Leaderboard: What’s the best classic MMORPG still running in 2017?

Those of you who’ve been following Massively OP for a while know that many our writers have a fondness for old MMORPGs – that’s how we got into the hobby in the first place. My little secret is that I still maintain one of my original Ultima Online accounts with a house and gardens and a stable of toons (mostly bards!).

And yet come awards season, classic MMOs rarely win awards, which hardly seems fair. Yes, some of them have graphics that have fallen by the wayside, but most have mechanics that can stand toe to toe with anything made in 2017.

Thanks to commenter Agemyth, who suggested this topic last year, we’re going to put it to a vote, again this year including a wide range of “gracefully aging” MMOs that could reasonably be considered classics based on the era of their launch. No, we didn’t include blockbusters like World of Warcraft that are still winning awards in 2017, nor did we list any closed games (the Asheron’s Call games were sunsetted this year, alas). Onward to the future where the past lives on in the present!

What's the best classic MMORPG still running at the end of 2017?

  • Age of Conan (3%, 19 Votes)
  • Anarchy Online (3%, 22 Votes)
  • A Tale in the Desert (0%, 2 Votes)
  • Battleground Europe (0%, 1 Votes)
  • Dark Age of Camelot (7%, 50 Votes)
  • Dofus (1%, 6 Votes)
  • Dungeons and Dragons Online (6%, 42 Votes)
  • EVE Online (7%, 52 Votes)
  • EverQuest (13%, 88 Votes)
  • EverQuest II (9%, 60 Votes)
  • Fallen Earth (1%, 5 Votes)
  • Final Fantasy XI (8%, 56 Votes)
  • Guild Wars (6%, 39 Votes)
  • Lineage (1%, 6 Votes)
  • Lord of the Rings Online (22%, 152 Votes)
  • Meridian 59 (0%, 0 Votes)
  • Pirates of the Burning Sea (0%, 2 Votes)
  • RuneScape (4%, 31 Votes)
  • Ryzom (1%, 4 Votes)
  • Second Life (1%, 4 Votes)
  • Ultima Online (6%, 41 Votes)
  • Wurm Online (1%, 5 Votes)
  • I can't believe you forgot X! I'm going to go down to the comments and politely suggest it right now! (2%, 16 Votes)

Total Voters: 604

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49 Comments on "Leaderboard: What’s the best classic MMORPG still running in 2017?"

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Crowe

I’ve got nothing here. And I haven’t really played a MMO for more than a couple of weeks in about 2 years now. We’re in a drought and need a classically designed MMO! (and most of the announced in development look like they are catering to a niche crowd)

drivendawn
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drivendawn

FFXI

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Thomas

In my opinion, no one has ever topped Guild Wars for sheer game design magnificence. I played GW to excess back in the day, but one can only play through the same content so many times.

GW1 (most definitely not GW2) is to MMOs (OK, OK, “CORPGs”) what the Mass Effect trilogy is to SPRPGs: a genuine classic.

It frustrates me to see so many mediocre games trying to emulate WoW, when GW1 was the example to follow.

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Veldan

While it was an amazing game and it saddens me that it has no (spiritual) successor, I also think GW should not be in any MMO polls because it wasn’t an MMO. This is not just terminology, it was a different type of game.

What I mean is that studios that want to make an MMO can’t follow GW’s example because it wasn’t one. If GW is ever to have a spiritual successor, we need a studio that says “OK, we’re not making an MMO and we’re not doing an F2P model like everyone else, we’re just going to make a good, team-based game like GW was”. I don’t see this happening.

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touchofkiel

FFXI. Still a unique experience both as a FF game and definitely as an MMO. Still a joy to play and explore – and a lot more convenient these days, too, without missing that sense of getting lost exploring the excellent game world, wondering if those mos will aggro…

Reader
Roger Melly

WoW really should have been included as others have pointed out .

I am actually trying WoW again for the first time in nearly 10 years ( I quit just after Wrath of the Lich King ) I still enjoy the pvp but the questing offer zero challenge at all for the most part even in the legion areas ) . For questing and pve in general lotro offers better overall but I think WoW probably has better endgame raids . That is why I voted lotro .

