MMO Attack recently covered MOBA games on our Top 10 article and video lists. MOBA games are known to mix elements of action and real-time strategy. As you can see, MOBAs are mere a branch of the broad MMO strategy genre. Sometimes players want to control more than one unit in a game so there is full control over gaming success.
With many titles still competing with the exploding MOBA genre, MMO Attack felt it was necessary to hunt down other great strategy options. Another hugely popular branch of MMO gaming are Tactics. This play style utilizes grid maps and turn based combat that’s rarely emulated in other MMO titles. Today we take a look at ten of the best tactical strategy games in the MMO genre.
Gunrox uses an exclusive multiplayer strategy called Squad Tactics. Each player will command multiple units, each possesing a unique perk. The turn-based MMO takes a well known approach to tactics, emulating popular titles like Fallout Tactics and Jagged Alliance. Gunrox definitely doesn't fall short with content either. A variety of weapons provide a wide selection for avid strategists worldwide. Specialized perks will help supplement each squad and ultimately be a deciding factor in PvP victory. Chat room functions allow people to get info and stay active during a timely decision making process. The chat function lacks complexity and thus falters when allowing so many players to act verbally abusive towards each other. Bots have been implemented to cut down on vulgarity and spam though. If you are obsessed with MMO tactics or maybe just need another option to check out, Gunrox is great place to start.
Wakfu is many things; including a television series, a manga comic, and even a turn-based MMORPG. Set in the same universe as another tactical MMO, Wakfu takes place after a catastrophic event changes the landscape of the Dofus universe. Wakfu is like Dofus in many ways. There are plenty of similar spells, professions and even the same list of classes. You will even see some of the big name monsters from the Dofus universe. The most obvious of similarities between the two MMOs are the tactics players will utilize to progress. This game is right up the ally of any gamer with an affinity for grid-based strategy. There are many differences that keep Wakfu original too. Instead of moving from screen to screen like in Dofus, players will have a camera follow them in Wakfu. Players will also be able to interact with the environment and take on new roles with already loved classes. The game is free to get into but will having you paying if you want to really go anywhere. Every spell and ability is available at the start of Wakfu, but it's up to players to improve those skills uniquely. Wakfu is a very affordable tactical MMO and deserves a look if you're into strategy gaming, just don't expect to avoid grinding entirely.
8. Magic The Gathering: Tactics
There are millions of Magic the Gathering fans out there. Many play the trading card game for the amazing level of strategy it has to offer. Magic the Gathering: Tactics definitely succeeds at delivering that strategic ideal. As is the case with all Magic the Gathering titles, players will choose to focus on one of the games five colors. After selecting a Planeswalker to represent your character, you will strategically place and move your spell-derived army on a grid based map. Magic the Gathering absolutely succeeds when it comes to tactical MMO gameplay. Too bad the game lands low on our list because of the misleading and unfavorable business model. Although technically free-to-play, Magic the Gathering: Tactics does everything to get money from its fan base. New accounts will receive starter decks in the free version of this game. These decks work but won't stand a chance against frequent players. The decks can't even be used to trade for other cards.
Fans of the famous trading card game should feel at home, even more so by expecting their success to be a bit costly. The turn-based title does find a way to succeed in tactical gameplay that other MMOs fail to implement. It's a shame how truly pay-to-win the game really is. Reviewers have even been found calling Magic the Gathering: Tactics a mere demo with benefits. The free portion of the game ultimately fails players despite it's satisfying nature. The shockingly brief free trial of the game actually serves its purpose, to the point where players will ignore false advertising and eventually pay their way to victory.
While Dofus gameplay primarily takes place in real-time, the combat is a spitting image of what you'll find in many tactics games. Every time you attack a monster, the game will transition to an alternate map view for battle. Players can usually interact with each other, coordinating events and even forming guilds. Once a battle begins though, no new players may join. The handful of professions and character classes in Dofus provide wonderful options toward taking on quests, challenges, and perilous dungeons. Dofus would be even more popular if it offered more in its free-to-play model. Time constraints were removed keeping the free portion of Dofus very worth it. You will get plenty of tactical gameplay in the free parts of this MMO, but the paid subscription really drives the genre home by allowing fantastic PvP battles. Dedicated players can even look forward to long term discounts, making the game more affordable for most. The stable yet growing community proves that when it comes to tactics, Dofus truly delivers something special.
This tactical MMO game delivers turn-based strategy card collecting in a fantasy setting. Online gamers will join one of eight factions in their quest to build decks called Battle-groups. As they collect magical energy called Nora, players will collect equipment, utilize champions, and cast spells to achieve victory. Champions are the tactical side of this game, as they can move around on the game map like characters in most tactics games. PoxNora is a browser game for Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux. Gamers can play this MMO for free if using Sample Battlegroups, which are essentially limited decks. Most players will be purchasing game pieces called "runes" if they want to get ahead. Runes help build your own unique strategy and even grant bonuses if sharing the same faction. PoxNora is now available through Steam and adds new content more frequently than most MMOs. You may spend some of that money you were hoping to save, but PoxNora's free-to-play accessibility might just be enough to get a tactics fan hooked.
