Massively multiplayer online games, or more commonly known as MMO games, are one of the most persistent genres of video games. Whether it’s a detailed world, a massive player base that interacts and completes missions with each other, a functional economy that affects all players equally, MMO games create a complete ecosystem in the title.
MMO titles also usually have an ongoing lore that adds up to a persistent update cycle. MMO games generally have a subscription-based model rather than a pay-once-and-own-forever model of titles from other genres. However, there are quite a few exceptions.
The five most active massively multiplayer online (MMO) games of 2021
From the early days of Ultima Online to the modern era of the New World, MMO games have come a long way.
Let’s take a look at the MMO games with the most active players in 2021.
- World of Warcraft
- Destiny 2
- Final Fantasy XIV: A Kingdom Reborn
- Old School RuneScape
That being said, let’s take a closer look at each of the titles individually. Readers should note that the average number of active players is taken from mmo-population.com.
1) World of Warcraft
Developer/Publisher: Snow storm
Platforms: Windows PC, macOS
Total number of players: 116,773,002
Blizzard’s World of Warcraft is the most popular MMO title of all time. World of Warcraft takes the iconic Warcraft identity and expands it into the high-fantasy world of Azeroth established in Warcraft III: The Frozen Throne.
Till date there have been eight expansions which are Burning Crusade, Wrath of the Lich King, Cataclysm, Mists of Pandaria, Warlords of Draenor, Legion, Battle for Azeroth and Shadowlands.
Players choose from one of many fantastic races and classes between Alliance and Horde factions to explore, fight, and join other players to embark on epic adventures together.
2) Destiny 2
Platforms: Xbox One, PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox Series S|X, PlayStation 5
Total number of players: 38,408,516
The 2014 sequel to Destiny was released in 2017 as a paid model. However, after Bungie’s departure from Activision, the title became free-to-play and exploded in popularity.
Since its release in 2017, Destiny 2 has had eight expansions with two more, The Witch Queen and Lightfall, confirmed for the future.
In a dystopian, sci-fi version of Earth, players choose between three character classes, the Hunter, Titan, or Warlock, then assume the guise of a Guardian to protect the world.
3) Final Fantasy XIV: A Kingdom Reborn
Platforms: PlayStation 3, macOS, PlayStation 4, PC
Total number of players: 36,387,214
Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn is an MMO RPG based on the global sensation, Final Fantasy. Originally released as Final Fantasy XIV, Realm Reborn is a massive overhaul and redesign following the backlash. Game expansions include Heavensward, Stormblood, Shadowbringers, and the latest Endwalker.
In Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn, players choose from 8 races along with their home region and combat classes. The title is a must-have for all fans of the MMO RPG genre.
4) Old school RuneScape
Platforms: Android, PC, iOS
Total number of players: 33,595,862
Old School Runescape is one of the oldest MMO RPG titles, which is technically the 2007 revision of the original 2001 title. Set in the world of Gielinor, Old School Runescape welcomes players from all over the world.
From chopping wood to fighting monsters, players can do it all in Old School Runescape. While free players have access to a number of skills and quests, the number of premium users is much larger.
Developer/Publisher: Digital Extremes
Platforms: Xbox Series S/X, PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, PC
Total number of players: 29,371,882
Warframe is an MMO, action-RPG, and third-person shooter with a futuristic sci-fi setting. In many ways, it’s the spiritual successor to an earlier Digital Extremes game, Dark Sector from 2008.
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In Warframe, players take on the role of the ancient race of warriors called the Tenno, who after spending a long period of suspended animation through crysleep, have woken up on an Earth in peril. The title is a must for fans of the science fiction genre.