The term “MMORPG” is well-known among video game fanatics. It stands for a massively-multiplayer online role-playing game. These games let you plunge into fantastic worlds, some of which feature sci-fi, horror, fantasy, or historical themes. Some combine genre elements or create entirely new ones.
There are tons of MMORPGs you might play, though, and it might be hard to choose between them. Presumably, you don’t have all the time in the world, so you’ll need to pick out a few top ones worthy of your time.
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The Elder Scrolls Online
It’s genuinely difficult to pick just one MMORPG to play this year. However, we have managed to narrow it down to a couple of candidates for the sake of this article. That being said, if you had to play just one this year, The Elder Scrolls Online is definitely a worthy candidate.
In this game, you’re a fierce warrior who’s in a struggle against Molag Bal, who is a Daedric prince. The prince has a plot to meld the Mundus plane, where you reside, with his realm of Coldharbour.
That’s just the game’s first phase, though. After that, you must take steps to capture the Imperial Throne, which is vacant. There are three tenuous alliances made up of mortal races that all have designs on that throne for their own reasons.
What is the Game Like?
The most obvious comparison if you want another game that resembles The Elder Scrolls in terms of look and gameplay is Skyrim. However, the two games Oblivion and Morrowind also bear some resemblance to the look and feel of The Elder Scrolls.
Like many MMORPGs, Elder Scrolls has what could be described as a fantasy motif, with some elements that venture into sci-fi territory. The visuals are mostly dungeons, monsters, and some humanoid beings in armor, beautifully rendered and visually stimulating.
The gameplay depends on the decisions you make, as your actions open up different pathways while closing others off. The quest payoffs range from tangible rewards such as better weapons and spells to character development in the form of new backstories. You get to see your character grow in strength and wisdom while you also see what’s happening elsewhere on Mundus.
You Can Pause While Fighting
The fight sequences while playing these games are always points of emphasis. There are some MMORPGs where you need to learn how to toggle between weapons and spells while directly engaging with an enemy, and that can quickly become frustrating. Luckily, that’s not necessary with Elder Scrolls.
You can pause the action while you change to a specific spell or weapon that fits the situation you’re encountering. That’s gratifying since you won’t take devastating hits while trying to locate the one object that will stave off the attack that’s taking place. Matching the gameplay to your speed will serve you well as you become more comfortable switching your attack methods.
Is There Anything Else Worth Knowing?
There are a couple of other things worth knowing before you plunge into this widely popular game. The first is that you will find plenty of side quests, weapons, and monsters off the beaten path. The game is so huge that you can spend hours deviating from the main quest and enjoy the time you spend until you get back to it.
The other detail that’s worth mentioning is that it’s usually a mistake to attack the NPCs. Those are non-player characters that show up and with whom you can interact, but they’re not controlled by other human players out there in the world. Attacking or killing the NPCs brings guards down on you more times than not, and it’s pointless to do that. All you’re doing is slowing the gameplay, and you can also incur hefty fines that way.
Now, let’s learn about another of the top MMORPG options you’ll want to play this year.
Final Fantasy XIV
Anyone who has ever played video games likely knows all about the Final Fantasy series. If you have three generations living under the same roof, it’s possible that the grandparents, parents, and the youngest family members have all played some version of this series. That’s how long it has been around, and it’s fair to say that this is one of the most iconic and beloved game series of all time.
Final Fantasy XIV first appeared in 2010, and the response was tepid. While the graphics were impressive, the gameplay was widely panned. In 2013, the game was reintroduced as A Realm Reborn. This time, the upgrades made it a fan favorite, and the game has continued to win new admirers every year since then.
What’s There to Like?
There’s a lot to love about FF XIV, but let’s start with the sheer size of it. There are five expansions you can work your way through, so if you had other plans this year, forget about them. This creation is immersive in every sense of the word. This is the game that might very well suck you in to the point where you miss work, and you suddenly realize you haven’t showered in a week.
With FF XIV, you have a buy-to-play setup, but then there are also subscription fees. The game has one of the best free trial options available, though. There are many jobs and classes available, and you can freely switch from one to another. It is also available on PlayStation, Mac, and PC.
What Do You Do in the Game?
In this game, you’re traveling around in Eorzea. You can play as multiple characters, and there are innumerable side quests if you want to deviate from the main action. In brief, there’s a primeval dragon called Bahamut that has escaped from a lunar prison specially built to contain it.
Bahamut’s escape has triggered the start of the Seventh Umbral Calamity, which is essentially an apocalyptic event that threatens to wipe out all of Eorzea. You and the rest of the characters with which you team up will be hard-pressed to defeat the dragon, not to mention a veritable army of lesser baddies that are destroying villages and laying waste to human strongholds all across the land.
What Else Should You Know Before You Start?
Any game of this nature will only be as good as the storylines, pace of play, and ultimately, the connection you make with the source material. FF XIV delivers in all of these areas, but frankly, it’s the gorgeous graphics, haunting music, and astonishing monsters that make Eorzea such a fun place to spend your days.
There’s a patch you can get for the game called Buried Memory. It has become a favorite with players who are big fans of slower-paced, less aggressive fare, such as Disney Dreamlight Valley or Animal Crossing. There, you can focus less on the game’s combative elements and more on the building, farming, and collecting features that the more recent installments of the FF universe also provide.
What’s the Bottom Line?
The single-player elements in FF XIV are stellar, and the more you play, the more details you’ll notice that are a credit to the designers. This world is gorgeously imagined and rendered, clearly a labor of love for those who built it from the ground up. If you play only one FF game, let it be this one.
Are There Any Other MMORPGs Worth Playing in 2023?
If you had as much time as you wanted, you could hardly find a better use for it than exploring additional MMORPGs in 2023. There are more games of this sort available than ever before, but FF XIV and The Elder Scrolls stand head and shoulders above the rest.
However, if you have tried these two and feel ready to move on to similar options, New World and World of Warcraft probably stand on the next tier in terms of graphics and overall gameplay quality. The World of Warcraft property resulted in a truly awful movie adaptation, but if you ignore that and focus on the game, you’ll find plenty to like. WoW features iconic characters, and you’ll probably enjoy the many battlegrounds, raids, and expansions this title offers.
As for New World, it is roughly based on the settling of America but with added fantasy elements. It’s a fascinating blend of real-world events and places with pseudo-mythological creatures. It’s fun because the non-combat skills you must learn prove every bit as crucial as the standard swords-and-sorcery elements typically found in these games.
MMORPGs are great because they’re a way to interface with people across the world in real-time while forgetting your cares for a while. Try one of the ones we mentioned this year and reimagine yourself with an entirely new digital identity.