MMO strategy games (sometimes referred to as MMORTS games – which stands for Massively-Multiplayer-Online-Real-Time-Strategy games) are a genre of games that combine the critical decision making of strategy games with the thrill of playing with/against other people from around the world.
While some MMO strategy games require you to pay a fee upfront, many are free-to-play. Below are just some of the best free games from the genre.
Elvenar is a popular city-builder strategy game set in a fantasy world. Think SimCity, but with a fantasy twist. You get to play as either Elves or Humans. Each race has their own unique city style and its own needs.
There are hundreds of beautiful buildings to choose from. You get to build your city exactly to your image – just make sure to also meet the needs of your growing population. You can trade with other players and explore their cities. There is no competitive element to the game – you can’t wage war on other cities. This makes it a great choice of game for those yearning for a peaceful and relaxing RTS.
Zero-K is an open source RTS game initially based on Total Annihilation. It gives you the chance to take part in epic 16v16 team battles across a vast range of maps. There are over 100 varied units to choose from including everything from giant robots to chicken-monsters. Unlike some free-to-play games, there’s also no in-game currency or expensive pay-to-win extras to worry about.
By far the most unique thing about Zero-K is its interactive environment. You’re able to completely manipulate the terrain throughout the game, digging canals and moving mountains. Units can also hide behind hills to escape gunfire, while others are able to climb over obstacles. There are no strategy games quite like it.
This zombie survival MMO strategy game is set in an post-apocalyptic world. You have to build and defend a base against hordes of zombies, keeping your heroes alive. As you fight, your heroes gain points, allowing you to increase their skills and take on tougher and harder zombies. Collecting resources is also important for your survival, forcing you to venture from your base.
The multiplayer element to the games adds some extra dynamics. You can raid other players’ bases for resources or simply compete to be at the top of the zombie-slaying leaderboard. It can be a pretty fast-paced game – there’s danger around every corner.
Blood of Steel
Blood of Steel is a medieval strategy game with elements of hack ‘n’ slash combat thrown in. You get to play as factions from all across the medieval world. You start by choosing your general – who could be anyone from a crusader to a ninja. You then get to build your kingdom from the ground up, creating your own massive armies.
The game allows you to team up with other players to create guilds. Alternatively, you can wage war on other players by laying siege on their kingdom. Through successful combat, you can make your way up to the top of the leaderboard. Battles are huge and epic – you’ll feel as if you’re right there in the moment. It’s an exciting and dynamic game for those that like the historical RTS genre.
Set in the Golden Age of Piracy, Ultimate Pirates allows you to take command of your own pirate ship. You get to explore the Caribbean sea, plundering as much treasure as you can. Along the way, you may meet other pirate players – you can either choose to form alliances with them or loot them for their booty. There are also sea monsters!
Sea battles require a fair amount of tactics – you need to factor in the weather and the experience of all of your crew. As you fight, your ship levels up, allowing you to become increasingly more powerful. It’s a game with quite a lot of elements to it and is the ideal MMO for those obsessed with pirates.
Politics & War
Politics & War allows you to create a nation and rule it. On top of building cities and attending to the needs of your own nation, you can interact with other nations controlled by other players. You can either form alliances with these players and work together to achieve mutual prosperity or you can wage war.
The game is entirely free and allows you to dip in and out as you please. There are lots of ways to compete across the leaderboard from building the most cities to winning the most wars. It’s up to you as to how you play the game – will you strive for peace or destruction?
Based on the board game of the same name, Vampire Empire takes place in a fantasy medieval world in which vampires and werewolves are engaged in a constant war. You can get to build a castle, summon heroes and rule your very own realm. You can then choose to declare war on other realms or form alliances to benefit from greater resources.
The game has some pretty impressive graphics and can support thousands of players per server. It’s a fairly easy game to get to grips with compared to some MMOs that have quite a fierce learning curve and its vampire lore is fascinating. If you’re a fan of vampires, werewolves and other horror creatures then this is a MMORTS for you.
Empire: World War 3
Empire: World War 3 is set on Mars. You build a colony and must compete for precious resources. In your fight to obtain these precious resources, you’re able to battle other colonies. Alternatively, you can form alliances to share resources.
The game features futuristic combat with an array of sci-fi units to choose from. You can loot enemy bases or even intercept rival shipments. It’s ideal for those that love modern military games as it requires a lot of careful tactics.
This is another sci-fi strategy game that allows you to play as a colony on a distant planet. Star Colony also allows you to fight and form alliances with other colonies. It’s major difference to Empire: World War 3 is the incorporation of aliens – while fighting colonizers you also have to deal with the acid bugs of the Swarm and the mysterious Ancients.
One of the game’s unique features is the ability to build intelligently, placing buildings in certain locations to block and trap enemies. It’s a very combat-heavy game – you don’t get much time to rest between conflicts, which is great if you’re the type of gamer that likes your RTS games to stay action-packed.
Game of Thrones: Winter Is Coming
Based on the beloved fantasy book series and TV series, this game allows you to play as a lord in Westeros. You build your base, grow your kingdom and train your army. You can also recruit characters from the show.
It’s the ideal game for those that love Game of Thrones, allowing you to escape into the world of Westeros. You get to engage in much of the politics of the show, deciding to either wage war with other lords (played by other players) or forming alliances. The 3D graphics are high-quality and battles are just as gristly and thrilling as they are in the TV show. And yes, there are dragons!