18 votes

What are some older MMOs that can still be played?

I’ve missed a lot of the older mmos growing up like Everquest and dark age of Camelot. What are some good older mmos to play that can still be enjoyed either as a single player or coop experience with friends that still have online and supported servers? Doesn’t have to have a massive player base or anything, it can even have just a few thousand players. I would also like to avoid WoW, I’ve had a fair amount of time in it and don’t have any desire to go back.

20 comments

  1. precise
    Link
    Old School Runescape is still online with an active player base if that floats your boat.

    Old School Runescape is still online with an active player base if that floats your boat.

    13 votes
  2. [8]
    floweringmind
    (edited )
    Link
    Vanguard: https://www.vgoemulator.net/index.php EverQuest: https://www.project1999.com Spell Born: https://spellborn.org Wizardy Online: https://wizardry-online.com/#/ Free Realms:...
    10 votes
    1. [5]
      grahamiam
      Link Parent
      The amount of nostalgia and brainspace Everquest occupies in my head is staggering. I played the first ten expansions and am still close friends with people I met in Norrath 20 years ago. I know...

      The amount of nostalgia and brainspace Everquest occupies in my head is staggering. I played the first ten expansions and am still close friends with people I met in Norrath 20 years ago.

      I know an emulator would never recapture all the aspects that made it magic, but even if it did, "Classic" holds little appeal for me. To me, the height was Shadows of Luclin. You had three expansions of relevant content and levelling zones, the addition of incremental progress at max level through AAs (plus VT shards if you were hardcore enough), and a few needed QoL changes with the Nexus portals + the Bazaar + mounts. Finally, when they made the change at the end of the expansion from the lowest level mobs you could get exp from being the best way to level to making higher level mobs worth more exp, it totally opened up new exping areas that people might not have previously considered, which was a cool little moment. I know cutting edge raiders weren't fans of Ssra/VT endgame, but as someone whose guild was barely killing Dozekar during Luclin, that didn't really matter for me.

      The two things I miss from old MMOs that will probably never come back is slow enough combat to be able to chat without using voice comms and old content being relevant. FFXIV kind of has the latter, but really only for levelling. In EQ, you could still do cutting edge content without things like the Velious shawls (an insanely long questline that required all tradeskills but ended with a really good shoulder item), an EB item (underwater breathing), jboots (tiny movespeed), Mischief flowers (self-resist element buffs that normally only some casters could cast), the largest bags, etc. etc. etc., but it had so many small ways to make your character .01% more powerful or to add tiny amounts of convenience, and those little gains could be spread across expansions so that old content didn't become meaningless immediately after new content was launched. It also helped that gear upgrades were smaller and you had more gear slots than WoW.

      God I really wish a new MMO would come out that would experiment a little more, but at the same time I know that in the era of more advanced bots/simming/web resources, many of the things that made the first MMOs magical are simply unable to be repeated, and hopefully we can find new variations beyond what WoW and FFXIV have to offer.

      5 votes
      1. [4]
        vord
        Link Parent
        This is pretty much true of all games now. Within hours/days/weeks of release, most things have been discovered and put online. The challenges can still remain in singleplayer and small-group...

        , but at the same time I know that in the era of more advanced bots/simming/web resources, many of the things that made the first MMOs magical are simply unable to be repeated,

        This is pretty much true of all games now. Within hours/days/weeks of release, most things have been discovered and put online.

        The challenges can still remain in singleplayer and small-group play, where it's easier to resist the siren song of infinite knowledge. But once you have larger groups, even if you refrain yourself you will be impacted by those who don't.

        How do you preserve mystery and discovery in an era of infinite knowledge? I'd certainly like more of it.

        The only thing I can think of is per-user/group generated content.

        5 votes
        1. grahamiam
          (edited )
          Link Parent
          Yep! Even if you never interact with people who are "spoiled" by this information, the game developers have to take it into account when designing. I forgot another I missed from Vanguard/EQ which...

