Action combat is the thing, that one feature that most players are looking for in MMORPGs right now and one that is still quite tricky to find. A few games managed to stand out and while some of them, like Dragon’s Prophet and DC Universe Online, may be considered pseudo-action combat, it’s still a first step in the right direction.
Let’s see which are the 10 best action MMORPG games right now, including some that are taking their sweet time to reach the West and one that we already played but is still in development.
RaiderZ was advertized as a monster hunting MMO and while it certainly has what it takes – action combat and big monsters – it fails on a few other departments. The non-target combat system is far from perfect but is good enough, requiring you to chain moves and dodge enemy attacks – business as usual. But RaiderZ suffers from dated visuals and plenty of generic ‘kill X creatures’ quests. The European and Korean versions shut down last year, which places a big question mark on the still alive and kicking North American servers.
9: DRAGON’S PROPHET
Dragon´s Prophet isn’t exactly all that it was shaping up to be, but still has a lot going for it. Combat is fast-paced and action based, but not quite the completely free combat system we are hoping to see more often. It’s not like you need much skill to attack your enemies, you just point your weapon in the right direction and then spam the attack buttons and abilities like there’s no tomorrow. Combat in Dragon´s Prophet is just like the rest of the game: unpolished and overly familiar but one that can be fun if you manage to look beyond the flaws.
Sony Online made all superhero fans proud with DC Universe Online, the MMORPG with your favorites Batman, Superman and so many other heroes and villains. While not revolutionary and still using the tried and tested hotbar formula, it adds realtime movement, combos and plenty of spectacular weaponry to the mix, making for a truly exciting combat experience. This is, by far, the best superhero MMORPG available.
7: PHANTASY STAR ONLINE 2
We weren’t sure if we should include this one, but then again, since we’re talking about action combat, why not? Sega is tight lipped about the Western version of this game which, according to the latest rumors, may be already shelved, but there’s still the original version to try if you’re curious about it and know how to play in English. Anyway, Phantasy Star Online 2 offers extremely fast-paced, responsive and fun action combat with all kinds of weapons, for instance a katana or a bow. The different classes and weapons provide enough variation to combat and we wouldn’t mind seeing this template in more MMORPGs. While we’re at it, we wouldn’t mind seeing Phantasy Star Online 2 in North America and Europe, but we’re kind of losing hope.
Continent of the Ninth is a great looking action combat game that uses the familiar controls to perform some impressive and fluid combos: WASD to move and the mouse buttons to perform the attacks. It’s all extremely fast paced and acrobatic, with some super cool slow motions to show you just how badass you are at this. Fun fact: the producer of C9 is now working on the highly anticipated Black Desert.
The stunning Vindictus is powered by the Source engine and this means that it allows for quite a bit of interaction with the environment. You’re capable of picking up objects and use them as weapons, either wildly swinging them or just throwing them at the enemies. You can also grab some foes to give them a taste of their own medicine. An action packed game with some cool bosses and pretty, pretty playable characters.
4: DRAGON NEST
Yeah, Dragon Nest. Some love it, a few others hate it, but it’s definitely one of the precursors of action combat in free MMORPGs. It is definitely fun and flashy and also has some epic, extended combos and impressive bosses. This is true non-target action combat with different, gender-locked classes that offer completely distinct approaches to fighting. It’s also extremely rewarding and one of the fastest combat systems out there, so you have to be frequently on your toes to keep up with everything, using the skills at the right time and jumping around to avoid enemy attacks. It’s awesome!
3: BLADE & SOUL
Blade & Soul is one of the fanciest action combat MMORPGs and features some truly crazy moves to go along with the original art style and martial arts movie inspiration. Some combos also look like they just came out of a fighting game like Street Fighter – you’ll be smacking people in the air, grabbing and punching them in the face before throwing them afar, and so much more. Timing and countering is key to succeed in this game. If, like us, you’re tired of NCsoft’s deafening silence on the Western version of Blade & Soul, you can always play the Korean or Chinese versions if you really want to – the Chinese version is even free-to-play.
Kingdom Under Fire 2 is still undergoing development for the time being, but we were lucky enough to be a part of the first, very restricted experience beta test – and what an experience it was! While we were expecting a fairly decent game based on the popular but flawed series, this first MMORPG just blew our mind. Combat is incredibly smooth, fast-paced and skill-based, even if chaotic at times – after all, you’re attacking hundreds of enemies while commanding your troops. This is as exciting as action combat gets and we can hardly wait for the next beta to give it another shot. Kingdom Under Fire 2 is going to be one of the best action combat MMORPGs, period.
Tera is still the poster boy for action-based combat games. This is true action combat and while it may not have been the first MMORPG to do so, it’s certainly the hottest one right now. In this game players have to dodge, block, aim and attack with precision, there’s no lock on to take you by the hand. It’s completely skill-based and timing plays a vital part in the success of our actions. The fact that Tera is one of the most beautiful MMOs out there pretty much seals the deal.
This is our current choice of free action MMORPGs and there are a few more coming, such as Black Desert, EverQuest Next, Dragon Nest 2, Project Black Sheep and many more. We left a few games out on purpose – for instance, Elsword Online, which uses a 2D point of view – and others because… reasons. We would also want to leave two other games you should try that didn’t make the list for certain aspects: Yulgang 2 and Neverwinter. Anyway, as usual, let us hear from you in the comments.