacDOTA 2

Free-to-Play

Get it here

Defense Against the Ancients 2 or DOTA 2 is a Massively Multiplayer Online Battle Arena game, otherwise known as a MOBA. DOTA 2 pits teams of five players against each other in small arenas where waves of monsters and players fight against each other until the Ancient from the opposing team is destroyed. Simply put, in Dota 2, you control a hero and fight to gain experience, level up and earn gold to purchase weapons, armors, spells and items.

The biggest downfall to DOTA 2 is the player-base. In Dota 2, bullying and name-calling is common. Even veteran players trying to learn a new class will probably get destroyed in the chat. Bottom-line, with a mix of Warcraft and classic MMO gameplay mechanics, Dota 2 is a great experience. Just be aware that the community can be very harsh.

 

League of Legends MacLeague of Legends

Free-to-Play

Get it here

Another MOBA game, this version is the much more broad-spectrum version of DOTA2, now with over 200 characters. However, the ability to start and learn how to play a new class in a variety of maps gives the new player or new class a chance to not be berated into formatting their computer and never playing another video game again, unlike other MOBAs.

There are still violent players in certain modes that can even make me rage-quit, however LoL is just like every other MOBA out there with more heroes and different modes to fill the addictive mindset of arena battles.

 

Heroes Of Newerth MacHeroes of Newerth

Free-to-Play

Get it here

Heroes of Newerth is a MOBA similar to DOTA2 and League of Legends (LoL) where two teams battle against each other in an arena. When players spawn into the arena, they begin at a base on the opposite side of the map. The point of Newerth is to destroy the opposing faction’s base, or depending on the game type, be the first team to destroy the central structure on the map, destroy the world tree (in the Legion mode), or the Shrine (in Hellborne mode). There are 120 playable heroes in Newerth making customization and different abilities for play changes in the arenas widely varied.

Like many other MOBA communities, the social-base of players is not kind to new players.

 

Lesser known alternatives

  • Puzzle Pirates (Free-to-Play): Puzzle Pirates is very different from the other games mentioned so far. The game is very much focused on a number of puzzles your character will have to solve. Your character does gain XP and gold, however you do this by playing small mini-games in the vein of Mario Party against your fellow online pirates. There is more to Puzzle Pirates than just mini-games though. You can captain a ship, recruit a crew of other pirates, go on raiding expeditions and more. If you want to try a different kind of MMO, you should give this one a try. Get it here

Puzzle Pirate Mac

  • Spiral Knights (Free-to-Play): I was hesitant to put Spiral Knights on this list, but a friend of mine who spent $100 on this game convinced me otherwise. You and your party travel through dungeons (or “Clockworks”) to find pieces to fix your busted-ass spacecraft to go home. When Spiral Knights first appeared on Steam as a free to play game for OSX, I downloaded it and tried it out hoping for another great game like Regnum. Instead, I found myself aggravated since I had just got out of the tutorial before I had to wait for my energy to refill before I could play again, or pay money for crowns for the energy to renew. If I wanted to pay money to play a game, I could log into Facebook. Get it here
  • Planeshift (Free-to-Play): Planeshift is a very odd fantasy role-playing community, built around a graphics engine from 2000. The player base focuses more on physical role-playing than anything else. Despite the higher learning curve and outdated engine, this is still a popular game with new players and old logging in to live in their fantasy world. Planeshift still has one of the most extensive crafting system in any free MMO on the market. Some players find it jarring to talk with other players who speak with accents and in “cat tongues”, and some of the graphics and animations leave much to be desired due to the outdated graphics engine. Get it here

