These are the best action combat MMORPGs you can play right now. While none of these games could give Dark Souls a run for its money, their combat system proposes a different challenge than the traditional tab-targeting MMO combat.
You’ll have to carefully aim your attacks, move out of harm’s way, and dodge like there’s no tomorrow. If this sounds like fun, all you need to do is to pick one of the following games.
Tera came out in 2011 bringing something new to the MMO world. The game is regarded as one of the few MMORPGs that have “true” action-based combat. It has become the game’s best-known and most-commended feature.
Just like in first-person or third-person shooters, Tera players have to aim the attack toward the enemy. They can move out, dodge, and block to avoid damage. Constant movement and positioning are important as players can block frontal attacks but are vulnerable to side or back hits. Monsters have certain tells that warn players when devastating attacks will occur. Tera’s combat has become a standard for MMO action combat.
Black Desert Online is often praised for its combat system. In this respect, BDO plays like a third-person game. Your attacks won’t hit the target unless your aiming is on point. Blocking and dodging keep you alive, so make sure to learn the ropes of action combat early on.
If you come from traditional MMOs, BDO combat might seem weird at first. You just have to remember that practice makes it perfect. The game also has mounted combat which is tons of fun.
Player housing, farming, and fishing provide amazing distractions when you feel like taking a break from spreading death and destruction.
This MMORPG’s journey was bumpy, to put it mildly. Ten long years passed since Bless was first announced until the day players could finally get their hands on it. The final product, Bless Unleashed, brings superb visuals and fun action combat that reminds of single-player action games.
In addition to dodging, jumping, getting out of the way, and watching where you stand, Bless Unleashed uses a combo system that allows players to perform attacks and evade incoming damage. If you want to take the action one step further, try playing with a gamepad. Bless Unleashed is also a console MMORPG.
Swords of Legends Online has two irresistible features: gorgeous graphics and fun dungeons. Just don’t let the imagery distract you as there’s plenty of danger in this Chinese mythology-themed world.
When it comes to combat, players can take their pick at standard tab-targeting or action combat. You can switch between the two systems with the press of a button and that’s actually great.
SOLO’s action combat is on par with BDO and Tera’s combat. If you’re looking for a challenge, try your hand at healing in action combat mode!
Neverwinter, a Dungeons & Dragons action MMO has fast-paced and fun combat. The developers did a great job adapting D&D mechanics to create an engaging combat system.
Neverwinter has active targeting. The reticle on the screen shows where the attacks will land. Using the mouse, players aim the reticle over enemies to hit them with their abilities. Some abilities have cooldowns, others can be spammed at will.
At first, it doesn’t look too complicated but don’t forget that Neverwinter has D&D roots. Mastering combat and understanding how the attributes come into play will take some time.
New World, the most touted MMORPG of 2021, has skill-based action combat. The beauty of this system is that you don’t BIS gear to prove dominance on the battlefield. The equipment helps, but knowing when to hit, where to stand, and when to move go a very long way when fighting on the island of Aeternum. Strikes from behind do more damage than direct hits.
There’s even a PvP combat technique that allows players to trick their opponents into wasting key attacks. Weapons have normal and heavy attacks. New players are encouraged to watch a combat guide.
When it comes to combat, Elder Scrolls Online follows in the footsteps of its single-player predecessors. Abilities and skills don’t have cooldowns, however, they do cost resources so you cannot spam indefinitely. Players can damage their opponents with light or heavy attacks.
Dodging, bashing, and interrupting are part of the system as well. The trouble with ESO combat is that it feels clunky and boring at low levels. You don’t have many abilities and it seems like you spend more time avoiding than inflicting damage. As players level up and unlock more skill lines, combat becomes more fast-paced and interesting.
Guild Wars 2 has hybrid action-target combat that falls somewhere between World of Warcraft’s and Tera’s systems.
GW2 has tab-targeting but it also has action mechanics that allow players to dodge. Timing is an important part of combat as well. Attacks may miss if you don’t perform them at the right time. Some attacks may also be intercepted by standing in the way of their route.
Stealth does not always prevent you from taking damage as attacks can also hit invisible players. GW2 has one of the most engaging MMORPG combat systems.
Count on Blade & Soul for martial arts-based action combat. There is no tab-targeting, all attacks are aimed.
PvE combat is fast-paced. In most cases, the mobs won’t know what hit them. Players have many abilities at their disposal. The trick is to use them in specific sequences to form powerful combos. Situational abilities allow players to survive hairy situations.
PvP combat is more tactical. Players must be quick on their feet and make fast decisions to stay alive. Human players are not predictable as mobs so situational awareness is key.
Vindictus is one of the veteran MMOs out there. It came out in 2010, but its action combat has stood the test of time.
If there’s one MMO whose combat can be compared to Dark Souls, it’s Vindictus. Now, don’t be discouraged if you are a casual player. While there are bosses that can dispatch you with just a few hits, not all fights bring the ultimate challenge.
You will have to carefully manage stamina, aim attacks, time abilities, and make use of combos to defeat the enemy. Players have high freedom of movement which makes combat fluid and engaging.
Phantasy Star Online 2 has one of the most unique MMO combat systems. It’s action-based and requires perfect timing. Players can increase the efficiency of their attacks with timed abilities. Combat has rhythm and flow. Combos require precise timing, not just mashing buttons.
PSO2 New Genesis is a significant update of the original game, one so major that it makes PSO2NG a different game with a different combat system. Players agree that PSO2NG’s combat is more like the traditional MMO system, however, it’s polished and fun.
C9 is that kind of MMO that doesn’t show its true appeal before max level. That’s the case with the combat system. It’s action-based, fast-paced, fun, and fluid…but not at lower levels. Once you unlock all your character’s skills and potential, combat becomes one of the best things about this game.
Some say that mastering C9 combat is an ongoing process. You always have new things to learn and tricks to pick up. C9 encourages players to create combos and find unique ways to get rid of their enemies. The combat system works great with a gamepad.