Friday Top 10: Worst MMO Games

Friday Top 10: Worst MMO Games

The worst MMOs to log into.

You might have read my previous article, Top 10 Best MMO Games (if not, you can read it here). Some people didn’t understand why some games did not make the list. I understand that this Worst MMO list will not make some of you happy, but keep in mind that what you might consider the best is not necessarily the case for others. This is opinion-based, so strap yourself in – we might experience some turbulence!

10 – Runes of Magic

This Free-2-Play MMO from Gameforge has been going since 2009. If Gameforge doesn’t ring a bell, think Frogster. Frogster was a subsidiary that became known as Gameforge. Runes of Magic  was plagued with bugs, hackers, and cheaters. It did gain various awards, but it never lived up to them simply because the game could make your character revert to a previous save state at any time. It doesn’t help that it was a grinding mess, and everything about it was pretty standard.

A pretty forgettable experience.

9 – Age of Empires Online

When Microsoft came out with that MMO, there was hope that it would be something to enjoy. Yet the shop overtook so much of that game that, in the end, you’d end up falling behind if you didn’t want to pay. RTS MMOs were always hard to get right, and this one didn’t live up to the reputation behind the name. Microsoft eventually canceled the game – with good reason.

So much potential…

8 – Age of Conan

On paper, this MMO sounded good and fine, but the game could not live up to what it promised. Issues were rampant,  the population kept dropping, and the PVP did not take off as well as it should have. It was a failure for sure, and a disappointment to boot. It might be getting better now, but at the time this was not a title you wanted to play.

Who knew barbarians could be so boring?

7 – Darkfall: Unholy Wars

Darkfall  was another interesting concept. This one took after Shadowbane,  a full PVP game and all that comes with it, yet most of the time the game was unplayable for various reasons. MMOs that are released too fast tend to lack polish and, well, produce this type of game.

Another sad story.

6 – Champions Online

Champions Online,  a superhero game based on a tabletop franchise that was not well known, tried to become the first success of Cryptic Studios after their separation from NCSoft. The game could have done better, save that it was very reminiscent of City of Heroes  and City of Villains  and ended up being quite boring at times. The repetitiveness of it all made this game a disappointment for a lot of players.

My power is being bland!

5 – All Points Bulletin: Reloaded

An MMO that tried to copy the success of Grand Theft Auto without success is what APB  is. The game was plagued with delays – the developers had to close and enter administration, and the game was bought by Gamersfirst. It was never really finished, even at release. Balance issues and bugs meant that the game could not keep players interested. The gameplay was barely there, and it seemed too generic to be a proper title.

What could have happened if Grand Theft Auto Online sucked.

4 – Marvel Heroes

I could talk a lot about this game, but I think I’ve already done enough of that, so I’ll invite you to read the review instead to see exactly why it ended up on this list.


3 – Star Wars: The Old Republic

At the heart of the matter, this game, though it sounded great when it was announced, ended up being one big disappointing theme park. It’s very linear, with very little to do after the endgame. You can repeat the same quests over and over and over if you wanted to try different classes of the same faction, and you are pushed to grind and grind and grind the same thing without end. The lack of diversity in this game was barely made up for by the story, which is inexcusable in an MMO. The game also featured broken arena-type PvP at release due to the lack of balance between the classes. They lost the majority of their players in less than three months, and a server merge is the only thing that kept them alive.

At least the story is kinda good.

2 – Guild Wars

I am sure a lot of you will disagree with me here. For some, Guild Wars  was one of the best MMOs you could play. But hear me out; Guild Wars,  in its first installment, was wrongly called an MMO. It was a Diablo II  clone,  with a city as a hub instead of a chat. You gathered people to go quest, then left into an all-instanced world where only your team could interact. Sure, it didn’t have any subscription fees, but the number of expansions that was released pretty much made for it. Guild Wars,  while being a very potent Diablo II  clone up to a point, did not feel as if it were an MMO most of the time, and would have been better advertised as a multiplayer game instead. It definitely fails at the MMO part, which is why it is in here.

