Updated on May 8th, 2019
While the MMORPG market isn’t booming quite like others, there are still a ton of MMORPGs that are vying for your time, and they even have some impressive player bases, to boot. There’s nothing quite like adventuring around with a created character and like-minded individuals, right? Here are the best MMORPGs in 2019 that you can download and play right now.
Guild Wars 2
MMORPGs live and die by their content, and Guild Wars 2 has content to spare. The game is packed to the brim with traditional activities like PvP and dungeons, to more unusual and unique features like the Fractals of the Mists and the ever-updated Living Story.
The purpose of any MMORPG comes from the name itself: Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game. If the game doesn’t let players role-play and feel as though they are part of a massive world with other gamers, it’s doing something wrong.
Thanks to its constant updates, Guild Wars 2 provides an ever-evolving experience that makes players feel as though they are part of a living world, a living story if you will.
Sure, the game features a unique and robust real-time action combat system that eschews that traditional MMORPG trinity of tank, DPS, and healer, but what good is standout combat if there’s nothing good to fight?
Final Fantasy XIV
FFXIV is a study in how to properly treat a player base. The first version of the game was a dumpster fire, so Square Enix scrapped everything, went back to the drawing board, and re-released an updated version to widespread acclaim.
Just look no further than the two most recent patches that introduced new dungeons and story lines involving old faces like Kefka Palazzo and the Espers of Ivalice.
Square Enix learned from the mistakes of its past, which is an important skill in a market that has chewed up and spat out countless games that have made lesser mistakes.
The Secret World
Lovecraftian horror is a fascinating subject. For as much as we love to believe we are at the top of the food chain, we cannot help but find ourselves attracted to stories that pit characters against unwinnable odds, fighting ancient and powerful gods who predate existence and fry our minds simply by being in the same room with us.
It is a genre ripe for exploration, especially in the MMORPG market, but right now, The Secret World is the only option.
However, don’t just play it simply because it’s the only Lovecraftian MMO. The Secret World features a rich and engrossing world that will resonate with most gamers, not just fans of Lovecraft.
Back when MMORPGs made the first switches from somewhat stationary combat systems to real-time action combat, En Masse Entertainment threw its hat into the ring with the South Korean game TERA.
The game is silly at times, especially when you consider its voice acting, quest titles, and female armor sets, but it utilizes a fast and fluid combat system that remains one of the best to this day.
Also, TERA has recently been ported to the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, so clearly its developers are doing something right, and not just because the game features some of the most unusual and creative monster designs in a video game.
Everquest has been around since 1999, which leaves it in a fairly unique position. The game is almost 20 years old and is a look into old MMORPG design, back before real-time action was possible and when developers wanted gamers to search for their quests rather than just tell them where to go.
And yet, despite its old-school design, the game still holds up, as does its successor Everquest 2, which is not as old-school as Everquest but still overflows with features and a general lack of hand-holding.
Oh, and Everquest 2 gives players the option to actively control their characters’ faces with their computers’ cameras, which is nothing if not unique. Everquest Next might be dead and buried, but the rest of the Everquest franchise is alive and well.
The Elder Scrolls Online
Who didn’t play through Oblivion and Skyrim wishing they could join their friends on their adventures slaying Daedra and Dragons? The Elder Scrolls Online might feel like a proper Elder Scrolls game now, but it started off fairly mediocre.
Each new patch, update, and expansion improved the game, and it is now a worthwhile experience that treats gamers to all the exploration, world-building, combat, and sidequests that are synonymous with the Elder Scrolls franchise.
Plus, the latest expansion, Summerset, has just released. Now, players can finally explore a land never seen before in any Elder Scrolls game, which is quite the selling point for any fantasy video game.
Final Fantasy XI
You would think that Square Enix would shutter Final Fantasy XI after releasing Final Fantasy XIV, but Final Fantasy XI is still open for players to experience. The game might be slower than Final Fantasy XIV and generally lacking when it comes to graphics, but it still features that classic Final Fantasy charm.
Both MMORPGs share a lot in common, especially the playable races, and each has its own merits that cater to different kinds of gamers. Do you go for the slower and more traditional Final Fantasy XI or the faster and action-oriented Final Fantasy XIV?
You honestly can’t go wrong with either choice. All it comes down to is a matter of taste.
Even after all these years, Final Fantasy XI is still one of the best MMORPGs available.
If you thought Everquest was old-school, you ain’t seen nothing yet. Based on the long-running RPG series Ultima, Ultima Online is exactly what it sounds like: a version of Ultima you can play online with your friends.
But that’s not a bad thing, as it caters to gamers who prefer isometric RPGs that involve heavy use of the mouse.
Players have to actively search for quests, manage limited bag space, and level up varied skills through rigorous repetition. Plus, the in-game economy is completely controlled and managed by players.
