Most Played MMORPG Games of 2016
Korean martial arts-centered free MMORPG Blade and Soul was recently released to Western audiences early 2016. Featuring an innovative and unique combat system that focused on the proper timing and execution of martial arts moves to take down opponents, all juxtaposed against a big open world setting, it looks like Blade and Soul is on its way to becoming one of the most played MMORPG heavy-hitters out there.
Additionally, another new MMORPG of 2016 that was talked about in gaming circles due to its insanely detailed character customization and overall gorgeous visuals: Black Desert Online. Whether or not it’ll be as big as other popular MMOs remains to be seen because of its relatively young lifespan at the moment, but it is possible.
New MMORPGs with fresher mechanics and features are taking the internet by storm, but that doesn’t mean older ones are any less active. Long-time and most played MMORPGs, like World of Warcraft, are still around and kicking, and as long as they keep up with churning out quality content they won’t be going anytime soon. They do vary in terms of business models: some are free MMOs; others make use of the pay-to-play system. Regardless, you’ll find something up your alley out of the most played MMORPG games we’ve picked out.
With that said, let’s take a look at some of the popular MMOs of 2016.
1. World of Warcraft
Small wonder that the MMO juggernaut World of Warcraft still reigns supreme in terms of both number of registered users and active user count, even if you count in the fact that its numbers are constantly fluctuating, something that might have to do a lot with the release of new content. It’s actually gotten to the point where Blizzard hasn’t been sharing active subs numbers. But with a movie release in 2016 as well as a major expansion called Legion, the numbers definitely saw an increase.
Blizzard has been keeping mum about subscriber numbers, but if we could guesstimate, the number of active players might still be around the 4-6 million mark worldwide. Even then, it’s hard to ignore World of Warcraft’s long-held status as the most played MMORPG – it’s been referred to the most in other pop culture mediums such as South Park, something very few other MMOs, if at all, are capable of.
With the servers being merged and cross world play most servers feel much more alive than ever. In Activision Blizzard’s recent Q3 2016 financial report World of Warcraft was mentioned as still holding the number one spot as the top subscription based MMORPG.
2. Final Fantasy XIV
The MMO version of Square Enix’s Final Fantasy franchise retains the tone and core mechanics that is so at home in the beloved series. As such, it’s no surprise that Final Fantasy XIV has a dedicated fanbase. Featuring colossal lands to traverse, accessibility to any sort of gamer, tons of customizable content, and compelling storytelling, FFXIV is a must-try for any hardcore Final Fantasy fan. Do it for the Chocobo!
As for the worldwide population, FFXIV has approximately 320,000 active players (124,000 in the US, 143,000 in Japan, and 55,000 in Europe). Nevertheless, Final Fantasy XIV’s official website boasts over 6 million accounts created and is a worthy addition to our list of most played MMORPG games as FFXIV’s fanbase is still growing every day with tons of content updates.
3. The Elder Scrolls Online
We have more than a strong feeling that Bethesda’s The Elders Scrolls Online (TESO) lends most of its success with the user base count to the popularity of the offline Elder Scrolls games, most prominently Skyrim which achieved nothing short of a god-like status with both casual and regular players alike when it was released. It has its faults, yes, but it’s popular. On top of that, another factor might be its availability on consoles (The game is playable on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One on top of the PC and Mac OS systems), something not a lot of the other popular MMOs can boast about.
Bethesda hasn’t ‘officially’ confirmed their active player numbers, but in a recent interview they stated that they had 250,000 people playing simultaneously with an additionally 250,000 requests to their servers at that same time during it’s console release. TESO’s player base is mostly made up of console users.
4. Guild Wars 2
With the release of a new expansion called Heart of Thorns late 2015, ArenaNet’s free-to-play MMORPG title Guild Wars 2 hit a 7-million player landmark. Though the expansion itself is a buy-to-play feature, Guild Wars 2 has been attracting players by the droves with its free-to-play MMO model and emphasis on player cooperation and community-building. And truly one of its most attractive features to would-be players is the openness to newbies, on top of the cool PVP, enjoyable combat and sprawling locales to explore.
