[Top 15] Most Played MMORPGs in the World

Most Played MMORPG World
MMORPG’s bring gamers together! This screenshot from Illidari_Kuvira on Reddit shows hundreds of players gathering after the conclusion to 2020’s Tournament of Ages, an annual player-led WoW roleplay event.

Ahh… the MMORPG. If you haven’t played any MMOs, then you have certainly heard of one. A genre that gamers everywhere have taken part of - infamous as much as it is famous - the MMORPG brings people of all walks of life under one digital roof. With the MMO, building and nurturing online communities became a simple matter of creating an account and rolling a character.

Nowadays, it seems like everyone and their mother is making an MMORPG. Stretching the technical definitions of each letter in the acronym to their limits, studios everywhere have attempted to carve their own legacy in the MMO space, to varying degrees of success. With so many communities to choose from across so many titles, the games below may be a good place to get your feet wet if you’re a new MMO gamer, or a veteran looking to dive headfirst into a new experience.

Each of the MMORPG’s below shine in their own ways, offering unique takes on a genre that has existed for almost thirty years. However, the one thing that they share is that they are loved and played religiously by dedicated communities that care for the life and health of the game- and they’re always looking for new party members!


15. Phantasy Star Online 2 - 2012 (PC, PS4, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S)

A player takes on a group of enemies solo in PSO2.

Phantasy Star Online 2: New Genesis Gameplay (Source: MMOBomb - YouTube) 

The first- but far from the only- free-to-play MMORPG on our list, Phantasy Star Online 2 has been seeing a surge in popularity since its English release in May of 2020. With the release of the game’s New Genesis update last year, PSO2 players were greeted with a refreshed look, revamped combat mechanics, and a new storyline to enjoy.

Set a thousand years after the events of PSO2, New Genesis follows a new generation of ARKS operatives as they fight alongside the enigmatic combatants known as the Meteorn (the players). Using the mysterious power of Photon, the Meteorn and their ARKS allies must defend the planet Halpha from threats new and old alike.

With a fast-paced action combat system, players can zip around enemies as they hail them with attacks as a variety of classes. New Genesis also offers a new crafting system, private player housing, an open world to explore, and extremely detailed character creation options.

Play Phantasy Star Online 2 if you like…

  • Fast and exciting action combat
  • Anime-inspired aesthetics
  • Easy-to-learn, hard-to-master gameplay mechanics

(Phantasy Star Online 2 has 2.2 thousand daily active players, and 4 million total players)


14. Wizard101 - 2008 (PC, Mac)

A young wizard attempts to cast a spell from the Star School during a duel.

Wizard101 Gameplay (Source: AwesomeTheSauce - YouTube)

Wizard101 chronicles the journey of a young Wizard attending Ravenwood School in Wizard City, where players must team up with a charming cast of magical characters to save the Spiral from evil.

The most unique aspect of Wizard101 is certainly its combat system. Instead of tab target, action combat, or hybrid, Wizard101 forsakes all of that and utilizes a card-based “duel” system. Players touch enemies in the overworld and begin a battle, which anyone - including other enemies - can join by walking into the duel circle that appears.

Taking the player across several worlds with inspiration from real-world locations, mythologies, and pop-culture, Wizard101 encourages players to make friends, join forces, collect and trade duel cards, decorate their own player housing, and explore every corner of the worlds that dot the Spiral.

Play Wizard101 if you like…

  • Card-based combat systems
  • Cartoony aesthetics
  • High magic, low stakes fantasy settings
  • Introducing fun and engaging online gaming to younger audiences

(Wizard101 has 15 thousand daily active players, and 4 million total players)


13. Albion Online - 2017 (PC, Mac, Linux, Android, iOS)

A warrior from the land of Albion celebrates the game’s third anniversary.

Albion Online Gameplay (Source: TheLazyPeon - YouTube)

Albion Online is an accessible, free-to-play MMORPG with a focus on creating an entirely player-led and player-driven experience. Players complete objectives and quests throughout the world of Albion to gain “fame”, which allows them to access new materials, weapons, armor, and more for their characters to interact with.

Featuring a “classless” leveling system, any player character can adopt any discipline they choose. This system of character progression is something many new MMORPGs are attempting to polish, determined to give players a totally open experience.

