Ever wondered what the most significant games are in the MMO world? We did some research to find out.
Massively Multiplayer Online gaming has taken the world by storm over the last few years. Among those older Millennials who remember the days before the internet, MMO gaming has been the signature style accompanying their gaming life. We remember LAN parties, mobile phones as big as your face, and the earliest MMOs like Neverwinter Nights and Ultima Online. Oh, how times have changed.
Scroll down the page to 2022, and you see a massive change in how gaming works. We considered an enormous number of users in the early 00s is no longer the same today. There’s a big difference between the technological capabilities of games back then and games now. Now, we have millions of subscribers for individual games. These games use multiple servers to allow as many players as possible. The bigger the player count, the better the PvP.
We wanted to find out the top 8 biggest MMOs of all time with that in mind. Not the ones that made the most money mind you. The ones that have the most extensive list of subscribers.
The Top 8 Biggest MMOs by Subscriber Number
Here are the eight biggest people-grossing games in the world of massively multiplayer online gaming.
8 – Star Wars the Old Republic
Star Wars has an impressive 5 million players and over 100k daily players. This is impressive but, when you consider the size and fanbase of the franchise, the game isn’t as big as you would think it to be. It’s still one of the biggest player draw MMOs which is based on a movie franchise, which is impressive.
Made by Bioware and LucasArts, SWTOR features the incredible storylines of the Republic Vs Imperial forces. It’s a tale as old as time and as epic as they come. Players come for the story and stay for the lightsaber battles. Show us a Star Wars fan that hasn’t considered what their saber color would be, and we will show you a liar. This game lets you find out.
7 – EVE Online
EVE has racked up a total 8 million subscribers over the years. This MMO is a realistic space exploration game which critics say is on the way out. Nevertheless, Eve launched all the way back in 2003. During its time, it has outlived other franchises without doing all that much to change its model.
Players start with one of four races in a single shared gaming world. All players are in the same world at the same time, using schemes to best each other while exploring the 7,800 different star systems that make up the world. The game is set 21,000 years into the future where interplanetary exploration is normal. The species left over are fighting over the limited resources found in the star system. There is a colony out in the great universe somewhere. That colony’s name is New Eden. You should be in New Eden with the others, but the wormhole collapsed on your side. Your ship becomes separated from earth and must fend for itself. Thus, the game begins.
EVE made itself extra popular in 2016 when it launched a free to play version.
6 – Black Desert Online
Black Desert Online is a sandbox style game, so you have an enormous impact on the environment. You explore, create, destroy, fight, it’s all up to you. The game has an estimated 20 million players. Although the game has higher populations than Guild Wars, we took longevity into account. According to the Steam Charts, Black Desert has about 150k players in a 24-hour period.
Black Desert has 17 classes across a world packed with adventures. You can learn to use weapons or magic in this realistically fantastical world. This game has a knights and castles feel to it, with different classes and races thrown in to offer variety. There’s a huge blend of character creation possibilities so users return again and again to play the same world from a different angle.
5 – Guild Wars 2
Guild Wars has been a reliable crowd pleaser since its launch back in the retro days of MMO gaming. Today it retains about 16 million subscribers using a free to play system. Guild Wars is a world shaped by magic, where spell casting, swords and sorcery come as standard. You have plenty of choices in character over five playable races, a detailed character creator, and a world to explore.
Guild Wars 2 stems from its predecessor, which also still draws a following. Over the years, Guild Wars has been a major contender with some of the bigger players, but it seems to be stuttering in recent years. With so many options for great MMORPG gameplay all over the industry now, the long-established games are taking a slash in player numbers. In the case of games like Guild Wars, it’s the draw over time that counts.
4 – The Elder Scrolls Online
According to Steam, the Elder Scrolls Online has a total of over 20 million subscribers. They have over 300k daily players, making them one of the all-time favorite MMOs, even after all these years. The Elder Scrolls world has its roots back in Morrowind and Oblivion. The natural progression from Skyrim was to move the entire world online.
The Elder Scrolls Online has a unique draw. Players come for the RPG experience progression and become hooked on the storylines. Most experienced RPG players will skip through the dialogue boxes to get on with the game. You don’t do that in ESO, at least not the first time you play it. During 2020, ESO attracted 3 million new gamers into their fold.
3 – RuneScape (Old School)
Launched all the way back in January 2021, old school RuneScape was a browser-based game that you could leave running while you did your homework. It featured endless leveling and basic graphics. It had loads of skills to learn and areas to explore. Best of all, it was a free to play browser game.
If scientists conducted a study on RuneScape they would find that it was a gateway MMORPG game that led many users on to bigger, more complex games. Those of us who started our gaming lives slaughtering endless goblins for bronze shields in the forest outside of the starting point went on to play WoW, FFXIV, and other serious games. RuneScape is the gateway drug. Beyond it lies madness.
Developers Jagex admit to 1.1 million active subscribers, but this is an ongoing thing. Over the years, the total player base has topped 16 million. That’s not a bad following for a free browser game. There is a second version of the game which writers lost in translation when the developers tried to modernize it.
2 – Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn
Final Fantasy fourteen is one of the highest subscriber populations on the planet. Second only to one other, FFXIV has 37.29 million total players and ranks second in the world. Developed by a company called Square Enix, this game is an MMORPG where players use a combination of experience points and PvE to level up. They were the second most played game of 2021 with 2 million active users.
The character development gives users hundreds of choices in everything from race to facial features. It uses a persistent world that subscribers can endlessly explore. FFXIV first launched in August 2013 and has grown in popularity ever since. The game uses an in-character monetary system using ffxiv gil, which you can obtain in game or elsewhere.
The combination of battles and the party system., classes, swords, and sorcery, make this one of the best – and biggest – games ever.
1 – World of Warcraft
Ever since its hero/villain origin story back in 2004, WoW has been astounding audiences with its staying power. Every year, someone claims World of Warcraft is at its end, every year they prove them wrong. WoW smashed every first 24-hour selling record that there was every time they released an expansion. Their most recent expansion pack, Shadowlands, began in 2020 and is still going strong. WoW had 4.5 million active users in 2021. It features an open world over multiple levels of terrain. Each section of the game world is accessible through unlocking questions, leveling up, and buying expansion packs.
In 2017, Wow had 46 million monthly users. Nowadays that figure has reduced to 26 million players. We don’t expect that they will stay down for long. They have an established fan base and a gaming model that works. If Blizzard keeps putting out new material, the fans will keep lapping it up.
Did Your Game Make the List?
Did your favorite game make the list? If not, let us know in the comments section. Don’t forget to bookmark us either and check back on this list the next time you’re looking for a new game to play.