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18 Old School MMORPGs That Are Still Worth Playing In 2022

18 Old School MMORPGs That Are Still Worth Playing In 2022

MMOs (massively multiplayer online games) have been around for as long as the internet has been a thing. In fact, some of the first MMOs were text-based, and players interacted with each other through chat rooms.

MMORPGs (massively multiplayer online roleplaying games) took things one step further, by adding graphics and allowing players to interact in real-time. While there are many new MMOs on the market today, there are also a few old-school MMOs that are still worth playing.

MMO players have been waiting for the next big thing ever since the release of World of Warcraft back in 2004, and by the looks of it, that next big thing might never come.

So why not look to the past rather than to the future for your next MMO experience.

In the list below we have gathered our favorite old-school MMORPGs that still have a healthy population and great gameplay in 2022!

18. Maplestory

  • Developer: Nexon
  • Original Release: 2003
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Maplestory certainly has unique graphics for an MMO.

Another Korean classic old-school MMORPG, and the only 2D sidescrolling MMO on our list. Maplestory was released in 2003 and quickly gained a following in both the eastern and western markets with its unique cute anime graphics.

Maplestory 2 was released in 2015 with updated 3D graphics, but many old-school players still prefer the original 2D game.

17. Vanguard Saga of Heroes

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Vanguard never achieved mainstream popularity but still became a cult classic.

The team behind Vanguard included many developers who had previously worked on Everquest, including the legendary Brad Mcquaid.

It was released in 2007 but due to a rough release with many bugs, it never had much mainstream success.

Vanguard eventually turned into a good MMO but it was too late and it was shut down in 2014.

A Vanguard emulator has later been developed by members of the community.

16. Tibia

  • Developer: CipSoft
  • Original Release: 1997
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Tibia is still running, 25 years after its original release.

Tibia was originally released in 1997 and is still running to this day, making it one of the oldest running MMOs out there.

The game features some pretty dated isometric graphics, that might make it hard for new players to get into the game, but the gameplay has definitely stood the test of time.

15. Anarchy Online

  • Developer: Funcom
  • Original Release: 2001
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Anarchy Online is a classic sci-fi MMO.

Anarchy Online was developed by Funcom, the Norwegian company behind games like Age of Conan, Conan Exiles, and The Secret World.

AO came out in 2001 and was one of the few classic MMOs set in a sci-fi setting. The game still has a cult following and is definitely worth checking out for old-school MMO fans.

14. Asheron’s Call

  • Developer: Turbine
  • Original Release: 1999
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Asheron’s Call is a core memory for many MMO fans.

Asheron’s Call was developed by Turbine and released in 1999, making it one of the oldest 3D MMOs. Sadly the official servers closed down in 2017.

Asheron’s Call is set in the fantasy world of Auberean. The game features many traditional MMO elements, such as quests, monsters, and player-versus-player combat.

An Asheron’s Call emulator has been developed by fans of the game, so you can still play it in 2022.

13. Lineage II

Developer: NCSoft

Original Release: 2003

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Lineage II paved the way for Korean MMOs.

Lineage II was one of the early big MMOs to come out of Korea and boasted a huge number of players during its first few years.

The player base has definitely dwindled over the years, but in 2011 the game switched to a Free-to-Play model, so if you’ve ever been curious about trying Lineage II you should definitely give it a try.

12. Wurm Online

  • Developer: Code Club AB
  • Original Release: 2006
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Wurm Online lets players build and shape the world around them.

Wurm Online is an MMO set in a medieval world that was released in 2006.

The game prides itself on being the true sandbox MMORPG, and was developed by Markus “Notch” Persson, the man behind Minecraft.

Wurm Online, like Minecraft, also features a world that players can interact with and shape in their image, but Wurm Online is often critiqued for being too complex and with too many systems.

If you are looking for a great sandbox MMO, and don’t mind spending some time learning the ropes, Wurm Online might be the old-school MMO for you.

11. Dungeons & Dragons Online

  • Developer: Turbine, now Standing Stone Games
  • Original Release: 2006
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DDO is an MMO adaption of the classic tabletop game.

Dungeons and Dragons Online was released in 2006 and is based on the popular tabletop RPG. The game features many of the same elements as the tabletop game, including character customization, quests, and dungeon crawling.

At first, only the Eberron campaign setting was available to explore but has since been expanded to the much more popular Forgotten Realms as well, known to players of most of the other D&D-based video games.

The title still has almost 50K active players and is well worth a try if you like Dungeons & Dragons or old-school MMOs.

10. World of Warcraft

  • Developer: Blizzard Entertainment
  • Original Release: 2004
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WoW Classic is the old-school version of the MMO giant World of Warcraft.

WoW Classic was released in 2019 and is a MMO set in the world of Azeroth. The game is a re-release of the original World of Warcraft, which was released in 2004.

WoW Classic features all of the same content as the original game, including quests, monsters, and player-versus-player combat. However, the game has been updated to modern standards, making it more accessible to new players.

In 2021 the Burning Crusade classic was released allowing players to experience WoW’s first expansion in all its glory and in 2022 WoW fans are eagerly awaiting the release of Wrath of the Lich King Classic, one of the game’s most beloved expansions to date.

9. Lord of the Rings Online

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LoTRO is an MMO set in the most popular fantasy setting of all time.

Another fan favorite, LotRO was released in 2007 by Turbine.

Lotro, or Lord of the Rings Online, is an MMO set in the world of Middle-earth.

It still has a very healthy population and Turbine regularly releases new expansions for LotRO. In 2022 the game went through a bit of a revival and had a surge of new players joining the game and old veterans returning.

8. Eve Online

  • Developer: CCP Games
  • Original Release: 2003
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In a genre dominated by fantasy games, Eve Online was one of the first sci-fi MMOs.

