If you’re choosing an MMO game, it’s because of its constant updates and ability to play with or against others. The genre’s health heavily depends on how many people are playing, so we’ve compiled the most popular MMORPGs you could play.
MMO communities make or break economies, events, and clan systems. A consistent player base is necessary for maximum fun. In any case, thriving, massive and consistent populations speak of the success of genre titles.
Most developers don’t share their official player base numbers, but we’ve searched unofficial numbers to reach the best conclusion possible.
10 Most Populated MMORPGs
Final Fantasy XIV Online (A Realm Reborn)
- Developer: Square Enix
- Publisher: Square Enix
- Release Date: 2012 (A Realm Reborn revision) / 2006 (Original Game)
- Platform: PS4, PS5, Windows, MacOS
- Daily Active Players: 1.4 million
Different unofficial sites reach the same conclusion. Final Fantasy XIV has over 1.4 daily players, which makes it the MMO with most population. It also has a “Very Positive” fan appraisal on Steam, and its 4th and latest expansion, Endwalker, has a 9/10 fan score on Metacritic.
The most recent data comes from activeplayer.io. It shows the game’s population growing faster than it decreases. Despite its steep subscription price (plus the price for its expansions), it has a deep reach.
Final Fantasy XIV follows success after a botched debut in September 2010. The game was a shameful display of what a Final Fantasy online option could be. Three years later, Square Enix relaunched the game as “Realm Reborn,” and their effort paid off.
You may like it if you haven’t played it because of its vast character customization and class system. The game’s mechanics, world, and story are extensive, but it has a way of guiding players through the initial steps.
- Developer: Tripod Esutio, Smilegate
- Publisher: Amazon Games, Smilegate (South Korea)
- Release Date: February 2022
- Platform: Windows PC
- Daily Active Players: 1.3 million
Lost Ark remains a top 3 MMORPG in terms of its population, and we can back this up with the official Steam numbers. According to the platform’s charts, it’s the 3rd most played game, behind CS: GO and DOTA 2.
It means Lost Ark is the most populated MMORPG you can play on Steam. It’s free, and its player base is consistent. Currently, according to MMO Population, it has about 1.3 million active players.
Almost a year has passed since the game left its Early Access state—enough time to gather fan appraisal. On Metacritic, Lost Ark racks a subpar 5.2, while Steam has a “Mostly Positive” score.
If you’re unfamiliar, Lost Ark is an isometric open-world action RPG. Its combat and questing mechanics are simple, but the action is fun. That said, the game’s core design drops its scores: most fans would say it feels like a mobile MMORPG. Try Path of Exile if you’re looking for a severe isometric action RPG instead.
World of Warcraft
- Developer: Blizzard
- Publisher: Activision Blizzard
- Release Date: 2004
- Platform: Windows, MacOS
- Daily Active Players: 1.1 million
WoW is no longer at the top. The game has become a staple in the genre, and while it has diminished, it’s still evolving. Blizzard released its latest and 9th expansion, Dragonfly, in November 2022.
The numbers we could find are as follows. The site MMO Population says there are over 1.2 million players after the expansion’s debut. According to Blizzard’s earning call Q2, the game has about 26 million active players. Lastly, Statista claims it has over 4.4 million active subscribers.
According to MMO-Champion, these stats seem fat from WoW’s 10 million subscriber peak in 2010. In fact, 123 million players have entered its realm over its lifespan. And while its population has dwindled, it’s still at the top of the genre.
You don’t need a further introduction to the game. It’s a classic MMORPG with dozens of classes and races, two factions, and a massive open world. Its enormous community ensures the epicness of the economy, raids, PvP, and events.
Old School RuneScape
- Developer: Jagex
- Publisher: Jagex
- Release Date: 2013
- Platform: Windows, MacOS, Linux, Android, iOS
- Daily Active Players: 1.3 million
If you visit the Old School Runescape site at any moment, you’ll see over 90K players on the server. The relaunch/re-work stays relevant, and since its 2001 debut, over 300 million players have created a Runescape account.
According to MMO Player Base, there’re about 1.3 million active players on Old School Runescape. Most of these players are on the title’s servers rather than Steam, where the game is mostly empty.
If you’re a younger player, think of it as Minecraft’s parent, only that it’s an MMORPG with thousands of players grinding, questing, and crafting. The game has dozens of skill threes and professions, hundreds of quests and locations, and an overall friendly community.
Old School Runescape is free but locks parts of the game (like skills and areas) behind a subscription. Now, if you don’t like its older graphics, you can play the newer version, Runescape. We’re discussing it below.
- Developer: Jagex Ltd
- Publisher: Jagex Ltd
- Release Date: October 2020
- Platform: Windows
- Daily Active Players: 492K
Just “Runescape” is the newer version of the classical MMORPG. It came out in 2020 to deliver the same experience with newer graphics, interface, and mechanics.