Planetshift Mac

  • Crossfire (Free-to-Play): Keep in mind there is another MMO called Crossfire based in Korea that is a Call of Duty clone for Windows – this is not that game. This MMO started back in the good old days of dial-up modems and BBS happiness in 1992 when graphics left much to the imagination and multi-user dungeons (MUD’s) still ruled the RPG landscape. Crossfire is a “roguelike” game, similar to the classic game NetHack, except placed in a medieval fantastical world of wizards and monsters, closer to the feel of a network version of Gauntlet. Get it here
  • Regnum Online (Free-to-Play): The name has changed a handful of times over the years. Today it’s called as Champions of Regnum on Steam. This is the epitome of a Japanese grinding MMORPG. After starting out and getting to level 10 or so, the quests fade out and the only thing left to do is wait for special events like realm vs realm battles, or pay for boosts from the online store to help level-up and grab a mount for traveling speed. The beauty of Regnum is the singular focus on PvP (player versus player) combat. There is no crafting, no raiding and almost no high-level content. Learning to battle at end game (level 60+warmaster) is the key to Regnum. Get it here

Regnum Online Mac

  • Minions of Mirth (Free-to-Play): The first MMO to offer a solo mode, which I can honestly understand for those late-night drunken raids, Mirth is often compared to Diablo because at this point it allows players to run on a dedicated server identical to the premium server by themselves. Dedicated players love Mirth and the developers release regular updates with the last patch coming out the 10th of January. Also, once you level-up, you unlock monster templates, allowing you to play as monsters – something a bit different in the MMO world. Get it here

Minions of Mirth Mac

  • Pirate101 (Free-to-Play): The game pits players (still focuses between 10-15 year olds) on turn-based combats as pirates. KingsIsle does a great job tailoring the play system to balance the play between colorful animation and fun interactive involvement for any age group, and any gamer will have fun playing this with friends or their own children regardless of age. Similar to Wizard 101, the free-trial gives each player 10 levels of free-play, meaning little more than an extended tutorial, except in Pirate101, the open-ended system seemed to never end. The skill system, the strategy, the collection of pets and companions, the questing, the ship battles and hand-to-hand combat – it all works, and in a way much different from those found in Wizard 101. Both games are great to play, especially for those looking for a relaxing time to spend with young children. Get it here

Sadly shutdown games…

  • Warhammer Online: The last time I tried to log into Warhammer Online on my MacBook Pro, I found out that EA took the servers offline as of December 18th, 2013. I’m always sad to see a great game go, especially when so many people praised the realm versus realm play and unique battle systems. Given the excellent history of Mythic (pre-EA, anyway), I’m curious to see what great things they will come up with next.
  • EverQuest: Sadly, EQ was discontinued as of November 2013. The last OSX server was taken down (or sunset, as they call it in the MMO business) and Sony Online Entertainment despite many petitions and online pleads from high-profile fans of the game, including one of the original developers who offered to buy the source code to make it free-to-play.
  • Pirates of the Caribbean: Pirates Online is another game where the servers found sunset during 2013, turning off on September 19th. Various petitions online were ignored at Disney studios before the servers turned off, leaving the game empty and the players finding other games. Petitions to turn the servers online or make the game free-to-play are still floating around Facebook today.
  • ToonTown Online: ToonTown Online is another Disney property running almost 10 years before the servers shut down in September of 2013. As with many MMO’s that are offline, be wary of any “pirate” server, since many that run illegally run questionable software that may or may not infect or put malware-type software on your system.

 

Your turn

Looks like you don’t have an excuse not to try a MMO on your Mac anymore. With options ranging from the subscription-based, world-class World of Warcraft, to the free Star Trek Online or Lord of the Rings Online (without forgetting the amazing pay-once Guild Wars 2), the Mac MMO scene has something for everyone.

In fact, practically all major MMOs have a Mac version (excluding of course Star Wars Knights of the Old Republic), proving once more that the Mac is catching up fast!

So what is your favorite MMO? Are you currently playing some on your Mac? Let us know in the comments section, perhaps you’ll even find fellow Mac users to play with!

 

This guide comes from resident author Chris Tallant. You can follow him on Twitter or at his personal blog.

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  • ikir

    Guild Wars 2 Mac client is a disaster! It ruins the experience, it is a cider port full of bugs with 0 support from Arena Net :-(

    • staraffinity

      It also runs with like a third of the performance of the Windows version.