Eve Online was released in 2003 and is set in a science-fiction world. The game is unique in that it has no set objectives, and players are free to do whatever they want.

There are many player-run organizations, and the game has a complex economy. Eve Online is also one of the most popular MMOs of all time.

The game universe is vast with loads of systems and activities to get involved in like mining in space, piracy, and trade.

Eve Online has also seen some of the biggest and most expensive battles in MMO history between players.

7. Final Fantasy XI

  • Developer: Square Enix
  • Original Release: 2002
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Final Fantasy XI is a whole different experience to its younger cousin, Final Fantasy XIV.

Almost a decade before Final Fantasy XIV came out, Final Fantasy XI was released in 2003 as the first Final Fantasy MMO.

The game features many of the same elements as other MMOs, such as quests, monsters, and player-versus-player combat. However, the game also has a unique job system that allows players to choose from a variety of different classes.

Despite its age, FFXI still maintains a healthy population and is regularly updated with new content.

A visual overhaul of the graphics is also in the works according to the developers.

6. Guild Wars

  • Developer: ArenaNet
  • Original Release: 2005
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Guild Wars features an instanced world, rich in history and lore.

Guild Wars 2 has long since surpassed the first Guild Wars in popularity, but the original is still going.

Guild Wars was the first MMO without a subscription model, so by buying the game you get to experience everything it has to offer.

No more expansions are being developed for GW but there are still events hosted in the game and it still has a big enough population so that you can find people to play with.

The good thing about Guild Wars is that it plays well as a single-player RPG as well, so it’s great for solo adventurers.

5. Dark Age of Camelot

  • Developer: Mythic Entertainment, now Broadsword Online Games
  • Original Release: 2001
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Dark Age of Camelot still delivers some of the best PvP action in any MMO to date.

Dark Age of Camelot was released in 2001 and is an MMO set in the world of Arthurian legend. Players can choose to play as one of three factions: Midgard, Avalon, or Hibernia. The game is unique in that it has a focus on player-versus-player combat, with large-scale battles taking place between the factions.

DAoC quickly became a household name in the MMORPG world, mostly because of its engaging PvP and RvR (Realm vs Realm) combat which featured PvP on a much larger scale than had been seen before.

Camelot Unchained, a spiritual successor, designed by Mark Jacobs who also designed DAoC is currently in Beta.

4. Old School Runescape

  • Developer: Jagex
  • Original Release: 2001
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OSRS is still hugely popular in 2022.

The only game on the list with the actual words Old School in the title.

Runescape was first released in 2001 and is one of the most popular MMOs of all time. The game has undergone many changes over the years, but the core gameplay remains the same. Players can explore the vast world of Gielinor, complete quests, and fight monsters. The game is also free-to-play, which makes it accessible to everyone.

OSRS was released in 2013 but the reason it’s called Old School is that it’s running on a version of the game from 2007.

OSRS is now more popular than Runescape 3 and even has a mobile version.

The one thing that usually puts off new players from joining the fun is the dated graphics, but if you can look past it or even enjoy it, then the gameplay aspects of OSRS more than make up for it.

3. Star Wars Galaxies

  • Developer: Sony Online Entertainment (Daybreak Games)
  • Original Release: 2003
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In Star Wars Galaxies you can become anything you want, even a Jedi.

Star Wars Galaxies is a true sandbox MMO set in the Star Wars universe released in 2003.

SWG is one of the most beloved sandbox MMOs of all time set in one of the most beloved IPs. Star Wars Galaxies has always had a hardcore fanbase of dedicated players.

SWG was shut down in 2011 before the release of Star Wars: The Old Republic, but you can still play the game on SWG Legends Emulated server, which even still releases new content to the game.

2. Ultima Online

  • Developer: Origin Systems, EA, Mythic Entertainment, now Broadsword Online Games.
  • Original Release: 1997
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Ultima Online is a true classic.

A true pioneer in the MMO space, Ultima Online is an isometric MMO produced by the legendary game developer and astronaut Richard “Lord British” Garriot and, designed by Raph Koster who also helped design Star Wars Galaxies and Everquest II.

First released in 1997, Ultima Online is one of the oldest MMOs on this list. What it lacks in graphics, it makes up for in gameplay. Ultima Online is a sandbox MMO, which means that there are no set objectives and players are free to do whatever they want. There are also many player-run events and organizations, which gives the game a sense of community.

Ultima Online is developed and maintained by Broadsword which also operated DAoC.

1. Everquest

  • Developer: Verant Interactive and 989 Studios, later Sony Online Entertainment, and now Daybreak Games.
  • Original Release: 1999
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Everquest is as classic as they come, and the game can still be played (almost) like it was back in 1999.

Everquest is the game that paved the way for all future MMOs. That doesn’t mean it was the first MMO but simply that its commercial success made studios take the genre seriously.

Everquest is set in the fantasy world of Norrath and has a vast array of quests and monsters to keep players occupied. The game also has a rich history, with many players have been playing the game for over 20 years.

You can still play the live version of Everquest, or for a more old-school approach, you can head over to P1999 and experience the game as it was back in the day. Both versions have decent populations still going, and you shouldn’t have a problem finding people to play with.

That was it for our list of old-school MMOs that are still worth giving a shot in 2022. If you have any questions or suggestions for the list, let us know in the comments!

killerkram

Thursday 30th of December 2021

Guild Wars 1 is great and there are still active guilds to play with today. Plus the hero system lets you play nearly everything solo in case you don't like playing with people.

John Timm

Sunday 26th of September 2021

No mention of DCUO? Hmm.

Sakimi

Sunday 28th of February 2021

No Tibia?