Top MMORPG(s) in the last year… we think!

Do you enjoy playing in a team instead of alone?

Do you want to be thrown into a complex fictional world where science fiction and fantasy govern the laws of nature instead of boring old physics?

Do you enjoy joining alliances with other people only to watch people end up backstabbing each other in increasingly desperate bids for power?

If yes, then you might like Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Games (MMORPGs).

Source: PCGamesN

Unlike normal video games, MMORPGs are played online. These games don’t end but evolve constantly as developers release new storylines, characters, and locations on the regular for you to explore.

Unlike simple video games, MMORPGs have their own cultures, economies, and power structures. These litter a fictional game realm where you join other people in real-time to survive and find meaning in a greater world.

These games have sprawling, vast worlds for you to explore, and are filled with millions of other people living their avatars online. You have quests to accomplish, monsters to defeat, storylines to live through, and thousands of communities where you can find friends to play with. You use your skills to farm money, trade with other players, and even influence markets and claim territory.

The MMORPG genre is over 30 years old, and once had just a handful of games to play through. Now, you can log into hundreds of MMORPGs that are hosted across servers all over the world.

This article won’t look at every single MMORPG out there but will focus on the five most popular games as of 2021 and still going today.

Let’s get started…

1. World Of Warcraft

Source: Blizzard

Total player count: 116,773,002

Platforms: Windows PC/ MacOS

Developer: Blizzard

World of Warcraft (WoW) is as synonymous with MMORPGs as FaceBook is for social media. WoW takes place in the fictional realm of Azeroth, which was based on the world created in Warcraft III: The Frozen Throne.

WoW has been active for more than 20 years now. It features endless quests, a thriving player versus player scene, and a deep, complex lore that could fill the pages of several books.

It’s one of the most beginner-friendly games on the market right now, and it’s fine-tuned for veterans and beginners alike. The simple, cartoonish artwork makes it a joy to experience. This might be why it’s been a major commercial and critical success, grossing over $9.23 billion in revenue so far.

You enter the realm of Azeroth by choosing between one of two enemy factions: The Alliance and the Horde. You have plenty of jobs, characters, and races to choose from, including humans. 

As a player, you’re encouraged to find your place in the community quickly. This is so you can become part of the economy and grow strong enough to fight off monsters and other players in combat.

You’ll require serious dedication if you want to see everything WoW offers since you can easily spend over 500 hours and still not experience everything the game offers.

WoW is so popular, it’s practically a part of pop culture by now. You can see artists and storytellers incorporating it into their works to acknowledge the mark it has made in gaming culture all over the world. It might even be the best MMORPG out there.

2. Destiny 2

Source: Polygon

Total player count: 38,408,516

Platforms: Xbox One, PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox Series S|X, PlayStation 5

Developer/Publisher: Bungie

Destiny 2 is a free-to-play first-person shooter that’s perfect for anyone looking to go on a shooting frenzy. It features a huge shared world environment, with bits and pieces of RPG elements. 

You enter a mystical science fiction realm with a world on its last legs. You play as a Guardian, one of the protectors of the last remaining cities on earth. Wielding the power of the Light, you must fight different alien races hell-bent on destroying the world and bring peace to your people.

Destiny 2 is widely acknowledged as one of the best first-person shooters of all time. It features incredibly sharp gun-play along with augmented magical powers that make taking out enemies endlessly fun and entertaining.

And what about content? Bungie, the developer, regularly releases additional story content by the way of patches, and is especially deep on world-building and lore. 

Destiny 2 has won numerous awards, including Best PC Game in 2017, along with Best Art Direction, Best Music, and Best Multiplayer.

Despite its staggering amount of content, the best days of Destiny 2 still lie ahead. So new players are well-advised to pick up the game now if they’re in the mood for some serious alien killing action.

3. Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn

Source: FF

Total player count: 36,387,214

Platforms: PlayStation 3, macOS, PlayStation 4, PC

Developer/Publisher: Square Enix

Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn is an MMORPG that’s based on one of the most beloved and recognizable game brands of all time: Final Fantasy.

FFXIV has an interesting story behind its development. It was initially launched in 2012 to serious criticism and disappointed fans. The game was then taken offline, only for the developers to incorporate fan feedback into the game and they built it from the ground up and relaunched it to critical success.

If you want a game with developers that seriously listen to their audience and treasure feedback, then look no further than FFXIV.

The game takes place in the fictional realm of Eorzea, when the king of all dragons, Bahamut, escapes from its Lunar Prison only to initiate the Seventh Umbral Calamity. This is an apocalyptic event that destroys the world. 

As the player character, you escape this devastation by time traveling to the future. You help the world rebuild and recover in the future while fighting off enemy empires at the same time.

FFXIV has incredibly dense world-building, as is typical for a Final Fantasy game. And other anime MMORPG. But it has something few other games do: Music that’s composed by the legendary Nobuo Uematsu. This is the man who’s widely recognized as one of the greatest composers who ever lived.

FFXIV constantly hits the top of the charts for best game of the year lists across dozens of magazines. So whether you’re an old fan of Final Fantasy, or a new player, you know you’re in for a treat.

4. Old School Runescape

Source: PC Gamer

Total player count: 33,595,862

Platforms: Android, PC, iOS

Developer/Publisher: Jagex

Runescape was one of the earliest and most popular MMORPGs to hit the market. It was all anyone talked about in the 2000s, along with Ultima Online. 

It went on to amass a huge player base and evolve, with several patches and reworks that changed how the game looked and played completely. Jagex also revealed plans to make it a VR MMORPG.

However, fans demanded the traditional Runescape experience, and Old School Runescape was born as a result. 

If you log into Old School Runescape, you might wonder why it’s even popular today for a moment. The graphics are extremely dated by 2022 standards. The gameplay and mechanics leave something to be desired. 

But it has a simple, timeless charm that’s impossible to defeat. This is the perfect MMORPG for players looking for a nostalgic blast to the past, and it’s accessible to more players because of the very low demands it places on your computer. So if you have an outdated computer, Old School Runescape can still give you a solid and entertaining MMO experience in 2022.

One of the reasons why Old School Runescape can’t be beat is its lack of micro-transactions. Everything is available from the get-go, no additional purchases or DLCs required, which is something of a rarity in 2022.

The game takes place in the realm of Gielinor, a planet filled with tons of different climates and kingdoms that are inhabited by vampires, humans, elves, monkeys, dwarves, fairies, goblins, trolls, and ogres.

As the player, you engage with the world in a simple point and click interface, which is perfect for new players just getting into the MMORPG genre.

5. The Elder Scrolls Online

Source: PC Gamer

Total player count: 20,248,535

Platforms: Microsoft Windows, macOS, PS4, PS5, XBox One, Stadia

Developer/Publisher: ZeniMax Online Studios

The Elder Scrolls is one of the most popular and longest series running, so it was only a matter of time before it was turned into an MMORPG.

This is easily one of the most solo-friendly experiences out of any MMORPG. There’s tons of content around just questing and dungeon delving. You can play this MMORPG without needing to talk to other players much. And if you do, you have plenty of player versus player and raid events to participate in.

The Elder Scrolls takes place in the realm of Tamriel, where the fate of the world hangs in the balance. There’s a terrific struggle against the Daedric Prince Molag Bal, who is attempting to meld the plane with his own realm, Coldharbour.

There’s a single empty throne, and three factions fighting over it.

You play as one of them. Your main goal as the player is to recover your soul, which has been sacrificed to Molag Bal. You then take part in the greater storyline where good and evil clash and the fate of the world hangs in the balance.

Hopefully, the small snippets above have given you a little nudge into the MMORPG scene, and who knows, your character might be bumping into one of the team soon!

Featured Image Credit: PC Gamer

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