Fully intend to play on the classic servers when they are out but I thought it would be nice to have a couple of max level characters on regular servers so I can also enjoy the newer warfronts as well.

I hope the success of the new classic servers will prompt Blizzard to offer the pristine servers they talked about a while back which hopefully would offer us the something close to the challenge and depth of the original game in its first few years .

The option to play on a server which is for all intents and purposes and harder less streamlined version of the game I suspect would bring back a lot of subscriptions .

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Mallus

I voted LOTRO but Wow should have been up here and it would have won hands down.

pepperzine
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pepperzine

Games that came out after WoW are not really classic mmorpgs in my opinion and shouldn’t be included in this poll. And…if you decide to include them… then you should include WoW…

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Vincent Clark

This discussion has come up fairly recently already. In fact, remove “running in 2017” part from the title and it’s identical to an earlier thread–which, coincidentally, had the same issue with the exclusion of WoW.

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Veldan

Tbh it’s a good question what is meant by classic.

I’m not native English speaker, and after reading Castagere Shaikura’s comment below I googled a few dictionaries and went through all the possible meanings of the word. The most fitting meaning seems to be “traditional”, which would refer to an MMO that was made the way all the early MMOs were made. That would then exclude WoW, but also LotRO (too modern and WoW-like to be called traditional), GW (too different from the others, and not actually an MMO besides), and possibly more.

So honestly, what does “classic” mean here, and how does that lead to the list of MMOs in the poll?

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Patreon Donor
Veldan

RuneScape, obviously! The RS community has always been underrepresented on this site though, so I never expected it to score high. If anything I’m surprised it even got the 21 votes that it has right now.

Swifty
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Swifty

The only true Classic for me is Anarchy Online, because it was my first MMO and also pre-dates the “wow era”.

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Castagere Shaikura

My pick too.

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Knox Harrington

I voted for LOTRO because its world, environments, music, and community will always give me a reason to at least log in once in awhile.

Reader
ozzie

I don’t know much about them, but surprised to see EQ original has more votes than EQ II. I’d assume the second would be more popular. Maybe because it had to come a longer way to modern time?

Reader
Jokerchyld

But overall EQ2 was a different game, not really (truly) a sequel. The easiest way I see it is EQ was an adventure game where you effectively got to do what you want in a community of other real players. Your reputation mattered. It was more group based.

EQ2 was more quest driven (ala WoW) and story based losing the community that was in EQ1.

There was more of a mystery feel to EQ where EQ2 led you through an adventure.

Reader
Cinaminson

Why are games that came out after WoW on here but WoW isn’t? I’m not saying WoW is the best classic game, but several of these came out after it. Does that really count as classic as far as age goes? =/

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rafael12104

It’s UO. No ifs, ands or elf butts.

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Kickstarter Donor
squidgod2000

Favorite, sure, but best? It used to be the best, but it definitely hasn’t aged as well as something like Eve. They just piled too much landmass and too many weird systems into UO.

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Bryan Turner

World of Warcraft, I read your reasons for not including it and it seems arbitrary since WoW has been an anamoly its whole existence that has been skirting the trends of MMOS for its entire existence. I see you included Lineage though, another game like WoW that continues to defy expectations regarding age and popularity yet the rules do not apply to them, do Koreans not come to this site perhaps. Plus you include at least one Wow clone LOTRO.

So I choose to write in WoW like I wrote in Sanders.

Reader
Loyal Patron
Armsbend

“No, we didn’t include blockbusters like World of Warcraft that are still winning awards in 2017”

According to them it’s only bad games that don’t still win awards.

deekay_plus
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Patreon Donor
deekay_plus

i loled at your breaking down the logic. that’s some legit shit right there.

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Castagere Shaikura

Its strange that they would put in EQ2 when it came out the same time as Wow.

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Sray

The bias against X that MOP so blatantly displays is abhorrent! It’s exclusion turns this entire informal, unscientific, and easily exploitable poll into a complete joke!

