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Image Source: Square Enix

15 Best MMORPGs to Play in 2023

Make friends and share in the fun by playing the best MMORPGs to date.

Few genres in gaming bring together large numbers of players like MMORPGs do, promising interesting lore, oodles of content across big worlds, and social interaction. Whether you’re looking for something light and easily accessible or a hardcore experience, here are the 15 best MMORPGs to play in 2023.

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15 Best MMORPGs to Play in 2023

Everquest

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Image Source: Daybreak Game Company

Several years before World of Warcraft hit the market, there was Everquest, a high-fantasy universe where players inhabited Norrath. The success of future MMORPGs can be traced all the way back to Everquest, and yet it’s still going strong with nearly 30 expansions under its belt.

However, Everquest isn’t for the faint of heart due to its steep learning curve and a massive world full of over 500 zones. Compared to the other entries on this list, Everquest is definitely the most “hardcore” of the bunch, as it never holds your hand through any of its gameplay elements. If you can look past its dated graphics and difficulty, Everquest is incredibly rewarding both in gameplay and lore.

Diablo IV

best mmorpg diablo 4
Image Source: Blizzard

Look, the definition of ‘MMORPG’ has changed over time and encompasses a much larger umbrella these days. Given the way Diablo 4 is designed, it falls comfortably within the genre—just at a much smaller scale. Diablo 4 continues the tradition of always being online, only this time around you’ll see other players out in the open world and can freely interact with them or ignore entirely.

You can clear dungeons, engage in PVP, gear up five unique classes, and even join others in defeating world bosses and world events for sweet loot. New content is also released at regular intervals called ‘seasons,’ which revolve around a theme like the Season of the Malignant.

Star Wars: The Old Republic

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Image Source: Bioware

Who would’ve thought that combining the easily approachable elements of World of Warcraft with the narrative excellence of Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic would create something so compelling? Of course, it also helps that it’s set in the Star Wars universe.

Star Wars: The Old Republic took popular characters from the Star Wars films and built classes around them, such as the dangerous bounty hunters and Force-wielding Jedi. What’s arguably the best part is that each class has its own story, with branching decisions, companions to recruit, and a dark and light alignment system.

Final Fantasy 14

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Image Source: Square Enix

Final Fantasy 14 has come a long way since its original release in 2010, a launch that did so poorly the game was killed off and relaunched a few years later. Gone was the poor performance, the gameplay was vastly better in every way, and a story that’s actually awesome and even incorporates the death of the original game into its storyline.

Final Fantasy 14 is top-tier Final Fantasy, borrowing many features and class identities that the series has created over the years, like the iconic chocobos and Dragoons. There are 20 fantastic jobs to choose from (jobs are classes), but what differentiates FFXIV’s job system from other MMORPGs is that you can switch classes at any time you want, so you’re never stuck creating new characters over and over again.

Black Desert Online

best mmorpgs black desert online
Image Source: Pearl Abyss

If there’s one common thread between all MMORPGs is that they tend to rein in their graphics. Don’t get me wrong, games like FFXIV and Diablo 4 definitely have eye candy, but the majority are highly stylized as opposed to graphical fidelity. Black Desert Online, however, is not; it’s beautiful to look at and equally fun to play, but it’s by no means beginner-friendly with the many layers you work with.

There are over two dozen classes and ten life skills to try out, the latter of which are like your traditional trade skills. Each system is quite deep and you’ll find yourself spending just as much time empowering your character as you would fishing, farming, and sailing. It also goes without saying, but Black Desert Online has one of the most extensive character customization options, right down to the length of your hair.

Guild Wars 2

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Image Source: Arena Net

Guild Wars 2 strikes a great balance between engaging PVE and PVP content, combating one of the genre’s biggest issues: staleness. It has a living world, one that changes over time; for example, some zones might be inaccessible due to a recent event. If PVP is your thing, Guild Wars 2 has large-scale battles that pit hundreds of players against one another.

What sets Guild Wars 2 apart from other MMORPGs is its combat system, which isn’t your typical zone-out-and-auto-attack. You have to commit and play an active role in combat by dodging incoming attacks, using chain skills, and creating combos, or else you’re kissing the ground.

Path of Exile

best mmorpgs path of exile
Image Source: Grinding Gear Games

Remember how we mentioned MMORPGs comes in many flavors now? Well, Path of Exile falls under that umbrella too, though it’s certainly an ARPG first and an MMO second. If you’ve spent too much time in Diablo’s universe, Path of Exile will definitely freshen things up for you.

What really defines Path of Exile is its skill tree, which is brimming with nodes and passives. Additionally, there are seven unique classes, each with their own Ascendancy classes (think subclasses), which further diversify the types of playstyles you can create. It can feel overwhelming for even veteran ARPG players, but stick with it because it’s incredibly rewarding!

The Elder Scrolls Online

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Image Source: Zenimax Online Studios

Ever wanted to visit the snowy peaks of Skyrim or Morrowind and the volcano that resides there with your buddies? Well, then we suggest playing The Elder Scrolls Online, especially now with how much content the game has, in addition to excellent storytelling.

