Science fiction is a natural fit for a roleplaying game, and, although medieval fantasy still has the largest draw, there has been a steady increase in the number of MMORPGs with a sci-fi setting. If laser-beam toting superheroes are more your style than elves and dwarves, these science fiction MMORPGs feature persistent worlds full of high-tech weaponry, spaceships, and belligerent aliens. The list is based in part on your feedback, so I'm always open to suggestions.
1. Eve Online
Eve opens up a massive online universe in which your spaceship is your best friend. You can mine, battle pirates, be a pirate, or aspire to greatness within the game's corporate structure. This title has seen steady improvements over the years which have pulled in a lot of new players, and the economic component is unsurpassed. Note that the skill system is time-based rather than deeds-based, which is a major departure from most RPGs. It isn't for everyone, but there's nothing else quite like it.
This superhero MMORPG from Sony Online Entertainment lets you fight alongside a variety of popular characters created by DC Comics over the years, like Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman. Although the action-oriented and combination-dependent combat is a good fit for the PS3 version, it may come across as a little too simplistic for the PC crowd. Set in Gotham City and Metropolis, DC Universe Online offers impressive graphics and a physics let you use objects in the world as weapons. Despite having some shortcomings on the PC, there is definitely fun to be had here for fans of DC heroes and villains.
Cryptic has had considerable success adapting the genre to a superhero theme, and Champions Online is their second such MMORPG. Based very loosely on the universe of the classic table-top RPG, Champions Online offers fast-paced combat, customizable hero powers, and one of the most detailed character creation systems yet. You even get to play a part in designing your archenemy. Champions Online is now F2P, so you can satisfy your urge to become a superhero at no charge.
Once two games, the original City of Heroes and the follow-up, City of Villains are now available as a single package, and like many other aging MMORPGs, City of Heroes is going F2P. Although relatively simple for a game of this kind, it has a low learning curve, a fast pace, outstanding character creation, and it's a refreshing change for anyone who is weary of medieval fantasy settings. Become a super hero in Paragon City, or pursue the life of a master criminal on the nefarious Rogue Isles. The graphics are a little behind the times, but the game now has tools that let players create and share their own missions.
5. Fallen Earth
Fallen Earth is a post-apocalyptic MMORPG set in the Grand Canyon in the year 2156, and features shooter-like combat mechanics along with classless advancement. Humankind is struggling to survive in a world plagued with mutated beasts, gangs of raiders, and factional warfare. The game has an extensive crafting system which lets you salvage components and build top-quality gear. Fallen Earth was acquired by GamersFirst in 2011 and has since been added to their large stable of F2P offerings.
Battle other players or mutant monsters with a wide variety of high-tech weaponry in this futuristic RPG. Characters have a lot of flexibility and advance based more on which skills they choose than what class they are. It offers an interesting combination of socializing, customizable missions, and player on player combat. The graphics are getting dated, but the basic version can now be downloaded and played free of charge.