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Melissa McDonald

You know, Decaf is pretty tasty. I’m just sayin’.

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Sray

I kind of thought pointing out “informal, unscientific and easily exploited” would have given away the satirical nature of my post. My bad.

Btw, many regular posters here quite seriously made essentially the same post multiple times over the holiday “poll-fest” that MOP ran because their favorite game got left off a list.

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Melissa McDonald

no worries, God Bless :)

deekay_plus
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Patreon Donor
deekay_plus

i think i missed most of the polls tbh. too much (not) eggnog >>

(too much gaming really, my guild had a really nice holidays for the guys that didn’t want to visit fam this year :D)

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Bryan Turner

Decaf wow that is like offering a man dying of thirst salt water.

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Loyal Patron
BalsBigBrother

Stomach issue have forced me onto decaff. Going from a strong roast coffee bean to decaff well lets just say its not a great experience in terms of caffeine withdrawal for about a week or so.

Worth it in the end once my body adjusted and my stomach issue are more manageable now. I am grateful that I didn’t have to completely give up on coffee and I can at least still enjoy it even if its a decaff.

deekay_plus
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Patreon Donor
deekay_plus

i like decaf becuasde i like coffee but too much coffee gives me anxiety even tho i want moar cofeeeeeeeee.

also it makes a great low cost chaser.

deekay_plus
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Patreon Donor
deekay_plus

i’m drinking baileys and decaf right now XD

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Loyal Patron
BalsBigBrother

I like the way you are thinking Cheers :-)

deekay_plus
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deekay_plus

cheers

kofteburger
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kofteburger

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Dividion

And that’s where the term ‘shard’ came from as a label for separate servers.

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Castagere Shaikura

Some of your games to me are not classic. To me classic means a game the came out before Wow. How or why did you make that list? I picked Anarchy Online because it was unique at the time. But please tell about that list.

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Roger Melly

For me it’s a game over ten years old so WoW falls firmly into classic mmos .

Jesus Christ
Guest
Jesus Christ

FFXI

gelfred
Reader
gelfred

Well I still regularly play GW1, Lotro and DDO. And until last year age of conan. All are still fun, and two are getting good new content.

Id probably break my no kickstarter rule for a GW1 style game though!

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Zen Dadaist

Time was when I’d have ticked Anarchy Online without a moment’s hesitation. Where is the “nothing” box?

In related news FC still hasn’t fixed my main so it can be played again.

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Oleg Chebeneev

EVE Online easily.

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Melissa McDonald

personal preference would be LOTRO. There’s nothing else like it in the IP and nothing likely to replace it, either.

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Dagget Burmese

Yeah, I’d categorize LOTRO as too new – pre-WoW should be the cutoff.

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Kickstarter Donor
Dividion

I think any MMO beyond a decade old qualifies, as there are so many that don’t even make it that far. I think it’s a sign that it actually still looks and plays pretty well for its age. I almost checked the box for Anarchy Online, until I saw LotRO on that list. Then it was a no-brainer. Plus I haven’t logged into AO in a couple of years now, but I always loved the mechanics in that game.

deekay_plus
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Patreon Donor
deekay_plus

classic mmo’s refers to pre wow mmo’s more or less.

Reader
Harry Koala

On the list, Dungeons and Dragons online, Wurm online, Age of Conan, LOTRO, all came out after WoW. And possibly some others as well.

I kind of get why they can be there and WoW not be in the list, but I’m sure there are going to be people who demand everything be done according to rigid criteria who are going to take a break from trying to impose their definition of MMO/ not MMO (or game / walking simulator) on everyone else and arrive here in a roiling cloud of outrage any moment :)

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Bryan Turner

Thanks for thinking of me, that’s so thoughtful.

deekay_plus
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Patreon Donor
deekay_plus

didn’t rad the list, which now looks odd to me with certain games on it yet not others. especially since some of them like lotr are every bit in the ways that matter and define the term wow clones/likes.

wpDiscuz