MMORPG means massively multiplayer online role-playing games, and it’s a type of video game that combines elements of role-playing games (RPGs) with the gameplay of multiplayer online gaming worlds. \n\nThough it might seem that MMO and MMORPG stand for the same thing, MMORPGs are distinct because of their social and role-playing elements, specifically character creation and player progression. MMORPG players often use the term MMO as shorthand, but an MMO can include a [battle royale](https://www.masterclass.com/articles/what-is-a-battle-royale) or real-time strategy game that isn’t an RPG. Additionally, many titles of MMORPGs have abbreviations or acronyms—such as WoW or *World of Warcraft* or EQ for *Everquest*—that subcultures use as internet slang.\nAlthough there are many types of massive multiplayer online role-playing games, most share similar characteristics:\n\n1. __Multiplayer gameplay__: While single-player games don’t require other players for you to advance the game, most MMORPGs require you to team up with others to complete quests or take down bosses.\n2. __Free-to-play or monthly subscription__: Some MMORPGs have their players pay as monthly subscribers, while others let you play games for free. You can often purchase character upgrades or cosmetics as microtransactions.\n3. __Character creation__: You will almost always have the ability to create and customize a character. Character customization allows gamers to more deeply inhabit the type of character they want to be in the fantasy world, such as a warrior or a thief.\n4. __Character progression__: The gameplay will usually involve some form of advancing your character's level to increase your strength, skills, and other attributes. This is often done by completing quests or killing creatures to gain experience points and level up. Most MMORPGs don’t have an endgame, so players can progress for as long as they want to play.\n5. __Open-world exploration__: Players can typically explore a unique sandbox-style game world to find items, meet other characters, and complete quests. New players will enter the game into the same new world where others are playing.\nThe first MMORPGs were released almost 20 years ago and more are still being made today:\n\n1. __*Ultima Online* (1997)__: One of the first-ever MMORPGs ever released, *Ultima Online* is set in the Ultima universe and involves a time-based, player-versus-player (PVP) combat system.\n2. __*Everquest* (1999)__: In *Everquest*, one of the first 3D MMORPGs, players explore a fantasy world called Norrath as they hunt monsters with other players.\n3. __*Phantasy Star Online* (2000)__: Players can join up to three of their friends in this anime-style game to complete quests and fight enemies in real-time action RPG combat.\n4. __*Runescape* (2001)__: *Runescape* was released as free-to-play and could be enjoyed on a browser, which made it a very popular MMORPG. Players travel through the world of Gielinor to fight monsters, mine resources, and battle other players in action combat.\n5. __*EVE Online* (2003)__: Players control sci-fi spaceships as they travel a massive galaxy and choose professions such as exploration, combat, mining, and more.\n6. __*World of Warcraft* (WoW) (2004)__: Created by Blizzard Entertainment, *World of Warcraft* is considered one of the best MMORPGs and is among the most successful. It is set in a virtual world called Warcraft in which players create their character and work together as groups to go questing.\n7. __*Lord of the Rings Online* (2007)__: Set in J.R.R. Tolkien’s fantasy world of Eriador, players can explore, quest, and interact with other characters.\n8. __*Star Wars: The Old Republic* (2011)__: In this MMORPG in the *Star Wars* franchise, gamers can choose to join either the Sith or the Republic and complete missions to progress their character.\n9. __*Guild Wars 2* (2012)__: *Guild Wars 2* features a storyline that changes according to the player's actions. It’s set in the fantasy world called Tyria and allows players to complete quests to advance the story.\n10. __*Final Fantasy XIV* (2010)__: Also known as *Final Fantasy Online*, this game, originally released in 2010, is known for its player-versus-enemy (PVE) gameplay and robust class system that offers many play styles. Players explore the fictional world of Eorzea, where they slay monsters in party groups with others.\n11. __*The Elder Scrolls Online* (2014)__: First released on PC in 2014, this MMORPG then came to the XBOX One, Playstation 4, and other consoles in later years. Set in the Elder Scrolls world called Tamriel, the game involves quests, exploration, and random encounters. \n12. __*Neverwinter* (2013)__: Based on Forgotten Realms in *Dungeons \u0026 Dragons*, in this game the player chooses from eight character classes to form groups and complete quests.\n13. __*Albion Online* (2017)__: A free-to-play MMORPG set in a medieval fantasy world in which the player’s equipment determines their strengths and weaknesses.\nGet the [MasterClass Annual Membership](https://www.masterclass.com/) for exclusive access to video lessons taught by the world’s best, including Will Wright, Paul Krugman, Stephen Curry, Annie Leibovitz, and more.\nMMORPG is a video game type that features role-play as well as multiplayer online gameplay.