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.

World of Warcraft is available on G2A or Amazon.

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.

Final Fantasy XIV is available on G2A or Amazon.

3. The Elder Scrolls Online

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.

The Elder Scrolls Online is available on G2A or Amazon.

  • Christopher

    Actually, WoW has been pretty deserted… I’d put the numbers, possibly, in the 4m area…

    It’s really the writing that has plummeted since WotLK. The story with Deathwing was great but everything else felt very horse-shoe’d, WoD most of all… especially considering it was an entire expansion built as a nothing more than a plot device to return Gul’dan because they killed off all the most interesting/powerful villains. Hell… they gave Orgrim Doomhammer the most half-assed story of any of the most important characters to the WoW lore… His being killed on that boat isn’t even referenced after he dies (if you play through as Alliance).

    WoW just has really awful story telling in these past two expansions. Cataclysm was good, but Vanilla, BC, and WotLK were a perfect merging of gameplay and story-telling. Which is a shame because I never considered Arthas to be the central villain. Yes, WotLK was amazing and perfectly executed, but it treated Arthas as the central villain to THAT story… from the get-go, everything about WotLK kept bringing you closer and closer to Arthas… more of the lore kept being revealed and the part where the last of his humanity helps you find his heart…

    I don’t know what changed after WotLK… and Cataclysm, again, was really good… but MoP was absolutely a mistake. When you have a room full of fans half convinced the reveal trailer is some sort of prank… things are not looking good.

    I used to love Warcraft’s lore. I’ve been playing since WC2. But, the story telling is just awful these days… and that’s why Warcraft is dying.

    Some people might say it’s the gameplay… and that is part of it… but, it’s mostly the story.

    • Jhust

      I dont think that’s completly it. The lore is an important part, but gaming related, WoW became a really easy game. That’s what mainly screwed it. Before Cata, things were actually hard to get, so getting something was self rewarding. Now you can just get stuff by doing “old-content”.. Or the newest things like LFR, Flex (gone now, converted to the normal difficulty).. All those things which were added post Cata, made the game easier and boring, back in the days “Raiding?! $#^$ yeah let’s do it.”.. now its more like “This #@%# again, i’ll just follow that dude”.
      I wouldnt pin it solely on the story, for the sole fact that most people never read anything, theres no actual need for it like in the old days. And given that movies are coming out, those that base themselves on not playing cause of the lore are just salty peeps and whiny lil b**** that cant stand a plottwist.

    • 島風

      Your ‘deserted’ is still the most played game currently and ever.
      I don’t play it, but don’t turn to delusion to make myself feel better.

      If you were to say Blade and Soul were dying in the Western release, that would be true.

      • Németh Károly

        As a player it hurts more than you think. Ever since wow I can’t find any mmo to play. I miss the people. I was playing Warframe till now, but it’s a bit too much.

      • Jeff Krotser

        most played mmo, not game.

  • Karyu Yagami

    ESO is OP because of the complex depth of customizability and its gameplay.. Ffxiv and wow seemed more like chat rooms that you could play with other gamers but lacked any real challenge when I gave them a chance prior to ESO.. Only one mmo has ever been up to par for me and ESO is it.. Otherwise I’d still be content playing single player games as opposed to other mmos that imo don’t add up to being much more for the casual masses than hardcore elites that have been gaming their entire lives

  • Scott

    awesome article, was a wow fan, sad to see what happend to it.

  • DoflamingoGT

    My WoW server is completely dead and it used to be full in MoP, also Elder Scrolls Online screwed up with the card requirements after Thieve’s Guild update and half of the players can’t play it anymore, so now it’s around 200k players

    • SnidgetAsphodel

      And where did you pull that 200k statistic from? Could we see some fact-based source?

    • Németh Károly

      I know what you mean. The heroic/raid finder takes at least 10-20 minute to call me in, in the wrong time even hours, as a tank. As a dps even worse. It’s hard to find people to do anything. A lot is just standing around!