      • http://macgamerhq.com/ Mac Gamer Ric

        When I played this one over a year ago on the Mac, I found it to play at least 30% slower than on Windows. That said, I noticed no bugs and preferred the -30% than having to boot into Windows!

        I would have imagined the client would be better now. Can anyone confirm??

      • http://macgamerhq.com/ Mac Gamer Ric

        @ikir:disqus @th3taj:disqus When I played this one over a year ago on the Mac, I found it to play at least 30% slower than on Windows. That said, I noticed no bugs and preferred the -30% than having to boot into Windows!

        I would have imagined the client would be better now. Can anyone confirm??

        • r y e

          Nope – if you’re a Mac gamer avoid GW2. It is not a native client, but instead, runs on a wrapper. FPS is horrible unless you have a newish machine

          • http://macgamerhq.com/ Mac Gamer Ric

            Damn, that sucks, if that game runs that bad, I might have to remove it from my “Top 75 Mac Games” list….

          • jmzilla

            I’ve been playing gw2 on my mac mini for the last 1.5 years. I have to run on lowest setting, but it still runs smoothly with no issues.

          • Josh Hatchett

            Guild Wars 2 runs incredibly well for me on the highest setting at 80 FPS 2560 x 1440. My Mac is great so the game runs runs great…has nothing to do with the Mac Client.

          • http://macgamerhq.com/ Mac Gamer Ric

            Man, seems like everybody is having a different experience with this game! Will have to try it again and see where it stands! Thanks for the comment Josh!
            BTW, if you could record some gameplay footage, that would be great ;)

          • Josh Hatchett

            I’ve never done that before, but I’ll definitely try :D

          • http://macgamerhq.com/ Mac Gamer Ric

            Yep, thanks buddy! We also talked about a likely Mac Review some months ago, if you’re still interested, I’m down!

          • r y e

            Actually, Josh, it does. You need to do more research on the topic before basing your personal experiences as factual information. The client is incredibly buggy and just a Wine wrap, that’s it. P.S., you probably have the latest hardware (2013/2014 I’m guessing) so no doubt you get higher framerates. I mean come on, that’s rudimentary basics right?

    • Th3taJ

      Played Guild Wars 2 on both my Mac and PC.

      I my end I found the Mac performing at a higher frame-rate on the same settings.

      I have yet to see any game changing bugs on the Mac side!

      • ikir

        If you check the forums, fe most users is unplayable, freezes, crashes, bugs, graphics glitch, sucky performance. Me and 3 friends played this and we all quit because of that.
        It could be your Windows installation which perform bad or some settings Guild Wars ignore on Mac since we are stuck with the old engine and not all option have effects on graphic. Or you have one of the few system where it runs as intended. But believe me, Transgaming is the evil.

      • http://macgamerhq.com/ Mac Gamer Ric

        I wouldn’t say better but I didn’t see such a huge difference between Mac and PC.. Perhaps we are just a few of the lucky ones…

  • Chris Tallant

    Great article! Some of this sounds familiar… One caveat.. the Savage screenshot you have is from the Korean Savage “call of duty”-based F2P game, not the Savage 2.. here’s some screens from that to give you a comparison between the two: http://savage2.com/en/media.php?t=ss

    • http://macgamerhq.com/ Mac Gamer Ric

      Thanks for the heads up man! I will change the picture right away and put the right Author too ;)

  • Chris Tallant

    Also, Regnum is merging with another company (not finalized so this is still inside baseball) and 8BitMMO is stabilizing an OSX client, but the online-browser version of the game works great.

  • Cesar Castillo

    Another good Mac MOBA would be Solstice Arena…

    • ikir

      Very nice and simple, especially good on mobile but it is no longer developed.

