Top 10 Anime MMORPGs [Best Recommendations]

The MMORPG genre has seen a massive surge in popularity recently, with major updates taking place for various titles like Final Fantasy XIV, World of Warcraft along with Tera and Blade and Soul. While newcomers to the game like Black Desert have been wooing people with its more realistic graphics and performance, veterans of the MMO scene still find themselves sticking to what they love best. The MMORPG anime scene has come a long way as well, with the likes of Phantasy Star Online seeing a major overhaul in its infrastructure along with up and comers like One Piece Online 2: Pirate King catering more to those who fancy the One Piece plot. Whatever MMORPG you decide to choose on is entirely up to you, since there’s an incredible amount to select from.

10. One Piece Online 2: Pirate King

  • System/Platform: PC
  • Publisher: JoyGames
  • Developer: JoyGames
  • Release Date: September 25, 2015

One Piece Online 2: Pirate King is a browser style MMORPG that takes place in the popular One Piece universe, and takes players on a journey along with Luffy on a race to become the pirate king. The game starts you off by being invited by Shanks to take part in all of the fun, while much of the game's plot plays out similarly to the manga. As you progress through the game meeting with familiar characters in the franchise, you’ll be able to create your own unique team and learn skills that will help to make your adventure more satisfying.

While not as big as the other games on our list, One Piece Online 2: Pirate King deserves a spot on the list because well, it’s One Piece and who doesn’t know of One Piece? The series is arguably the longest running franchise to date, and continues to rock the boat with explosive action and an incredible story. The game feels like it dives more into the strategic realm of playing more than the action oriented style we’re so used to, but perhaps that what makes the game a refreshing experience for anyone playing it. So if you enjoy the One Piece universe and would like to play on your browser, be sure to grab this one.


9. Ragnarok Online

  • System/Platform: Windows
  • Publisher: Gravity
  • Developer: Gravity
  • Release Date: August 31, 2002

Ragnarok Online made its MMO debut in 2002 in South Korea, then released a year later in North America. Also known as RO by many who follow the franchise, Ragnarok Online is based on the popular Manhwa Ragnarok which has also become an anime series and now has a sequel out. In Ragnarok Online, the world evolves around you the more you play and everything you see is a combination of both 2D and 3D in terms of environment and sprites. The game is split up into a series of maps which take place on two continents, each with their own set of enemies and terrain to journey through.

There are three major nations in the title, Rune Midgard where you initially start out, The Schwaltzvalt Republic, and Arunafeltz. Other areas that are inspired by Norse mythology are also included, along with other major updates that are being dished out on the fly. One of the important aspects pertaining to Ragnarok Online is the job system, since it plays a major role in leveling up your character so it’s encouraged to evolve with the game and change jobs to stay above the competition in battle.


8. Tree of Savior

  • System/Platform: Windows
  • Publisher: Nexon
  • Developer: IMC Games
  • Release Date: May 10, 2016

Tree of Savior was made by the same developer who created Ragnarok Online, and much of the lore is derived from Lithuanian culture and mythology. As of April 2016, Tree of Savior became available to players on Steam after it had been greenlit a year before. While much of the game still needs exploring, the game deserves a spot on our list because it incorporates a very vibrant art style that separates itself from other titles, while using Lithuanian references to create a very different universe.

You can choose from four base classes ranging from Archer all the way to Swordsman, while being able to customize your lodge as you see fit. When we dipped our hands into the game, it really looked like it took some reference from Disgaea as well in the graphics department because it truly looks colorful and moves seamlessly as you battle hordes of enemies on screen to save the Kingdom. The game is still very much a newcomer to the already plentiful list of MMORPGs out there, but if you would like to learn more about Lithuanian culture then give this one a try.


7. Elsword Online

  • System/Platform: Windows
  • Publisher: KOG Games
  • Developer: KOG Games
  • Release Date: December 27, 2007

While still not as big as the other heavy hitters on our list, Elsword Online still has its following and is still growing daily. Elsword Online has a very cutesy appeal to it which should come as no surprise since it’s on our anime list, but it also takes the 2D side scrolling beat-em-up appeal and throws in its own unique blend for a great experience. It feels like you’re traversing through a comic book as you chase down enemies and search for items, because graphically that’s what it looks like. You can choose from a variety of cool looking characters, and you can either go solo like a boss or take on the world with a formidable team to level up.

With specialized job classes to encourage you to continue grinding your way through, along with other cool features such as the combo mechanic that only requires 5 buttons to dish out the damage in style. One of the better selling points is the customization for your character, where the more you travel around discovering dungeons or completing quests will provide you with a large catalog of items to dress your character up with. It allows for a more personal experience and provides the player with a sense of accomplishment as you work your way through the game trying to gather as many new items as possible, to create the most powerful character.


6. Dungeon Fighter Online

  • System/Platform: Windows
  • Publisher: Neople
  • Developer: Neople
  • Release Date: August 2005

When Dungeon Fighter Online made its debut back in August of 2005, not many people knew what to expect from the game because it didn’t really showcase any of the perks that other MMOs had. Fortunately, people started to catch on to what really made the game such a remarkable title and that was in its beat-em-up style of gameplay. It’s seen as more of an action MMORPG which combines both genres in a very intriguing way as players choose their favorite race and class, and duke it out in a 2D side scrolling quest for dominance.

