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The 11 best MMORPGs of all time according to Metacritic – as of 2023

 What is actually the best MMORPG? Every player probably answers this question differently. We therefore look at the average ratings on Metacritic and tell you what the best games are according to their test results. There are some surprises.

The 11 best MMORPGs of all time according to Metacritic – as of 2023

What kind of list is this? This list focuses exclusively on the reviews from testers on Metacritic. The focus is on the test results for the base game at release.

It can happen that some MMORPGs were initially rated really well but later fell off because new content was not delivered quickly. Conversely, there are also games that have gotten better over time or with new expansions, such as Final Fantasy XIV.

These are places 11 to 7

  • 11th place: Wildstar – 52 test reports and a rating of 82
  • 10th place: EverQuest 2 – 43 reviews and a rating of 83
  • 9th place: RIFT – 59 test reports and a rating of 84
  • 8th place: City of Heroes – 58 reviews and a rating of 85
  • 7th place: Star Wars: The Old Republic – 73 reviews and a rating of 85

6 – Warhammer Online

Setting : Fantasy | Developer : Mythic Entertainment | Platform : PC | Release date : September 18, 2008 | Rating on Metacritic : 86

What kind of game was that? Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning was described as a big WoW killer before its release, but can no longer be played. It was shut down on December 19, 2013. It's one of the MMORPGs our readers most want back .

There was classic PvE content such as crafting and quests, with the game's focus being PvP. Fighting took place in smaller battlegrounds, but also on huge battlefields.

Warhammer Online was really well received when it was released. It sold over 1.2 million copies and had more than 800,000 subscribers at its peak. Many of the testers were also enthusiastic.

What is the best rating on Metacritic? The website GameSpy ( via GameSpy ) gave it a whopping 100. In their test they praise the feeling of being in a constant war. This would be created by the graphics and the “Warhammer feeling” as well as by the good PvP system.

There was also praise for the proper release without major technical difficulties, the quests and the social content, which made finding groups and guilds very easy.

What is the worst rating on Metacritic? The worst rating is a 70 and it came from both PC PowerPlay and Edge Magazine. However, there is only a short summary of both sites on Metacritic, as the sites no longer exist.

Edge magazine wrote something like:

The strongest MMO launch in a long time and the most deft execution of the genre in terms of PVP - but its appeal may prove to be lacking.

How is the MMORPG doing today? The original Warhammer Online can no longer be played. The MMORPG had problems especially in the endgame and felt unfinished. Some game-breaking bugs also remained in the game for too long. In the end it failed due to WoW's superiority. 

5th place – The Lord of the Rings Online

Setting : Fantasy | Developer : Standing Stone Games | Platform : PC | Release date : April 24, 2007 | Rating on Metacritic : 86

What kind of game is this? Lord of the Rings Online takes place in Middle-earth around the time of the films and offers a great atmosphere and a special community. In the game you meet iconic characters like Gandalf, Frodo or Legolas and you can choose from different races for your character.

The focus of the MMORPG is PvE, quests and the story. Exciting dungeons and raids await you. PvP, however, plays a subordinate role. The combat system is based on classic tab target games like WoW.

What is the best rating on Metacritic? With 96, the website Worth Playing gave the highest score of all testers. In the review, the quests and the story are particularly praised. The testers even go so far as to describe Lord of the Rings Online as a potential “WoW killer”. Only the lack of raid content at the time is criticized.

What is the worst rating on Metacritic? PC Format only gave LOTRO a 72. However, the detailed review can no longer be read today. The excerpt says:

The most perverse thing is that the most entertaining moments have little to do with Tolkien or his wonderfully overactive imagination, and everything to do with Turbine's ability to create an immersive MMO experience.

How is the MMORPG doing today? Lord of the Rings Online is still being developed vigorously today. It wasn't until April 2022 that much of the old content became permanently free , including three classes, one race and a total of four expansions.

The next expansion is planned for November. This contains new areas, new quests and the Mariner class .

The player numbers for Lord of the Rings Online are very stable on Steam. This should also apply to the regular client. There will definitely be enough players for the usual PvE content in 2022. 

4th place – Dark Age of Camelot

Setting : Fantasy | Developer : Mythic Entertainment | Platform : PC | Release date : October 9, 2021 | Rating on Metacritic : 88

What kind of game is this? In Dark Age of Camelot, three empires fight for dominance in the game world. At the beginning you level up a character and thus improve your skills, while in the end game Realm vs. Realm played the biggest role.

Each empire has different versions of certain classes that vary greatly. This led to strange class combinations:

  • Shadowblade is a villain who can use a two-handed weapon
  • the Scout is an archer who fights with a shield
  • the animist can place countless mushrooms that shoot at opponents

What is the best rating on Metacritic? The best rating comes from the website Electric Playground. They gave it a 98. The short preview of the review states:

I can't remember the last time I had so much fun playing. At times I truly felt like a little kid completely immersed in a fantastical game of “let’s pretend.” At my age, that feeling doesn't happen that often anymore, but when it's there, you enjoy it.

What is the worst rating on Metacritic? The website Gaming Age only gave Dark Age of Camelot a 67. Although they praise it as the best “MMORPG currently available”, innovations are missing.

How is the MMORPG doing today? Dark Age of Camelot is still running and playable after 22 years. In 2022, new servers were even opened that are at least a little reminiscent of WoW Classic .

Due to its age and outdated graphics, the MMORPG is now more of a niche and amateur game.

3rd place – Guild Wars 1

Setting : Fantasy | Developer : ArenaNet | Platform : PC | Release date : April 28, 2005 | Rating on Metacritic : 89

What kind of game is this? Guild Wars 1 is not a classic MMORPG. Instead of running through an open world and meeting players there, each area is instanced on its own and only your group is in it - like in a dungeon.

