With the changes in pricing models, the new DLC, and the suddenly discontinued classics, it’s nearly impossible to keep up. But the good news is there are a number of excellent Mac options available.
And we’re here to help you find them.
Following our tradition of finding the top MacOS games for you, today we will help you find the best MMORPG for Mac.
Looking for something offline? We also have a list of the 100 Best Mac games from all the top categories.
We have tested more than 10 new games and expansions released since we last updated this guide on July 22, 2016. We decided to increase our selection to 15 games, officially crown a new champion, and mention the games that almost made it.
How We Decide
We identify the games we believe are the greatest and then we purchase them to perform tests. This is how we measure MacOS performance levels for you.
For this guide, we decided to only test the paid, top-tier games. As most MMOs are free-to-play, it’s easy and risk-free to simply try the games that interest you.
Can we even talk about the genre without mentioning World of Warcraft? I don’t think so. And despite its age and increased competition, it’s still our favorite and, we think, the best Mac MMORPG.
The most successful MMO ever created, at one point WoW had over 12 Million subscribers, more than all its competitors combined. To be fair, WoW’s subscribers are decreasing, but there are still plenty of players around and 2016’s Legion and the upcoming Battle for Azeroth expansions indicate Blizzard’s continued support of and belief in the franchise.
Everything in WoW works great. The missions are fun, the dungeons are rewarding (yet, accessible) and the raids are hardcore as ever. The Player versus Player (PvP) is equally good, and there are professions, crafting, and countless other things to do. Leveling up and getting better gear will become your obsession.
And with the Battle for Azeroth expansion, WoW is set to become the best Mac MMORPG 2018 will deliver.
Real Pricing: WoW offers a free trial that goes to level 20 but if you want to play this seriously, the game costs $49.99 up-front (including the all the expansions) and requires $14.99 per month.
Expand to see if your Mac run it
We tested the game using Graphics Quality level 5, MSAA disabled, FXAA Low, 100% Render scale and 1280×800 resolution.
Demand Level: ✅ Low
For a long time, Guild of Wars 2 was the only MMO that could compete with World of Warcraft. The Elder Scrolls and Final Fantasy 14 changed that, but Guild Wars 2 is still one of the top choices.
What I love the most about Guild Wars 2 is that it does everything it can to limit the “grinding” (you’ll hear a lot about grinding in this article). You know, killing 500 Level 1 rats to level up. Instead, Guild Wars 2 focuses on group events and worldwide stories to advance.
The other thing that sets Guild Wars 2 apart is the fact that it doesn’t require a monthly subscription. This is a true World of Warcraft competitor that doesn’t ask for more money every month. This was already a big deal, but ArenaNet did even better. The core game is now free, though expansions are not.
An MMO that can go up against WoW but is free? That makes Guild Wars 2 our runner-up.
Real Pricing: The base game is completely free; there are two paid expansions available which you can get for $49.99 but you won’t ever have to pay a monthly subscription.
Expand to see if your Mac run it
We tested the game using Medium settings, with Antialiasing, Reflections, Postprocessing and V-sync off, and 1280×800 resolution.
Demand Level: ✅ Low
A cross-platform open-world MMORPG, Elder Scrolls Online (ESO) is the only way for Mac gamers to get into the Elder Scrolls universe. And while there were various criticisms leveled at the game when it was first released, updates and fixes have firmly established it as one of the best MMORPG games for Mac around.
Set in the same universe but at an earlier time than previous games in the series, ESO features a wide open world that you can explore and play in as you like. With a rich story, plenty of side quests, crafting, battles and more, ESO allows you to explore the world of Tamriel as you wish, alone or with your friends.
While there are still technical issues with the game on MacOS, our experience with the game was mostly positive. Also, it is so well optimized for Macs, it was even playable on our 2012 MacBook Pro.
A great-looking AAA title with a reasonable price playable on a 6-year-old MacBook Pro? That’s enough to make it our MacBook pick.
