The 14 Best MMORPGs for Mac
Finding the right MMOs is a tricky business, especially on Mac.
With the constant changes in pricing models, the new releases, and the suddenly discontinued classics, it's nearly impossible to keep up. But the good news is there are some excellent Mac-compatible options out there.
And we'll help you find them.
Following our tradition of finding and reviewing the best Mac games for you, today we will help you find the best MMORPG for Mac:
Let's get started.
World of Warcraft
Can you even talk about the genre without mentioning World of Warcraft? I don't think so.
WoW is simply the most successful MMO ever created. At one point it had over 12 Million subscribers. More than all its competitors combined. Not bad right?
To be fair, WoW's subscribers are decreasing (and fast), but the next expansion, Legion, stepped it up a notch.
Coming back to the game itself, you'll be in for an amazing adventure, especially if you find a guild you like. Everything in WoW works great. The missions are fun, the dungeons are rewarding (yet, accessible) and the raids are just hardcore. The Player versus Player (PvP) is just as good, and there are professions, crafting, and countless other things to do. Leveling up and getting better gear will become your obsession.
But is it the best one? I once spent 6 months playing it for 10 hours a day... You've been warned.
Elder Scrolls Online
The Elder Scrolls Online is the last big player to join the party. It was particularly exciting for us as it was the first Elder Scrolls game to ever come to macOS.
Sadly, it was a big disappointment at launch. And costing $60, plus a monthly subscription, it was a tough sell. Luckily, things have changed. The game became Tamriel Unlimited, added a ton of good content, and removed the monthly subscription. Thanks to Zenimax's change of strategy, the game not only survived, it thrived, becoming one of 2015's most successful games.
Many call Tamriel Unlimited version 2.0. It includes a new Justice system, more balance between classes (especially during end-game content) and a new Champions system. But this game is unique because it feels a lot like previous Elder Scrolls titles. The gameplay combines quests with random events and encourages you to explore the world.
Tamriel Unlimited will make you feel like an adventurer and that's enough to create a true World of Warcraft contender.
Final Fantasy 14 Online
A year ago, it would have been impossible to recommend Final Fantasy 14 Online. But not because the game was bad. In fact, everyone loved it and many see it as the last truly good Final Fantasy game in years.
The problem was the Mac version. With the release of Heavensward, the latest expansion, the game finally made it to the macOS last summer. This seemed like great news, except the port was a mess. The performance was so terrible, Square Enix had to publicly apologize and offered refunds. It was a disaster.
But things have changed for the better. Performance has improved a lot and it seems we can at last experience Final Fantasy 14 Online. The game runs on a new engine and offers good gameplay and a great story. Heavensward features massive areas to explore, raises the level cap from 50 to 60, adds new high-level gear, introduces flying mounts, a new race, and three new job classes. Plenty to keep you busy for weeks.
FF14 had a lot to make up for, but it is finally one of the top Mac MMO games available.
Guild Wars 2
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 probably the best MMORPG for Mac out there.
What I love the most about Guild Wars 2 is that it does everything it can to limit the "grinding". 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 set Guild Wars 2 apart was the fact that it didn't require a monthly subscription. This was a true World of Warcraft competitor that didn't ask for more money every month. That was already a big deal, but ArenaNet did even better. Since last year, the core game is free (the Expansion, however, is not).
There you have, there's no reason why you wouldn't give Guild Wars 2 a try. That said, be aware that their Mac client is still in beta and some gamers reported poor performance (it worked fine for me, but it's still worth mentioning).
This game is hard to explain. It's both incredibly complex and tedious at the same time. Some even call it "the most thrilling boring game in the universe".
But above all, EVE Online is a fascinating space adventure that lets you do whatever you want. You can choose from a variety of professions, including mining, manufacturing, trading, piracy, exploration, and more. Everything happens in real-time, even when you're not logged in. EVE Online truly feels like a parallel universe that will go on with or without you.
But my favorite part about EVE is the impressive space battles. These battles can involve ships as big as entire cities and can literally cost thousands of dollars. In fact, in 2014 a huge war broke out, costing gamers over $300,000!
There are also 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. That's how crazy this game can get.
Bottom line: EVE is an MMORPG Mac gamers should try (especially space combat fans).
Lord of the Rings Online
LotRO also started its life with a subscription-based model, but became free-to-play after seeing the massive success Dungeons & Dragons Online had with the formula.
Developed by Turbine, LotRO follows the story from the movies and gives you full access to almost everything it has to offer for free. The only differences with the paid version are the 2 character slots (as opposed to 5), the fact you cannot send money through the in-game system and the lack of destiny points (high-end points that only VIP members can use).
LotRO was always a good game, but now that it's free-to-play, the player base is finally big enough to make it great.
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 Mac MMORPG.
Savage 2 is a combination of real-time strategy, first-person shooter, and role-playing, with MOBA elements sprinkled here and there. That's a mouthful, but it's the best way to describe it.
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. That said, the sheer amount of fun and the fact players are more helpful than those in DOTA2 make Savage 2 a worthy alternative.
Pricing model: The base game is entirely free-to-play. It does offer items for cash, but they are in no way mandatory.
Dungeons & Dragons Online
Dungeons & Dragons Online was the first free MMO I ever played.
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 rule set, 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. And although it's starting to look old, it can be a great alternative for gamers with older hardware.
Pricing model: The base game is entirely free-to-play. It does offer items for cash, but they are in no way mandatory.
Spiral Knights (Free-to-Play)
I was hesitant to include Spiral Knights, but a friend of mine who spent $100 on it convinced me otherwise. You and your party travel through dungeons to find pieces to fix your busted-ass spacecraft and go home. When Spiral Knights first appeared on Steam as a free-to-play game for macOS, I tried it out hoping for another great game like Regnum.
Instead, I found myself aggravated since it quickly feels more like a quick buck for SEGA than a game to be enjoyed. If I wanted to pay money to play a game, I could log into Facebook.
Planeshift is an odd fantasy game built using a graphics engine from 2000. But despite the higher learning curve and outdated engine, this is still a popular game with both newcomers and veterans. Players focus a lot on role-playing and Planeshift still has one of the most extensive crafting systems in any free MMO on the market.
Some players do 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.
Ryzom is a sandbox MMORPG, set 2000 years in the future on an alien planet. Overall, Atys is a gorgeous world, where everything can potentially make you stop to admire it, even on a low graphic setting. The first impression I had after installing Ryzom was “this looks like crap.” But after tweaking the graphics settings and making my mouse play nice from the default crap settings, all I can say is: This is an MMO you should try.
The game is free until you get to level 125 and decide if you want to continue. It’s worth a shot.
Puzzle Pirates (Free-to-Play)
Puzzle Pirates is very different from the other games mentioned so far. This game focuses on a number of puzzles you'll have to solve. Your character does gain XP and gold, but only 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 game, you should give this one a try.
Regnum Online (Free-to-Play)
Today called Champions of Regnum on Steam, this is the epitome of a Japanese grinding MMORPGs. 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.
Minions of Mirth (Free-to-Play)
The first MMORPG on Mac 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.
In fact, practically all major MMOs have a Mac version (excluding, of course, Star Wars Knights of the Old Republic), proving once more macOS can be a viable gaming platform.
With options ranging from the world-class (but paid) World of Warcraft, to the Lord of the Rings Online, there is something for everyone.
So what is your favorite MMO? Are you currently playing one? Let us know in the comments section, perhaps you'll even find fellow Mac users to play with!
This guide was written by Chris Tallant and Ric Molina.