MMORPGs have been around since the '90s, and this has gone on to become one of the most popular genres in the video game industry, pulling in hundreds of millions each year. Since that time, the genre has exploded with numerous titles that delve into the realm of fantasy, science fiction, horror, and much more.
While some of the older games have gone dark over the years, there are many classic titles still available to play. While new titles and their servers go online each and every year, not all are created the same. These are the best games available to play right now!
Runescape originally debuted back in January 2001 and continues to be available for play to this day with standards updates and a dedicated server. There have been more than 200 million active accounts made for the game, which is continued to be updated and maintained by its developer, Jagex.
Runescape is one of the oldest games on this list, but that doesn't make it any less playable and fun. It remains free-to-play, and due to its current version, it is sometimes referred to as Runescape 3. The game was recognized as the Guinness World Record holder for the world's largest and most-updated free-to-play MMORPG.
Neverwinter holds the distinction as being the first location to ever host a graphical MMORPG via Neverwinter Nights on AOL from 1991 to 1997. It is a well-known city-state from the Forgotten Realms campaign in Dungeons & Dragons, but more than that, it has been expanded into its own MMORPG by Cryptic Studios.
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Neverwinter is a standalone MMORPG, which doesn't fall within the Neverwinter Nights series, and stands on its own as a fun and exciting game. Numerous titles out there take a lot of inspiration from D&D, but Neverwinter comes straight from the original role-playing game itself, which makes this one of the best options for fantasy players.
Aion: The Tower of Eternity is a Korean fantasy MMORPG that intertwines both Player vs. Environment (PvE) and Player vs. Player (PvP) into a single cohesive and captivating experience. The game debuted back in 2009 and continues to maintain a large following in and outside of Asia with the majority of players operating out of South Korea.
Since Aion was released, it was expanded multiple times and maintains an average player base of around 3.5 million active subscribers. Part of the game's draw is its rich backstory, and the way players are able to engage with or against one another in an ever-changing environment.
7 EVE ONLINE
Eve Online is an MMORPG set in space requiring players to take on various roles related to the environment. A player can pick up jobs in mining, exploration, manufacturing, trading, and even piracy if that life should interest them. The game world is large and encompasses 7,800 star systems players can visit.
There is a lot to do in Eve Online with a great deal of time and money having been put into its development. A single battle called The Bloodbath of B-R5RB took 21 full hours to complete and involved thousands of different players in a single star system. The game actively has around 500,000 subscribers.
6 STAR WARS: THE OLD REPUBLIC
Sooner or later, Star Wars was going to be made into an MMORPG, with that honor going to BioWare back in 2011. The game features the Star Wars universe on the verge of galactic conflict as the Sith Empire has arisen from the ashes to confront the Galactic Republic.
Players can take on any of eight different classes for either the Republic or the Sith. A morality scale will track the player's advancement into the light or dark side of the Force, which helps to advance gameplay in a number of ways. There have been numerous expansions packs and updates since the game debuted, and remains incredibly popular with fans.
Rift was developed by Trion Worlds as a free-to-play MMORPG set in a fantasy realm, pitting two factions against one another as the enemies from the "rifts" emerge to challenge them all. Players can build their character from a variety of fantasy races and customize them in just about any way they like.
Rift initially launched as free-to-play, but in 2018, the game was retooled with a progressive server called Rift Prime. To play on this server, players have to cough up a modest subscription fee but are given access to sequential expansions, cosmetic shops, and a fresh start for their characters.
4 ELDER SCROLLS ONLINE
Elder Scrolls Online is an MMORPG developed by ZeniMax Online Studios and Bethesda Softworks as a part of the Elder Scrolls series. The game is the first outing in the MMORPG genre for the franchise, though it is set within the same universe on the continent of Tamriel with a storyline that fits indirectly with other Elder Scrolls games.
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The game initially launched with a monthly subscription model but shifted to a buy-to-play game with microtransactions and an optional subscription. The game continues to pull in players worldwide and boasts an active player base of approximately 2.5 million with 10 million known subscribers since the game's release.
3 FINAL FANTASY 14: A REALM REBORN
Traditionally, games in the Final Fantasy franchise were single-player, but Final Fantasy XIV was released in 2013 as an MMORPG by Square Enix. The game was actually released as Final Fantasy 14: A Realm Reborn to replace the original FF14 game, which was released to devastatingly negative reviews.
The new title came out to a much more positive reception from players and critics and continues to pull in users. It features a completely new game engine, improved server, and reworked gameplay. There have been more than 14 million registered players, and the game has been updated and expanded numerous times to the delight of millions of people.
2 GUILD WARS 2
Guild Wars 2 follows its predecessor as an MMORPG set within the fantasy world of Tyria. Since the time of the first game, the land has been overrun by a race of Elder Dragons. Unlike other games in the genre, Guild Wars 2 boasts a persistent world that progresses the story via instanced environments.
This enables players to approach quests in a more dynamic and engaging manner, which is similar to how games progress in single-player role-playing games. Since it was released n 2012, the game has sold more than 5 million copies and transitioned into a free-to-play model in 2015.
1 WORLD OF WARCRAFT
It may not be the first game to gain popularity in the genre, but World of Warcraft has certainly gone on to become the most well known and popular MMORPG game ever made. Thanks to a huge player-base, the game has been continuously upgraded, modified, and expanded upon since it was first released in 2004.
The game has permeated pop culture in and outside of the video game industry and boasts a player count of around 100 million people. Since the game was first released, it has grossed more than $9 billion in total revenue and continues to dominate the market as well as the genre of MMORPGs itself.