Real Pricing: The game costs $29.99 and includes the Morrowind expansion. An additional expansion is available for $49.99. There is an optional $14.99 monthly subscription available which provides access to all paid DLC, faster crafting, increased experience, and more.
Expand to see if your Mac run it
We tested the game using Medium Graphics quality, Anti-aliasing and V-sync off, and 1280×800 resolution.
Demand Level: ⚠ Medium
LotRO was always a good game, and now that it’s free-to-play, the player base is finally big enough to make it great. The game features everything that you’d want from an MMORPG set in Middle Earth. Explore the places you’ve read about like the Shire and the Mines of Moria, meet Gandalf and Strider and battles the forces of Sauron. Or play as one of his minions in Player vs. Monster mode. However you make your way through Middle Earth, LotRO is gorgeous to look at, fun to explore and includes all your favorite MMORPG elements such as crafting, quests and of course battles.
Free-to-play MMOs are a dime a dozen, but Lord of the Rings Online truly stands out. This is without hesitation the best free MMORPG for Mac.
Real Pricing: The base game is really free, but there are several paid expansions offering more quests to play. There’s also a $14.99 monthly “VIP” subscription that unlocks every expansion, access to the monster class, free LoTR points and more.
Civilization 6 is the latest turn-based strategy game in which you'll attempt to build an empire to stand the test of time.
Usually $59.99, you can get for only $15 right now:
With the release of the Heavensward expansion, Final Fantasy 14 Online became an excellent game. The problem was the MacOS version, which was a buggy mess when released. The performance was so terrible, Square Enix had to publicly apologize and offered refunds.
But things have changed for the better. Updates have improved the Mac client so that we can now truly enjoy FF14. The game runs on a new engine and offers good gameplay and a great story. FF14 also features cross-platform multiplayer with Windows and PlayStation 4. Needless to say, this is the best anime MMORPG on Mac.
FF14 offers everything a fan could ask for including free switching between classes and jobs, challenging dungeons and trials, and huge battles (up to 72 players in PvP). Plus, the game now offers a free trial which lets you play the game for free up to level 35. Not as good as some of the generous free-to-play games on this list but still helpful.
Real Pricing: A $19.99 Starter Edition lets you play up to level 50 and includes 30 days play while a $59.99 Complete edition eliminates all limits and includes all available expansions. Both include a 30-days free play period. Subscriptions are $29.99 for a 60-day card.
Expand to see if your Mac run it
We tested the game using Middle Graphics settings, Anti-aliasing and Real-time reflections off, and 1280×800 resolution.
Notice that all machines scored 30 FPS because the game is locked to 30 FPS maximum.
Demand Level: High
But the best part of EVE may be the impressive space battles. These battles can involve ships as big as entire cities and can cost literally thousands of dollars. In fact, in 2014 a huge war broke out, costing gamers over $300,000 in damages!
Recently gone free-to-play, the game and community can be difficult to break into, and it is often the most fun when played with friends in online co-op mode. For those with patience for both the learning curve and the in-game time, EVE is a rewarding space sim that you can try for free.
Bottom line: EVE is an MMO for space combat fans.
Real Pricing: Free-to-play but with limits on skills levels and ships you can acquire. A subscription eliminates those limits and opens the whole game universe. Subscriptions are $14.95/month.
Played from a top-down third-person perspective, Spiral Knight focuses on the real-time battles, which are fought cooperatively with other knights against hordes of enemies. In between battles you train, rest, chat and more in the town of Haven on the surface. There’s also a PvP mode for when you’re tired of getting along with your other knights.
Real Pricing: The game is free-to-play, with downloadable content and in-game purchases available but not required. There are some complaints of excessive grinding if you don’t pay for Orbs to help you advance.
In addition to going off on adventures on land and underground, alone or with friends in cooperative multiplayer, Trove allows you to craft anything you want and use it in the game. You also get your own house in which to craft and relax. And if you don’t like the worlds that already exist in the game, you can even craft your own, again alone or with friends.
