Top 10 Multiplayer Games on PC [Best Recommendations]

If there is one genre in which PC gaming definitely does not suffer from a lack of options, it would be multiplayer-focused titles. Consoles are fine, generally, but for players who enjoy dropping hundreds of hours in a huge digital world, PC is the place to be. Every year sees dozens of new and exciting massively multiplayer online games released to the community. While some manage to find a sustainable fan-base, most quickly fall by the wayside as the next big title takes their place. It is a cut-throat business and only the best survive.

How did we pick and choose the entries for this list? While the upcoming ten games are multiplayer-focused, the similarities often end there. Sure, most generic MMO’s tend to follow the RPG formula – with fetch quests being the word of the day – but that is only a snippet of what is available to try out. Popularity and longevity are going to be given importance, although some subjectivity is bound to come into play.

Anyway, that is enough stalling, here are our choices for the top 10 multiplayer games on PC.

10. Rocket League

  • System: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Microsoft Windows, OS X, Linux, Nintendo Switch
  • Publisher: Psyonix
  • Developer: Psyonix
  • Release Dates: July 5, 2015, Feb 17, 2016

Combining cars and soccer simply should not work. Yet, Rocket League exists and continues to be a huge success. Developed and published by Psyonix, this hybrid sports game is actually a sequel to 2008’s Supersonic Acrobatic Rocket-Powered Battle-Cars released for the PlayStation 3. As it was available on a dying console, Rocket League’s predecessor came and went without much of a fuss.

The gameplay is simplistic and instantly gratifying. Players step behind a wheel of a rocket-powered car and are divided into two teams. Matches take place in a futuristic soccer arena, as the teams chase around a massive ball in order to bash it towards the opponent’s goal. The contests are only five minutes long, making Rocket League perfect for those who just want to relax for half an hour after work or school. There is even a single player season mode, allowing newbies to go up against the A.I.

What separates Rocket League from other long-running MMOs is the learning curve. Anyone can pick up and play Psyonix’s hybrid without feeling completely lost. Yes, veterans might have a few tricks up their sleeves, but the straightforward gameplay makes for an immediately engrossing experience.


9. Overwatch

  • System: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Microsoft Windows
  • Publisher: Blizzard Entertainment
  • Developer: Blizzard Entertainment
  • Release Dates: May 24, 2016

Overwatch is more than just a game. Blizzard Entertainment created a franchise despite there only being one title. Most MMOs offer an overwhelming amount of lore while trying to make it relatively easy to get to the meat of the gameplay. Overwatch completely separates the lore from the team-based matches, with only a bit of dialogue hinting towards the larger picture. This means a gamer can spend years playing Blizzard’s MMO without getting to know about the existence of the Petras Act or the Omnic Crisis. On the other hand, someone who barely ever boots up the CD could write dozens of pages on the game’s story and characters.

In terms of the matches, Blizzard took a page from Valve’s Team Fortress 2, offering a chaotic team-based shooter with personality to spare. The gameplay is fast and requires constant communication among the members of the team. Going rogue is the fastest way to ensure a loss. As there is a heavy reliance on the capabilities of your teammates, Overwatch is far from a welcoming experience for newcomers. Competitive mode is a no-go for newbies, while casual matches can be a rather toxic environment.

Overwatch’s future is hardly set in stone, as Blizzard have struggled to establish the FPS in the e-Sport scene. The lore is interesting and worth exploring, but the game’s longevity remains in question.


8. Minecraft

  • System: PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, PlayStation Vita, Xbox One, Xbox 360, Microsoft Windows, OS X, Linux, Windows Phone
  • Publisher: Mojang, Microsoft Studios, Sony Entertainment Entertainment
  • Developer: Mojang
  • Release Dates: Nov 18, 2011

Nowadays, it is difficult to imagine the gaming landscape without Minecraft. Every platform has a version of Mojang’s sandbox IP, as players continue to use their brains to build exciting new worlds. Prior to launch, Minecraft received a fair amount of criticism due to the graphics and the seemingly repetitive gameplay. Yet, these two elements ended up adding to its charm.

