screenshot of ultima online orcs in village

The video game industry is more prolific than ever and is now pushing the limits of what’s possible in online video games at a much faster rate than it did before. Game developers are now coming with new concepts, gorgeous imagery, epic art and cinematics that immerse us into a new open world as if we really were there ourselves. With that in mind, you would think that the old online games from the past are completely obsolete. However, lots of old online games from over a decade ago still have huge online communities of players who continue to play their old online games to this day.

What makes these old online games so special that they are still played over a decade later? Some will obviously think about nostalgia, remembering the high school days where they could play as much as they wanted and fully immerse themselves into the fantasy, others will talk about the amazing gameplay that these old online games offer, judging the copies, sequels or changes to be inferior. Others simply don’t have the budget to pay for game subscriptions and choose to play some of these free-to-play online games instead.

  1. Runescape (2001)

Starting off with a beloved old free MMORPG, Runescape has kept its online community of players alive since 2001. This game, featuring personal goals for each players instead of a full-length identical story for everybody, has apparently shown enough diversity that it managed to stay a relevant MMORPG for the past fifteen years. According to the statistics of the game, Runescape’s community is currently made of over sixty thousands of active players not including runescape private servers. Compared to the game’s glory days that would count hundreds of thousands of people, this is still a respectable number of fans for this free-to-play mmorpg.

  1. Ultima online (1997)

An open version of the fantasy game Ultima, Ultima Online was released in 1997, making it one of the very first MMORPGs in history. Considering not only its age, but also the boom of role-playing games that followed, as well as the massive success of World of Warcraft seven years later, it’s not easy to know why this game specifically still stands out in the mind of the players. Turns out the Ultima Online gaming community is indeed a big part in the game’s ongoing popularity. Ultima Online is a pay to play mmo that was always focused on player interaction and human experience, as it was trying to set players together and make each of them feel like they were the main focus of the online game.  Ultima Online players have a wide array of actions, classes and paths to choose from and have the freedom to accomplish anything they want, whether it takes hours or a couple minutes, which ultimately makes the game something they want to go back to. It is and remains, their own personal and completely original adventure.

  1. World of Warcraft (2004)

The most obvious and one of the most played MMO games out of this list but a pure classic in the video game culture, The World Of Warcaft franchise has managed to reinvent itself as the years went by to the point where its community was as active as ever (official active player statistics for WoW are no longer being reported by Blizzard). With the kind of content that manages to remain current and modern, it is crazy to think that this pay to play MMO is actually 12 years old. Far from becoming forgotten in anyway, WoW has instead expanded its universe in more ways than one. An upcoming World of Warcraft movie will soon come place itself along the likes of books, comics and other gaming merchandise that the game spawned. And the success of this game is not solely due to its capacity to reinvent itself, change the story and update the graphics: WoW has older vanilla server pop up online with communities of nostalgic players trying to get what they used to experience a decade ago. Unfortunately much of these usually end up being shut down. World of Warcraft is still gathering millions but is said to be losing active players.

  1. Tibia (1997)

Almost twenty years ago since the release of the infamous 1997 multi-player role-playing game and Tibia is still going to this day. Now in an era where you can experience worlds in a first-person point of view and pixels only ever appear inside nostalgia-profiting indie games, this one remains mostly unchanged. Instead of following today’s standards in its updates, Tibia chose to focus on working on player versus players fights rather than make the free-to-play MMO game look less ancient. It looks like the right formula as the game still benefits from over 15,000 active players during its peak hours.

  1. Counter strike (1999)


Team-based game first-person shooter brought to us by Valve Studio, Counter Strike is the very first of a series, with a gameplay that got a few upgrades with time, and even a remake in 2004. Considering the success, not only of that game, but also of its sequels, it is of no surprise that this one would still get players excited for it. The original game benefitted from an Xbox release in 2013 which is indicative of a loyal fan base.

  1. Guild Wars (2005)

guild wars character in main city

Guild Wars is not the oldest online game in this list as it has only been a little bit over a decade since this one came out, Guild Wars is another old online game that has managed to stay very current and fresh by releasing updates regularly and by having a sequel: Guild Wars 2. Far from getting the millions of subscribers gathered around the successful Guild Wars 2, the buy to play Guild Wars 1 game still appears to have an active following and a beautiful community willing to get together in order to fight the forces of evil together.

  1. Diablo 2 (2000)

diablo 2 gameplay

A monument of action role-playing games, Diablo II is among Blizzard’s biggest successes and one that left its mark in the online gaming industry. We can all remember the hype that the sequel got when it was released, mainly because that one was such a phenomenon. With Diablo 3 also doing great, lots of players still agree that Diablo II is superior ARPG game to both the first and third instalments of the series, because of its complexity, its story-oriented approach and impeccable gameplay . Blizzard is set on keeping the flame alive and is releasing an update to create the 1.14a version of the game, promising to also help make it more compatible with current operating system.

All of these old online multiplayer games, though still enjoyable to play, have had more modern games spawning after a few years, yet the player communities are still gathering to share these online experiences together.