Trove is praised for its community and gameplay, but it can suffer from server issues and some claim the grinding becomes excessive later in the game. But for those looking for a Minecraft-style experience, Trove is definitely your ticket.
Real Pricing: Free-to-play with paid DLC and in-app purchases going from $2.99 to $49.99 for the biggest bundles, some complain it can become pay-to-win to get the materials you need to craft higher-end items.
Another nice twist is the economy, which is completely player driven. Everything available to buy and sell has been gathered or crafted by other players. You get to decide how you want to fit into that economy.
Need a break from the exploring and fighting? Albion Online provides you with a private island where you can farm and build your own dream house. Along with Guilds, PvP battles and cross-platform multiplayer with Windows, Linux and even mobile (Android, iOS in beta), Albion Online has it all for those who want to create their own adventure.
Real Pricing: The base game is $29.95. There are various upgrades and DLC available but not required.
With a huge number of available planes, tanks, and even navy vessels, War Thunder offers anything your heart could desire for mid-20th-century combat.
War Thunder features full-scale PvP battles, historical campaigns in PvE, a large number of solo missions, and cooperative multiplayer. Plus it’s cross-platform on MacOS, Windows, Linux, and PS4.
What else could you want in a military MMO? Well, we’ll throw in modest system requirements allowing even more of you to try it out.
Real Pricing: Free-to-play with lots of paid DLC and in-app purchases available. There are also premium accounts available starting at $7.49 for 20 days that offer extra bonuses and experience points.
Savage 2 gives you the ability to change the game’s perspective so you can play it the way you want to. You can zoom out and play it like a strategy game or zoom in and play it like an FPS. That said, the strategy components are greatly overpowered compared to the rest.
The learning curve is very high, making the tutorial next to worthless. Nonetheless, the sheer amount of fun and the fact players are more helpful than those in DOTA2 make Savage 2 a worthy alternative.
Real Pricing: Free-to-play with optional Premium membership available.
As a character transported to the Realm of the Mad God to serve as food for his minions, your job, along with your fellow players, is to kill everything. As you battle through each realm, you’ll level up, earn Fame, and improve your arsenal. However, the game features permadeath, where you lose (almost) all your equipment and stats when you die. Fame you have earned allows you to buy in-game items.
With a focus on cooperative multiplayer fighting, Realm of the Mad God is classic 8-bit RPG fun.
Real Pricing: Free-to-play with just one optional $9.99 Adventure pack including several items for your character.
Runescape is known for its classless system and non-linear gameplay. You improve skills by using them, and choose how you want to play the game. With plenty of skills, quests, monsters and more, Runescape gives you everything you need to explore the world of Gielinor.
Real Pricing: Free-to-play but unlocking many elements requires a $9.49 monthly subscription.
What I like the most about DDO is the narrator or “dungeon master” that describes the paths and options available to you. This makes DDO feel a lot like a tabletop game and not just a video game. By the way, DDO is based on the Dungeons & Dragons 3.5 ruleset, which is the foundation of most RPG elements within the game.
When it comes to the graphics, DDO looks a lot like the Lord of the Rings Online, but that’s about the only similarity they share. The storytelling and mechanics are completely different, clearly catering to different audiences. Speaking of audience, DDO’s player base is much more forgiving than the average.
DDO is a favorite among our team here and if you like tabletop RPGs, I’m confident you will love it too.
Real Pricing: Free-to-play with paid Expansions and DLC packs required to unlock some classes.
With over 200 different real-life vehicles and 18 different battle arenas, there’s plenty of variety to keep things fresh. Despite some complaints about matchmaking, the community and what some see as a pay-to-win formula at higher levels, WoTB is still a fun, free-to-play tank fest for you and your friends.