GW1 also takes some interesting paths in other ways:

  • There are followers or heroes for fighting in the game world, so you don't have to rely on other players.
  • You can directly create a max level character to jump into PvP with.
  • Level 20 is already the max level and the maximum equipment can be earned within a few hours.
  • The appeal lies in creating new builds and crazy group compositions. 

In total, Guild Wars 1 offers dozens of hours of story content, over a hundred areas and several dungeons.

What is the best rating on Metacritic? Both Detroit Free Press and Computer Games Magazine gave the game a full 100. However, both reviews can no longer be read in their entirety.

However, Detroit Free Press writes in the short excerpt:

We were blown away by the huge selection of high-quality gaming content available here for $49.99 (USD) with no online fees.

Guild Wars 1 was one of the first MMORPGs ever to forego subscription costs and instead relied on Buy2Play.

What is the worst rating on Metacritic? The website Edge Magazine gave it a 70. In the short excerpt on Metacritic, they mainly criticize the fact that you constantly need 8 players and good coordination in the voice chat in order to have fun. At the time of release there were no heroes, just prefabricated followers.

It continues: “Guild Wars offers an intelligent and challenging thrill ride that combines the best of the skills and strategy of FPS deathmatches with a role-playing world.”

How is the MMORPG doing today? Guild Wars 1 is in a kind of maintenance mode. There hasn't been any new content for years because the developers are concentrating fully on the successor, Guild Wars 2.

However, the servers are still running and smaller events such as Easter, Halloween or Christmas take place at regular intervals.

2nd place – Guild Wars 2

Setting : Fantasy | Developer : ArenaNet | Platform : PC | Release date : August 26, 2012 | Rating on Metacritic : 90

What kind of game is this? Guild Wars 2  was released in 2012 and has been constantly expanded since then. It is aimed primarily at “casual gamers” who would like to explore the world and experience a story as a hero.

Dozens of hours of story content and many challenges in the form of world bosses, instances and raids await you in the game. PvP is also very popular. You can fight in small groups in arenas or in large Zergs in world against world.

The special thing about GW2 is the constant level. Since the release you can only get up to level 80. The equipment level has not been increased since 2012. What was earned back then is still relevant and useful today.

Many also see the mounts as positive, as they all have their own abilities and functions in Guild Wars 2 and also impress with their animations. 

What is the best rating on Metacritic? Guild Wars 2 received the top rating of 100 points seven times.

The website Eurogamer Germany praises Massively in Guild Wars 2 and describes it as the first game in years that does this title justice. The events in the open world and the story are also very popular here.

Digital Spy, on the other hand, highlights the payment model in the review:

Guild Wars 2 is a breathtakingly ambitious project that makes a bold statement about the future of MMORPGs. It's living proof that a game of this nature can thrive outside of the subscription business model and the genre's established conventions.

What is the worst rating on Metacritic? The Thunderbolt website only gave Guild Wars 2 a 70. However, what exactly they criticized can no longer be read. The short excerpt simply says:

Is Guild Wars 2 a revolutionary MMORPG? Not quite. However, it is a good game and offers the best value you can get for the $50 spent.

How is the MMORPG doing today? 2022 was a good year for Guild Wars 2. The new expansion End of Dragons was released in the spring, which brought new areas, story content and also a new mount into the game. With the release, the MMORPG managed to triple its player numbers.

In August, Guild Wars 2 was released for Steam and was able to gain at least a few thousand new players there. 

1st place – World of Warcraft

Setting : Fantasy | Developer : Blizzard Entertainment | Platform : PC | Release date : November 23, 2004 | Rating on Metacritic : 93

What kind of game is this? World of Warcraft is the most famous MMORPG in Europe and North America. Blizzard has now released 8 expansions for WoW. It is aimed at solo players who want to experience the story, but also at fans of dungeons and raids, which the game is regularly expanded to include. The combat system relies on classic tab targeting.

WoW uses comic graphics that have been spruced up again and again throughout the expansions. In some places the age still shows, after all, WoW just celebrated its 18th birthday.

In 2020 there was a major overhaul with Shadowlands. Since then, players no longer have to level up as high. You can also choose for yourself which of the exciting stories about Arthas, Illidan or the Burning Legion you would like to experience while leveling up.

What is the best rating on Metacritic? Nine websites gave WoW full marks when it was released.

Detroit Free Press wrote in their brief conclusion in 2004:

The game is addictive from the first moment. It is incredibly friendly to solo players, allowing not only to reach levels 1 to 60 without teaming up with another group, but also to gain the same or more experience this way. This means that the solo player can level almost as quickly as a group of power gamers playing together.

VideoGamesLife emphasized in the review that Blizzard had created an unoriginal but still brilliant world from the best parts of previous MMORPGs. G4TV, who also gave Guild Wars 2 100 points, praised the game as “the best that MMORPGs can offer”.

What is the worst rating on Metacritic? AltGaming only gave the MMORPG a 60 out of 100. Unfortunately, the test report can no longer be read in its entirety, but the test appears to have taken place a few months after the release. The excerpt states:

Fix your game, Blizzard. Listen to your players, care about the endgame, fix bugs that need to be fixed and don't leave your player base hanging for months. Then I will give your game a higher grade. 

The second worst rating came from Eurogamer and was an 80.

How is the MMORPG doing today? World of Warcraft is still one of the largest and most popular MMORPGs on the market in 2023. Although some players have become accustomed to a certain routine in recent years, each expansion continues to attract millions.

While 2023 was a rather quiet year with additions to Dragonflight, the next expansion is scheduled to be released in 2024. This will be announced at the upcoming BlizzCon in November.

By the way, WoW Classic received a rating of 81 when it was re-released on Steam.