Minecraft is unparalleled in terms of creativity, as its intuitive crafting system is only limited by the scope of one’s imagination. Players set their own goals, as there is no story to really take note of. Due to its procedurally generated world, Minecraft is practically never-ending. It is also one of the best entry-level titles for children, as it offers a safe environment and easy-to-grasp mechanics.

Mojang’s take on ‘build your own adventure’ might not be for everyone, but it is hard to believe that Minecraft will be going anywhere anytime soon.


7. Team Fortress 2

  • System: PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Microsoft Windows, OS X, Linux
  • Publisher: Valve Corporation
  • Developer: Valve Corporation
  • Release Dates: Oct 10, 2007

Team Fortress 2 is getting pretty old at this point. The team-based multiplayer first-person shooter launched as part of The Orange Box, which included Portal and Half-Life 2. The fact it could stand alongside those two classics and not feel out of place is a testament to just how good Valve is at what it does. Team Fortress was a mod for 1996’s Quake, before receiving a remake three years later. The sequel took everything that made the original worth playing and amplified it by ten.

Two teams compete in a frantic arena with clear-cut objectives. There are nine character classes, each catering to a unique style of gameplay. Each mercenary possesses a primary, secondary, and melee weapon; with their own strengths and weakness to consider. Since 2007, Valve has added content in the form of maps and new weapons, with a pyro-focused update released earlier this month. Despite launching over a decade ago, Team Fortress 2 continues to have an active community.


6. Guild Wars 2

  • System: Microsoft Windows, OS X
  • Publisher: NCSOFT
  • Developer: ArenaNet
  • Release Dates: Aug 28, 2012

On the surface, Guild Wars 2 is a by-the-book example of a classic MMORPG. Players create their own warrior and set out on an adventure to save the world while completing an overabundance of busywork side-quests. The plot takes place in Tyria, 250 years after the events of the original Guild Wars. The protagonist’s goal is to reunite the members of a disbanded guild known as Destiny’s Edge, as they are needed to defeat five Elder Dragons who recently awoke from a long nap. This is only the tip of the iceberg, as Guild Wars 2 does not lack in content.

Where the MMORPG truly shines is in the skill-based combat, with players able to assign 10 abilities from a large list of options. Five of the available skills are determined by the hero’s profession and weapon, suggesting that players take a more strategic approach to how they customize their character. There are also large-scale siege battles which occur outside the events of the main game.

Guild Wars 2’s base game recently went free-to-play, so there is no reason not to try this one out. The community is as active as ever, with ArenaNet releasing a substantial expansion last September.


5. Counter-strike: Global Offensive

  • System: PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Microsoft Windows, OS X, Linux
  • Publisher: Valve Corporation
  • Developer: Hidden Path Entertainment, Valve Corporation
  • Release Dates: Aug 21, 2012

There are currently over 140,000 people playing Global Offensive on Steam. Shooters might came and go, but Counter-strike seems destined to last forever. The fourth game in the series, Hidden Path Entertainment and Valve’s multiplayer kill 'em all throws two opposing teams into a high stakes situation and tells them to go nuts. Players are either terrorists, with goals ranging from guarding their hostages to setting up bombs, or Counter-Terrorists.

Counter-strike is one of those games that tends to be brought out whenever a group of friends set up a LAN party. As it does not require a particularly powerful PC, trying this one out is a no-brainer. This shooter is hardly new, so those who continue to play Counter-strike are ridiculously good at it. Global Offensive is an eSports recognized multiplayer, with 16 teams competing in global tournaments since 2013.


4. DotA 2 (Defense of the Ancients 2)

  • System: Microsoft Windows, OS X, Linux
  • Publisher: Valve Corporation
  • Developer: Valve Corporation
  • Release Dates: July 9, 2013

Speaking of eSports recognized games developed by Valve Corporation, Dota 2 is a free-to-play multiplayer online battle arena. A sequel to a Warcraft III mod, matches consist of two teams of five players with the goal of defending their home base from their opponents. Presented in isometric view, Dota controls like a real-time strategy game and offers over 100 playable heroes. Matches tend to go on for awhile, as it is not unusual for a battle to last more than 40 minutes.

