The 10 Most Played MMORPGs in 2021 - What MMOs Should You be Playing?
Finding the right MMORPG can be difficult. Often, you’ll make your way into the game only to find it a barren wasteland void of any life. Sure, you might find the odd monster here or there, but players have mostly given up on it, leaving you with nothing to do other than pass it over as well. That’s why we’re here today: to bring to your attention the 10 most played MMORPGs currently in 2021. 10 MMORPGs that show no signs of closing down any time in the immediate future.
Star Wars The Old Republic
Star Wars The Old Republic is a free-to-play tab-target MMORPG set in the popular, ever-growing Star Wars universe. The game utilizes a tab-target combat system, features a large world to explore, has plenty of different classes to choose between and offers players a very narrative-driven experience that isn’t traditionally found within the MMO genre. Ever since launching onto Steam last year the game has seen a spike in player population numbering in the tens of thousands of active players monthly.
Phantasy Star Online 2
Phantasy Star Online 2 is a free-to-play hub-based action MMORPG set in a futuristic Anime universe. The game utilizes a very fast, very fluid action combat system, features a large world – albeit filled with instanced zones to explore, has plenty of different classes to choose between and offers players a lot of freedom to run the game how they want to – providing an experience that is above and beyond the vast majority of its competition. PSO2 launched onto Steam after being a Microsoft Store exclusive and saw a substantial increase in active player participation, numbering in the high tens of thousands.
Albion Online is a free-to-play MMORPG set in a large, expansive open-world. The game utilizes an interesting type of combat, blending point and click with click-to-attack making for slower, but no less than enjoyable combat, featuring a large sandbox world to explore, providing what seems like endless possibilities to explore, has a variety of different classes and professions to choose between and offers players more freedom than almost any other MMO in the genre – providing an experience unlike any other. The developers behind the game have confirmed hundreds of thousands of active players monthly.
Black Desert Online
Black Desert Online is a buy-to-play MMORPG set in one of the largest sandbox worlds the MMO genre has to offer. The game is arguably one of the best action MMOs out there, providing one of the fastest, smoothest, most complex action combat systems in the entire genre. There is endless content to explore out in the world as the game features a full sandbox map to explore, has a plethora of classes – with new classes being added every few months, quite the selection of life skills and professions, and generally offers players so much to do that they’ll often find themselves wondering what they should be doing. BDO has hundreds of thousands of monthly active players.
Guild Wars 2
Guild Wars 2 is a free-to-play MMORPG with paid expansions, set in a large – albeit segregated world, with zones split between specific level ranges that, interestingly enough, syncs you down to the level of the zone you’re currently in, providing a unique type of gameplay that prevents power creeping. Combat is a very interesting blend of action combat with a small bit of tab-target thrown in there to keep things spicy, features plenty of classes, professions, and generally offers one of the most unique questing systems you’ll find in the genre. There are currently several hundred thousand active players still logging in monthly to GW2.
The Elder Scrolls Online
The Elder Scrolls Online is a buy-to-play MMORPG with paid expansions, set in a large – yet segregated world, much like Guild Wars 2, featuring zones (that are quite large, admittedly,) that each have their own lore and story associated with them. This promotes a sense of unique personality for each zone. There are plenty of classes to choose from, yet at the same time you’re not locked into playing a specific way, instead, you’re given the freedom to equip any weapon you want and spec into any stat or skill you feel you want to to make something that is unlike any other player in the game. ESO has several hundred thousand active players per month still logging in to play.
RuneScape is a free-to-play MMORPG with what is probably one of the largest worlds you’ll find in an MMO, and it stands to reason as to why this is: The game is decades old, with more content released than any other game in existence. While there are two separate incarnations of RuneScape (both OldSchool and current,) each has their own playerbase, their own content, and play roughly the same way. Although they do utilize different graphics engines. While RuneScape definitely looks dated, it’s worth noting that it’s more complete, and more freeing in terms of what you’re capable of doing than almost any other MMO. RuneScape averages hundreds of thousands of active players per month, more if you count the bots that plague the game.
Destiny 2 is a free-to-play MMORPG with paid expansions, set in a large, segregated world. Unlike most MMOs that are traditionally 3rd-person and follow a specific formula, Destiny 2 is much more of an action looter-shooter, than anything. There aren’t many classes to choose between, and the way you explore the world, the customization and control you have over your character – everything seems so different to the typical MMO – but this is where its charm comes in, garnering hundreds of thousands of active players per month.
Final Fantasy XIV
Final Fantasy XIV is a pay-to-play MMORPG – one of the few MMOs left capable of charging its playerbase a monthly fee that also has paid expansions. The game is set in an incredibly large segregated world, providing expansive areas to explore either by land or air, with unique story interwoven into each and every zone you progress through. There are an astonishingly large number of classes to choose from with new classes being added every expansion, and provides players one of the best class-systems in any MMO, giving you the option of playing every class on a single character, and changing class at any given time. The game utilizes a tab-target combat system and provides a lot of freedom to play what you want, and averages several hundred thousand players playing monthly – more than almost any other MMO other than World of Warcraft.
World of Warcraft
World of Warcraft has been the “King of MMOs” for going on 15 years now, and year after year manages to somehow retain the title, regardless of other MMOs’ growth. This is one of the very few MMOs capable of charging players to play monthly (as it employs a pay-to-play subscription fee,) with paid expansions, much like Final Fantasy XIV. WoW has the best tab-target combat system you’ll come across in an MMO – it’s fast, it’s smooth and it’s very fluid, something that the majority of tab-target MMOs seem to fail to grasp. It is also one of the largest MMOs in terms of geographical size, featuring more continents than I’ve seen before, each providing large open areas to explore without loading screens (with the exception of changing continents.) WoW (with the recent Shadowlands launch) averages several million active players playing per month.