          Yep! Even if you never interact with people who are "spoiled" by this information, the game developers have to take it into account when designing.

          I forgot another I missed from Vanguard/EQ which are utility classes that don't fit into the tank/healer/dps trinity, or even EQ-style hybrid tanks that could do more dmg than warriors (the best tank), do some healing, provide some buffs, but couldn't main tank current content (similarly, druid healers). I'm not sure why exactly WoW / FFXIV abandoned those. I think you can partially blame parse culture but definitely not entirely. Also the move from 6 to 5 person groups.

          3 votes
        2. [2]
          Omnicrola
          Link Parent
          I've been thinking about this a lot lately. For me personally the discovery and problem solving is the party I really enjoy about games. Nothing can recapture the feeling of discovering how a new...

          How do you preserve mystery and discovery in an era of infinite knowledge? I'd certainly like more of it.

          I've been thinking about this a lot lately. For me personally the discovery and problem solving is the party I really enjoy about games. Nothing can recapture the feeling of discovering how a new game works, opening up new areas, learning new abilities, etc.

          I've been playing Valhiem with friends and have looked at the wiki once when I was truly stuck, but have otherwise stumbled along "blindly". Each new item unlocking recipes that where previously unknown and unexpected.

          I've been thinking about what a game might look like if it had both good design, as well as unique procedural generation of a tech tree. Not to make it harder, but to make it unique (and perhaps more replayable). So one person/group might play and have to use bricks to build their first house, where another might use unubunatanium.

          2 votes
          1. vord
            Link Parent
            That's part of the reason I mentioned MUDs in my top-level reply. Some of the tech advancements that could power a next-gen MUD, if they aren't already: Procedural generation (especially...

            That's part of the reason I mentioned MUDs in my top-level reply.

            Some of the tech advancements that could power a next-gen MUD, if they aren't already:

            • Procedural generation (especially GPU-accelerated)
            • Language interpretation
            • Dialog generation

            Procedural generation becomes infinitely easier to implement when graphics are a non-factor. Descriptions are only limited by imagination.

            Somewhere between level 30 and 40, your character gets randomly bonded with 4 other characters who play at an overlapping 1 hr interval. Nobody is directly notified of who. You're only given some sort of spidy-sense when getting closer to them. When all characters converge, they are given a unique quest, one that could take weeks or months.

            Because any given MUD realm could have unique topography and boundless size, you could find a corner of the world uniquely yours. You could have not just player-owned houses, but player-owned nations. Warring and shifting borders.

            Problem of course being barrier to entry, since most of the gaming market would dismiss out of the gate. Perhaps it could be marketed to book lovers though.

            A text-based game you could play on e-ink and a 2g connection.

            2 votes
    2. bkimmel
      Link Parent
      For anyone of a real certain age Neohabitat is the successor to Club Caribe by Q-link. Very interesting history, and probably the legitimate "1st graphical MMO" on a large scale. If you're "old...

      For anyone of a real certain age Neohabitat is the successor to Club Caribe by Q-link. Very interesting history, and probably the legitimate "1st graphical MMO" on a large scale.

      If you're "old enough" to remember or care, there are also servers that run Tradewars if you look around.

      1 vote
  3. Amarok
    Link
    Classic Everquest is still around. The Project 1999 team servers are the most active, and honestly the population size there is only a bit lower than what made for a standard EQ server back in its...

    Classic Everquest is still around. The Project 1999 team servers are the most active, and honestly the population size there is only a bit lower than what made for a standard EQ server back in its heyday.

    It probably has 99% fewer bugs than traditional EQ did, though. Patch day (and the resulting pure chaos) was part of the experience.

    8 votes
  4. [2]
    Deimos
    Link
    Final Fantasy XI is still running and being actively updated. It launched 19 years ago in Japan, and about 17.5 years ago in North America.

    Final Fantasy XI is still running and being actively updated. It launched 19 years ago in Japan, and about 17.5 years ago in North America.