The world of Albion Online is run by the game’s communities. Nearly everything, from the first sword you craft to endgame Best-In-Slot equipment, is created by players. Coupled with an open world divided by full-loot PVP zones with vicious gankers and harrowing PVE content, Albion Online is certainly a challenging, yet rewarding, experience.

Play Albion Online if you like…

  • Player-driven game economies
  • Freeform character progression

(Albion Online has 100 thousand daily active players, and 5 million total players)


12. MapleStory - 2003 (PC)

MapleStory features a distinct chibi-inspired art style, as seen here in its character creator.

MapleStory Gameplay (Source: Lucky Ghost - YouTube)

Developed by Korean game developers Wizet, the free-to-play 2D side-scroller MapleStory has been a staple in the MMORPG genre for many years. Players take on the persona of a character in the “Maple World” undergoing quests and adventures to defeat monsters and hone their skills.

MapleStory strays from the typical 3D environments we are used to in the MMORPG space, instead adopting a distinct chibi art style that stands out vividly against the (usually) hardcore fantasy and science fiction settings that are so popular amongst contemporary MMOs. Players use mouse and keyboard controls to manipulate elements in the game world, such as items, non-player characters, and their own characters.

Some would call MapleStory a “cute” MMORPG. They would be right! MapleStory excels at introducing the MMORPG genre in a much less intense way, all while being absolutely adorable.

Play MapleStory if you like…

  • Low intensity gameplay
  • Cutesy visuals
  • Being a part of a dedicated gaming community

(MapleStory has 250 thousand daily active players, and 6 million total players)


11. EVE Online - 2003 (PC, Mac)

This image shows the fallout of “The Massacre at M2-XFE”, the largest and most destructive battle in video game history, which took place on EVE Online in December of 2020.

EVE Online Gameplay (Source: 3MGR - YouTube)

Hey you… yes, you! Do you like space?

EVE Online players certainly do, and they can’t get enough of it. Developed by Icelandic game developer CCP Games, EVE Online is perhaps the most impressive science-fiction project in all of media, period. A persistent world MMORPG with an absolutely mind-boggling 7,800 star systems for players to explore, the world that is EVE Online is known for its complexity and commitment to player-generated narratives- from the first starship to the last armada.

Throughout the history of the game, players have formed economic and political factions, and begun wars spanning entire star systems- such as the Bloodbath of B-R5RB and the Massacre at M2-XFE (pictured above)- all unscripted and purely driven by countless in-game interactions. This tension is further heightened when you factor in that EVE’s entirely player-driven economy can lead to real-world monetary damages- sometimes upwards of one million dollars.

EVE Online is unlike any other game- let alone MMORPG. If you are searching for a true Role-Playing Game to sink uncountable hours into, I struggle to think of a better candidate.

Play EVE Online if you like…

  • A gritty, grueling, and truly hardcore gaming experience
  • Commiting to the “RP” part of “RPG”
  • Really, really big spaceships fighting interstellar dogfights

(EVE Online has 400 thousand daily active players, and 9 million total players)


10. Star Wars: The Old Republic - 2011 (PC)

A group of SWTOR players battle the Trapjaw World Boss on Tatooine.

Star Wars: The Old Republic Gameplay (Source: Merlyn SWTOR - YouTube)

Star Wars: The Old Republic is an MMORPG set in the Star Wars universe developed by BioWare, the studio that gave us the Mass Effect and Dragon Age franchises. BioWare’s specialty has always been games that center complex characters in massive worlds. Anyone who has played a BioWare game knows that a lot of time is spent reading lore entries and character biographies - and SWTOR is no different- but it does it in the Star Wars way!

SWTOR does what few MMORPG’s are willing to do: refuse to forsake the narrative importance of why people would play any game set in the Star Wars universe (because it’s Star Wars, duh!) Player choices can permanently open or close storylines and possibly doom companion characters- no matter if they’re of the Sith Empire or the Galactic Republic.

Any Star Wars fan would be missing out on an enthralling story without trying SWTOR, and MMORPG enjoyers would also be missing out on a fantastic game with exciting combat, memorable environments, and a hot, delicious pile of lore.

