9 of the oldest MMORPGs you can still play today, listed by age
We still tend to think of massively multiplayer online games (MMOs) as new, even though they’ve been around for almost 25 years. Before more casual MMOs like Final Fantasy XIV came, there were many other online games that catered to a variety of interests. Not all of them were based on the standard fantasy aesthetic, and some took daring risks when it came to the setting, storyline, and characters that would pave the way for the games that would follow.
Believe it or not, some of the first MMO games developed are still available to you. Some of them are free while others require a subscription, but they still have vibrant communities and offer a world that sometimes benefits from maintenance and even updates. An old game that has been remastered and re-released, like Classic WoW, for example, is not eligible and will not be listed.
Conan’s Age (2008)
Conan’s Age has seen a few incarnations, but it’s still the same game it was released in 2008. The game is based on the books written by Robert E. Howard instead of the comic book or movie franchise, and is a vast world with a lot of things for a player to explore.
His full name is currently Conan Age: Unleashed and it was once called Age of Conan: Hyborian Adventures. Today the game includes a real-time combat system and options for building and defending fortifications as well as a hardcore PvP server.
Lord of the Rings Online (2007)
Given the popularity of Peter Jackson films and the large fan base The Lord of the Rings the franchise is already enjoying, this game probably should have been released sooner. Expansions in the game have names like The siege of Mirkwood and Moria, so you know they’re no joke when it comes to getting inspiration from books. It started out as a game that required a subscription. But nowadays it’s free.
Guild Wars (2005)
There is also a sequel to this game, Guild Wars 2, which is also popular, but the original game is still live, so you can experience it if you want. Guild wars uses the same medieval fantasy setting as other MMOs, but it is distinguished by an instance-based combat system and high graphics quality. It was also one of the first games to use a business model that didn’t depend on a monthly subscription, and it still won’t cost you a thing to try.
A Tale in the Desert (2003)
There are a lot of MMOs that focus on crafting, farming, or building as opposed to combat, and A tale in the desert is such a game. Actually, it doesn’t offer any combat options. Instead, players can participate in group challenges called “Tests” and take care of their own personal projects along the way.
The game has a unique way of “updating” and ends essentially every 18 months. It starts again after players have given their feedback on tweaks, fixes, and other changes. The initial download is free, but a subscription is required to play for more than two days.
RuneScape was the bridge most people took in MMOs when Everquest was for hardcore gamers and Warcraft was still just an RTS game. There are other versions of the game that have been requested by fans over the past few years, and it’s easy to get confused.
Classic RuneScape is actually the original version of the game, and Old-fashioned runic landscape is a version which dates from 2007. You can play for free and there is also a versatile subscription model that you can buy special tokens for the game or pay with real money.
The Dark Age of Camelot (2001)
Most MMOs use a fantastic setting, and The Dark Age of Camelot is no exception, but what makes it unique is the number of mythological lore that the game brings together. Ancient tales from Nordic, Celtic and Arthurian traditions form the backdrop and adventures of your character.
These old legends extend in a very clever way to the organization of the game. For example, players can start on one of three realms, and each is based on a location inspired by real world mythology. Play on Albion, Hibernia, or Midgard as a Ranger, Enchanter, or Champion.
Anarchy Online (2001)
It was the sci-fi scenery that made Online Anarchy unique at the time. As the game celebrates its 20th anniversary, that’s one of the reasons it still exists.
Your character is a settler on the dangerous planet of Rubi-Ka, collecting the precious mineral Notum as they settle and develop the surrounding lands. There is an underlying storyline, but overall it’s a sandbox type game where players are free to customize their own unique experience.
If you only have access to a device running macOS, you might be out of luck here. The version of Everquest which was released for this operating system was discontinued in 2013 after running for ten years.
The game still performs well on other platforms, although the company that maintains it has changed hands a few times in recent years. This is the game that made MMORPGs as we know them now, and pretty much any popular MMO following in his footsteps would end up borrowing many of the basic design ideas.
Ultima Online (1997)
The Ultimate The video game franchise is one of the oldest in video game history, dating back to the 1980s with some of the earliest computer RPG games. It’s always had a reputation for serious PvP action, and the focus is still on the player-to-player combat system.
The game saw a huge upgrade in 2010 with the Ultima Online: Kingdom Reborn Expansion in 2007. Like RuneScape, it has both a free version and a monthly fee model, but some activities and areas are restricted based on your subscriber status.
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