5 Space MMO Games To Play Today
MMO games are special in how they bring human interaction to the forefront. While many titles include multiplayer, MMOs use large communities to drive the setting. This approach creates a feel which is much more lived-in than non-MMOs, but it's a tricky path to follow.
Our most popular MMO game is a good example - check it out for yourself, below.
What Is A Space MMO?
A space MMO is a massively multiplayer online game that uses space or a suitably space-level set of technologies in its setting.
This means that an MMO space game doesn't require traveling between stars or spaceships, but these do tend to be common components. As a result of these rules, MMO space games can be very varied in what they offer.
Space MMO titles combine the concept of MMOs with a spacefaring setting. Note that this doesn't necessarily mean the games themselves involve spaceships, futuristic robot games happening right here on Earth could also fit into this mold.
In this article we focus on the games that compete to be the best space MMO, and what makes them special.
Whether A New Space MMO Or A More Established Title, Which Are The Best That The 2020s Have To Offer?
1. Elite: Dangerous (2014)
The very first Elite launched on early personal computers back in 1984. An incredibly advanced game for the time, Elite primarily involved trading. Over time and sequels, the series would expand, right up until the space MMO Elite: Dangerous launched.
Finally reaching what many considered a logical end-point, this new game has been a huge hit.
In the eight years since its release, Elite: Dangerous has experienced many upgrades. With new ships, the ability to land and drive around, and more procedurally generated planets than players could ever visit, this space MMO is the pinnacle of the genre for many.
It might be too much of a dry simulation for some, but there are other space MMO titles to scratch more action-heavy itches.
2. Warframe (2013)
Released on PCs in 2013 and consoles later, Warframe is a space MMO with an emphasis on combat. Set in third-person, Warframe has players wear different suits (Warframes) as they complete missions, fight enemies, and level up.
Heavy on the RPG mechanics, this space MMO is all about making your characters stronger. Improving their abilities, upgrading guns, and kitting out cosmetics are all par for the course here.
It might start a little slow, but Warframe players soon become lightning-fast flipping, space ninjas.
Seeing consistent patches and updates over the years, Warframe today is much different than when it launched. Deep, engaging, and fast, Warframe isn't just a great space MMO, it's one of the great action games, period.
3. Star Trek Online (2010)
Making a decent space MMO off a popular property is an intimidating task, as the developers of the ill-fated Star Wars Galaxies can attest. Star Trek Online managed to pull off the impossible with this title, releasing a game that even non-Trekkers could love.
Set thirty years after Star Trek: Nemesis, STO lets players choose a huge number of play options. Selecting their race, ship, and skills, each player acts as a captain who combines the deftness of Picard with the cowboy diplomacy of Kirk.
As an older space MMO, STO has a developed story and community with a huge amount of content. With new ships and events continuing to drive the plot forward, fans of story-heavy MMOs can't afford to miss this one.
4. EVE Online (2003)
As one of the grandfathers of space MMO titles, few expected EVE Online to still be running in 2022. Despite being older than World of Warcraft, EVE is still a force in the space MMO market.
More simulation and data-heavy than most, EVE is what many have affectionately called a 'spreadsheet simulator'.
Renowned for its complexity and social structures, EVE is rare in that all players exist on a single shared server. While this does impart latency problems, it also creates a sense of scale that few MMOs manage.
Even today, only a few new games like Dual Universe attempt to measure up to this aspect.
EVE is one of those games worth reading stories about, as the real drama behind battles in this universe is legendary. Often costing guilds the equivalent of thousands of dollars, EVE can be a lot more stressful and action-heavy than it looks.
5. Star Citizen (Pre-alpha available now)
Ending with one of the more contentious space MMO games, we have Star Citizen. The brainchild of Chris Roberts, Star Citizen has been in development since 2011.
Still playing in a pre-alpha state, this game is trying for a level of scale and fidelity that no other space MMO ever has.
For fans, Star Citizen is a matter of promise, existing as a long-term investment in a universe more involved than anything that came before.
With the fundamentals of space and pilot combat, mining, and trading already in place, it's difficult not to get excited about what could be.
For others, the fact that there isn't even a roadmap for the first episode of the single-player component (once slated for release in 2015) is a worrying sign.
Already claiming nearly $500 million in funding, this space game MMO could be the best ever released, or the biggest disappointment in gaming history. Time will tell, but we'll still hope for the best.
When Does Dual Universe Come Out?
The Dual Universe space MMO launches officially on September 27th, 2022. Already with eight years in development and two years in beta, this spaceship MMO is shaping up to be one of the most promising yet.
Whether it lives (or lived) up to the hype, only time will tell.
What Is the Best Space Game Right Now?
There's no clear-cut answer to what the best MMO space game is, since the answer relies so much on personal taste. The best space MMO for some might be a space simulator MMO, while others might only enjoy a more arcade-like experience.
As long as the player has fun, there aren't any wrong answers.
What Is the Best Space Simulator?
Space MMO games are already a complicated genre, and adding accurate simulation into the equation only makes things more difficult.
Simulations are about balancing accuracy and fun, and while none are going to be completely accurate, there are some strong competitors. Star Citizen might eventually become the best, but Elite: Dangerous could be the best competitor until then.