Base-building as a game mechanic has been around for a long time. It can be traced back to games like SimCity, which gave players control over an entire city, and players had to keep their city efficiently running and citizens happy.
More recently, though, games like Satisfactory and Valheim have expanded a bit more on this mechanic in a 3D environment with complete control of every brick of the building or screw in the machinery.
Similarly, MMORPGs with building mechanics have come a long way. Some use it as a place for the player to relax and decorate it with trophies from their adventures; other games use the survival mechanic and expand on it by having players build shelters and other facilities to keep them strong and healthy.
Well, without further delay, here are some of the MMORPGs with base-building mechanics.
ArcheAge is a Korean MMORPG developed by XL Games, released in 2013. The game plays in both first and third person, offering players decent visuals along with a world that doesn’t have any teleportation or loading zones, allowing for one seamless experience for the most part.
The building aspects of this game are far more complex than any other MMORPG. For starters, all buildings are non-instanced, i.e. visible to all players on the server.
Furthermore, ArcheAge provides players with an extensive crafting system allowing players to decorate their facilities as they fit. What’s even more fascinating is that guilds can claim a piece of land and construct a castle on it, making all neighboring establishments taxable.
ArcheAge is a very PvP centric MMORPG, and players can expect attacks on castles by other guilds. So I’d recommend being smart and joining a strong enough guild and paying your protection money, I mean taxes on time.
Regardless, it’s effortless to recommend this game if you’re strictly looking to get into an MMORPG with an emphasis on base building.
2. Fallout 76
It’s not been an easy road to Fallout 76; ever since its release in 2018, the game has been met with criticism at every turn. But, honestly, preference is subjective and like it or love it, you know that base building is one of the strong suits of Fallout 76.
Although I am one of those players who found the settlement side quests in Fallout 4 a tad too much, Fallout 76 essentially expands on this concept by making more options available to the players making.
Fallout 76 allows players to build anything, from a portable tent that players can use to rest in the wild to a heavily fortified base, able to keep both mutants and raiders out.
Interestingly the game offers non-instanced base building like ArcheAge. Thus, a player can have his entire establishment ripped apart by another player (The developers have stated this is very unlikely to happen if not impossible, though).
However, all is not lost as players can choose to re-build their now lost base anywhere else they like or take back your land.
Well, all that said and done, there are certain strategical positions in the world where it’d be best to start your base building, allowing the environment to protect it for the most part.
For those who’ve played Fallout 4 and enjoyed the base-building, they’ll not regret picking up Fallout 76. The game might not have been great at launch, but it has since improved. It still has its fair share of bugs and issues, though, so tread lightly; that’s my advice.
3. Revelation Online
Revelation Online is a relatively lesser-known MMORPG developed by Netease Games and released in 2017. The game offers third-person perspective gameplay with beautiful visuals as you explore the land of Nuanor, doing MMORPG things.
The game offers player customization to a very complex level, allowing players to personalize their character from hairstyle to masks and other accessories. Additionally though not very detailed and instanced, the game offers players of a guild to work together to build a home for the guild.
Although the base won’t be visible to all players for what it’s worth, it also makes it a safer haven and someplace to go and relax after days-long adventuring, unlike Fallout or ArcheAge, where you have to worry about raids and taxes.
4. Final Fantasy XIV
Final Fantasy has come a long way from its JRPG days; in 2013, Square Enix released Final Fantasy XIV. The game features a third-person perspective persistent world gameplay.
In typical MMORPG fashion, the game allows players to build a house once they reach a certain level and have financial freedom. Interestingly, players can get together and pool their resources to get a shared house.
More successful players can, however, choose to have one of their own. Full disclosure, though the game offers players plenty of choices about the location of their house and how they’d prefer to decorate it, the game doesn’t nearly provide the freedom of the previous title.
Compared to Fallout 76, FFXIV’s experience is pretty cut and dry in terms of building mechanics. Players can acquire estates that range from small cottages to entire Mansions, complete with gardens to tend.
Trove is a voxel-based MMORPG developed by Trion Worlds and released in 2015. The game is essentially a mix of Minecraft gameplay with MMORPG mechanics.
As such, players can pick a class that’ll suit their playstyle and explore the worlds that are ranked easy to hard. Needless to say, as you level up, you can access the more challenging worlds and reap better rewards.
Each world is pretty big and consists of multiple biomes that players can seamlessly traverse and build wherever they please. Of course, all buildings are open to attack from outside forces, so again, it’s not for leisure, but these buildings exist to protect the player or, better yet, for an offence.
Its Minecraft esque building mechanics hit the right spot for a strategic building mechanic. It’s not like Final Fantasy or The Elder Scrolls Online; instead, it’s more survival than creativity.
6. Wurm Online
Wurm Online is a 3D MMO developed by two friends who worked on this project for a decade before releasing it in 2012. The game’s main mechanic revolves around the player’s ability to construct buildings and terraform their environment.
The game is primarily PvP, and players must display creativity in their constructions to out-smart their opponents. The crafting and building part of the game is very in-depth and allows players to construct fortresses complete with hidden passages and underground tunnels.
Although it’s not an MMORPG, the game still offers distinct upgrade paths and the ability to worship deities that provide various buffs and abilities. These mechanics are not unlike any other MMORPG, though the gameplay is broadly similar for the most part.
For the most part, I’d say this game is enjoyed best with friends since the solo experience can be too tedious and taxing. The server rules also change from server to server allowing the player to choose the best that suits their playstyle.
7. Dual Universe
Dual Universe is a first-person MMORPG developed by Novaquark and released in 2021. For the most part, the game plays like a sandbox game with all players existing in the same world not barred by zones of loading screens.
Furthermore, the game offers players complete freedom in building and customizing it to their heart’s content. Players can make a small cottage on the outskirts of the world or a defensive castle complete with automatic doors and a hidden nuclear bunker. It’s all possible.
All this, along with the emergent gameplay and detailed graphics, makes Dual Universe an easy recommendation. The game is relatively new, so get to it before the end-game becomes too burdensome and grindy.
8. EverQuest II
EverQuest II is another MMORPG that features deep and complex gameplay mechanics, and lucky for us, features building mechanics along with other slews of MMORPG tropes.
The game was developed by Daybreak Game Company and released in 2004. Over time, of course, the game has only had content added in and features enough content to keep players hooked on discovering new things and accepting more challenging quests.
With regards to building, it’s pretty straightforward. The houses are instanced, so you don’t have to worry about strategic placement and whatnot, so go creative.
This game might not appeal to most. However, Wakfu is a 2D strategical MMORPG developed by Ankama Games and released in 2012.
Wakfu features turn-based tactical gameplay in a 2D sidescrolling fashion, and the game is essentially a callback to old JRPGs with a coating of MMORPG.
So if you’re into that stuff, Wakfu is an excellent choice, and of course, it offers base-building mechanics, and so forth, it won’t be on the list otherwise.
Still, considering the 2D perspective, it’s more for people who like to explore the strategical aspects of base-building and less for people who are more into decorating them.
Many other titles feature base-building, and to be honest, MMORPG is not the best genre for it. However, if you’re genuinely looking for a great building experience, I urge you to check out Factorio.
While it’s 2D, the game offers hours of setting up and building a factory and running it to the best efficiency possible. If you’re more of a 3D player, check out Satisfactory.
Neither of them is an MMORPG and have minimal online content. As such, you won’t be able to share your creation with a thousand people online, but it’s still one of the more profound building experiences in video games.