Gaming on the Mac has always been a bit difficult, and many players turn to Boot Camp as their all-in-one solution for finding great games that work with OS X. This solution has its downsides, however, not the least of which is the annoyance of constantly switching between OS X and Windows.
Fortunately, some genres of games now offer a wide enough selection to keep the average Mac gamer happy. Perhaps the best example is the MMO, a hugely popular category that used to ignore the Mac, but, over the last five years, has seen more and more games offer up Mac clients.
Here are the 10 best MMOs for the Mac right now.
Dofus may seem like a strange name for those of us who speak English, but this French MMO is far from a joke. Unlike many MMOs, which focus on real-time combat mechanics, Dofus offers up a turn-based system that’s more reminiscent of Japanese RPGs, though also given a twist of its own. Though the visuals are low-fi, the cartoony look has aged well and offers equal appeal to both kids and adults.
Though the game can be played for free, most of Dofus’ content requires a subscription. A one-month subscription is only $6.90, but certain actions (like changing a character’s look) are an additional charge.
The game that opened the MMO genre to a broad audience is now well over a decade old, but that doesn’t mean people have stopped playing it., the appropriately named Mac version of the game, is still available. The lone server compatible with Mac has never been updated past the Planes Of Power expansion – but some may prefer this, as it allows the game to retain all of its old-school glory.
EQMac was to be shut down when Everquest went free-to-play last year, but after massive fan response, Sony decided to keep the game alive while also removing subscription fees. That’s right; this version of the game is free and has no restrictions.
Another veteran MMO, Eve Online is well known for its massive PvP battles and open world that provides players with the freedom to trade, build, pirate, or wage war. Unlike Everquest, however, Eve Online has a long history of supporting Mac and doesn’t force players onto a separate server.
The game is free-to-try for 14 days, after which it’s $19.99 to buy with one month of game time included. The subscription is $14.95 a month (for a month-to-month subscription) thereafter. However, players have the option to pay for game time with an in-game currency called Plex. Collecting enough to buy free game time isn’t easy, but certainly possible.
The newest MMO on this list, Guild Wars 2 is a dynamic action-RPG with tons of PvE and PvP content. Unlike many other games in this genre, which have relatively static worlds, Guild Wars 2 offers dynamic quests and events that spontaneously appear to challenge players. Players also have the opportunity to fight over keeps and castles, and can do so before reaching level cap.
Mac players should be aware that the client is considered a beta, so it may not be as stable or smooth as the PC versions. Access to the Mac beta client is available to everyone who owns the game, which currently sells for about $40. There’s no subscription, but a real-money store offers the purchase of aesthetic customizations, character re-specs and other benefits.
Turbine’s long-running rendition of Middle Earth surprised everyone in 2012 by releasing a Mac client after ignoring the platform for five years. Though certainly no spring chicken, Lord Of The Rings Online remains one of the largest MMOs, and arguably offers the best story in the genre. Tolkien’s books provide plenty of background and Turbine has no problem fleshing it out with both familiar characters and new ones introduced to detail struggles only hinted at by the trilogy.
Mac players can enjoy any of the servers available for the game and have access to all the same content. Though free to play, a great deal of LOTRO’s content is locked to people who don’t purchase it either individually or as part of a subscription. “VIP” plans are normally $14.99 a month, though that’s lowered to $9.99 a month for players who grab at least three months at a time.
Released in 2005, Minions of Mirth is an unusual indie game that can be played either as a single-player game or as an MMO. Player characters can level three classes at once, rather than one, and the game offers an extensive crafting system. Though not as old as Everquest, MoM certainly replicates the old-school vibe both in interface and look; it’s not a beautiful game, or an intuitive one, but figuring out its secrets is part of the charm.
The game is free-to-play, but a great deal of content is locked for those who don’t pay. The full edition of the game is $29.95, which unlocks most of the game’s content, with the exception of a few extra DLC packs. There’s no monthly subscription.
Though perhaps not as well-known as Everquest, browser-based MMO Runescape has been around just as long and has actually received better support over the years. The developers recently released Runescape 3, a massive update that overhauls everything from combat to graphics. You may be amazed to see just what a browser game can deliver in 2013.
The game is free to play, but a subscription can be purchased for $7.95 a month. Going with the subscription expands the game world, provides access to more quests, and gets rid of in-game advertisements.
Savage 2 [No Longer Available]
The Savage series is an interesting take on MMO mechanics which abandons a persistent world in favor of fast-paced combat that’s one part Everquest, one part Team Fortress, and one part Starcraft. Players can either fight other players in fast-paced combat, or hang back and focus on improving their side’s base and enhancing the abilities of others.
Savage 2 is free to download and play. Players can pay $9.99 per month for a Prime account, which provides access to a few extra features, expanded inventory slots, lifetime statistics tracking and replays of game matches.
Hyped as the next big thing in MMOs at the time of its launch, Warhammer Online: Age Of Reckoning turned out to be a massive flop. That’s not because the game is bad, however; there’s a ton of content here, including dynamic quests that can be seen as a prelude to those found in newer MMOs like Guild Wars 2. Though now running off just a few servers, the game is still live and still receives an occasional update.
Warhammer Online allows PC and Mac players to enjoy the same servers and is free-to-play via its “Endless Trial.” Trial accounts are limited to the first tier of PvP content, can’t use the bank or auction house, and can only play on select servers. The $14.99 monthly subscription lifts these restrictions.
Last, but certainly not least, we have World Of Warcraft, the sensation that remains the most popular MMO of all time. Unlike many competitors, WoW has offered a Mac client for years and has always allowed Mac users to play on the same servers. The game is approaching its tenth year and, after many expansions, offers a wealth of content. You could play this game for hundreds of hours and see only a fraction of what’s included.
The only real downside is the price, as the Battle Chest (which contains the first two expansions) is $19.99. The latter two expansions, Cataclysm and Mists Of Pandaria, are $9.99 and $19.99, respectively. Buying the Battle Chest will give you a free month of play, but after that the game is $14.99 per month.
This doesn’t include every MMO that can be enjoyed on the Mac, but it certainly contains the majority of those worth your time. You may notice some games missing like The Old Republic and Star Trek Online; that’s because these titles don’t have a native Mac client. If you know of an awesome MMO that this list missed, let us know about it in the comments.