MMORPGs (massively multiplayer online role-playing games) are a genre of video games that include classic role-playing elements in an online multiplayer setting. They allow players to team up, take on quests together in a PvE setting, or participate in PvP activities.
MMORPGs are some of the most popular titles that users enjoy getting into in 2022, as they offer a wide range of activities. Set in vast, expansive, and persistent game worlds, which are also constantly updated with new content, gamers can see and meet other characters physically on the map.
Existing since the early 90s, MMORPGs have seen large-scale success in the video game industry and come as either free titles or full-priced games.
Note: This article reflects the writer's opinions.
Ten MMORPGs that players should try out in 2022
Runescape is a fantasy MMORPG that has been developed and published by Jagex. First released in January 2001, it is an iconic title in the genre
and is recognized by Guinness World Records as the largest and most updated free MMORPG.
The game takes place in the medieval fantasy realm of Gielinor, which is divided into kingdoms, regions, and cities. Once players have created a custom avatar, they can travel across this fantasy world and follow their goals, as the title does not feature any linear story.
The open-ended nature of the MMORPG means that users are free to go about their world according to their wants and needs, offering a sim-like environment.
New quests and events are introduced on an almost weekly basis, which serves to keep active gamers immersed in content while offering newcomers a host of different adventures to undertake.
Obsidian Entertainment collaborated with Russian developer Allods Team to release Skyforge. This MMORPG fuses science-fiction and fantasy elements, with the game set on the planet Aelion.
Initially released for Microsoft Windows in July 2015, the title's success saw it being ported to PlayStation 4 and Xbox One in 2017 and for the Nintendo Switch in 2021.
Skyforge includes a unique class system that allows players to switch to any class they have unlocked at a moment's notice. This offers tremendous flexibility to their playstyle, an aspect not often seen in many MMORPGs. It also gives users a chance to experiment with different types of gameplay.
The world of Aelion is also a varied environment and offers excellent views. Gamers take on the role of an immortal god-like being with supernatural powers, seeking to protect their world from invaders threatening the population.
An update in 2019 expanded the game world to a new planet called Terra, along with new story elements and enemies.
3) EVE Online
Another iconic title in MMORPG history, EVE Online is a science-based game developed and published by CCP Games. It was originally released in May 2003 and is renowned for the freedom it gives players in terms of the various professions they can undertake and how they can interact with others.
As far as free games go, EVE Online is one of the most prominent titles, with 7,800 star systems across which this game takes place. Users can create characters from one of four playable races and take on various roles in the new unexplored galaxy of New Eden.
The scale of this MMORPG is quite massive and is demonstrated by the sheer amount of content generated simply by gamer interactions.
Case in point, the Bloodbath of B-R5RB was a battle involving thousands of individuals in a single-star system and took 21 hours to complete. It is recognized as one of video game's largest and most expensive battles.
4) Star Wars: The Old Republic
An MMORPG set in the Star Wars universe, The Old Republic was first released on December 20, 2011. Developed by BioWare and published by EA, it was a much sought-after experience for many franchise fans.
While it wasn't originally a free game and required a subscription, it has since adopted a hybrid free-to-play model, wherein the base game and many features are available freely. At the same time, certain elements are locked behind a subscription.
Yet, even in the free version, players can live out much of their dream of living in the Star Wars universe. Their characters can either be from the Galactic Republic or the Sith Empire, each featuring four classes.
Aside from two variants for the Jedi and the Sith, users can choose to be Troopers or Smugglers for the Republic, or Imperial agents or Bounty Hunters for the Empire.
However, their allegiance can change throughout the main story, as BioWare includes a well-written narrative for each class and incorporates its iconic moral choices in conversations and cutscenes. Thus, gamers can play as a Jedi who tends towards the Dark Side or a morally ambiguous Bounty Hunter if they choose to.
5) The Lord of the Rings Online
Developed by Standing Stone Games and published by Daybreak Game Company, The Lord of the Rings Online is a fantasy MMORPG set within the fictional world of Middle Earth. Based on J.R.R. Tolkien's novel, its events surround the ones told in the books and sometimes even intersect them, although the main story is an original creation by the developers.