There are a few unique game modes, but most just impact the way heroes are selected. Teams are allowed a few minutes prior to the start of a match to discuss tactics and which classes are best suited to implement their strategy. Dota 2 is surprisingly fun to watch as well since the audience does not really need to understand the mechanics to follow what is going on. The combat is deep and demands a player’s commitment if they ever want to not be a complete burden to their teammates. The MOBA genre is quite popular, with Dota 2 standing as one of the best on the market.


3. League of Legends

  • System: Microsoft Windows, Mac OS
  • Publisher: Riot Games
  • Developer: Riot Games
  • Release Dates: Oct 27, 2009

The other noteworthy name in the MOBA community has to be League of Legends. Predating Dota 2 by four years, Riot Games’ hit the jackpot with their solitary PC release. The gameplay is similar to Valve’s MOBA, with two teams of five players trying to destroy their enemy’s base, which is called a Nexus. Matches last between 20 – 60 minutes, although Riot Games did include a smaller scale mode which reduces the player count for each team.

There are currently 134 champions in League of Legends; each with their own passive, active, and ultimate abilities. These warriors gain level-up as the battle progresses, with a player’s account receiving experience for each completed match. Progression comes in the form of new spells and content, which are barred until a certain level is reached. While not as polished as Dota 2, League of Legends was a landmark release for the genre and shows no sign of slowing down anytime soon.


2. World of Warcraft

  • System: Microsoft Windows, macOS
  • Publisher: Blizzard Entertainment
  • Developer: Blizzard Entertainment
  • Release Dates: Nov 23, 2004 (NA), Feb 11, 2005 (EU)

More than a few over-hyped MMORPGs have hit the scene with a declaration of war against World of Warcraft. Every year, a new WoW-Killer tries and fails to oust Blizzard from the top of the digital mountain. It is not going to happen. Honestly, where does someone even start with this game?

Still going strong despite being in its teen years, WoW set most of the trends that define the modern MMORPG. Set in the fictional world of Azeroth, players create a character and select one of four realms, each with their own combat rules. This is done to allow players to create the type of experience best fitting to their needs, with some focusing on monster quests and others dedicated primarily to roleplay. There are 13 classes to select from, depending on the chosen realm and race.

This is just scratching the surface of what World of Warcraft is. People have started second lives in Blizzard’s MMO – usually at the expense of their real one – and updates continue to be released regularly.


1. PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds

  • System: Microsoft Windows, Xbox One
  • Publisher: PUBG Corp., Microsoft Studios
  • Developer: PUBG Corp.
  • Release Dates: Q4, 2017

A game in early-access at first place? PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds is simply that good. Created by Brendan Greene, who practically started the survival battle royale genre with his ARMA 2 mod entitled DayZ: Battle Royale, Battlegrounds took the gaming world by storm and is easily the most played title on Steam. Currently, there are over one million players. Dota 2, which is in second place, sits with under 400,000.

Similarly to Rocket League. Battlegrounds is kind of shallow, at least in terms of mechanics. A match allows up to 100 participants, who are parachuted into a big map with no gear. The goal is to be the last player standing, creating an extremely tense environment. The map is constantly getting smaller, eventually climaxing in a huge battle to the death. Matches last for less than half an hour, with not a single moment being wasted. Due to not having a weapon or armor, players are on high alert from the opening second.

PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds is quite polished, with a visual presentation that puts other early access titles to shame. Bugs are relatively rare, with the developers constantly communicating with their player base. This is not only worth playing right now but one for the future.


Final Thoughts

Multiplayer is the bread and butter of PC gaming. Dozens of new RPGs and shooters are set to be released over the next few months, ensuring players are never left wanting for something new to try out. In a year’s time, this list could be quite different, although some of the bigger names are unlikely to show much of a decline in popularity.

Which multiplayer game is your biggest time sink? Please let us know in the comment section below.

Mark Sammut

Writer

Author: Mark Sammut

Born and raised on a small island in the Mediterranean, my life goal is to experience as many different ways of life as possible. Since time and money are in short supply, anime and film provide the best opportunity to experience far away cultures and worlds. When I'm not watching the latest episode of Gintama, or wondering what series to watch next, you can find me in the corner of the closest coffee shop; writing away on my aging laptop.

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