One of the worthiest contenders to WOW's status as the MMO top dog, EVE is arguably more player-centric than its competition. This sci fi space opera is divided into several zones, one in which the game punishes players who cause havoc, one that's player-controlled and a space between. Players not only form their own factions within faction, they contribute to the games lore and, occasionally, hold epic space battles involving thousands of spaceships. Epic is too small a word…
EVE Online | £9.99/month
Would you survive after the end of civilisation as we know it? Fallen Earth posits that very question at its centre; after a series of natural disasters brings the law of the jungle to the USA a tycoon buys up enough land and arms enough goons to create their own military state. Between feral gangs and corrupt soldiers, players have their work cut out for them, but thanks to the game's third-person-shooter mechanics and its deep crafting system, they have the tools to survive.
Fallen Earth | Free
Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn
Something of a brand rehabilitation, Final Fantasy IV: A Realm Reborn is Square Enix's second stab at an MMO after the first attempt crashed and burned in spectacular fashion. The new game features a new engine, a brand new story, new UI and combat and improved servers. It also features wild hair, ridiculous weapons, silly dialogue and tons of androgynous characters – but that's par for the course in this series.
Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn | £20 (PC)
Planet Side 2
Much like the forthcoming Destiny - Bungie's new space opera shooter - Plant Side 2 is a massive persistent world shooter. The size and scope of the game are simply staggering and the class-based gameplay ensures there's a style to suit every player.
Planet Side 2 | Free
World Of Warcraft
The daddy of the genre and its reigning champ, Blizzard's fantasy adventure MMO is still going strong nearly a decade after its release. It also shows no signs of slowing down, with the fifth expansion pack, Warlords of Draenor, now in development. One of the few MMOs that still requires a subscription. You first need to buy the orginal WOW pack, which takes you to level 70, and then expansions for each set of new levels after that.
World Of Warcraft | £9.99 purchase to Level 70 + £8.99/month
Guild Wars 2
One of the more left-of-the-dial MMOs ever made, Guild Wars 2 eschews traditional questing in favour of a structure that puts players into rolling events where their chances of success are usually linked to how many mates they can round up. Not only that, it's one of the few games of this type that doesn't demand a subscription fee from players.
Guild Wars 2 | £34.99 (one-off purchase)
The Age Of Wushu
Dp Martial Arts and Oriental mysticism sound fun to you? Then sign up for the Age Of Wushu where silken clad warriors, super-powered fighters and sword-wielding heroes are the order of the day. It's like somoene made an MMO out of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon - and it's free to play, too!
The Age Of Wushu | Free
The Secret World
The Secret World is one of the more unique MMOs on the market, as it eschews both the structurel, setting and payment plans of a lot of competitors. Unlike a lot of MMOs, which lock players into a class from the get-go, players can switch between character classes on the fly. It's also set in a modern world environment where magic, conspiracy theories and cults are commonplace. Imagine the Matrix crossed with Assassin's Creed with a sprinkling of Cthulu and you're starting to get the picture.
The Secret World | £25 (no subscription required)
One of the many free-to-play MMOs, Rift is a game set in the WOW mould of fantasy, offering tons of Raids to go on, monsters to batter and faction wars to become engaged in. It also offers players the chance to craft their own cribs, which leads to some rather amusing constructions.
Rift | Free
DC Universe Online
The MMO that purports to fulfil the dream of anyone who grew up reading comic books, DC Universe Online allows players to create a hero or villain and deck them out with powers and spandex. A must for anyone who ever wanted to leap tall buildings in a single bound…
DC Universe Online | Free or $15 Premium Access
Star Wars: The Old Republic
Pitched as EA's WOW-killer before its release, SWTOR conceded defeat in June 2012 when its subscriber base dipped below 1 million and went free-to-play. That having been said, there's a lot of fun to be had in BioWare's MMO and hey, the chance to be a Jedi or a Sith Lord has to be worth a look, right?
Star Wars: The Old Republic | Free
The Lord Of The Rings Online
Given the popularity of MMOs, a game of this type based on the works of J.R.R. Tolkien was pretty much inevitable. It's free-to-play although players willing to pay a subscription get perks and powers that are off-limits to others. According to its developer Turbine Inc, it's the third-most played MMO on the market.
The Lord Of The Rings Online | Free