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The List: The Top 5 Browser-Based MMORPGs

Columns By David Jagneaux on December 08, 2014

The Top 5 Browser-Based MMORPGs

We’ve all been there. We’re dying to play an MMO and get our fix and sometimes it doesn’t even have to be our go-to main game. Maybe your laptop can’t handle it, you’re out of town, or you don’t have the time to play a bigger game – whatever the reason, sometimes you just need a browser game to scratch that itch. 

The trick is finding browser MMOs that are actually good and fun to play. If you just wanted to pull up a browser and play Candy Crush or any other casual puzzle or arcade game, then you could do that a billion different ways. But you’re an MMO gamer and you want a bit more depth in your diversions, which is why we’ve put together this quick list of some of the best purely browser-based games. No downloads required!


5) ChronoBlade

The first two games on this list are far less popular and less-known than the top 3, but that’s the way top 5’s go sometimes. I chose ChronoBlade because what it lacks in popularity and polish, it makes up for in accessibility and fun factor. It reminds me a lot of Dungeon Fighter Online, and it can all be accessed from within Facebook on your browser.

Rather than be controlled with your mouse clicks or from a traditional 3d third-person perspective, ChronoBlade looks and plays more like an entry in the Streets of Rage, albeit with many more RPG elements. There is lots of loot to gather, different attacks you can unlock, and more. It may not be the most engaging MMO experience, but it’s better than a lot of options out there

4) Sherwood Dungeon

This game has a particular place in my heart, as when I was younger, it was one of the first browser games I played. I was completely enthralled that a 100% browser-based game could have real 3D graphics that looked nice. There isn’t a whole lot of depth in terms of what you can do in the game, and the controls are pretty basic, but it’s not bad.

Sometimes, simplistic isn’t always a bad thing. It’s very approachable and great for younger gamers if you want to find something your kids can play. One of the best things about the game is the dungeon, which makes for a simple way to dive into more structured content if you’d like. If you simply must play a 3D MMO in your browser, Sherwood Dungeon is one of the more polished options out there.

3) Adventure Quest Worlds

Now we’re moving into the upper echelon of the list. Adventure Quest Worlds is probably the least popular of the top 3 games, but it has appealing factors as well. For one thing, the arty style is simply fantastic. The bright colors and hand-drawn aesthetic are surely a big key to the game’s success – it’s an iconic style that simply looks unlike anything else.

AQW is based in the same line of Adventure Quest games that the developers have been making for a few years now – Adventure Quest, a turn-based RPG, chief among them. AQW is unlike most browser MMOs in that it’s actually pretty robust with guilds, clans, tons of loot, weekly content updates, branching storylines, group content, PvP, animated cutscenes, and just about everything else. Overall, one of the better options out there for sure.

2) Drakensang Online

You’ve probably noticed a bit of a trend in that, most of the games on this list have a very “childish” presentation and that’s probably for a few different reasons. First of all, it requires less power from your computer, making it much easier for the game to run in a browser, because there are fewer details. But also, younger gamers are more likely to play a game in a browser, since it’s easier and doesn’t require beefy downloads and patching.

But Drakensang Online definitely breaks that mold. The game looks like the long lost brother of the Diablo franchise and it plays like it too. There are lots of established guilds with websites just like any premium downloadable game, and there are lots of elements that make Drakensang a formidable option in the free-to-play MMO market. In fact, I’d honestly say that there’s only 1 game that edges this one out in terms of just pure polish and quality…

1) Runescape

And that’s Runescape. Hate it or love it, it doesn’t seem to ever be going away any time soon and it keeps getting better and better. Whether it be dramatic graphics overhauls, tons of new content, or just continuing to attract more new players to keep the game active, Runescape is on top of the browser MMO pile for a reason.

And one of the smartest decisions they made, was keeping the “old-school” version of the game active on its own section of their website, so fans can still return to that version of the game if they’d prefer. Since it’s been around for so long, one of the things it does best is teach you all of the different things that you can do. Crafting is a huge part of the game, and the unique class/progression system adds a lot of dynamic factors to the gameplay. Everything from the font, to the graphics, to the sound effects are iconic for Runescape. If you haven’t tried it, it’s one of the MMOs that remains huge and deserves a bit of your time – whether you’re forced to use a browser for gaming or not.


These are just my opinions though. There are truly dozens, probably even hundreds, of browser MMOs to pick from. When picking a browser game, it can be tough since there are so many different kinds. DO you want one that resembles a non-browser game? Are you looking for something that’s designed to be played more casually? Do you want a good mixture of both approaches? Whatever the case, the bottom line is that you have options. Let us know some of your favorites down in the comments!

David Jagneaux / David is a freelance writer and full-time nerd. He loves to play, write about, talk about and think about all things gaming. You can find his work all across the interwebs. It's dangerous to go alone, so follow him on Twitter!