Players get to create a character from one of the four primary races: Hobbits, Humans, Dwarfs, and Elves. They can choose from one of the seven classes to play as and travel across the large map available in the current version, which is the culmination of years of updates and newly added content.
Over the years since its release, various updates have pushed the story forward while expanding the playable area and occasionally introducing mechanics. The last two expansions, Minas Morgul and Fate of Gundabad, dealt with the aftermath of Sauron's downfall and currently serve as end-game content.
6) Lost Ark
Co-developed by Tripod Studios and Smilegate RPG, Lost Ark is a 2.5D fantasy MMORPG originally released exclusively in South Korea on December 4, 2019. It was later given a North America, South America, and Europe release on February 11, 2022, and became the second most played game on Steam within 24 hours of its release.
Described as "what is Diablo was an MMO?", the title is set in the land of Arkesia and sees gamers create characters from five classes. Additional subclasses also allot specific special skills and attributes to them, although the role of each class is pretty straightforward and adheres to traditional RPG standards.
The action portrayed in Lost Ark is the best aspect of the title, both in cinematic cutscenes and during gameplay. These eye-candy treats are surprising since Lost Ark seemingly still uses Unreal Engine 3, which might feel almost unbelievable to many after witnessing the gorgeous visuals the MMORPG has to offer.
A Dungeons & Dragons-inspired video game, Neverwinter is an MMORPG developed by Cryptic Studios, initially released for Microsoft Windows in 2013. It was later released for Xbox One in 2015 and PS4 in 2016.
Like D&D, users can create characters by choosing from its eight playable classes.
The game features a story-based approach, set in the city of Neverwinter, plunged into chaos after the disappearance of its ruler. The character investigates a mysterious group known as the Sect Crown of Neverwinter, as well as fights off the forces of the rising undead threatening to take over the city.
Many locations in this game are from D&D history, although players are free to create their own sites, which may or may not adhere to the established lore. Others can visit these gamer-generated areas, similar to how users participate in a new world created by a Dungeon Master in the tabletop version of the game.
8) Guild Wars 2
Guild Wars 2, an MMORPG, was developed by Arena Net and published by NCSOFT. Originally released on August 28, 2012, for Microsoft Windows, the title was priced for three years until five million copies were sold by August 2015, at which point the base title was made free-to-play.
Set in the fantasy world of Tyria, the game's narrative takes place years after Guild Wars and sees the Elder Dragons seizing the lands. Characters must strive to free the land from their control, and their choices will affect the persistent game world.
Traditional quests are replaced by a dynamic event system, which sees gamers come together naturally and organically to complete various stages. The story is carried out mainly in instanced areas, and the end-game content is constantly updated via the Living World episodic event.
From Trion Worlds comes Rift, a free-to-play fantasy MMORPG. Released in March 2011, it is set in the fantasy world of Telara, where players can create characters from a selection of five classes based on their preference for combat as well as from six different races.
Based on their race, users are segregated into one of two factions, which battle against each other and enemies that emerge from "rifts," which lead to other elemental planes. Group action is highly encouraged by prompts to join a public group, which they can ignore if they wish to play solo.
The recurring gameplay loop surrounds closing the rifts that crop up over time, which are meant to be handled as soon as possible. Unchecked rifts will lead to monsters invading the map and taking control of partitions of the game world, which will need to be remedied by gamers of different factions.
10) Albion Online
Albion Online is a medieval MMORPG developed and published by Sandbox Interactive. It was initially released on July 17, 2017, for PCs and mobiles on June 9, 2021. Based on Arthurian legends, this title features a classless combat system where users' skills and abilities are defined by the items they wear.
Despite this feature, they are not always required to fight each other or even enemies. The game includes a player-driven economy, where they craft everything from clothes to armor to weapons. Resource gathering, trade, and commerce play a vital role, and gamers can exchange goods with each other.
Regarding fighting, this RPG does things right with small to large-scale battles in both PvE and PvP forms. They can join guilds and set out to conquer large areas of the world of Albion and rule them together.
Otherwise, individuals may retire from a life of action and settle down by buying land and starting their own farms.
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