  • Jhust

    Speaking from experience (WoW Mythic raider) WoW population is really low (mostly at expansion end, given the the requisites to high end game are quite high for a regular gamer (not impossible, just required high determination and patiente) .. As for Elder Scrolls, there’s something missing in that game, I didnt get that feeling that makes you wanna play it over and over. ESO so far is an endless grinding game with not so much to offer at late game. GW2.. its a pain to play alone where everything can kill you, and the community is not so welcoming, since that the actual Guilds just dont care at all, it has a nice PVP and story tho, same as ESO, not so much to offer on late game but endless grinding. For Black Desert, I only know reviews, tho its a full on grinding game, its just looks like a different kind of grinding.

  • Perdurabo0

    At E3, I thought ESO was claiming 7 million…

    • Nathaniel Blasi

      you have to consider the console players for ESO are probably more than the pc

      • Yes, but still all contribute to Product’s Success with some way 🙂 Many Console gamers pay the Sub 2 for ESO 🙂 Wish u nice gaming wherever that is 🙂

  • Paweł K. (meanraax)

    so ppl dont like to play in good games mostly?

  • Asuna

    Well, I Can tell you that WoW is not more playabe, and Black Desert Online is THE MOST PLAYED MMORPG IN THE ENTIRE WORLD, Blade & soul the second…

    • Dirk Grimmsdottir

      Uh? Source? WoW is the most played MMO ever. BDS and B&S are popular only in the East for a large part.

    • Dace Hawke

      That’s funny, Dungeon and Fighter is played more than both in the respective asian nations, yet somehow those games have more players?

  • Dace Hawke

    So TOR says they have 1 mil people log on a month, you arbitrarily cut that number in half why? You kick it from 3rd or 4th to 5th for no reason other than your own speculation. Not to mention you based Guild Wars statistic on accounts created ever, not current players. So why the random cut in half of TOR players, yet the inaccurate representation of Guild Wars 2? It seems like a very biased list.

    • Master Chief

      Yeah, Swtor is probably the biggest mmo after WoW (well ESO obviously is 2nd but i dont care for console numbers, wow and swtor are true PC mmo’s imo). At least the most active, but it’s because it’s Star Wars with nerds. ^^ ESO is so god damn dead, same with GW2, community wise at least, in-game numbers I dunno. What’s sad about Swtor is that there are no new mmo content, just a single player experience these days, and without being a subscriber it’s a terrible experience. I would rather play Gw2 and ESO because they are free and fun, Swtor is pay or be bored.

      • “Swtor is pay or be bored.” <– Hah well said & soo true 😀 :/ Also indeed no Mmo Content for Swtor in ages & that's sad. Eaware doesn't know how to implement good Story & Mmo Content together.. :/ They used to at least partially in it's Good old Days. Swtor hasn't been True Mmo for a while now & now it's Half Mmo. Wish u nice gaming wherever that is 🙂

      • Potato

        Swtor really let me down when I saw that Kotor was single player only. Me and my friend were going to play it together but had to play it alone. 🙁

  • Johnathon Johnson

    WoW is dead i would say not even 4m players. I have played since 08 on windrunner.
    It is near empty in every main city. Windrunner a server that is over populated according to WoW population checker is empty not a good sign for the future of the game.

    • tony ray

      you must play horde on windrunner because im playing alliance there and plenty of people around at all hours

    • Charl van der Merwe

      ‘dead’ at 4m, players.


      • Indeed..lolz some ppl 😛 4m x 13€ Monthly Sub is Good cash 😛 🙂

  • Charl van der Merwe

    because Black desert is a grind fest

    • Németh Károly

      So kind of like all games nowadays. I’m not sure why they think this is a good idea.

      • Potato

        Games nowadays aren’t grindy. They’re action packed only because that’s what makes most money.

  • zzzxtreme

    is Elite Dangerous’s multiplayer mode very active?