Unlike the more 3D MMORPG style we’ve now come to know and love, Dungeon Fighter Online was one of the few 2D titles that really made a name for itself since it really brought a nostalgia factor to the table, bringing back memories of Double Dragon and Streets of Rage. You can move your character in eight different directions and the great aspect about the battle feature is that depending on the skills you use, some can be cancelled from normal attacks into special ones kind of like what you’d find in a fighting game. Whether you fancy building guilds, taking part in the very explosive and action packed PvP section or taking part in some mentorship, Dungeon Fighter Online is a treat for those who just feel the urge to kick some arse in the 2D world like the good old days.


5. Aion: Upheaval

  • System/Platform: Windows
  • Publisher: NCSOFT
  • Developer: NCSOFT
  • Release Date: November 25, 2008

Aion: Upheaval, also known as Aion: The Tower of Eternity is another popular title from the well known publisher NCSOFT. Aion saw its initial release back in 2008 and still continues to rock on as one of the more popular MMO titles on the market. In Aion, skill chains are used to allow players to build their character over time and level up as they fight other players. Aion uses a PvPvE system which essentially combines everything together into one experience, so that players can take part in battles within Abyss and Balaurea which are PvP zones in the game.

It’s all about controlling castles as players and NPC characters work together to stop the opposing side, and the more you participate in the PvP you’ll receive Abyss Points. With the latest patch update, the Abyss Points system had been replaced with the Glory Point system, which you can receive through sieges or PvP and PvE instances. With plenty of classes to choose from as well with a pretty solid customization feature behind it, Aion: Upheaval is great for those who like a more in your face type of MMO, where you work along the NPC to take down the enemy as efficiently as possible.


4. Tera

  • System/Platform: Windows
  • Publisher: En Masse Entertainment
  • Developer: Bluehole Studio
  • Release Date: January 25, 2011

Tera is another heavy hitter in the anime MMORPG scene that saw its release in Korea back in 2011, but as of late has made a name for itself with constant cosmetic updates to the interface, along with gameplay improvements for a more enriching experience. What sets Tera apart from other MMOs is that rather than targeting an enemy by clicking and tabbing, you now can use your crosshair cursor to highlight the enemy and take them out. The developers called it the “Non-Target Battle System” and to be honest, it truly makes a huge difference in the long run.

While most MMORPGs are all about just logging in and playing with millions of devoted players, Tera does have a decent plot that can be enjoyed while leveling up your character. With seven races to choose from, with their own unique animations as well, Tera has a lot to offer to players who are truly looking for a deep and immersive experience. As of August of this year, Tera upgraded the amount of classes you can choose from which now totals 12, all of which as well come with unique attributes.


3. Blade & Soul

  • System/Platform: Windows
  • Publisher: NCSOFT | Tencent
  • Developer: NCSOFT
  • Release Date: June 30, 2012

If the anime wasn’t enough for you then perhaps now’s the time to hop online and jump into the world of Blade & Soul. The game had actually seen a release much earlier than the anime adaptation, but it was the series that really shed light on the now popular MMO and has gained a lot of traction ever since. Blade & Soul is a martial arts MMORPG that takes players into a fantasy world where they fight either against the AI in the story mode, or go toe to toe with other players in the PvP section.

We spent a good chunk of time with this game and we must say, the character customization in Blade & Soul is one of the best we’ve seen because it incorporates so much detail that, when you’re finished building your character it truly feels like your own. That would definitely be one of its crown jewels because MMORPGs are known for allowing players to create their own character on the fly, but not many of them allow for such a deep and meaningful customization like that of Blade & Soul. Once you’re in game and you’re dashing around at lightning speed casting spells and destroying enemies, the action just grows on you as each battle escalates as you progress further into the story, while the PvP will keep you coming back for more.


2. Phantasy Star Online 2

  • System/Platform: Multi Platform
  • Publisher: Sega
  • Developer: Sega
  • Release Date: July 4, 2012

If there’s one MMORPG that has truly stood the tests of time and really amassed a following, it would certainly have to be Phantasy Star Online. Sega had a great idea up their sleeves when they dropped the original Phantasy Star Online back on the Dreamcast in 2000, but unfortunately the Dreamcast was way ahead of its time and Sony pretty much ended its lifespan by releasing the PlayStation 2. Phantasy Star Online was one of the early adopters of implementing online gaming experiences on consoles, and to this day is still regarded as one of the greatest titles of all time.

Online gaming as we know it has become somewhat of a primary function for those who own a console, since it allows players from all parts of the world to come together and play as if they were right next door. Phantasy Star Online made that all possible but took it a step further by adding in a great story pertaining to Planet Ragol, and an enormous amount of features that to this day are still celebrated. Phantasy Star Online 2 takes everything we know and love about the franchise, and beefs it up even more to create a very solid and appetizing treat for anyone who’s down to battle monsters in real time, while traversing the incredibly expansive world with friends to collect rare items, and beat bosses along the way.


1. Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn

  • System/Platform: PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Windows, Mac
  • Publisher: Square Enix Holdings
  • Developer: Square Enix Holdings
  • Release Date: August 24, 2013

There’s no arguing here that Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn has come a long way since its initial release back in 2013, which saw pretty bad criticism for feeling like an incomplete game. