Leaderboard: What’s the best classic MMORPG still running at the end of 2018?

    
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Longtime MOP readers know that many our writers have a fondness for old MMORPGs, either because that’s how we got into the hobby and then this career path or because we still love and play them today. Some of us even play, ahem, some of the dead ones.

And yet come awards season, classic MMOs are rarely up for any awards, and if they are – like, say, Ultima Online, which launched F2P this year – they don’t win. And that’s a shame. Sure, 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 the last few years – and some could beat them given a chance.

Thanks to commenter Agemyth, who suggested this topic a few years back, we’re going to put it to a vote once again, offering up 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 literally among the top revenue games in the world because that would be super predictable and boring, and we didn’t include sunsetted MMOs either.

Onward to the future where the past lives on in the present!

Leaderboard: What's the best classic MMORPG still running at the end of 2018?

  • Age of Conan (2%, 19 Votes)
  • Anarchy Online (3%, 37 Votes)
  • A Tale in the Desert (1%, 9 Votes)
  • Dark Age of Camelot (4%, 49 Votes)
  • Dofus (1%, 11 Votes)
  • Dungeons and Dragons Online (21%, 255 Votes)
  • EVE Online (6%, 73 Votes)
  • EverQuest (9%, 113 Votes)
  • EverQuest II (3%, 41 Votes)
  • Fallen Earth (1%, 8 Votes)
  • Final Fantasy XI (5%, 57 Votes)
  • Guild Wars (4%, 52 Votes)
  • Lineage (0%, 1 Votes)
  • Lineage II (1%, 18 Votes)
  • Lord of the Rings Online (14%, 167 Votes)
  • Meridian 59 (0%, 6 Votes)
  • RuneScape (6%, 70 Votes)
  • Ryzom (0%, 4 Votes)
  • Second Life (1%, 8 Votes)
  • Ultima Online (7%, 83 Votes)
  • Wurm Online (8%, 95 Votes)
  • I can't believe you forgot X! I'm going to go down to the comments and politely suggest it right now! (3%, 34 Votes)

Total Voters: 1,050

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GiantsBane

Why is EVE, EQ2, and age of conan on this list while WoW isn’t? Another “Massively” Shamefur Dispray if I do say so myself.

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Oleg Chebeneev

Didnt even look at other nominees. If we exclude WoW, than ofc its EVE.

Honorable mention: Discworld MUD

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Chris Walker

Dark Age of Camelot easily, for me. Realm loyalty? It was a thing. Meaningful pvp? Yep. And it had an amazing number of classes to play and lore to back it all up. Great times.

Honorable mention for EVE Online as well, a game I still play on and off to this day. Great lore, environment, and unique gameplay make it compelling to me.

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Tandor

If you’re going to run a poll on the best classic game, and then exclude what by your definitions is clearly a true classic game because you think it might win, then that strikes me as both unreasonably biased in the poll-setting, and also rather defeating the whole purpose of running the poll.

Better perhaps to revisit the definitions. When I saw the title I instinctively thought of the first generation (or thereabouts) MMOs, and certainly those launched before say EQ2 and WoW in 2004. Comparing how those games are faring quality-wise in today’s market might make for a more restricted but much more interesting exercise.

Also, I think the definitions need to make it clear that only games still running on official servers will be considered eligible, and stress that it’s not a poll about which game was your first love, but which one that you have still played in the past year best stands the test of time.

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Vincent Clark

I don’t get it. WoW is a classic. Excluding it out of the poll just because you think the outcome will be predictable sort of invalidates the poll to begin with. And gods forbid that after all these years it is still be raking in the cash (gasp!). You also missed out on some interesting discussion about why it’s still a classic even if the most recent expansion might not be that popular.

Looking at the results, the poll should have been for the best most outdated, non-optimized, non-innovative, cash-grab oriented, thank-god-for-our-IP-because-its-the-only-reason-we’re-still-here MMORPG…then yeah, I get it. :)

Random MMO fan
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Random MMO fan

I agree, even though I personally dislike WoW it should’ve been on this poll.

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Denice J. Cook

It was probably more of an oversight on MassivelyOP’s part than anything. Like it or not, when people think “MMOs of Yesteryear,” they just don’t think of the 15-year-old behemoth that’s still garnering millions of dollars a year in subs and holding the attention of millions of gamers. It’s the gigantic mountain surrounded by a landscape dotted with comparatively tiny, struggling F2Ps.

WoW was still drawing thousands of players into it’s booth all weekend at the most recent PAX East (many of whom waited patiently for hours just to try BfA for ten minutes) and got way more traffic than most of the other games that were there put together.

In fact, I’ll bet over half PAX East’s attendees wouldn’t have been there at all had it not been for WoW’s gigantic booth anchoring the show.

And I say this as someone who rues the day Cataclysm hit, can’t stand Activision’s money-grubbing, and only supports Blizzard because they’re bringing original Vanilla WoW code back onto official servers later this year.

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Bruno Brito

Neocron.

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Vorender

DAoC

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Armsbend

This is kind of like asking – what was your favorite old MMO. Mine was FFXI and always will be. I don’t see them shutting the game down in the next five years so…that’s my answer next year too.

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vgees

Had to put in a vote for Final Fantasy XI, the most active “maintenance mode” MMORPG I’ve ever played!

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Armsbend

That was a marketing ploy people fell for.

Pepperzine
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Pepperzine

I certainly wouldn’t consider Lotro (2007) to be classic

miol
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miol

In comics you also have golden age (12 years), silver age (14 years) and bronze age (15 years) “classics”! ;P

11 years (shortly 12 years) since 2007 are lifetimes in “MMO-years”!

Pepperzine
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Pepperzine

Nothing about lotro is classic to me, besides its age, it really didn’t innovate on what came before it nor was it really foundational to anything that came after it. It pretty much rode off WoW and a popular IP (I’ll give it credit for being faithful to the IP, as that’s the best part of the game).

Those are three things that make a game classic to me: age, innovation, and being the foundation for the next generation.

miol
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miol

“Longtime MOP readers know that many our writers have a fondness for old MMORPGs… And yet come awards season, classic MMOs are rarely up for any awards…”

In the context of the article, I’m reading it’s mostly about age and a nod to those still keep truckin’ on, but hey, language is always fluid anyway! /bow

Pepperzine
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Pepperzine

Fair enough! Hope you have a happy new year =]

miol
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miol

Thank you!
Wish you too, a happy new year! :)