  • Positive Impact

    yea thanks blizard for destroying mmo’s by failing to update the grafix engine and continuing to steal others ideas causing games with better grafix to fail. have you seen what games are looking like in 2016? absolute $ht ultima online looks better than some of the games coming out right now. roll out WoW 2 on say cry engine ill sign up and pay you 15$ a month plus buy the game and patches as long as you keep p2w out! till then im looking forward to amazon’s new mmo with twitch

    • DarkflameQ

      ESO looks absolutely gorgeous on max settings in 1080p and my PC / graphics card is only mid range (i5 2500k, AMD x480).

      I agree that Blizzard desperately need to update to a new engine as WoW isn’t aging well at all, not just 2004 graphics but the combat system is servery lacking compared to ESO as well.

  • Dellort

    They left because the developers / publishers lied and told us they weren’t gonna make it P2W. They then implemented P2W features and completely headed in the direction they said they weren’t going to go.

    • Németh Károly

      So like 99% of MMO-s. And than they be like: “Oh no, where are my players?!”

  • Dellort

    Just wished more people gave FFXIV a try. It’s really casual and easy to get into.
    Definitely still getting numbers. Don’t ignore it just merely for the namesake and franchise. It’s a decent Subscription Fantasy MMORPG that any mmorpg lover would want to try at least.

    • JamesDrox

      It being based in the Final Fantasy IP is probably what kills it for most. If you’re not into those games then it’s hard to find it appealing when it bases itself so heavily in that world.

  • Kiyoko Roukaum

    GW2 Was one of my favorite MMORPG games. Though the community is a bit like cliques, the whole play experience is amazing. Choices you make affect the whole community. You could be a newbie and yet have a status as a royal. It just depends on how you create your character. Character creation is one of the best I’ve ever seen, and the most unique fighting classes ever. I was a Mesmer (magic dealing with clones) and can honestly say I enjoyed it. The NPC’s are VERY interactive, and creating items is actually challenging. The map is built around a lot like the Earth, actual countries filled with different races. The Throne of Hearts expansion pack is actually just a continuation after you’ve finished the story, which is something you do NOT need. I am the highest possible level (took me two years) and still haven’t bought the expansion pack, and yet I still play fine without it, so don’t let the whole “buy the Throne Of Hearts thing deter you from playing the game) It’s a very unique, challenging, but overall enjoyable MMORPG. You won’t regret downloading it.

  • Keshu Rao

    Where is Minefield & World of tanks?

  • Potato

    Except MMO’s. You have to grind so much just to play the endgame which imo is the “real” game.

  • NoYoN

    I played SWTOR for a long time. The storyline of every class is beautiful, probably the best in all mmorpg. But PvP, and crafting sucks… I really love Star Wars universe but that game will not keep you for longer. Every new dlc i’m just come back, pass the storyline and that’s it….

    I’m playing now ESO, and i need to agree with others – something is missing. It just don’t wanna keep you for longer as well…

    Wow? I never played, but my other friends-gamers, are playing till this day, even if servers are empty. That means that the game has that “something”, bcs they are very critical, if we are talking about games. Maybe i would also try, but i dunno if its not too late.

    • TheDemolitionReem

      Tbh I always liked the PVP aspect of SWTOR. More so than the PVE raiding/ops part.

      But a big plus with SWTOR compared to other MMORPGs is that it’s one of the few MMORPGs that even if it would shut down that you could play by yourself alone and still enjoy it due to the immense focus on solo content and amazing fully voiced dialogue.

      • zorkovitch

        Yeah, it’s the fact it is the least mmo-like of mmos that made me hook onto it.
        But what keeps me playing is the PvP. I wish they released new maps, so far there’s only one i really don’t enjoy that much (hypergate) and balanced things a bit (right now, mercs being tankier than juggs …)

  • ByteStix

    Legion has definitely revitalized WoW – that’s for sure!

  • EVE Online was released in 2003.

  • Plutia

    considering gw2’s peak and probably current concurrent users is far above ESO why was it placed below? that I wonder. anyways, where do you even see FFXIV’s concurrent players?