The PC has had a ton of amazing multiplayer experiences over the years. From being the best platform for shooters to being the only platform that can do MMOs and RTS properly, I am here to count down the top ten multiplayer PC games. As always, the same rules apply: Only one game per franchise and what makes the list is a mix of fun factor and how popular it is or was. Read on to see what made the cut!
10. Portal 2: I realize that it may be a bit soon to put this on an top ten list, but that is just how good Portal 2’s co-op mode is when played with friends. From tricking each other into traps to both having the epiphany at the same time during a rough puzzle, Portal 2 is just a blast.
9. Battlefield 1942: As great as Battlefield 3 and Battlefield 2 are, I had to give it to the original. Battlefield 1942 may be a WWII games, but It laid all the ground work for this franchise with big open maps, vehicle combat, classes all with different weaknesses and advantages, and of course the guy who always takes one of the airplanes and immediately flies it into a building.
8. Everquest: Another classic, Everquest deserves a spot on this list for being the first huge hit in the MMO genre and giving people a taste of how horribly addictive these games can be. Despite the negative press, Everquest did establish a lot of things in the MMO genre we take for granted today, like a big open world with lots to do and explore. Also, the game was so much of a grind, but so addictive people made Linux servers so they could find out monster and item respawn rates to be better at getting more experience by the hour. Any game that causes a fanbase to get that deep into it and crazy should be mentioned. Also, some people are still totally playing this game 13 years later.
7. Left 4 Dead 2: Ok so everyone that I know loves zombies and has a different idea on how the zombie apocalypse is going to happen, along with a zombie plan for how they are going to survive the hordes of the living dead. Well, this PC game lets you and three of your closest friends live the nightmare. Left 4 Dead was the near perfect zombie survival co-op and versus simulator as I like to call it (because we all know the zombie apocalypse is going to happen we just don’t know when), but it was missing two things: melee weapons and a battle on a rock stage while metal music plays. Left 4 Dead 2 fixed these two problems, while still keeping the perfectly paced and difficult missions as well as having a fun versus mode where one team plays as the zombies. Left 4 Dead 2 is the perfect co-op PC game.
6. Counter Strike: Source: One of the great parts about PC gaming is mods. While Half Life had an ok multiplayer mode, it was this mod that eventually would become a full game that got people playing. While 1.6 was the most competitive and popular, I have to give credit to Source for keeping everything solid about the original while updating the graphics and getting millions of Counter Strike players to adopt Steam before it was the juggernaut of sales and social gaming that it is today. Well that and Counter Strike is considered so balanced that to this day it is still played at The World Cyber Games.
5. Quake 2: While I personally enjoyed Quake 3 more and put far more hours into it, Quake 2 was far more influential, I mean what other games from the mid 1990s were so big that they spawned their own convention that still is going on today. Yes, Quake 2’s fast paced action was gamer’s first taste of this style of game in the online arena and they loved it.
4. Unreal Tournament 2004: What Quake did well Unreal Tournament took and added more modes, crazier weapons, and focused the action. The reason 2004 is the game on the list is because it is Unreal at its peak. The game had all the best maps of the past like Face Classic, while adding some new kickass maps such as Grassy Knoll. It had the old modes plus Onslaught and Assault. For the first time the game had vehicles. Unreal Tournament 2004 simply took all the best parts of the past Unreal games and put it into one. Also, Capture the Flag on Face Classic is still the best mode and map combo in a shooter ever besides possibly Capture the Flag and Blood Gulch from Halo.
3. Starcraft 2: Of course this one was going to make the list. Starcraft 2 is huge and easily the most balanced, most competitive RTS out there. Starcraft 2 is so big that it is South Korea’s national sport. The game is just perfectly balanced and there are so many different tactics you can use to win. Yes, the learning curve is steep, but Blizzard’s ranking system makes sure you are never set up in a match you don’t have a chance to win. Also 3v3 and 2v2 make for some hilarious moments.
2. Team Fortress 2: TF2 is basically an example of all that is good with PC gaming. Constant free updates ever since it’s launch, crazy fun mods, and balanced class based shooting. From day one the game has had constant updates to add balance, add more tactics to classes, or just add more crazy maps and modes. The game now has some RPG elements and maintains the same style from the 2007 release. The game has wildly expanded to being the premier team-based shooter. Also, hats they are awesome.
1. World of Warcraft: It really should be no surprise that this is the top multiplayer PC game. Not only is it the most popular online game on the planet with 10.2 million active subscribers. It has something for everyone for the person who enjoys adventuring with friends, the leveling experience, and questing. For the person who enjoys small-scale tactical fights, the arena. The person who is into large battles with two armies going at it, battlegrounds, for the ultimate co-op experience with 10-25 people there are raids. Warcraft has something for everyone and not only that; it is played by all demographics ranging from husbands and wives to sons and daughters. From the 30-year-old bartender who is my guild’s leader, to the 20-year-old college kid who heals our raids. That is why World of Warcraft is the #1 PC multiplayer game.