5. Darkwind: War on Wheels
When was the last time you heard anything compared to Twisted Metal? Okay, so the nonstop action of the aggressive PlayStation series isn’t truly emulated in Darkwind. That doesn’t mean you should ignore the onslaught of tactical mobile weaponry available. Darkwind is a 3D turn-based MMO with tactical vehicular combat. Players will do their best to acquire fame and upgrade vehicles as fast as possible. The innovative graphics in Darkwind go a long way, finding a balance between web and 3D interface. The dual visuals greatly help support strategic gameplay and actually vehicle combat, respectively. The RPG aspect of MMO gaming is present in Darkwind as characters can be trained in a multitude of skills while coming across over fifty classes of vehicles.
Town events, death races, and competitive ladders help fulfill almost every MMO gaming desire. This is top 10 list focusing on tactics though, and Darkwind sure delivers in that area. Typical racing games stress on driving carefully until you opponent makes a mistake. Darkwind slows down the racing action just enough that battles can be carried out tactically. The highly detailed gameplay helps players to be very careful with each decision they make. This is very important in brutal a game that features perma-death. The battle effects on vehicles will be present in strategic planning, becoming more difficult with each affliction. Every decision you make in Darkwind effects your outcome. The one of a kind integration of driving physics and turn based combat makes this a top MMO when it comes to tactical gameplay.
4. Frontline Tactics
This isn’t the only military tactics game on our list but it’s one of the most addictive. Frontline Tactics implements a cross-platform, tactical turn-based strategy on the PC, Mac, and Mobile iOS devices. This MMO will not spoon feed players, so don’t expect to overtake any experienced players right off the bat. The game is mostly free-to-play though, and even provides a realistic AI for single player capabilities. Frontline Tactics isn’t just about the way you play. Players will have freedom to customize armor, equipment, skills, and even weapons to help survive each tactical situation. Soldiers don’t look like figures placed on a game board like in some other strategy MMOs either. A realistic setting will keep gamers coming back, while PvP and co-op missions create a balanced community of players to encounter. Frontline Tactics was obviously built for the iOS and doesn’t offer much more than its competitors. Competition aside, this MMO knows what it’s doing when it comes to tactical experience.
3. Jagged Alliance Online
The Jagged Alliance fan base continues to grow everyday. This MMO delivers a mix of turn-based combat and real-time action from a 3D isometric perspective. Battle tactics won’t be the only thing players will want to perfect in Jagged Alliance Online. Players are expected to not only train their mercenaries, but supply them with improved weaponry too. Training will certainly help as you prepare to take on many player verse player experiences. The tactical game found on Gamigo, Kongregate, and eventually Steam may have highly sought PvP showdowns, but hopefully players will also be helping each other. After all, this is an MMO strategy game, and you can work with other players to complete missions. There isn’t too much to worry about in this MMO title. There is a misleading cash shop, which at some point will trump the game’s essential free-to-play nature. Some people have complained about load times, and that the game is too good for a browser to handle alone. You can definitely put a positive spin on that complaint. With plenty of variety in classes, funny voice acting, and a new spin on tactical gameplay, Jagged Alliance Online is ultimately a game worth getting excited about.
2. ECOL Tactics
After successful months of beta testing, Ecol Tactics finally launched at the beginning of May. The free-to-play, turn based MMORPG looks like your classic console tactics game. In fact, many players are saying it’s just that. The term MMO won’t apply to every player, considering you never need the help of others like many online games. Instead, players will recruit customizable mercenaries to support their unique journey. Ecol Tactics also allows for in-depth customization of your own character, of course. A brand new PvP arena was released with the games full launch, along with highly anticipated guild features like exchanging items. Whether you find yourself in PvP situations or undertaking the games expansive storyline, it’s brilliant tactics that will lead you to victory. Players must choose the right times to perform attacks, use skills, and deploy items if they hope to succeed. General chat in the Ecol Tactics community has been slow, but having the option in a persistent world is more than most tactics games have to offer. If you want a game that focuses on tactics first and worries about the MMO portion second, Ecol Tactics is for you.
1. Command & Conquer: Tiberium Alliances
This military sci-fi MMO definitely knows what it’s doing when it comes to tactics. The primary goal of this real time strategy isn’t following a structured storyline like most MMOs. Instead, player will always be working to control and defend the center of the world. Players will choose a sector on the world map to start their journey. From there, players will collecting resources, improve their defenses, and come face to face with some rigorous combat. This MMO may not have a memorable story like other installments in the Command and Conquer series, but you will find yourself playing just as long. The game can seem endless at times. Most players will play for months unlocking new units while progressing to the center of the world. The good news is, you don’t necessarily have to play for months and months to feel like you’re moving forward. Player aggression will vary from server to server, but this game has a favorable community and is generally a good fit for anyone looking for tactical gameplay. You will always need to be connected to the internet while playing this free-to-play browser game, but don’t let that stop you from missing one of the better tactics options out there.
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