Top 5 Sailing MMORPGs

We’re explorers. Whether it's gazing up at the night sky or across an ocean, humans have always wondered what lies beyond the edge of the known. Perhaps the most enduring manifestation of this desire is the call of the sea. The azure main has for centuries enticed men with the prospects of fame and fortune, but perhaps the most tantalizing prospect awaiting the man at sea is a chance to discover himself.

Unfortunately, we can’t all be explorers. That means we’ll have to settle for a simulated experience. Many video games over the years have focused on sailing, with varying degrees of success. Games like The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker, Suikoden 4, and Sid Miere’s Pirates! come to mind. While these games all offered sailing and exploration related gameplay, they were single player experiences. I believe The MMORPG genre is uniquely suited to produce a sailing game that captures the sense of discovery most people are after. I’m still waiting for my ideal sailing MMORPG, but in the meantime, here are the top 5 sailing MMORPGs worth checking out:

1. Uncharted Waters Online

Developer: KOEI Publisher: OGPlanet Release: October 30, 2004

Based on the classic Uncharted Waters series dating back to the NES era, UWO is perhaps the closest we’ve gotten to a sailing/trading simulation MMORPG. Players join one of six European nations and have dozens of classes to chose from as they set out on their careers. The entire planet can be explored, with major cities to visit on every continent. Uncharted Waters Online was released over a decade ago and while it still has an active community, the steep learning curve can be difficult to overcome for new players.

2. Seafight

Developer/Publisher: Bigpoint Games Release: March 18, 2006

As one of the largest browser based MMOs, Seafight has enjoyed enormous popularity across Europe. Seafight plays very similarly to Dark Orbit, Bigpoint’s space ship offering, and is mainly focused on PvP gameplay.

3. Voyage Century Online

Developer: Snail Game Publisher: IGG Release: December 22, 2006

A Chinese take on Uncharted Waters Online. Voyage Century offers land and sea based gameplay with a very fast experience rate. Players can level up a variety of skills quickly and will likely spend much of their time on land. But that’s okay, the nautical theme is heavily present throughout. The game is known as Bounty Bay Online in Europe.

4. Pirates of the Burning Sea

Developer/Publisher: Flying Lab Software Release: January 21, 2008

Originally released a subscription game and published by Sony Online Entertainment, Pirates of the Burning Sea is set in the Caribbean Sea during the 18th century. The game has four factions to choose from: Great Britain, Spain, France, and Pirates. Gameplay involves both ship battles and closer range swashbuckling combat. The most interesting aspect of PotBS is its player-driven economy. Nearly everything is player produced through ownership of lumbermills, shipyards, and other factors of production.

5. Windward

Developer/Publisher: Tasharen Entertainment Release: May 12, 2015

Built on the Unity engine, Windward offers simple sailing gameplay with a minimal file size and system requirements. Rather than a persistent world, Windward offers randomly generated maps that can be enjoyed alone or shared with hundreds of players on hosted servers. Drawing its inspiration from the classic Sid Miere’s Pirates!, gameplay in Windward mainly involves sailing between coastal port cities delivering cargo, trading goods, and fighting NPC pirates along the way. Players can join one of several factions which are constantly at war with one another and take part in PvP instances.

If you know of any other sailing themed MMORPGs, released or upcoming, let me know in the comment section below!

Lifelong gamer always looking for the next virtual adventure. I'm still waiting for the next big MMORPG. Until then, you can find me hopping between multiple games.