A good MMORPG has a way of drawing us into a fantasy world and never really letting go. They’re designed to be played indefinitely, with a steady drip of dopamine-infused player progression and regular content updates there to keep us invested.
With MMORPGs being such a time-sink, nobody wants to fall in love with an unpopular one, only to find that there’s no players to interact or enjoy group content with. Similarly, a low-population MMORPG might mean the game is coming to the end of its life cycle.
If you’re in search of a new MMORPG to call home, worry not. We’ve put together a list of the 10 most popular MMORPGs right now, which we guarantee are bustling with other players and aren’t going away anytime soon.
In no particular order, let’s jump in.
World of Warcraft
This MMORPG needs no introduction. World of Warcraft has been the King of MMOs since 2004, and while other games have fought for its crown in recent years, WoW is still one of the most popular MMOs right now.
WoW’s latest expansion, Dragonflight, has been received well, with many players seeing the expansion as a return to form after several years of not-so-great expansions.
Also Read: All WoW Expansions in Order
In Dragonflight, Blizzard have made a conscious effort to bring WoW a little closer to its roots, reflected by the wide open, high fantasy setting of the Dragon Isles.
Players jumping into WoW for the first (or tenth) time will also be able to enjoy revamped talents and professions, a new Evoker class and Dracthyr race, a new way to explore the world through Dragon Riding, and much more.
World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King Classic
Players looking for an MMORPG dipped in nostalgia and oldschool gameplay need look no further than Wrath of the Lich King Classic.
These officially run legacy servers aim to recapture the most successful period in WoW’s history, as players once again travel to the frozen wastelands of Northrend to put an end to The Lich King and his undead army of Scourge.
Also Read: Best WoW Addons Right Now
Despite this era of WoW being almost fifteen years old, Wrath Classic is one of the most popular MMORPGs right now.
For many, this is WoW in its prime, a period in the game’s history that improved upon some archaic design choices and rough class balancing that haunted Vanilla and TBC, while still retaining some social and RPG elements that the current iteration of WoW lost along the way.
Guild Wars 2
Guild Wars 2 does away with many of the traditional MMO trappings. While it still looks, plays, and feels like an MMORPG, you’re not going to find a monthly subscription fee here, nor an eternal gear grind or traditional class trinity of Tank, Healer, and DPS.
Rather than a traditional questing system, Guild Wars 2 uses dynamic quests, world events, collectables and a host of other activities to provide XP to the player. It’s incredibly addictive to explore each of the game’s enormous maps in the pursuit of map completion, all while being rewarded for your efforts.
Rather than traditional patches, Guild Wars 2 has ‘Living World’ seasons, where existing areas of the worlds are transformed with new stories, quests, and events. There’s also World vs World PvP, an incredible mount system, horizontal progression systems and multiple expansions to explore, and much more.
Guild Wars 2 does things its own way, and it’s for this reason that it’s one of the most popular MMORPGs right now.
Final Fantasy 14
Final Fantasy’ combination of fantastic story, awe-inspiring worldbuilding, and the gigantic amount of content it has to offer are just a few of the reasons why it’s one of the most popular MMORPGs right now.
Unlike many MMORPGs on this list, FF14 manages to strike an impressive balance between presenting an incredible ongoing story while refusing to compromise on the things that MMO players have come to expect, such as dungeons, raids, open world activities, and more.
Also Read: All Final Fantasy 14 Expansions In Order
If you’re stepping into FF14 for the first time, you have hundreds of hours of high quality story that features great voice acting, intense cutscenes, and action-packed gameplay. That’s hundreds of hours of content without even touching the traditional ‘MMO stuff’, which can keep you busy for thousands of more hours.
If you’re looking for a fantasy world to truly get lost in, Eorzia might be for you.
Old School Runescape
Old School Runescape is a version of the popular MMORPG ‘Runescape’ that aims to recapture the spirit of the game as it was in 2007. Runescape was hugely popular in the mid 2000s, but a number of unpopular updates drove players away.
So, in 2013, developers Jagex released Old School Runescape, which brought back the graphics, gameplay, and world as it existed in 2007, in the height of the game’s popularity. A wide decision, as it’s now one of the most popular MMORPGs on the market.
While it might feel old now, to many players, that’s part of the charm. Furthermore, OSRS’s gameplay is timeless, helped by the fact that there’s simply no other MMORPG quite like it. Name another game where you can literally sink hundreds of hours into woodcutting.
