Massively Multiplayer Online games, or more commonly known as MMO games, are one of the most persistent genres of video games. From having a detailed world, to a massive player base that interacts and completes missions with each other, to having a functioning economy that affects all players equally, MMO games build a complete ecosystem within the title.
MMO titles also generally have ongoing lore that gets added to a persistent update cycle. MMO games usually have a subscription-based model rather than a pay-once-and-own-forever model of titles from other genres. However, there there are quite a few exceptions.
The five most active Massively Multiplayer Online (MMO) games of 2021
From the early days of Ultima Online to the modern era of the New World, MMO games have come a long way.
Let’s take a look at the MMO games with the most active players in 2021.
- World of Warcraft
- Destiny 2
- Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn
- Old School RuneScape
With that being said, let’s take a closer look at each of the titles individually. Readers should note that the average number of active players is taken from mmo-population.com.
1) World of Warcraft
Platforms: Windows PC, macOS
Total count of players: 116,773,002
Blizzard’s World of Warcraft is the most popular MMO title ever. World of Warcraft takes the iconic identity of Warcraft and expands on it in the high fantasy world of Azeroth established in Warcraft III: The Frozen Throne.
Till date, there have been eight expansions which are Burning Crusade, Wrath of the Lich King, Cataclysm, Mists of Pandaria, Warlords of Draenor, Legion, Battle for Azeroth, and Shadowlands.
Players choose from one of the many fantasy races and classes between the Alliance and Horde factions to explore, battle, and join other players to embark on epic adventures together.
2) Destiny 2
Platforms: Xbox One, PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox Series S|X, PlayStation 5
Total count of players: 38,408,516
The sequel to 2014’s Destiny was released in 2017 as a pay-to-play model. However, after Bungie’s departure from Activision, the title became free-to-play and exploded in popularity.
Since its release back in 2017, Destiny 2 has had eight expansions with two more, The Witch Queen and Lightfall, confirmed for the future.
Set in a dystopian, sci-fi version of Earth, players choose between three character classes, the Hunter, the Titan, or the Warlock, and then take on the guise of a Guardian to protect the world.
3) Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn
Developer/Publisher: Square Enix
Platforms: PlayStation 3, macOS, PlayStation 4, PC
Total count of players: 36,387,214
Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn is an MMO RPG based on the global sensation, Final Fantasy. Originally released as Final Fantasy XIV, Realm Reborn is a massive revision and redesign following the backlash. The game’s expansions include Heavensward, Stormblood, Shadowbringers, and the recently released Endwalker.
In Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn, players choose from one of 8 races as well as their region of origin and their combat classes. The title is a must-try for any fans of the MMO RPG genre.
4) Old School RuneScape
Platforms: Android, PC, iOS
Total count of players: 33,595,862
Old School Runescape is one of the longest-running MMO RPG titles, which is technically the 2007 revision of the original title from 2001. Set in the world of Gielinor, Old School Runescape welcomes players from all around the world.
From chopping wood to fighting monsters, players can do anything in Old School Runescape. While free-to-play players have access to quite a few skills and quests, the number for premium users is much larger.
Developer/Publisher: Digital Extremes
Platforms: Xbox Series S/X, PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, PC
Total count of players: 29,371,882
Warframe is an MMO, action-RPG and third-person shooter game with a futuristic science-fiction setting. In many ways, it is the spiritual successor to an earlier Digital Extremes game, 2008’s Dark Sector.
In Warframe, players take on the role of the ancient warrior race called the Tenno, who after spending an extended period of suspended animation through cryosleep, awake on an Earth in peril. The title is a must-play for fans of the sci-fi genre.