Guild Wars 2 sold 5 million copies by August 2015 with a lifetime peak of 460,000 concurrent players before the base game went free-to-play.
5. Blade & Soul
Blade & Soul is a new MMORPG to the west, Blade and Soul has been eagerly awaited since its release in Asia in 2012. The Free-to-Play Wuxia style MMO has drawn in a large audience with great graphics and a well-rounded combo-based combat system. With a large eSports pull due to its in-depth PVP systems, players and spectators alike have given Blade and Soul a huge following, big enough that NCSoft at one point boasted one million active players, but real numbers are at around 100,000 active players. While the PVE content lacks the depth of some other games of its ilk, with great combat and gameplay for a free-to-play model, Blade & Soul is definitely worth a look.
6. Black Desert Online
With stunning graphics, fluid and visceral combat systems and a massive in-depth world of crafting systems unto itself, it’s unsurprising that Black Desert Online has surged as one of the most played MMORPGs of 2016. Released only in March 2016 outside of Korea, Black Desert Online already has a massive amount of content to be released as the rest of the world plays catch up, but we know for a fact that there is a lot more coming in the near future.
With an immersive world filled with an amazing level of content, combo-based combat systems and one of the better character creators to date, Black Desert Online became one the most played MMORPG of 2016 with its Buy-2-Play model that sold over 400,000 copies in the first month alone. The amount of players still actively playing this game lies around the 100,000, which is on par with Blade & Soul.
Black Desert Online can be bought as a one-time purchase on the official website.
The long time running RuneScape is the MMORPG that refuses to slow down, having been released way back in 2001 and still going strong today. RuneScape provides constant updates giving the player base something to constantly look forward to, having been recognised by the Guinness World Records as the world’s largest and most updated Free To Play MMORPG. With twenty-six in-depth skills to master, player vs player combat, numerous events both random and organised as well as a storyline and various quests to complete, RuneScape still is one of the most played MMORPGs in 2016.
While Runescape does allow players to join the fun for free with their free model, most of the content is locked behind a membership subscription, but with 50-80k active users online at any given time (you can see the online player count on their website), and a boasted 90% member’s ratio, that doesn’t seem to slow many people down.
8. EVE Online
Released back in 2003, this absolutely beautiful space MMORPG is still one of the most played MMORPG’s in the world. Many people might have seen EVE Online in the news after there was a massive in-game war between players that ended up with some of the largest and most valuable ships being destroyed.
EVE Online is complex, it’s fun, and it’s active. In February 2013 they had over 500,000 subscribers but currently you will find around 50,000 players online worldwide at any given time.
New players can try out a limited free to play version so be sure to check it out here.
9. Final Fantasy XI
Final Fantasy XI is another old MMO that initially released in 2002 and is still widely popular, though not as popular as the newer FFXIV (number 2 on our list). Despite its age there are still 16 official servers with about 500-1000 players online during peak hours. It may not sound like much but most of the other MMORPG’s on this list also have servers with the same amount of players on them, except they have more servers.
If you are looking for something that has aged well with an amazing community and is best played with a controller, then give FFXI a try. There is so much content available and a mobile client is currently being developed.
You can get yourself a copy here.
10. Star Wars: The Old Republic
With the internet and geek fandom at large still feeling the aftershocks of the latest Star Wars flick, The Force Awakens, and eagerly waiting with bated breath for the next installment, players might be interested in giving the Star Wars: The Old Republic a shot. Bioware’s free-to-play MMORPG takes on the massively popular franchise hits the right notes when it comes to the release of in-game events, the constant flow of expansions (the most recent one being Knight of the Eternal Throne which released in December 2016) and the insane amount of content to bite into.
Bioware once mentioned that 1 million players log in to play each month, but that doesn’t necessarily equate to the number of active players for this popular MMO, which is around the 500-1000 online players per server during peak hours which includes the subscription and free-to-play users.
Unfortunately Star Wars: The Old Republic started to lose its grip over the course of 2016 as new players left relatively quickly. The main areas used to hold 200 players over multiple instances but now a lot of servers can be feel empty during the off peak hours.