The first part of its success is the critical acclaim. It has an 8.4 fan score on Metacritic and a “Very Positive” score on Steam. Also, Steam has over 3K concurrent players daily, a healthy number and almost three times as much as Old School Runescape.
We’ve found over 492K active players on the game’s proper servers. It means it’s smaller than the older version, but it will still allow you to find a healthy community of friends and enemies.
If you’re wondering, Runescape offers the same skills, mechanics, quests, and world as before. It’s a complex medieval fantasy world offering a third-person sandbox experience. You grind to level up as many skill trees as you want and work towards end-game bosses, materials, crafts, and loot.
- Developer: Cloud Imperium Games
- Publisher: Cloud Imperium Games
- Release Date: TBA (Alpha Test)
- Platform: Windows, TBA
- Daily Active Players: 470K
Star Citizen is in active development; it’s currently on Alpha State and has a “maybe 2027” release date. It comes from an indie developer trying to build a complex space simulator.
As it is, the game is full of content and boasts a significant player base. According to the site Video Game Stats, it has 4 million accounts. Then, per MMO Population data, it has over 470,000 active users.
The game’s scope wants to cover a full RPG journey in a persistent universe. You can create a character, start on a ship, and travel on a persistent universe. You can do so as a scavenger, a robber, an outlaw, a cargo hauler, and more.
The gameplay is about offering players the freedom to explore, trade, and fight on foot or a ship. You play in a first-person perspective, but you may also drive from a third-person perspective. The sandbox experience happens in a refined world that mixes procedural generation with hand-crafted scenarios.
Guild Wars 2
- Developer: AreaNet
- Publisher: NcSoft
- Release Date: 2012
- Platform: Windows, MacOS
- Daily Active Players: 420K
Guild Wars 2 is a classic MMORPG. It may not have the highest player base, but it’s a game with years of developer and community experience. It’s also free and easy to recommend to MMORPGs newcomers.
On Steam, it has over 2K concurrent players every day. That’s a small number for an MMORPG. We’ve found it has about 420K active players elsewhere. Moreover, its realms look much fuller if you play on ArenaNet’s launcher.
The appeal of Guild Wars 2 is its casual approach. It’s a typical medieval fantasy game, but the trick is its horizontal progression. It means you can upgrade any gear you like, so there’s no need to waste time farming anything.
As for the community, Guild Wars 2 boasts a kind and welcoming player base. There are also plenty of community-based events, such as the ability to create guilds, claim areas for the guild, and combat other teams for their sites.
- Developer: Amazon Game Studios
- Publisher: Amazon Game Studios
- Release Date: September 2021
- Platform: Windows
- Daily Active Players:250K
It’s no secret that Amazon’s New World failed to reach expectations. Its player base is also mischievous because the game’s design needs many more people to work correctly.
First of all, according to MMO Population, it has about 250K daily active players. Then, if we check Steam, it boasts a massive 50K daily concurrent players. That should mean its servers are complete, but it doesn’t.
The game has dozens of servers, each holding an average of 1,000 players at any moment. That’s less than half the maximum number (2,500) but enough to sustain a player-driven economy and massive 50v50 siege battles.
Still, the game has its rightful spot on the list and has dramatically improved during 2022. The skill-based combat is smooth, the leveling is fast, the UI is excellent, and the community is active.
The Elder Scrolls Online
- Developer: Zenimax Online Studios
- Publisher: Bethesda Softworks
- Release Date: 2014
- Platform: Xbox One, PS4, Windows, MacOS
- Daily Active Players:205K
The Elder Scrolls Online is another casual MMORPG with a consistent player base. Nevertheless, this title doesn’t need other people online, as you can play most of its content.
That said, it has 12K daily concurrent players on Steam. We also found it has 203K daily active players, according to MMO Population. It’s a significant number for an MMORPG that excels in its single-player experience.
Its success comes from turning The Elder Scrolls universe into an engaging online and persistent world. You create a character out of many classes and races and follow questlines worldwide.
Then, alongside the community, you can dungeon-crawl, loot, go to raids, join PvP battles, and more. Also, unlike other MMORPGs, the Elder Scrolls is quite friendly: you can create successful characters without following any meta builds.
Black Desert Online
- Developer: Pearl Abyss
- Publisher: Pearl Abyss
- Release Date: 2016
- Platform: Xbox One, PS4, Windows, Android, iOS
- Active Daily Players:230K
Black Desert Online is an MMORPG with a healthy and consistent player base. Aside from a few peaks, it has remained steady since its 2016 debut, and the average is 230K daily active players.
BDO is a Korean MMORPG like Lost Ark, so it shares design similarities. For example, the game may drown you in interfaces, currencies, progressions, challenges, and whatnot.
It’s not an isometric game, though. Instead, it’s a third-person action adventure focusing on fast combat, hunting, crafting, and looting. And you can do so alone if you wish.
Also, it has a beautiful character creation screen, which gives credit to the Korean RPG’s customization. Elsewhere, it has a comprehensive crafting and harvesting system, skill-based combat, and no loading screens.