The Daily Grind: Which MMOs would you include among the greatest RPGs of all time?

It's like there's a party on your hard drive and you need that party to accomplish anything.

Massively OP reader Francois recently pointed us to IGN’s Top 100 RPGs of All Time, which we thought was worth a nod since unlike many such lists, it includes several early MMORPGs: including EverQuest (100), EVE Online (81), Phantasy Star Online (63), and of course, World of Warcraft (5), plus other multiplayer games we’ve covered in the past, like Diablo II, Titan Quest, Torchlight II, Stardew Valley, Neverwinter Nights, and more Ultima, Elder Scrolls, and Final Fantasy franchise games than you can shake an ancient console cartridge at.

But I can’t help but feel as if the MMOs that were included were added more for their saturation and fame and ubiquitousness during a certain time period than for their actual quality as RPGs, especially once you apply IGN’s rubic, which mentions requirements like story, combat, and presentation. I bet gamers with more experience in the breadth of MMOs could come up with a few more examples — maybe even a few made sometime after 2004 too, yeah?

Which MMOs would you include among the greatest RPGs of all time?

Every morning, the Massively Overpowered writers team up with mascot Mo to ask MMORPG players pointed questions about the massively multiplayer online roleplaying genre. Grab a mug of your preferred beverage and take a stab at answering the question posed in today’s Daily Grind!

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Andrew Ross
Andrew Ross

I agree with EVE and WoW, but Asheron’s Call really should be in there, as should Star Wars Galaxies. Lineage 2 probably as well, though as a global title, since it was technically the biggest MMO before WoW was and was significantly more popular than any western MMO at the time.

David Goodman

I love WoW and happily recommend it, but the thing with MMOs is that they are – at least for me – so dependent on finding a good social circle to be a part of. Even a technologically / mechanically crappy MMO can be good if you have good friends and enjoy being with them.

I mean, I guess it would depend on what part of RPGs you’re looking for – some RPGs are amazing and lauded for their stories; others, for innovative mechanics, or AI and NPC interaction. Very few get all of them right (i do agree with Chrono Trigger being #1 though.)

I would nominate Star Wars: The Old Republic for story – the class stories are great! – but I think the game itself is mediocre and the cash shop regressive and predatory.

World of Warcraft has gone through so many system changes that mechanically it’s hard to say if you like it – some people prefer Vanilla / TBC (we call those people ‘deluded’, but that’s only me picking a fight ;) ), while others like the more modern updates. Is the story great? Depends on where you are – it’s janky to go from Vanilla to TBC because of Cataclysm, but individual expansions – like Legion – are very good.

Hard to nominate an MMO as one of the ‘greatest’ RPGs with so many conflicting things going on.

I wouldn’t nominate any of them honestly. I think MMOs deserve their own category and cannot be lumped in with single player experiences – there’s too much going on OTHER than the RPG aspect.


Everquest and Ultima Online as the most important MMOs in the genre’s history.

Wow made the genre mainstream and I’m *not* thankful for that.

Roger Melly

None of them can really match the greatest single player rpgs but I think the ones that came closest probably are the likes of the Secret World , Lotro , Age of Conan , ESO and Star Wars the Old Republic .

Haywood Phillips

WoW, GW2, FFXIV, TERA is my list for greatest of all time. All important innovators in the genre, and all have at least some content that I consider “unmatched”.

WoW – Raiding is its standout best. At all difficulty levels, it’s just head and shoulders better than the competition. Polish, encounter design, class roles. Everything about it screams quality. Don’t everything from raid lead, to rank and file raider, to everything in between.
And had fun doing it. Despite it being the most money I’ve ever spent on any one game, I still think it’s the best monetization system AND value around.

GW2 – Continuing story and open world events is what its best at. Living story is just a flat out wonderfully executed idea. The mentor system combined with the timed events, big and small make for a wonderful open world experience. No other game even comes close in that.

FFXIV – The undisputed king of class/job system design (combat AND noncombat) and traditional on the rails rpg storytelling. The fact that it can tell a story better than many full voiced titles speaks volumes. Closest title to being cut from my list due to its slow combat, inaccurate feeling movement detection, and other flaws. But what it does well just shines too brightly to be ignored.

TERA- Absolutely no game I’ve played has done healing, tanking, and dungeon running better than this action combat title. Frequent oneshots at endgame dungeons demand a level of focus that many most endgame raids don’t even demand. I’m a big fan of healing and tanking and I absolutely love healing in tera with a learning group(zero ui whack a mole!), and tanking for an experienced group. Big fan of the arena pvp as well (despite its lack of popularity and rewards). Hands down best action combat title on the market to date. I even prefer their controversial take on gear development and the rng associated with it.

Teala Te'Jir

UO, Asheron’s Call, EverQuest, Dark Age of Camelot.

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Everquest, Star Wars Galaxies, The Lord of The Rings Online… hell, even The Secret World if you can stand the combat system. All to me are great RPGs in a “I don’t always need someone to hold my hand” kind of way.


Final Fantasy XI : Chains Of Promathia

James Edwards

Personally I know most liked the Phantasy Star Online games buy I honestly may be in the minority in saying that i preferred the Phantasy Star Universe series over the Phantasy Star Online series and thus my vote is for PSU series being one of the greatest of all time, the story line and game play aspects were both in my opinion far more enjoyable compared to it’s predecessor series and i sincerely feel it was over looked and underrated. My secondary Vote is for the Asda Story game not the re-releases but the original version with the ballista Ranger branch, of all the mmorpgs i have played the ballista bow style was a rare one never to be seen in another game following it. Lastly my third and final vote would be Divinia Online, for storyline and gameplay as well as game mechanics the graphics could be improved greatly but it was nonetheless a great game and the chatting system was pretty cool but could be expanded with a public chat system upgrade. I have several reasons for my votes but overall the general, nostalgia, story lines, grind and community feel(most mmorpgs nowadays are played dungeon rush style with no need for skill nor actual strategy an element now lost to mmorpg games.)


This MMO I keep playing where the environments are stunning, the physics set the standard and the bad guys are in charge of most of the realm. The problem I have with calling it the best RPG is that a few key members of the player base are destroying the realm, have the most gold and rule how they see fit. They set laws and tax the player population and don’t really explain where this is all going for the future of this great MMO. They just try and convince us that everything is fine and that we should believe in their deities or else we’ll get banned. And yep, there are lots of trolls..

Other than that, great MMO.