The game might seem tedious at first, but Ultima Online manages to make everything you work for feel rewarding. Also, Ultima Online can run on just about any computer, which is always a good thing.
The game recently went free-to-play, and it still has a pretty active player base, too.
Dungeons and Dragons fever has never been so infectious. More gamers than ever play the pen and paper games; Wizkids has a successful lines of D&D board games, and Ludia is working on an upcoming D&D mobile game.
You would think we would be swarming with Dungeons and Dragons MMORPGs, and you would be wrong. Only two exist, and while both are standout MMORPGs, Cryptic Studio’s Neverwinter is the better one.
It successfully captures the frantic and flashy action we all imagine while playing D&D games, and it even allows players to channel their inner Dungeon Master and create their own adventurers.
The game’s latest expansion, Ravenloft, was recently announced, so now’s as good a time as any to get into the game and see exactly what has attracted the likes of Chris Perkins and R.A. Salvatore.
The Lord of the Rings Online
Lord of the Rings Online, or LOTRO for short, has withstood the test of time just as well as the books (and movie) it’s based on. While the game didn’t exactly try to do anything new, it managed to stay relevant thanks to excellent, if tried and true, combat and quest designs.
Plus, the game introduces LotR fans to new and exciting locations that are only glossed over or mentioned in the books, which is something the recent Lord of the Ring games, Shadow of Mordor and Shadow of War attempted with only middling success.
LotR Online is proof that you don’t always have to tread new ground to be successful.
Black Desert Online
The hype surrounding this title was almost unreal. Admittedly, most of that hype revolved around an almost impossibly robust character creation system and drop-dead gorgeous graphics, but it was enough to get gamers talking about Black Desert.
The game is the studio Pearl Abyss’ first outing, but you wouldn’t guess that given the polish on display.
Black Desert Online has flashy hack-and-slash combat that rivals even TERA, decent exploration and side activities, and countless mechanics and systems that will eventually become second nature to players.
At times, Black Desert Online feels like a management simulation game, which is nothing if not a novel experience in an MMORPG. The only real downside with this game is that computers without a good CPU or graphics card can’t run the game without catching fire.
World of Warcraft
You all saw this coming. One of the best MMORPGs to play right now is World of Warcraft. It might not be free-to-play like Ultima Online or Lord of the Rings Online, it might not feature real-time action combat like TERA or Neverwinter, but it is one of the best designed MMORPGs ever.
The stories are gripping; the world is created with love and care, and each expansion introduces new features that become the bar by which other best MMORPGs are measured (and many try to copy).
There’s a reason why World of Warcraft is the most popular and one of the best MMORPGs on the market, and why gamers are anticipating its upcoming seventh expansion; World of Warcraft is a great game. Period.
Rift has been around for a while now, releasing back in 2011. It was one of the MMORPGs that was able to survive an era where WoW reigned supreme, and it was able to carve a niche out for itself.
The game is still popular still in 2019, and in fact, as recently as March 2018, developer Trion Worlds added a new progression server (read: throwback), Rift Prime.
Although it does have monthly subscription attached to it, Rift Prime can let you re-experience earlier state of the game, with rewards and expansions unlocked over the course of the year.
If you’re totally unfamiliar with Rift, it’s a MMORPG set in a fantasy world of Telara. It features both PvE and PvP content based around the concept of “Rifts” which gateways that open up and allow bad guys to pour on through, that you the noble adventurer, have to put a stop to.
You can customize your character by picking a race, a faction (Guardians vs. Defiants), and a class known as Callings in Rift. Once you get to higher levels, you can further customize your character in a fashion similar to Paragon Points in Diablo 3 called Planar Attunement.
Let’s start this by saying that Eve Online isn’t for everyone. You need to be a very specific type of player, one that is OK with not being the “hero.” In Eve, you’re going to be a cog in the machine for a while.
You’ll need to put effort into finding a group that can support you, understanding the market, and all of the game’s other complicated functions. There’s literally a fan-run Eve University that exists to teach players how to play the game properly, because it’s that overwhelming at first on your own.
It can be a lot, especially for someone new, but if you’re willing to stick with it and are someone that enjoys what Eve Online has to offer, you’ll find that it’s a game like no other.
If you’re looking for a MMORPG that greatly emphasizes player agency, and interactions above all else, than there are few MMORPGs that can do what Eve Online does. The player driven politics and subsequent battles have been so massive, they have actual real-world money costs attached to them.
Life is Feudal: MMO
If you like a little survival and sandbox mixed in with your MMO or are just a big fan of medieval times, Life is Feudal: MMO could be an option for you to look into.
Life is Feudal: MMO hangs its hat on the ability for players to shape and change the land around them. Players can organize guilds that can stake claim on lands, and then terraform them to suit their needs such as mining for resources, dig tunnels, raise up the ground, and more.
