Top 5 Best Long-Running Live Service Games

For better or worse, here we are.

Live service games are the natural evolution of companies trying to earn players’ money and time in modern times. With their goal to keep players coming back via drip-fed content combined with heavy monetization, live service isn’t a term that usually sparks joy. That said, here are the top 5 longest-running live service games of all time.

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What are the Best Long-Running Live Service Games?

Live service games have had quite a divisive time with players as of late due to an overemphasis on monetization and flawed delivery of new content. That hasn’t stopped the oldest live service games from thriving in their own right. Below are some of the best long-running games that are technically live service, based on how they are still iterated.

5. MapleStory

MapleStory

MapleStory has been live and iterated on since its South Korean launch in 2003. As a 2D sidescrolling online RPG with cutesy graphics, MapleStory became quite popular and was released in multiple other countries over the next four years. Starting in 2010 with the Big Bang update, MapleStory’s content grew with significant overhauls to graphics, mechanics, and general gameplay.

Since the Big Bang update, there have been 14 updates, keeping the game alive all the way through 2024 with many new classes, bosses, dungeons, storylines, and even a recent crossover with the anime Konosuba.

4. RuneScape

2023, most popular mmorpgs on pc, runescape
Image Source: Jagex

Dating back to January 2001, the Java isometric 3D MMO RuneScape became a lot of people’s first foray into that particular online space. The game would go on to receive updates until its launch of RuneScape HD in 2004. This introduced RuneScape in a new game engine, replacing the original Java version. Shortly after the Evolution of Combat update in 2012, RuneScape 3 would be released with a new graphical overhaul and gameplay enhancements.

RuneScape has remained popular enough that they would even bring back the Old School RuneScape (OSRS) based on the 2007 version of the game. To this day, both versions are still getting updates and are even on Android and iOS devices.

3. EVE Online

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When it comes to legendary live service games, EVE Online easily comes to mind. As a space-faring complex sci-fi game, you can expect to traverse thousands of star systems. During that time, you’ll mine, become a pirate, trade, fight, and make and sell things to make a profit for yourself and your corporation (EVE’s version of player guilds). Since the game’s release in 2003, the game has received 33 updates and is going to continue to release content every few months or so.

EVE’s staying power comes from the game’s deep systems and community. That fact can be found in the game’s vast history of players doing wild things, like a lone wolf earning trust within a corporation over a period of months, only to steal everything they can from the corporation’s vaults in a massive betrayal. Or, additionally, a massive 21-hour war over a particular area lasting 21 hours.

2. World of Warcraft

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Image Source: Blizzard Entertainment

Out of all the games on this list, World of Warcraft likely became the most mainstream. Released a bit later than the others in 2004, WoW made history as the most popular fantasy MMORPG peaking with over 12 million subscribers at one point. While there have been consistently meaty patches in between expansions, WoW will only have its 10th expansion in 2024, with at least two more already planned.

Interestingly enough, there was such reverence for the original version of WoW that World of Warcraft Classic became a thing. Blizzard has even re-released old expansions for classic while making older expansions for modern Warcraft free for all players at certain points.

1. Final Fantasy XI

A party getting ready to fight a monster in Final Fantasy XI
Image Source: Square Enix

Final Fantasy XI never did reach the popularity of WoW, but it is still popular enough after 22 years that it still gets new content. Based on the iconic single-player RPG series, FFXI gives a unique twist to the iconic gameplay systems found in the older games. It iterates upon systems like the Job system, somewhat random battles, and even limit breaks.

Over 13 expansions and many more patches have kept the game relevant for players still playing on PC today. Personally, my first time with FFXI was as a time-limited demo on the Xbox 360 and that was an incredible experience given my lack of PC experience at the time. It was one of my first real MMOs and even though it hasn’t aged very well today, parts of the game like the music and combat are still very compelling, even when compared to Final Fantasy XIV.

For more like this, check out the top 10 shortest-lived live service games of all time. You may also be interested in 10 live-service games from 2022 that are still strong today.


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Author
Ali Taha
Whether its new releases, or a new Destiny 2 season, Ali will flex his gaming and freelancer skills to cover them extensively. He started off writing features for Game Rant but found a better home here on Twinfinite. While Ali waits for the next Monster Hunter title, he enjoys publishing his progression fantasy novels as an indie author.