The apocalypse is a dreary thing, the end of the world as we know it. Yet, while the thought itself seems scary, many famous works of fiction fantasize the idea.
Movies like Mad Max and games like Fallout show a world clinging on to what’s left of humanity as they tumble down back to the stone age.
Ever since I played S.T.A.L.K.E.R., I have wanted to play a post-apocalyptic MMORPG. I can’t precisely pinpoint why that is, but perhaps more than my interest in the setting and story, it was probably the need to enjoy an MMORPG stagnated with a fantasy setting.
Not that I have anything against the genre, but I think we can all agree fantasy has been overdone, even though some of the best MMORPGs are fantasy.
Post-apocalypse is sadly unexplored in the MMORPG genre, only a handful of quality games worth investing time or money in.
Regardless, I am sure there’s something here for everyone. So well, without further ado, here’s my list of some great post-apocalyptic MMOs/MMORPGs.
1. Fallen Earth Classic
Fallen Earth Classic is a newly re-launched free-to-play MMORPG developed by Icarus Studios and initially released in 2009. The game features both third-person and first-person perspectives in a world that looks inspired by Mad Max.
This game hits all the chords for people looking for something like that; the game world features 1000 square kilometers of land filled with mutated and hostile flora and fauna.
In addition, players have access to various weapons and vehicles that existed in the old world, along with quite a complex crafting system.
The story starts with natural disasters and a bio-engineered virus (welp!) that cause utter chaos between nations and ends with a nuclear catastrophe. The game looks pretty decent for the most part.
Due to its recent re-release, it’s got a solid and growing player base to join. If you’re looking for a title that plays like a mix between New Vegas and S.T.A.L.K.E.R., I can wholeheartedly recommend this.
However, the game is pretty complex and initially might take some getting used to and taking things a little slow while players grasp the basics.
2. Fallout 76
The status of Fallout 76 as an MMO or a single-player game is debatable at best.
While primarily an activity that a player can do with other players can also be done solo, yet the game features many hallmarks of a traditional MMORPG, including a shared-world experience and an end-game pretty similar to a traditional MMO.
Regardless, I believe as an online RPG, Fallout 76 deserves a spot on this list.
While on release in 2018, players didn’t receive the game very favorably; over time, Bethesda has made changes that make the game a little more palatable.
Players can enjoy the game on either public servers for an actual free-play MMO experience or a private server with friends.
The game is essentially a Fallout 4.5 for all intents, with some tweaks to make the game online friendly; for example, the V.A.T.S. system no longer pauses the game instead allows players to select the limbs of their victims in real-time.
Overall, while it didn’t exactly fit the description of an online Fallout that we had in mind, overall, Fallout 76 has turned out better than what was hoped at launch and considering the relatively scarce options we have, I’d say it’s worth a shot looking at.
Xsyon is a post-apocalyptic fantasy MMORPG developed by Notorious Games and released to early access in 2014.
The game is advertised as a player-driven sandbox experience that allows players to experience an organic and evolving environment.
While the game sadly shares some fantasy elements, overall, it’s a neat little game that allows players to enjoy it in a free-play fashion.
While most MMORPGs stick to the tried and tested method of assigning quests and rewarding loot, Xsyon will enable players to create their own quests, form their factions and even construct their cities.
Sadly, the game doesn’t really have enough players to make this a consistent experience. A game that focuses so much on a player-driven experience cannot go far without many players playing the game.
So far, the game reviews have been mostly favorable; those that aren’t; usually complain about the lack of other players. Overall the game seems fun, but I’d recommend inviting a couple of friends to play with you.
4. Tom Clancy’s The Division
I am not Ubisoft’s biggest fan. They completely abandoned one of my favorite stealth franchises and reduced Ghost Recon from a tactical and punishing tactical experience to an open-world MMO.
However, regardless of my personal feelings, Tom Clancy’s The Division proves to be a very polished experience using the post-apocalyptic setting.
The second and latest instalment in the series was released in 2019 and received positive reviews featuring many improvements over its predecessor.
The game takes place in a post-apocalypse Washington D.C. seven months after the events of the first Division, which resulted in a civil war.
The game plays in the third-person perspective and features visuals better than most MMOs and an open world full of quests and NPCs to interact with.
Though the game is hardly an MMO as it allows up to 12 players maximum in an instance. The gameplay is more or less that of an MMO, with players accepting quests and grinding for better gear and unlocking additional skills that will help them get past more challenging areas of the game.
Players can also create and join clans that allow up to 50 players, and clan members can be called for backup during the more stressful quests of the game.
While not a true MMO, Tom Clancy’s The Division offers a believable post-apocalyptic setting and is a more polished experience than we have come to expect from the genre.
5. Agony Online
Agony Online is a mix of MMORPG and the battle-royale genre featuring up to 10,000 players in a single battle.
GabHub develops the game, and while it has not yet been released, players can participate in closed beta by heading over to their discord.
While graphically, the game doesn’t look impressive, that’s to be expected because of the game’s scale; you can’t have 10,000 players on your screen and have the game look visually like an AAA game; it would burn down entire PCs.
The game primarily plays like an MMORPG, with guilds competing against each other every weekend to control an area on the map. These battles generally play out in a “King of the hill” fashion, and the winning guild gets to impose a tax on rival factions.
Players can also register for a battle-royale event that teleports all players to an unstable island where players can fight against AI-controlled creeps and each other for the loot.
There are also bosses present in the field that drop exotic loot enabling players to gain an advantage over their opponents.
It’s an exciting concept, and we’ll have to see where it goes. Again it’s available as a beta on the developer’s discord community.
Pioner is a greatly anticipated post-apocalyptic survival MMORPG developed by GFA Games and slated to be released in early 2022.
As a S.T.A.L.K.E.R fan, I have been waiting for this one for quite some time now. The game will offer a survival RPG gameplay in an MMORPG shared world.
Pioner will play in a first-person perspective and put the players in a post-nuclear apocalypse, with plants and animals turned hostile and monstrous as well as several anomalies just like S.T.A.L.K.E.R.
The game also does away with the traditional MMORPG levelling system; instead, it rewards players with influence, allowing players access to better vendors and more challenging missions.
While we don’t know much about the game from the trailers and press releases, it sure looks like a promising title. Keep an eye out for this one.
7. The Day Before
The Day Before is another upcoming post-apocalyptic MMORPG developed by FNTASTIC and slated for release in June 2022.
By far, this game is the most visually and mechanically impressive compared to other games on the list.
The Day Before plays in a third-person perspective and allows players to experience a post-pandemic America with desolated ruins of a modern city.
The game seems to be a mix of action and stealth from the gameplay trailers, with stealth being the preferred way of dealing with things considering the scarcity of items and ammunition.
There’s also a focus on traversal in the city amidst dangerous human enemies and the zombies that reside in the city. Players can use a car to move around the city and even access buildings for items and loot.
Overall this game looks very promising might be worth checking out.
Post-apocalyptic MMORPGs might be few and far between, but there are enough polished titles here for even the pickiest players to find one and stick to it.
As a fan of the genre, I am impatiently waiting for Pioner and The Day Before as they look a bit better than the rest and seem far more polished than their contemporaries.