      • http://macgamerhq.com/ Mac Gamer Ric

        Thanks for the info man! (I do wonder how you can be aware of EVERYHTING Mac gaming related!!! lol )

    • http://macgamerhq.com/ Mac Gamer Ric

      And to be fair, @disqus_tjssOjCkT1:disqus originally added much more games to this guide but I had to trim it a bit or some readers would have been scared by the length :)

      • Chris Tallant

        I avoided Solstice because it’s a Zynga game.. when I originally wrote this, it was only for browser/facebook players, and didn’t have a dedicated client yet… Now that it’s fully supported, that could all change.. But yes, this entire article was something like 12 pages long at first..

      • Cesar Castillo

        Indeed it is. I’ve been playing it since last year on the iPad and it honestly doesn’t get much recognition.

  • Th3taJ

    This is definitely one of my favorite articles.

    Thanks for the read!

    • http://macgamerhq.com/ Mac Gamer Ric

      Thanks man, glad to see you find it useful! BTW, which one did you end up getting?? ;)

  • cjohnson44546

    You forgot the shut down game… City of Heroes/City of Villains. One of my all time favorite MMOs that I really miss

    • http://macgamerhq.com/ Mac Gamer Ric

      Good point man, I had to trim the guide a bit, otherwise it would have been MASSIVE… With that game dead though, what MMO are you currently playing?

      • cjohnson44546

        I played ESO a bit, but really there is nothing that holds my interest sadly…

  • Jonas

    It is great to see Mac MMOing, MOBAing and online play in general spotlighted, and especially to see some less widely embraced classics (such as Savage 2 and Puzzle Pirates) make the list. So, kudos and thanks for a great write-up!

    A few corrections to sour the praise :) :

    Lord of the Rings Online did not see a notable dwindling of players, neither just after start, nor ever during its stint as a premium title. Instead, Turbine were inspired by the *massive* success of DDOs (an MMO which WAS doing badly) move to f2p, and decided to bring LotRO over long before it neared the end of its premium lifespan.

    (Coincidentally, DDO was the first western MMO to go free to play and survive (and thrive, as the game quadrupled profits, and swelled its player base enormously), and is often credited with being one of the major inspirations for the more widespread freemium paradigm, and its most succesful experiment (of a premium-to-freemium shift) to date.)

    Savage 2 does not belong in the MMO category, in any way I can concieve.

    Also, I don’t quite understand what you mean by that the “the RTS components are greatly overpowered compared to the other two”. Savage 2’s focus is on melee combat, with ranged combat as a backup. RTS duties for FPS/third-person/action players (building, repairing, resouce collection) only provide an occasional break in the fighting. Only one player per team plays the commander, views the game from the perspective of an RTS player.

    (The RTS elements do permeate all aspects of gameplay, if that might be your meaning. And this is one of the strongest points of Savage 2, as it gives purpose and context to ALL actions that players carry out on the battlefield. No random fragging or solo gunning, only purposefull collaboration and teamwork in order to further a collective agenda, which lends a sense of direction and weight of strategy that even tactical online action games like Battlefield 4 still has yet to achieve. This atmosphere of constant purpose, more than the smart and very skill-based melee mechanics and the smooth RTS/FPS mesh, is what still prompts me to describe Savage 2 as the greatest deathmatch game in existence.)

    • http://macgamerhq.com/ Mac Gamer Ric

      LOL Love it man, I like the praise but we like the “constructive” critics even more :) However, @disqus_tjssOjCkT1:disqus will have to jump in to comment on the Savage 2 comments as I have never played this one personally….
      I did do some research on the LOTRO move to free-to-play and you are very much right. I will edit the guide to reflect that. Thanks buddy.

      PS: I take it those 2 are the MMOs you play the most?

      • Chris Tallant

        Wait a sec… which Savage are you referring to? There are two Savage games: one based in Korea which is a Black-Ops combat-syle one, and then the one available for OSX (the other is a browser-based MMO) called Savage 2: A Tortured Soul, which is more along the lines of a RTS/FPS MMO where it’s closer to the standard trope of what MMO players are used to playing, with a nice twist of strategy thrown in from the arena-games… From what you’re referring to, I’m not sure which one you mean?