Life is Feudal: MMO features survival elements that are much easier to accomplish if duties and responsibilities are split up between guild members instead of one person trying to survive all on their own.
Of course, since resources and land is limited, guild vs. guild conflicts, and a siege system is currently in development that will allow guilds to slowly reduce an enemies’ claim on the land.
Life is Feudal: MMO is still in development, so keep that in mind before jumping in and do a little research, but if the setting, and the gameplay style has you intrigued, it’s worth looking into.
Bless Online had a very public and ugly launch rife with server instability. However, if you can look past the early bad press, there is a modern, graphically impressive Korean-style MMORPG that you can sink your teeth into if that’s your cup of tea.
In Bless Online, you’ll be able to choose between two factions warring for control over the game’s universe. The Hieron, your typical goodie goodies that have been entrusted to protect the civilized world, or the Union, a group that revolutionaries in the south that want to challenge and usurp the supremacy of the Hieron.
Right now, there are seven races (some restricted to certain factions), and five classes. You can play as a Berserker, Guardian, Ranger, Mage or Paladin but more classes including an Assassin and a Mystic have been announced.
Bless Online is still very, very early in its lifespan, having fully released only in the first half of 2018. So there is still a lot of room for it to evolve and grow.
As long as you know what you’re getting yourself into when it comes to Korean-style MMORPGs, in 2019 you have the opportunity to be on the ground floor of a brand new MMORPG that should get lots of support. That opportunity doesn’t come around as often these days.
Dungeons & Dragons Online
While Neverwinter is the preferred option for most D&D fans, Dungeons & Dragons Online is still a thing that exists too and that you can play if you prefer. They are different MMORPGs with different styles of play.
DDO is less simplified, and more true to the the differences between characters in traditional D&D. There are far more ways to anchor your hero, and your style of play to your vision for it in-game than in Neverwinter. DDO also has a deeper, more rewarding guild system.
DDO borrows less from traditional and modern MMORPGs and instead tries to be more of a MMORPG take on the traditional pen and paper gameplay such as featuring deeper character customization, that hardcore D&D fans should appreciate.
The main thing to keep in mind is that the combat/gameplay isn’t as modern as Neverwinter, and there are pay gates/grind gates that will reduce the amount of activities available to you unless to pay up, or are willing to put in a lot of hours grinding out repetitive content.
Not everyone looking for MMORPGs wants to play something super complicated, complex or time consuming. If you’re looking for something more family friendly, easy to understand, and just jump into, Wizard101 is an option for you.
It’s great for younger players, or those that are looking for a more casual friendly, first-time MMORPG experience.
In Wizard101, you create a wizard that fits your style of play, and preferred magical school (Fire, Ice, Storm, Myth, Life, Death, and Balance), and work with other wizards in other schools to complete both PvE and PvP content.
Everything about Wizard101 is a bit dated, especially its visuals, but even after 10 years, Wizard101 it’s still receiving updates, and still has plenty of people that are playing which is a testament to the game’s longevity and its foundation which remains fun after all these years.
We couldn’t continue talking about the best MMORPGs in 2019 without this one. If you’ve spent any amount of time on Twitch, you’ve probably at least heard about Runescape.
If your two biggest checkmarks in evaluating what MMORPG to play is that it’s popular, and it’s free, then Runescape should be near the top of your list. It’s extremely popular, and it’s free-to-play but it’s also very old, so keep that in mind.
So why is Runescape one of the best MMORPGs? Well the fact that it’s free helps, but it also is just a very traditional, and familiar MMORPG that just does everything in a way that old-school MMORPG players can wrap their heads around.
Everything from the combat, the classes, trading, questing, etc. are all presented in a way that feels stuck in the early days of MMORPGs.
A Tale in the Desert
A Tale in the Desert features no combat, no fantastical beasts to defeat or powerful weapons to wield. Instead, A Tale in the Desert is all about social interaction, a large social experiment of sorts that takes place in Ancient Egypt.
Players are given tasks to progress in the game, and in order to accomplish these tasks, players naturally begin to form social bonds, and develop player-driven economies, communities, and legal systems where players can petition to have the rules of the game changed and influence the game world.
There’s no PvP to speak of, however, your goals and another group/player’s goals will not always align, and you’ll need to find ways to make sure you come out on top.
A Tale in the Desert is far from the biggest game on this list, and is absolutely not going to be for everyone.
But if you want to take part in a game that is unlike any other on the market, has a crafting focus, encourages social interactions and player agency, then maybe just give it a search and see if it’s something you could get into.
And there you have our top picks for the best MMORPGs you can play right now in 2019. Be sure to check back soon, as we’ll be updating this list! And let us know down below which ones you’re playing.