More importantly, The Elder Scrolls Online is very player-friendly. The combat isn’t overly complicated, there’s a scaled leveling system so you can quest anywhere, and there’s a surprising amount of depth with the game’s class system. It’s no wonder this franchise has become so enduring across its various iterations, with no sign of slowing down anytime soon.

World of Warcraft

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Image Source: Blizzard

If we’re talking MMORPGs, World of Warcraft cannot be ignored. It took a genre that typically had a high learning curve—think Everquest and Ultima Online—and made it far more approachable for beginners while still maintaining a high skill ceiling. WoW is still going strong today, currently on its ninth expansion, Dragonflight.

Enter the world of Azeroth, a journey that expands across continents, islands, and even planets. You’ll have a choice between 13 unique classes, like the Evoker, Druid, and Warlock, each with its own subclasses that offer different ways of playing said class. There are also raids, dungeons, PVP, achievements to complete, professions to master, and mounts to collect.

World of Warcraft Classic

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Image Source: Blizzard

Care to take a ride back to 2004? For those of us who played the game in its infancy (myself included), World of Warcraft was magical. You’d step out of the starting zone and suddenly Azeroth stretched for miles in all directions. And so alive, too, because you weren’t the only one starting their journey!

With Blizzard creating legacy servers for ‘Vanilla’ and the first two expansions, you don’t have to play private servers anymore. What’s nice is that it doesn’t come with an extra cost and is just an added bonus of your subscription. If you so choose, you can bounce between the current expansion or go back in time to a near perfect recreation of old Azeroth.

Lost Ark

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Image Source: Smilegate

A newcomer to MMORPGs, Lost Ark takes a different approach to the genre by way of its isometric camera view and combat similar to that of Diablo and Path of Exile. While the story is pretty cheesy and certainly not its strongest point, it makes up for it through class identity.

There are five classes to choose from, and you’ll start off in their most basic form and unlock advanced classes at a certain point. An advanced class choice could mean the difference between a tanky warrior using a sword and shield or a big sword-wielding berserker. If that wasn’t enough, your abilities can also be upgraded to further enhance your play style.

RuneScape

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Image Source: Jagex

If Everquest is hardcore, the RuneScape is on the opposite end; it can be as relaxing or as difficult as you want it to be. What started off as a 3D world inhabited by 2D sprites has turned into something that millions of gamers hold dear in their heart.

What RuneScape accomplishes is an MMORPG that doesn’t ask much from you. Do you want to spend the day mining or cooking? Sure! Do you want to go questing with your friends, like slaying a demon outside Varrock? You can do that, too, but only if you want to! On top of having over 200 quests to complete, there are 28 skills to master, like Slayer and Dungeoneering.

New World

best mmorpgs new world
Image Source: Amazon Games

New World is such an intriguing combination given its setting and gameplay It’s the 1600s, meaning armor (like plate) is still very much a thing, but muskets and the like are being folded into the world, too. You’re just as likely to find a player being gunned down as you would being blasted with magic.

As for gameplay, New World doesn’t stick to traditional classes and instead focuses on core stats and weapon mastery, each of which provide various bonuses and skills. On top of that, there are trade skills and they can be a great source of items for a particular build, like weaponsmithing and arcana. It’s a delightful clash of the Renaissance and fantasy!

Destiny 2

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Image Source: Bungie

Maybe you don’t care much for the sword-and-board fantasy gameplay elements and prefer a run-and-gun playstyle, much in the same way Call of Duty is played. In that case, Destiny 2 fits the bill perfectly, which combines FPS and RPG mechanics, in addition to being an MMO.

You play as blessed warriors of light known as “Guardians,” separated by three distinct classes: Warlock, Titan, and Hunter, which are modeled after popular MMO classes such as caster, tank, and rogue, respectively. There is both PVE and PVP content, such as raids and the Crucible, along with oodles of loot to find and equip. Also, did we mention it’s free-to-play?

EVE Online

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Image Source: CCP Games

If Everquest is hardcore high-fantasy, then EVE Online is hardcore science fiction goodness, a sandbox MMO that can be greatly influenced by its players. Entire communities of players can take control of multiple solar systems and enact their own rules, restrictions, and access to lucrative materials and trade routes.

EVE Online allows players to cruise around in their own ship, visit various planets, join factions and guilds, and even learn professions, all in an effort to carve out their own existence and purpose in New Eden.

There you have it, the 15 best MMORPGs to play in 2023. There’s something here for everyone, many of which also have free-to-play options to at least try the game out before you buy. If a blast to the past is what you’re looking for, then you might enjoy the top 10 best original Xbox games!


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Author
Brady Klinger-Meyers
Brady is a Freelance Writer at Twinfinite. Though he's been at the site for only a year, Brady has been covering video games, and the industry itself, for the past three years. He focuses on new releases, Diablo 4, Roblox, and every RPG he can get his hands on. When Brady isn't focused on gaming, he's toiling away on another short story.