        When I was playing it while testing, people seemed to care more about the RTS (in a mad-Zerg-style rush) before ever caring about FPS play.. think more along the lines of the engineers setting up in TF2 before the battle begins… like that, long before the MOBA starts to cook. Does that make sense?

        With that being said: take a look at this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UnSiADdy81w

        This was shot with a team playing together – dedicated people doing specific tasks and owning the opposition (which I hope will mirror what happens more with Heroes of the Storm..) but after talking with random people online, the proper RTS elements win games, hence my overpowered comment..

        • Jonas

          I played Savage 2: A Tortured Soul extensively for many years. Proper leadership, tactics and cooperation wins games. This need not necessarily include the RTS-perspectived commander (though her presence can certainly be of great aid), but can indeed be done solely by the FPS/third-person players (and often is, since commanders have a tendency to sometimes abandon their teams halfway through games).

          So, success relies on a synchronized team, but is not tied to the RTS perspective of Savage 2. It WILL involve RTS-style tasks carried out by field (FPS/third-person) players (such as erecting buildings), but these duties occupy a very minor part of any match, time-wise, compared to the actual fighting (which above video demonstrates well).

          There are very few MOBA-like aspects whatsoever to Savage 2 (and no MMO elements at all), however, so those never come into play. Think of it rather as a multiplayer marriage of first-person shooting, third-person melee combat, and RTS-style team management. Savage 2 saw light before the idea of MOBAs was conceived, and is an iteration of the classical deathmatch formula (Quake, etc), with added melee mechanics and a tactical layer.

          Perhaps it is just a matter of definition and semantics :) Cooperation, player synergy, leadership and shared tactics has no RTS connotations for me. Only the commander perspective and certain activities (hammering away at buildings as an engineer) has anything to do with the RTS genre to my mind. All other mechanics are at least as common in a variety of genres as in RTS.

          • Chris Tallant

            I would agree.. As someone who jumped in without a team who never played the game before, it’s intimidating to say the least.. There are players who will own others without a word, and feel very little remorse in letting them know it.

            I do disagree that Savage came around before other MOBA’s, since I believe it stemmed from the same idea modern MOBA’s did: modded maps from Warcraft 3.. back in …2002, 2003-ish? once Frozen Throne came out, the modding community went nutty with all the Tower Defense and Defense of the Ancients..

            however, I’m on my phone so it’s hard for me to do any searching for when these things lined up..

            I do agree with you 100% on the teamwork though.. if you’re in a good team, you’ll have an excellent time playing. Although I feel that way with ANY online facet. Even simple Warcraft guilds.. the more people in them, the better off players feel.

          • Jonas

            I’m afraid whether or not the idea behind Savage stems from DotA is not a matter personal agreement ;) The first Savage was released in september 2003, the same year as the first public version of DotA. By then, Savage had been in development for several years, long before the idea of DotA was ever conceived by Eul, Guinsoo or any of the other modders who contributed to the DotA phenomenon.

            Perhaps almost as telling, the Savage 1/2 devs themselves (who were always very open and forthcoming to those of us who participated in their alphas and betas) claim an old RTS/action space sim hybrid (that I cannot fer the life of me find the name of) as their primary inspiration, with a sprinkling of RTS and deathmatch titles of the early 2000s as additional source material. (With no mention of DotA, of course, since it did not exist during the development cycle of Savage 1.)

            But yeah, absolutely agreed on the teamwork aspect! Successful cooperation and synchronicity can bring in the fun in almost any multipayer title, even in games I normally have absolutely no patience for (such as WoW and MMOs of the same mold).

