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1. Age of Empires 2
Age of Empires is one of those franchises where players constantly debate which title is best. So while Age of Empires 4 is the new hotness, a dedicated contingent of players have never stopped playing Age of Empires 2.
The original game came out way back in 1999, but in 2013 a revamp gave the game HD textures and 1080p support. So it looks better than ever, and jumping into the game now will give you a chance to experience 4 DLC releases and the addition of 18 playable factions on top of the original 13.
In recent years, the popularity of the Dark Souls franchise has led to a renewed appreciation for harder games. And that love of difficult gaming might explain why Tibia is still popular since it was first released in 1997.
On the surface, this looks like another simple fantasy-based MMORPG. But the fact that you can die so easily and lose important items and stats means this game is not for the timid. But decades later, dedicated fans keep coming back for their punishment.
3. Classic Star Wars: Battlefront II
Before EA started doing revamped Battlefront games, Star Wars fans fell in love with the original Battlefront II. It offered a fun story and engrossing multiplayer combat on both console and PC.
The original multiplayer servers for PC went down in 2014, but you can now engage in multiplayer directly through Steam. And when you’re not playing with up to 64 players, you can check out some of the sick mods for this awesome game.
When the original Counter-Strike came out in 2000, it was nothing more than a Half-Life mod. The game has since seen a number of sequels and spinoffs that have kept the franchise alive and well.
However, over two decades later, many players still prefer the original. The community is very active, but the game looks and plays exactly as you remember, right down to the classic maps.
5. Anarchy Online
Anarchy Online came out in 2001 and was a pretty big deal at the time. After all, it was one of the first big MMORPGs to focus on a sci-fi setting rather than a fantasy one.
The game doesn’t have anything like dungeons or a hard endgame. Instead, it is simply a rewarding journey of gathering rare resources and evolving your character. In the wake of increasingly complex MMORPGs, it’s no wonder fans have kept this one alive.
6. Quake III
If you like shooting games, there have been hundreds released since Quake III came out in 1999. But some gamers decided this was the only FPS they needed and have kept the title alive for 22 years.
It helps that this game got a remaster in 2010 called Quake Live. It made the game look and play better and added extra features while retaining the frenzied feeling of the original game’s multiplayer matches.
7. Diablo 2
At this point, many would consider Diablo 3 a vintage game. However, the title most Diablo fans have never let go of is its predecessor, Diablo 2.
Diablo 2 took everything the original game had and made it better, and in the process, they created a multiplayer masterpiece. Fans are still playing the original Diablo 2, but it will be interesting to see how many of them jump ship for the remastered game when it comes out.
8. Final Fantasy XI
These days, if you mention a “Final Fantasy MMORPG,” most people will assume you are talking about Final Fantasy XIV. While that game rules, there are still players who log in and grind their way through Final Fantasy XI each day.
This 2002 game has received many updates and tweaks since its first release, but the kind community of players is really what keeps this game going. While modern players must play using PC, there were actually gamers playing the PS2 version of this game until the servers shut down in 2016!
9. Warhammer 40k: Dawn of War
There are plenty of great Warhammer 40k games out there, including successful sequels to the groundbreaking Dawn of War. But over time, hardcore fans have found they just can’t quit the original.
Many still play the vanilla multiplayer of this game (which is surprisingly well-balanced and fun). But once you get into crazy player mods that let you control things like Titans, you’ll see why fans are addicted to this game.
Back in 2001, Runescape came out as a browser-based game. It grew in complexity and popularity and eventually spawned multiple sequels, but some fans never lost their passion for the original.
Now, 20 years later, about 100,000 players log in and play each day. And this large community gets to vote on changes to the game before devs make them official (no changes are made without 75% player approval)l, which helps make all the players feel much more involved.
The original Everquest came out in 1999 and had a sequel just a few years later. Despite that, fans are still keeping the original game alive 22 years later.
In fact, the game is popular enough that it received its 27th expansion in 2020. While there aren’t as many players as there were before, this title looks like it may never die.
12. Second Life
If you take basic MMORPG design and basic Sims design and blend them together, you get Second Life. This 2003 game gave fans an early taste of interacting in a 3D virtual environment, though the game is more about decorating characters and spaces and socializing with others than anything else.
And after 18 years, there are plenty of games that are better for both socialization and 3D life management. But this game has a true cult following that just won’t let the community die.
13. Command and Conquer: Red Alert 2
When it comes to vintage RTS gaming, Starcraft usually gets all the love. But back in 2000, gamers got to fall in love with an arguably better game. And that game was Command and Conquer: Red Alert 2.
The original servers for this title have long since gone dark. But fans have been using third-party programs to keep the battle going 21 years after this title first came out.
14. Garry’s Mod
There are two kinds of people who play Garry’s Mod. One kind plays it for a few minutes and forgets about it and the other kind turns this game into a lifestyle.
If you barely (if ever) gave this game a shot, you might be surprised at how this game from 2006 has not just survived but thrived. With 40,000 people playing on any given day and countless fan servers, there is always something new to discover.
15. Ultima Online
Ultimate Online came out way back in 1997. It looks pretty primitive now, but this game arguably paved the way for some of the biggest MMORPGs in the world.
Thanks to a 2007 engine update, the game looks and plays better than ever. And there are still thousands of gamers rocking on here partying like it’s 1999!