Play Star Wars: The Old Republic if you like…

  • MMORPGs with strong narratives that value player choice
  • Science-fiction settings with large-scale cinematic experiences
  • Star Wars (seriously!)

(SWTOR has 115 thousand daily active players, and 12 million total players)


9. Black Desert Online - 2014 (PC, PS4, Xbox One, Android, iOS)

Adventurers prepare for their next quest in Black Desert Online.

Black Desert Online Gameplay - (Source: Force Gaming - YouTube)

Sporting a buy-once-play-forever model, Black Desert Online is an action combat MMORPG developed by Korean game developer Pearl Abyss.

BDO is most well-known for its incredibly advanced character customization and dynamic game world. Players have so many options when creating a character that, with enough patience, they can basically put themselves in the game. BDO’s living sandbox world has persistent day and night cycles and weather patterns that actually affect gameplay and available content for players to engage with.

BDO’s combo-based action combat system allows for lightning fast and satisfying encounters where players that master the abilities of their class feel truly powerful. Those searching for in-depth character progression with a focus on mastering combat, don’t shy away from BDO.

Play Black Desert Online if you like…

  • Spending hours upon hours on the character creation screen
  • MMORPGs with dynamic and ever-changing environments
  • Combo-based action combat systems with high skill ceilings

(Black Desert Online has 350 thousand daily active players, and 13 million total players)


8. New World - 2021 (PC)

The Sandwurm, a powerful World Boss in New World, roars menacingly.

New World Gameplay (Source: DukeSloth - YouTube)

Set in an alternate history setting during the Age of Exploration in the 17th century, New World is one of the newer (pun intended) MMORPGs to arrive on the scene. Despite an admittedly rough launch year, New World remains a well-liked title with a dedicated community of players promoting its health and longevity.

With an open-world loaded with enemies to fight, raw materials to gather, refine, and craft with, and a classless character progression system, New World’s players can affect the game world in myriad ways.

Some players may want to focus on PVP, building their factions up and dominating rival factions in Wars. Others may want to hone their crafting skills and provide the player-led economic support for their compatriots. PVE players can enjoy a challenging environment with fearsome World Bosses to defeat, such as the Sandwurm pictured above. No matter your preference, New World provides a little something for all types of players.

Play New World if you like…

  • Faction-based PVP with large-scale battles
  • MMORPGs that encourage lots of crafting and gathering
  • Experimenting with character builds in a classless leveling system

(New World has 170 thousand daily active players, and 15 million total players)


7. Lost Ark - 2019 (PC)

Official promotional art featuring a foe from Lost Ark’s Valtan Legion raid.

Lost Ark Gameplay (Source: TenTen - YouTube)

Lost Ark is a free-to-play, PVE-focused MMORPG. Players create a character in the land of Arkesia, a vast world with seven continents and hundreds of islands that they can explore, with the eventual goal of finding the “Lost Ark” to defend Arkesia against dark forces.

With Tripod Studio’s action-combat system, players can switch between different classes and playstyles, choosing their preferred mode of gameplay as they interact with other players and battle powerful enemies. Once players feel comfortable with a certain playstyle, they unlock more progression options that help hone their abilities even further. If the focus on PVE content isn’t your jam, Lost Ark has plenty of PVP elements to enjoy between endgame dungeons and raids.

Play Lost Ark if you like…

  • PVE gameplay focused on obtaining best-in-slot items through endgame content
  • Action RPGs with a top-down style, such as the Diablo and Torchlight franchises
  • Flashy class-fantasy-fulfilling combat

(Lost Ark has 600 thousand daily active players, and 15 million total players)


6. Destiny 2 - 2017 (PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S)

In Destiny 2’s latest expansion, Lightfall, players wield the power of Strand to harness mysterious new abilities.

Destiny 2 Gameplay (Source: Datto - YouTube)

The sequel to Bungie’s newest franchise, Destiny 2 is a science-fiction/fantasy FPS action MMORPG. Following the events of the first game, players choose a Guardian from one of three classes - Warlocks, Hunters, or Titans - and take to the stars to defend the last vestiges of humanity from extraterrestrial forces that would seek to annihilate it.

