MMORPGs experienced an exceptional peak in popularity in the 2000s, with the famous World of Warcraft, a true cornerstone of the Blizzard firm. But the genre didn’t stop existing after this golden age. On the contrary, there are still many nuggets to be discovered. This short guide highlights our selection of the best MMORPGs in 2023.
Some titles may (or inevitably!) be familiar to you. Others “deserve to be known,” to use the popular expression. In any case, we encourage you to give it a try. The “Massive Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Games” invite you to a very special adventure. An adventure that is constantly renewed, thanks to the interactions between players from all over the world.
From the pioneer World of Warcraft to the prestigious Final Fantasy XIV, from steampunk fantasy to the peaceful hamlet of Palia, a whole range of universes unfolds before you! Ready for the journey?
1. World of Warcraft: The Unbeatable
Twenty years. It will be twenty years, in 2024 (November 23 to be exact), that the legendary MMORPG World of Warcraft amazed gamers around the world for the first time. Blizzard probably didn’t anticipate such a phenomenal success. Even today, updates continue, and the events relentlessly mobilize many enthusiasts.
As if the frenzy of the beginning wasn’t enough, the 2020 episode “Shadowlands” holds the record for the best-selling PC game in the world: 3.7 million copies have been sold. That’s all there is to it! “Dragonflight” didn’t reach the same heights… without discouraging the company, however, which is planning a new extension, “The War Within,” for 2024.
Will the saga ever come to an end? Will there be a significant drop in subscriptions? For the moment at least, the renovation inferno, this famous object of the game, seems to work for the license as well.
On a more serious note, here are three reasons why World of Warcraft remains a safe bet, even after so many years (we’ll let you discover the other reasons in a playthrough 😉):
- The number of players online. An empty MMORPG loses all its substance. World of Warcraft can always count on loyal and seasoned visitors.
- Championship fever. Want to try esports? This game pushes the concept to its limits. Competitions are held all over the world.
- The extreme richness of the lore. WOW, it’s not just a big playground. The eternal war between orcs and humans is played out in an abundant environment, full of myths and secrets. Fantasy fans are bound to find themselves there.
2. Palia: the promising MMO (RPG?)
After the ancestor of the ancestors, we introduce you to a new kid on the block. Palia is only in its beta version, but its concept seduces with its freshness. With this title, the Singularity 6 studio doesn’t offer any fierce battles. Forget about spells and brutal offensives: it’s a life simulation that awaits you, in the heart of a touching medieval universe.
Can we talk about an MMORPG in the crude sense of the word? No, but there is still an idea of significant progression. A quiet role-playing game. It’s about rebuilding a world, fishing, gathering, crafting objects, in the vein of Fantasy Life.
The official release, the one that will introduce the game as a whole, is scheduled for 2024. In the meantime, here are three things that bode well for one of the best MMOs of the decade:
- A single-player adventure for those who prefer 1-player campaigns.
- A real community spirit, without hostile “clans.”
- A myriad of tasks, missions, mysteries to unravel.
Do you have a Nintendo Switch or PC? Palia is already available in beta, and for free!
3. Black Desert Online: the most beautiful MMORPG?
Note that we’re asking the question, because there’s no need to get into a complex graphical comparison. Still, Black Desert Online flatters the retina. Unlike WOW, for example, which doesn’t try to seduce on this level, the developer’s baby Pearl Abyss is a visual dream.
That’s not its only asset, of course. Released in 2016 worldwide, after a “local” launch in 2014, it is one of the leaders of the MMORPG genre for the 2010s. This title relies heavily on action: the combat system is as dense as it is frenetic.
This does not prevent you from relaxing a little with more peaceful tasks, depending on your mood: here too, agriculture and fishing are on the agenda.
These are three very positive points explaining why Black Desert Online is one of the best MMORPGs of 2023, and probably for many years to come.
- As mentioned above, the graphics are striking. Vertiginous.
- The economic momentum of this massively multiplayer online game is extremely advanced; It really depends on how each player evolves.
- You’ll never quite finish this epic: there is no level cap in this MMORPG. A lifespan as vast as the desert!
4. New World: The Big Hit of 2021
It was in September 2021 that New World definitively established itself in the video game landscape. Behind this fundamentally crafting-oriented MMORPG hides … Amazon, more precisely Amazon Games Studio. The extensive campaign carried out at launch has paid off: while it’s still too early to talk about the new World of Warcraft (from which it differs in many ways, by the way), the quality is absolutely there.
Of all the online video games mentioned in our list, this one is arguably the most eclectic in terms of customization. This echoes the main concept of the adventure: we are offered to experience a revisited version of the gold rush. The American dream and its spirit of individual conquest take on a massive dimension here.
Real-time combat and exploration follow one another organically; Knowing that the game has evolved a lot (in a good way) since its release.
Let’s highlight three qualities that make it the best MMORPG of the 2020s (among the new ones):
- An atypical environment for its category, which breaks with the fantasy chord.
- A real delight for crafting enthusiasts… very different from Minecraft, by the way.
- Very clever and advanced game mechanics, especially on the political level.
At the moment, the game is only available on PC. Console versions seem to be planned (Xbox Series, PS5…), but their deployment has been postponed several times. To be continued!
5. Final Fantasy XIV: The One That Comes From A Cult Series
Final Fantasy XIV made its virtual debut in September 2010. An event that is inevitably awaited around the corner. And even if the first few hours were really tedious for Square Enix (the studio behind Final Fantasy, therefore), the boat was eventually caught up. Millions of subscribers are still enjoying the main connected iteration of this RPG pioneer. We owe this renewed energy to the “sequel” Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn, consisting of a complete overhaul of the original title.
The strategy paid off: in 2023, and despite ambitious competition, this episode can still be considered one of the best online multiplayer games.
Far from the thirteenth opus and its corridors, the 14th installment takes the player into an open world
. Final Fantasy fans can get lost for hours in the teeming world of Eorzea. And don’t forget to take a few breaks, of course 😉.
Thanks to the saga’s popularity base, a community spirit has set in, keeping (largely) this MMORPG alive. Knowing that it should last!
So, succinctly, what makes it one of the best titles in the genre?
- A game available on many consoles, from PS4 to PS5, PC… to Xbox Series X, since 2023! Enough to unite many adventurers.
- Happenings in bursts: the teams working on the game are constantly renewing interest.
- All the know-how of Square Enix… in online multiplayer.
The best MMORPGs of 2023… Which connected hero will you become?
You prefer to cultivate your land quietly, brandish a sword with silver reflections… Or both? Either way, as you make this selection of the best MMORPGs in 2023, you should find something to keep you entertained and amazed for hours.
We could also have mentioned Elder Scroll Online or the unspeakable Skyrim, from the same family. Not to mention Lost Ark, Guild Wars 2… Yes, the range of possibilities is really generous.
Unfortunately, it will be difficult to probe all these virtual cosmos one by one. We therefore recommend that you choose one or two MMOPRGs that best suit your gaming habits. And we wish you a great digital escape!