With multiple combat, gathering, and crafting skills to level, as well as epic, multi-step quests, fun minigames, full-risk PvP and extremely challenging PvE encounters, you can easily make OSRS a second job, although we wouldn’t recommend it.
The modern day Runescape is very different to the old school iteration from 15 years ago. While it shares much of the same DNA, 2023 Runescape, or ‘Runescape 3’ as it’s widely referred to, has received many graphical, gameplay, and quality of life updates that have aimed to appeal to a wider, more modern audience.
Runescape 3 is still a fantastic MMORPG, and remains one of the most popular MMORPGs right now. While it doesn’t have the largest world or the best graphics, the world is packed full of diverse biomes and rich detail, and the highly stylised graphics are still great on the eye.
You’ll find many of the same skills in Runescape 3 as you do in old school, however they’re much quicker to level, and there’s more ways to level them. There’s also skills that aren’t there in the old school version, such as invention and divination.
If you want a more casual-friendly, accessible version of Runescape, RS3 is the way to go.
Elder Scrolls Online
The Elder Scrolls as a franchise isn’t exactly the new kid on the block, but that’s why the world of Tamriel makes such an incredible setting for an MMO. The developers have literally thousands of years of lore to pull from, in addition multiple established races, regions, cultures, and more.
If you’re a fan of the Elder Scrolls series and have somehow not played Elder Scrolls Online yet, you’re in for a treat. Few game worlds are as immersive as Tamriel, which is brought to life by fully voice acted quests, a beautiful musical score, detailed, diverse regions, and great writing.
ESO is an MMORPG that’s best to be enjoyed slowly, akin to a more traditional RPG. And while there’s many of the traditional MMO goodies to be found here, such as dungeons and raids, gear grinding, PvP and crafting, ESO is at its best when you’re questing through and exploring the beautiful world.
A first glance at Lost Ark might make you think it’s a MOBA. Don’t let its top-down, MOBA-style combat fool you though; Lost Ark is an MMORPG in every sense of the word.
First released in South Korea in 2019, Amazon bought Lost Ark to the west in 2022, where it immediately enjoyed enormous success.
Lost Ark stands out as one of the more polished MMORPGs on this list, with beautiful, high-budget visuals, silky smooth and impactful action combat, and challenging endgame content.
The endgame raids are not only some of the most intense and demanding encounters in the genre, but also some of the most unique, both mechanically and aesthetically.
If you’re looking for an MMORPG that puts gameplay first before all else, Lost Ark might be the best MMORPG for you, just as long as you’re up for the grind.
Amazon doesn’t exactly have the best history when it comes to video game development. The company’s first major foray into video game development, an arena shooter called Crucible, was cancelled during beta.
And while New World received a somewhat mixed reception up release, a constant barrage of updates has vastly improved player sentiment, making it one of the most popular MMORPGs right now.
Set during the 17th century on a fictional Atlantic island called Aeternum, New World tasks the player with settling on the island, gathering resources, fighting other players for control of territory, and facing off against paranormal threats.
Unlike many MMOs, New World features a classless system. Many of the abilities players learn are based on the weapon they’re wielding, which can be switched and levelled as players see fit. Weapons included the standard fayre of bows, swords, shields and axes, as well as non-typical MMO weapons such as blunderbusses, muskets, and magical gauntlets.
Black Desert Online
Black Desert is widely considered to be one of the most addictive MMOs on the market. For this reason, Black Desert remains one of the most popular MMORPGs right now, almost 10 years after release.
Black Desert is one of the best looking games on this list, whether it’s the large, colourful, and diverse open world, silky smooth animations, or gorgeous combat abilities. Speaking of combat, it’s in this department where Black Desert really shines, with multiple classes, builds, and play styles to try and master.
It’s a good job combat is so good, as you’ll be doing a lot of it. Whether you’re questing to max level or progressing for endgame gear, Black Desert really is all about the combat grind, where the amount of enemies you can take on at once is the true test between beginner and veteran, and determines how fast you’ll progress.
One point of contention for Black Desert is the monetization, which can have a significant impact on player power due to the way the RNG gearing system works. If, understandably, you can’t overlook great games due to P2W elements, you may wish to avoid this one.
What other popular MMORPGs are there right now?
While we’ve listed the vast majority of the most popular MMORPGs available today, there’s dozens more hugely popular online games that we didn’t have time to mention. What MMORPG are you playing right now?