            And yeah, the intimidation factor was often cited as the primary reason for the lack of further success of Savage 1 and 2. A real shame (no matter if this is a shortcoming of the patience of players or the accessibility of the game), for there are no other games quite like the Savage franchise…

          • Chris Tallant

            I stand corrected! Well done bud! I’m curious what their inspiration was and if that title inspired the DotA guys also…

      • Jonas

        And I like a publication which can take corrections to heart right back at ya! ;) (After all, this only makes the article all the more useful for readers…)

        I actually prefer DDO over LotRO, thanks to the less traditional mechanics (semi-manual aiming and evasion, less focus on hotbar cycling, story-intensive adventures), D&D 3.5 character system (terrible for pen and paper, but possibly one of the most customizable and tactical systems ever devised for computer RPGs), and quirky universe of Eberron.

        However, LotRO is still my favourite WoW-style MMO (the ONLY such MMO I can stand), thanks to a much more immersive and classic setting than most others, much more rewarding character development (especially the achievement-based abilities that has to be earned thorugh gameplay), and lots of small quirks and minor innovations in the genre.

        The two MMOs I have played the most, however, are far less traditional. And I think both deserve their respective spots in this article, being two of the most Mac-loyal MMOs in the history of OS X gaming (both supported OS X long before it became a mainstream gaming platform, and have always been updated simultaneously for all platforms, with equal attention given to all), and some of the most unconventional online games I have ever come across.

        Both feature some TRULY innovative mechanics, far beyond the ken of any smaller steps forward (such as seen in Elders Scrolls Online, LotRO, DDO, and even EVE) in mainstream MMOs:

        And these are:

        Vendetta Online (www.vendetta-online.com), an open space flight simulator.

        Key features:

        * Entirely skill-based: only player skill wins battles, with no traits or stats that influence combat. (Character progression is instead based around licences, which only make additional equipment available as characters reach higher echelons of esteem in the eyes of their governments.)

        * One of the fastest combat engines in history (space games or otherwise), placing extreme focus on reflexes and precision. ANd, in tandem, one of the most active PvP communities in gaming (in spite of its diminiscule size), with regular PvP evens and activities, rankings and standings and wide-spread fame in the player community.

        * A detailed flight model for ships, with distributed physics that make each ship unique on accord to their shape as well as their stats. Since each ship handles in a unique fashion, this means that players have to master not only the stats and equipped weapons of the vessel, but also the feel and immesurable properties of each option for true flight mastery. (A nice comparison is the flight model of the upcoming Star Citizen, which, in spite of all the hype and resources behind the game, is still far behind in terms of both sophistication, depth and emphasis on skill.)

        * A dynamic universe: AI factions actually expand and seize systems, forcing players to push them back to avoid a hostile universe and constant attacks from enemy ships. Military success influences borders and faction strength.

        * A dynamic economy: trade routes can be blocked affecting supply, demand and prices. AI convoys who regularly are pirated reinforce the number and strength of their guards. Items are not always available, depending on faction standing, the state of the current system, and the state of the universe.

        * No silly “magical defenses”, limiting in-game mechanics to solve real-world issues. PvP is allowed anywhere outside of the tutorial area, but regulated through realistic in-game mechanics, such as police and strike forces (who actually often do arrive in time to help beset payers), faction loss and punishment.

        * A long and rather well-written backstory and setting, with quite a few unusual twists and turns.

        * Hardcore death mechanics, where the vessel and all equipment is lost upon death. (Though it should be said that this is rarely problematic, as even combat-worthy vessels and equipment is rather cheap to come by, it still adds much greater gravity and urgency to combat, as the player actually stands to loose. And much greater sense of reward to victory and acquisition of new gear.)

        (I should add that this was back when I was last active, and I’ve heard rumors that the economy has been rebalanced since, with a very different balance, where rare ships and weapons are something you do not want to risk in everyday struggles.)

        * A rare combination of a small, jovial and passionate community, and a very small team of devs (3-4), who communicate directly with players, and regularly implement their ideas and invite them into the development of the game. Also, VO sees regular updates that has swelled the game from a bare-boned space combat sim to one of the mechanically most complete universes in gaming.
        ——————–

        Darkwind Online (www.dark-wind.com), a unique hybrid of turn-based vehicular and pedestrian combat and racing, and large-scale gang/crew management (sports simulator style), set in a post-apocalyptic setting.

