The 10 Best Casual MMOs in 2023
If you’re looking for an MMO you can sink your time in short bursts, you’ve come to the right place. These games are primarily free-to-play, so there is no pressure to get your money’s worth. However, some have expansions you need to buy to get the whole experience. Their free content still provides hours of entertainment, though.
Here are some of the best MMOs for casual players in 2023. There is no particular order, but the ones on the bottom have the ‘pay for more content’ aspect.
Rift is an epic RPG odyssey adventure. Set in Telara, the player controls an Ascended, a hero who protects the land. The latter is besieged by the titular rifts, which bring enemies from other worlds into Telara.
The game features a robust character creation and a diverse skill system. With the Soul system, you can set things to allocate skills automatically. You can continue leveling without having to pause every once in a while to fix your abilities. Also, you can switch allocations at a push of a button, allowing you to switch builds on the fly.
The best part is that it’s free, though it offers premium currency for more privileges.
Phantasy Star Online 2
Platforms: PC, Xbox, PS4
A Japanese-made MMO, it’s set in a seamless open world. Activities can include up to 32 players, and it has a simple but fast-paced combat system that’s fun to play with. Other features include deep character creation and beautiful graphics.
There is a paid aspect where you can buy stuff with real money, but they’re all cosmetic. You can get the most potent equipment with a bit of a grind, so it’s not pay-to-win. However, reception is mixed, so your mileage may vary.
If you’ve ever wanted to play Dungeons and Dragons but couldn’t find a DM, Neverwinter is a close enough alternative. This free game offers the Forgotten Realms for adventurers to explore and adventure in. The armies of Queen Valindra are advancing, and it’s up to you to stop them.
It has all the features you’d expect from an MMO: character creation, races, classes, and exciting combat. Its missions can be completed within 20 minutes, and many of them exist. Plus, if you find the time, there’s always more to discover in the game.
Star Trek Online
Platforms: PC, Xbox, PS4
Space opera fans would love this game. Set thirty years after the events of Star Trek: Nemesis, the treaty between the United Federation of Planets and the Klingon Empire has broken down. Wars have started, and other races have problems to deal with.
As the captain of your own ship, you decide your crew and missions. You can even ‘beam down’ and explore specific areas as your character. There are two types of combat, on-field with your unit or in space with your ship. These two systems are the center of the game, each of which depends on different skills.
Star Wars: The Old Republic
This is Bioware’s answer to the above, another space opera classic, but this time in the Star Wars universe instead. It’s set some 3,000 years before the events of the famous film series, so don’t go in thinking you can meet Darth Vader or Luke Skywalker. Depending on your chosen class, you can play various storylines and even befriend or romance NPC companions.
Despite being an MMO, you can do most of the content solo, and it plays like an online version of Mass Effect instead. Still, it’s handy that you can log out in the middle of a quest and come back right where you left off.
Platforms: PC, Xbox, PS4/5, Switch
Another space-themed MMO, but this time, you’re a robot ninja. Warframe is a shooter MMO with parkour elements. You can jump, flip, somersault, and tumble through hordes of enemies. You might have to pick your beginner warframe carefully, but you can choose among 40+ frames afterward. Each has its own gameplay style, and you can find one that fits your preference.
You can grind for everything in the game. It may take some time for your crafted objects to finish, but you can enjoy the whole game without paying a cent. The missions can also be completed in 30 minutes, so you don’t have to invest much time in the game.
Guild Wars 2
Guild Wars 2 is one of the most beloved MMOs out there. Set in Tyria, your character’s story depends on their race and chosen background. However, an overarching story plays the same across every player’s experience. It also has the ‘Living Story,’ a regularly updated plotline that advances every update.
The game offers a plethora of activities. You can do the main quest, exploration, area-specific tasks, jumping puzzles, and dungeons. There’s also an area for PvP and guild vs. guild events. Every once in a while, there are seasonal activities that anyone can join. The community is friendly and helpful.
The base game is free, but buying the expansions will provide more features and activities. Purchasing the latest one will also give you the others, which is more worthwhile.
FFXIV (Free Trial)
Platforms: PC, PS4/5
This is the second Final Fantasy MMO and one more successful than its predecessor. It usually requires a subscription, but you can play a free trial up to the first expansion, featuring hours of content. Fans unanimously praise the game’s character progression, story, and gameplay.
Create your character and explore the vast world of Eorzea. Any franchise fan would love this MMO, and there are so many activities to do, even in the free version. You can drop in, take 30 minutes to an hour, and log back out. However, once you commit to a subscription, you no longer have the title of ‘casual gamer.’
Elder Scrolls Online
Platforms: PC, PS4/5, Xbox
Though this needs a subscription to play, it sometimes offers a free trial for limited periods. However, due to the latter’s rarity, you need more commitment when playing this game. Still, ESO has much to be enjoyed, such as its quests, lore, NPCs, combat, and progression.
The game is set in the Second Era, 800 years before Morrowind and Oblivion and 1000 years before Skyrim. Players can choose to take on the role of several classes and carve their own paths in Tamriel. It offers hours of gameplay even with just the base game, and the expansions build upon that content. A microtransaction store is available in the game, but it offers primarily cosmetic items.