    5 votes
    1. cardigan
      Link Parent
      It's had small updates every month since its release. I still play it. The dev team is still passionate and dedicated, despite their lack of resources. A few years ago they wrote a touching story...

      It's had small updates every month since its release. I still play it. The dev team is still passionate and dedicated, despite their lack of resources. A few years ago they wrote a touching story about how they tracked down the last PS2 devkits in existence in order to finish Rhapsodies of Vana'diel, a kind of frame story, prequel, and conclusion to the game's narrative. It ends up being pretty moving, as the characters from every expansion unite to face an enemy that's a clear reference to the game's servers' eventual deletion.

      Lately, though, they've found some way to be a little more ambitious with their updates, and are currently doing a set of story updates called The Voracious Resurgence that will take us up to the game's 20th anniversary in 2022.

      5 votes
  5. Akir
    Link
    Some of the oldest mmorpgs are still around, believe it or not. Off the top of my head, there’s Meridian 59 (which is free to play now) and Ultima Online. And if you are feeling particularly...

    Some of the oldest mmorpgs are still around, believe it or not. Off the top of my head, there’s Meridian 59 (which is free to play now) and Ultima Online. And if you are feeling particularly adventurous (by which I mean sociable), you can skip the rpg elements and play Furcadia, which might just predate them all.

    3 votes
  6. [2]
    Omnicrola
    Link
    Very few people ever played 10Six, but one of the original programmers is still running a derivative of it. He's actually still working on it in his spare time, bug fixing and adding features. It...

    Very few people ever played 10Six, but one of the original programmers is still running a derivative of it. He's actually still working on it in his spare time, bug fixing and adding features.

    It was the first MMO I ever played, so it holds a special place for me even though it's gameplay had some huge mechanical problems.

    3 votes
    1. Amarok
      Link Parent
      Heh. There wasn't a single old-school MMO without those issues. Since it was a new problem space and style of gaming, most of what designers were doing was bad, and the rest was broken. I kinda...

      Heh. There wasn't a single old-school MMO without those issues. Since it was a new problem space and style of gaming, most of what designers were doing was bad, and the rest was broken. I kinda miss that sometimes, since it made for some crazy, unpredictable gameplay.

      3 votes
  7. [3]
    vord
    Link
    Genesis MUD still going since 1989. Maybe it's nostalgia, but IMO everyone should try a text based MUD for at least a few hours.

    Genesis MUD still going since 1989.

    Maybe it's nostalgia, but IMO everyone should try a text based MUD for at least a few hours.

    3 votes
    1. [2]
      monarda
      Link Parent
      I was going to suggest a MUD too, and even though the server is still up for the one I played in the 90s, it doesn't look like anyone has connected to it in a long time, and it really needs other...

      I was going to suggest a MUD too, and even though the server is still up for the one I played in the 90s, it doesn't look like anyone has connected to it in a long time, and it really needs other players to be worthwhile. I agree that everyone should try one. What I liked the most about them is that because they are text based, I was able to create a much richer world in my mind than I experience in most graphic games.

      2 votes
      1. monarda
        Link Parent
        Oh, and you can get mud clients for your phone too!

        Oh, and you can get mud clients for your phone too!

        1 vote
  8. streblo
    Link
    There’s a Vanguard: SoH private server under development afaik — last time I checked it out they had a lot of the stuff done but very very low population. Now that was a game I wish succeeded a...

    There’s a Vanguard: SoH private server under development afaik — last time I checked it out they had a lot of the stuff done but very very low population. Now that was a game I wish succeeded a little more both in terms of achieving their vision and player count.

    2 votes
  9. RadDevon
    Link
    The Realm is a graphical MMO launched by Sierra back in 1996. It has changed hands since the, but it’s still live. Most recent patch dropped on the 15th of this month.

    The Realm is a graphical MMO launched by Sierra back in 1996. It has changed hands since the, but it’s still live. Most recent patch dropped on the 15th of this month.

    2 votes