Destiny 2 writes its own formula, and shows up most uniquely in the MMO landscape. Players can band together and take on Strikes for god-smiting PVE content. Alternatively, if you’re trying to scratch that Halo itch, players can join the Crucible, where Guardians jump, blast, and slash away to test their mettle against each other in fun and exciting game modes. 

All of this comes with a compelling story filled with memorable characters and (sometimes) heartbreaking moments. Rise and shine, Guardians!

Play Destiny 2 if you like…

  • Highly mobile first-person-shooters with lots of verticality
  • A Universe-spanning storyline with science-fiction and fantastical thematic elements
  • Rootin’, tootin’, Big Freakin’ Gun totin’. In SPACE!

(Destiny 2 has 423 thousand daily active players, and 44 million total players)


5. Guild Wars 2 - 2012 (PC)

The Shadow Behemoth World Boss, one of the first World Bosses a new Guild Wars 2 player may encounter.

Guild Wars 2 Gameplay (Source: Waydot - YouTube)

We have now reached “The Big Five”. Colloquially referring to the five most prevalent, popular, and played MMORPGs, Guild Wars 2 is the first of these vaunted games presented on this list. The sequel to ArenaNet’s wildly successful multiplayer online action RPG Guild Wars, players return to the world of Tyria in Guild Wars 2 to wage war against the vile Elder Dragons that terrorize and subjugate its people.

Players can explore Tyria however they like. If they want to focus on mastering the game’s skill-based action combat, they can do so with a stunning variety of classes, each with their own unique specializations that change based on what weapons they wield. If they want to reveal the map, collect, or engage in story content, they may do so with freedom.

In August of this year, Guild Wars 2 released their latest expansion, Secrets of the Obscure, further expanding the story that ArenaNet has been building for a decade. If you’re looking for an MMORPG with an ocean of content to enjoy, then look no further than Guild Wars 2.

Play Guild Wars 2 if you like…

  • Gripping narrative design with dynamic, fully-voiced in-game cinematics
  • Extensive character progression and customization options
  • MMORPGs with welcoming, friendly communities that help you learn the game

(Guild Wars 2 has 400 thousand daily active players, and 18 million total players)


4. The Elder Scrolls Online - 2014 (PC, Mac, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S)

Players battle a construct-type enemy in The Elder Scrolls Online.

The Elder Scrolls Online Gameplay (Source: Trials & Dungeons - YouTube)

Zenimax Studios brings us back to Tamriel in The Elder Scrolls Online. Set during the Second Era in a parallel story to other beloved Elder Scrolls properties, players take part in world-shifting events as malevolent forces threaten Tamriel.

Belonging to one of three major factions, ESO players quest and enhance their abilities to aid in the constant struggle for the Ruby Throne. More often than not though, players band together in spite of faction allegiances when the going gets tough in PVE content featuring some of Tamriel’s fiercest and most iconic foes.

ESO is every Elder Scrolls fan’s dream. An ever expanding setting within a beloved universe ripe with mythos and lore, new and eerily familiar characters, and progression that allows for unique character builds, there’s a reason ESO is in The Big Five- and it’s not Skyrim clout!

Play The Elder Scrolls Online if you like…

  • Exploring vast game worlds with secrets around every corner
  • High-fantasy settings with high-octane gameplay 
  • Literally anything related to The Elder Scrolls franchise

(The Elder Scrolls has 150 thousand daily active players, and 23 million total players)


3. Old School RuneScape - 2013 (PC, Mac, Android, iOS)

This official key art for Old School RuneScape’s newest raid, the Tombs of Amascut, depicts a party of adventurers facing Ba-Ba, one of the raid's mighty bosses.

Old School RuneScape Gameplay (Source: Molgoatkirby - YouTube)

Put on your Blue partyhats and BLAST Sea Shanty 2, it’s time to talk about Old School RuneScape! Jagex raised 2007-era Gielinor from the dead in 2013- inviting players new and old to participate in the MMORPG sensation once again.

OSRS’ gameplay goes as such: Is [Insert Skill Here] at 99? No? Get cracking, then! OSRS has always been about making empty bars fill up fast. This deceptively simple gameplay opens the door for OSRS players to truly play the game however they wish.

