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According to a recent study of the most popular game genres in the United States, RPGs are enjoyed by 11.3% of gamers in the country. The genre is fourth, after sports games, action games, and shooters.

There is massive competition for getting gamers’ attention in the United States and it is notable that RPGs (and MMORPGs) have been able to carve out a space for themselves in the crowded market. This success wasn’t by accident, however, as MMORPGs have many gameplay features that make them so appealing to players.

What is a MMORPG?

One reason why the MMORPG genre is so popular is that it’s difficult to pin down – there are so many different types of MMORPGs, each of which have their own settings, lore, styles, and gameplay features. The answer to what is an MMORPG, at its core, is a game that allows players to take on a new persona and complete actions as this character. They may be a mage, a rogue, a warrior, or something else that fits within the structure of that game.

While all MMORPGs will have roles, that’s where the parallels end. MMORPGs can be played on consoles, computers, or mobile devices, they can be premium games that cost money to play or free to play and supported by microtransactions. They can be fantasy RPGs with dungeons, dragons and magical spells, or they can be military shooters where you take on a role within a military squad (such as a medic or a scout). This allows MMORPGs to appeal to all kinds of different players, whatever their interest.

What are the most popular MMORPGs?

The list of the most popular MMORPGs is just as varied. One of the best-known MMORPGs is Blizzard Entertainment’s World of Warcraft. First released in 2004, the game has been receiving updates for over a decade, from small bug fixes, nerfs and buffs, the major DLC expansions. The game’s player base has gone up and down during this time but the number of World of Warcraft subscribers did increase massively following the launch of the Legion expansion in 2016.

Other MMORPGs to have found success are CCP’s Eve Online, which allows players to manage fleets of spaceships, making currency by fulfilling missions, being part of a crew, mining, and getting into huge battles with others. There’s also Star Wars: The Old Republic, another sci-fi MMORPG which lets players create their own character in the Star Wars fantasy series.

This is just a small insight into what’s already available for MMORPG fans. There are many new, announced MMORPGs which also look set to get a lot of interest. One of these is the new MMO shooter based on the Aliens franchise. The game hasn’t been officially revealed (there is no public gameplay) but it has been compared to Destiny. These developments should mean that fans of the genre will be well entertained.

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