Real Pricing: Free-to-play with in-app purchases.
|Games||Games||Our take||Demand Level||Free games only?|
Wild Terra Online✅ Not demanding
|Wild Terra Online||A hardcore sandbox RPG, the world of Wild Terra Online is created completely by the players. |
As with some previous games on the list, you improve your skills by using them, learning to craft all the things you’ll need to survive. Difficult and grindy but rewarding, Wild Terra Online allows you to create the character you want and do what you will as long as you survive.
RPG MO✅ Not demanding
|RPG MO||A retro style MMORPG, RPG MO is for fans of RuneScape and Ultima Online. |
Another open-world sandbox MMO, RPG MO is known for its player-made economy and being truly free-to-play. You’ll have the usual grind, but you also get a house and pets for relaxing.
And with modest system requirements, RPG MO is great for throwback fans with older and mid-range machines.
WAKFU✅ Not demanding
|WAKFU||Another game featuring a player-driven economy, WAKFU is also known for its beautiful anime style, its turn-based tactical combat, and its unique class system. |
You’ll also have the usual crafting, quests, dungeons and battles you’d expect in a MMORPG. A unique and fun anime MMO, WAKFU suffers as some others do from a small user base, making a player-built world difficult to maintain.
Planetshift✅ Not demanding
|Planetshift||Planeshift is a completely free 3D MMORPG set, inside a giant stalactite attached to the roof of an even more giant cave. |
Containing all the classic RPG elements, Planeshift, like several others in this list, allows you to chart your own path as you explore the world of Yliakum.
Ryzom✅ Not demanding
|Ryzom||Another free and open source MMORPG, though with subscriptions available, Ryzom is set in a science fiction/fantasy world and features a classless system and a world that responds to your actions. |
Another persistent 3D world MMO, the developers are also very open about seeking input from players to help in the game’s development.
Puzzle Pirates✅ Not demanding
|Puzzle Pirates||Looking for something a little more casual and less focused on RPG elements? Puzzle Pirates may be what you’re looking for. |
You’ll be a pirate progressing through the game by solving various puzzles and mini-games. Don’t be deceived by a cartoony look and some casual-looking puzzles, this isn’t a kids or mobile game. With single & multiplayer, including cooperative multiplayer, Puzzle Pirates is a different take on the MMO.
Champions of Regnum✅ Not demanding
|Champions of Regnum||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 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.
These are all native games, no Wine, Parallels or Bootcamp needed. They all install or play natively on your machine.
While we strive to perform benchmarks on every game on these lists, most MMOs are free-to-play, allowing you to test their performance on your machine and know for sure if they run well. That said, we have tested the paid MMOs on our three main test machines.
iMac (5K, 27-inch, Late 2014)
MacBook Pro (13-inch, Late 2013)
MacBook Pro (13-inch, Late 2016):
By the way, if you have an older Mac, you’ll probably have a much better experience playing at lower settings than ours. And for your reference, this is how we interpret the results:
|Below 20 FPS||Unplayable||Laggy gameplay, full of stutters and slowdowns.|
|20-30 FPS||Borderline||Can be Ok in slow paced games. Still, not optimal.|
|30-45 FPS||Playable||Acceptable for most (most gaming consoles do this).|
|45-60 FPS||Smooth||Fluid gameplay, with no perceivable stutters.|
|60+ FPS||Very Smooth||For hardcore and professional players, a luxury for most.|
We usually aim for 30 FPS, because 30 FPS is enough to guarantee a smooth and fluid experience.
We all know how subjective reviews can be, and how games can be review-bombed by the public for reasons sometimes having nothing to do with the game itself. But we make sure we pick only games that have been positively received by both professional reviewers and average gamers.
While some of the top tier MMOs do have an upfront fee, most are free-to-play. We’ve tried to be clear about the cost structures in our descriptions, including the level of free-to-play and the availability or requirement of subscriptions and DLC.
Whether you’re looking for high-end graphics that punish your system, a great story, something for your older MacBook or anything in between, there’s an MMO to suit your hardware and your style.
Which one is your favorite? Did we miss any you think belong on this list? Let us know in the comments section.