Settled, an OSRS Ultimate Ironman player, is a prime example of this freedom. Their character Swampletics completed the games’ most difficult raid, the Theater of Blood, while locked into one of Gielinor’s most barren and challenging areas. Settled, along with millions of OSRS players, know what it means to push the boundaries of the games we love- all while connecting with others and building a lasting gaming community. 

Play Old School RuneScape if you like…

  • Classic, exceptionally grindy MMORPG gameplay
  • Community-driven updates with direct developer-community interaction

(Old School RuneScape has 1.7 million daily active players, and 42 million total players)


2. Final Fantasy XIV - 2013 (PC, Mac, PS4, PS5, Xbox Series X/S)

A group of Eorzean adventurers prepare to defeat the Ultima Weapon in Final Fantasy XIV.

Final Fantasy XIV Gameplay (Source: MTQCapture - YouTube)

“Hear… Feel… Think…”

These three words guide players in Square Enix’s critically acclaimed MMORPG Final Fantasy XIV, where they take on the mantle of the Warrior of Light to defend the people of Eorzea from the forces of darkness. Personally, this is my favorite and most played MMORPG. Since its re-launch in 2014, I’ve played over a thousand hours- here’s why: FFXIV’s greatest strengths are easily its unparalleled story, and its dedication to creating an accessible and wildly fun MMORPG experience. 

Whether crafting, leveling, engaging in some of the most challenging endgame content in any MMO, or simply spamming emotes in Limsa, Square Enix is committed to making sure that anyone who picks the game up has a fulfilling time doing so. The game’s narrative design and exceptional writing has drawn many tears from me as well. All this, while being true to its philosophy: FFXIV is a Final Fantasy game first, and an MMORPG second. Try it, Kupo!

Play Final Fantasy XIV if you like…

  • Games that tell emotional stories with stellar writing and unforgettable characters
  • A theme-park style game world with so much content to engage with
  • The Final Fantasy franchise (it’s like a massive crossover episode!)

(Final Fantasy XIV has 1.2 million daily active players, and 46 million total players)


1. World of Warcraft - 2004 (PC, Mac)

Enemies prepare to guard against encroaching adventurers in this official promotional art for the World of Warcraft: Dragonflight expansion’s final raid - Amirdrassil: The Dream’s Hope.

World of Warcraft Gameplay (Source: Hazelnuttygames - YouTube)

Here, at the top of our list, is Blizzard’s World of Warcraft. Who else were you expecting? Since its inception in 2004, World of Warcraft has consistently set the bar for other MMO hopefuls, so much so that the term “WoW Clone” has been used to refer to MMORPG’s that draw a few too many similarities to the online gaming giant to help them stand apart from others. 

World of Warcraft, for better or worse, is regarded as the arbiter of MMORPG longevity. WoW’s formula for methodical progression and player-led gameplay might be why. Before the advent of intense endgame raiding, the first WoW players told their own stories and drew their own lines in the sands of Azeroth. WoW was the first game that allowed for its players to carve their legend into the game world through their own exploits. Though much has changed for the game, one thing hasn’t- World of Warcraft is the undisputed King of The Big Five.

Play World of Warcraft if you like…

  • An immense world with rich history to adventure in
  • Highly rewarding endgame content through the Heroic and Mythic systems
  • The tragic narrative that Blizzard began with their Warcraft series

(World of Warcraft has 2.2 million daily active players, and 130 million total players)



There are so many MMORPGs out there. This list only covers a handful of the most well known and well-played as of the time of writing. My hope is that you’ve learned a bit enough about a game on this list to give it a shot (I definitely added more than one to my playlist!)

If you want to read more about MMORPGs and MMO culture, check out these articles from Gamer’s Decide!

(Player counts of each game in this list are a generalization of data sourced from MMO Populations and MMO Stats)

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I take this "life" thing kind of seriously, and there is no life more vibrant than within a story. Gaming is the only medium that melds the arts and senses to tell one story. I want to see them all.
Gamer Since: 2002
Favorite Genre: RPG
Currently Playing: Baldur's Gate 3
Top 3 Favorite Games:The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim - Dragonborn, Final Fantasy XIV: Heavensward, Dragon Age: Inquisition

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