It’s not controversial to say that Macs don’t excel at gaming; they aren’t built around that. While PC users get a choice of what kind of specs they’d like, whether they want a four-core CPU or a sixty-four one is entirely the users choice.
While some PCs struggle to run the latest games at 30FPS, others run the newest titles on 4k and churn out a stable 60. Apple disposes of this inequality by making all their machines similar so that applications can run uniformly through all their products.
Of course, this creates a slight dilemma for the developers, do they want to port their games to the Mac, which would require some serious work and updates as time goes on.
The new M1 chips, for example, are very strict in which games it runs; others might run poorly or heat the CPU to throttle, making the experience less than pleasant.
In this list, I will cover the best MMORPGs for Macs. For users with the new M1 chips, I’d also recommend looking into the “Crossover” software that allows emulation of windows apps, essentially expanding your options. (Some of these options include Star Trek Online and Warcraft II, so it might be worth the research).
1. RuneScape (Old or New)
RuneScape is one of the older MMORPGs and the most popular, it has had many versions released over the years since 2001, but namely two versions are popular these days: RuneScape 3 and Old-School RuneScape.
Both versions are playable on the Mac, but I’d recommend checking out OSRS first since it is objectively the better game.
OSRS features an isometric top-down view and allows free gameplay, where the game outright doesn’t give a main quest or story. Instead, players must set their own objectives and essentially form their own stories.
2. Final Fantasy XIV
It’s a slightly demanding game, but Final Fantasy XIV works flawlessly on Macs, especially the newer ones.
FF XIV was developed by Square Enix and released in 2014 to great praise. The game features an exciting story with compelling characters and enough content to keep you hooked for days on end.
It’s also great that Square Enix allows a trial period of 30 days which is more than enough to see if it’s something you want to invest in.
Dofus is an MMORPG developed by Ankama Games and released back in 2004. It’s a game that heavily emphasises tactical gameplay, and though it plays in 2D, it is a thoroughly complex experience, one I am sure veterans will enjoy a lot.
The combat in Dofus is turn-based while everything else plays out in real-time.
Once players engage in combat, they teleport to a private arena of sorts where no other NPC or players can interrupt them, and battle plays it out in a traditional JRPG way, complete with action points and movement points.
Wakfu is a spiritual successor to Dofus, made by the same developers and released in 2012. While the gameplay is more or less similar, Wakfu brings a slew of quality of life changes that improve the experience.
Wakfu expands on the already established combat by doing the most straightforward changes like allowing level-ups to replenish HP and Mana and gets rid of levelling different elementals; instead, they all share the same base damage.
These changes certainly make Wakfu a more welcoming experience, but I’d advise players to try both and see what sticks.
5. World of Warcraft
Perhaps one of the more popular MMORPG experiences, World of Warcraft, was developed by Blizzard Entertainment and released in 2004. The game offers native support for Macs, and being such an old title, I don’t think any model will have any issue running this one.
The game offers both first and third-person perspectives and allows players to traverse the fantastical world exploring treasures and accepting quests from NPCs.
For the longest time, WoW was the blueprint for other MMORPGs, so the gameplay might look similar, but remember, this was the first one.
6. City of Heroes: Homecoming
City of Heroes: Homecoming is a re-release of the original City of Heroes developed by Cryptic Studios and released in 2019.
The game plays similar to its predecessor in a third-person perspective. The game offers its content divided into zones; as players level, they can traverse between these zones, each becoming progressively more challenging.
It’s interesting how players experience the growth of their characters. In the beginning, they had to jog sluggishly to their objectives slowly.
Then, they’ll gain powers of teleportation and even flight, making grind more and more accessible as your character grows.
7. Albion Online
Albion Online is a rather popular MMORPG developed by Sandbox Interactive and released in 2017. The game offers a unique mechanic where the players control the economy, and all the items/weapons are also player created.
Albion boasts free-form gameplay without bounding players to classes or specific skill sets; the player is free to explore the open world and play as they wish.
8. The Lord of the Rings Online
The Lord of the Rings Online (LOTRO) was developed by Turbine (currently being worked on by Standing Stone Games) and released in 2007.
Like some of the older titles on the list, this one should have no trouble running on any supported Mac.
The game has a variety of content with significant mechanics introduced with every major update.
LOTRO plays very much like traditional MMORPGs in a third-person perspective and has a main questline along with side quests obtainable from the NPCs that inhabit the world.
Overall, LOTRO is a solid choice for Mac players.
9. Path of Exile
Path of Exile was developed by Grinding Gear Games and released in 2013 originally, but the Mac version was delayed to 2020.
The game plays in an isometric top-down view and features a dark fantasy theme coupled with a strong gameplay foundation with a web-like skill tree and tons of upgrades that can keep players hooked for hours.
The game is heavily inspired by the older Diabloes and features randomly generated landscapes to increase replayability. It’s an overall strong choice for veterans of the genre but might be a little too much for newcomers.
10. Eve Online
Eve Online is another older MMORPG developed by CCP Games and released in 2003.
The game is set in the future where the Earth has been depleted of all its resources, and Human beings have expanded by colonizing other planets in our galaxy.
Unlike other games that divide their servers into regions for optimum gameplay, Eve elects to use one server as its world, making it significantly easy to find people to play with.
The drawback is that the game is heavily monetized and might not appeal to everyone.
11. Adventure Land
Adventure Land might be the odd one out in this list. Unlike other MMORPGs, where players benefit from their genre knowledge by playing other games, Adventure Island relies on the players’ ability to program/code.
The game also offers a less grindy environment, with even the lowest level of mobs dropping something helpful for the player.
Trove was developed by Trion Worlds and released in 2015. It features voxel graphics, allowing all sorts of hardware to run the game, this only works in favour of Macs and the disparity in their spec sheets.
13. Pixel Starships
Pixel Starships is one of the more recent entries to the genre, developed by SavySoda and released in 2020. The game plays in an 8-bit visual setting and claims to be the world’s first spaceship management game.
Pixel Starships allows players to build their own spaceships from scratch and deal in diplomacy and research for its core gameplay loop.
14. War Thunder
War Thunder is not so much an MMORPG as it is a battlefield clone. Players are given a choice between over 1,900 armed vehicles to use in combat.
For example, players can choose to use an aircraft and engage in high-altitude dogfights or select a tank for a less subtle approach.
Overall, the game is a lot of fun, and gamers looking for a more action-focused title will surely love War Thunder.
While playing on a Mac inhibits the selection of games one can enjoy, there is a clear catalogue of great MMORPGs that players can enjoy on their Macs.
As I suggested before, it’s also worth looking into other emulation software like PlayOnMac to improve your options further and not settle for a game just because it was made for Mac.