A single-player MMO? Blasphemy!

1 – World of Warcraft

I hear outcry at this. Please read my reasoning first before condemning the position. World of Warcraft  is a hard one to place in any list. In one way, it could be considered as one of the best MMOs out there based on its commercial success. On the other hand, and which is the case here, it can be considered the worst for what it did to the industry. Simply put, the success World of Warcraft  had with casual gamers and Blizzard fans made it so that everyone tried to reproduce that success. It was, and still is, a very tall order, and no one has done it yet. What happened, though, is that we were flooded with tons and tons of MMOs all replicating what World of Warcraft  is to a major degree. And World of Warcraft  is not that impressive; it is simply a smart choice by the designers to combine successful and tested elements of previous games that did well by themselves. What resulted is a generic MMO that did not try to make the genre evolve, and definitely hurt the industry more than it did good. I won’t go on too much about this, but I invite you to read my through more in-depth article about what Warcraft  did to MMOs.

Are we all playing the worst MMO out there?

I am sure that, by now, some of you are very disappointed with this list or at least very angry with my choices. I invite you to share your picks for the worst MMOs in the comments below.

Editor’s note: this article is the opinion of the author. The views expressed within it do not necessarily reflect those of 3GEM Studios or its staff.

  • Koka

    Yep I agree with the list, especially for APB Reloaded as I have also played that game since its beta came out. Imbalance matching, poor anti-cheat programme, stupid physics, repetitive objectives, barely any game features for players to interact with, not newbie-friendly, as well as the cruel gamers’ community. I don’t know whether there is an order for the position, but if it does, I definitely suggest APB Reloaded to be at least in Top 3.

  • rguest85

    I have only tried maybe 6 of the 10. I agree with SWTOR and AoC particularly (and wonder why Warhammer, an MMO that failed so hard despite the wealth of lore, it got closed down), though I think rating WoW as your worst MMO merely because of the market and developer reaction is a bit poor. If competitors cannot innovate and succeed without ‘cloning’ WoW, that’s their own failure, and has nothing to do with Blizzard, as you suggest in this statement; “It stagnated the genre by forcing developers to follow in its footsteps for easy money, investors, and publisher’s funds.”

    • David Cooper

      Warhammer was shutdown because the contract between the people that made and ran the game, and the company that owned the rights came to a end.

  • Cinsa Esros

    I think Star wars should have been 2nd place, combat system alone puts it above guild wars, ESO should have been on that list, or at least award it for most likely mmo to put you to sleep playing.

  • Emma

    Woah, I agree WoW “destroyed” the genre (and when I say destroyed, I mean developers attempting to appeal to EVERYONE and their dog, instead of people who actually enjoy adventuring in a virtual world,) but to accuse it of being generic and not innovative is just wrong. Sure, it’s generic by today’s standards, because, as you stated directly beforehand, it became the product that countless studios tried to duplicate. Go play a Vanilla WoW private server and compare it to previous MMO releases. First off, it was quite a leap graphically. Not just in terms of graphical quality, but design. The characters are highly expressive, NPCS are moving about, beasts are killing critters, and the environment was so carefully and lovingly crafted. Compare that to EQII, released around the same time. Boring textures, shoddily placed and designed flora. Visually, WoW was a revolution. As far as gameplay goes, it was actually quite possible to die in Vanilla, and the quests weren’t quite as streamlined. They had you running back and forth along the zone from the very beginning. Still, it gave players a short-term sense of accomplishment, that made them feel encouraged to stick through ’til endgame, and to discover the next beautiful zone. As the game aged, they pretty much “perfected” the leveling experience. They removed any real difficulty, and you just hopped between question marks and yellow map circles. Still, these QOL changes, along with more controversial ones like LFR, revolutionized the genre, making it easier for casual players to accomplish “great” things. What it didn’t do was encourage a sense of mystery, danger, adventure, and community that many MMO vets pine for. In fact, it pretty much destroyed them. There really hasn’t been a quality, polished release in years (arguably since EQ1) to inspire these emotions in vets. Until that happens, the genre is dead.