        Key features:

        * Very sophisticated (and highly skill-based) turn-based combat, with a sophisticated damage engine (any part of the car can take damage with associated effects, from tires ang engines to weapons and drivers), and a detailed and distributed physics engine that make each vehicle unique (beyond its individual armor, turn radius, acceleration and speed), makes terrain and elevation a vital aspects of combat and racing, and forces players to master much more than just the stats of their cars to truly excel at fighting. Cars in Darkwind cannot simply be assesed on their speed and acceleration and armor, but must be analyzed from a large number of factors, as well as the actual feel of the vehicle when driven.

        * Speaking of stats, players do not simply buy pre-made vehicles, but build cars to order, and can choose between different engines, armour, parts, weapons, and customize the placement of much of that hardware (which, of course, affects weapon firing arcs, etc). Weapons range from straight-forward machine guns and anti-tank weapons, to burning oil, mortars, rockets and even more exotic solutions.

        * A gang-based character system, where the player actually runs a whole gang (up to and exceeding 40 members), each individual with their own skills, advantages, and weaknesses. This is combined with a mortality and injury model that allows player characters to receive specific debilitating injuries, heal over time, and even die permanently (something that might sitng, but never leads to total wipeout, since each ganger is only one of tens or more). Also, there are drugs. And no, you cannot decide who does them or not ;)

        * Hardcore defeat mechanics, where both gang members and vehicles can be lost upon defeat in the wilderness, or in sharp-fire in-town events. (Loosing treasured and old gang members stings quite a bit. But as a result, any challenge and task carries a greater sense of gravity and urgency, as the player actually stands to loose. And much greater sense of reward to victory and acquisition of new gear.)

        * Pedestrian combat, where gang members leave their vehicles to fight on foot, XCOM-style. Usually desperately and not for very long.

        * In-town racing and deathmatches, either as a complement to fighting in and exploring the wastelands, or as the primary activity for those so inclined, complete with leagues, ranks, ladders, prices, events and in- and off-game effects of fame. This is also combined with the pedestrian mechanics for on foot-events, such as urban combat in ruined cities.

        * Almost no silly “magical defenses”. PvP can be enabled almost anywhere, is mandatory in some areas, and is always active in in-town events. Player griefing is managed through realistic in-game mechanics, such as bounty hunters, faction loss and punishment (which can be quite severe, as players can loose access to whole towns, and instead have to align with outlaws and pirates in order to gain access to common services).

        * As a result of above racing and deathmatches and the liberal PvP mechanics, Darkwind has a very active and competitive PvP aspect, with unique rewards and mechanics.

        * A huge number of different vehicles, each based on real-world equivalents, but cleverly renamed and outfitted for the wastelands (armoured and geared up). Darkwind features salvaged and refitted muscle cars, sedans, minis, racing cars, jeeps, busses, ambulances, and even the awe-inspiring armoured fire engine.

        * Much like Vendetta Online, a dynamic universe, with varying levels of AI opposition depending on recent player activity and success in different areas.

        * A dynamic economy, where players produce almost all goods, player supply and demand affect prices and availability of goods, and where player actions can directly influence the state of the economy (such as blocking trade routes and exhausting supplies, or flooding the market with goods to lower prices).

        * A very advanced version of the “player housing” concept, where player constructs camps in the wilderness, which can eventually grow to small towns. In these camps, players can construct elaborate production chains, either to provide their own gang and allies with equipment and vehicles, or to sell on the open market.
        ————-

        Also, both are kinda ugly and old and anything but flashy, to go with all that innovation, genre-breaking mechanics and very unconventional design philosophies. What a peculiar coincidence… ;)

  • Sushi

    hahahaha a mac for gaming, you are joking right?

  • Andre

    Does anyone have any experience with gaming on the basic 2014 mac mini?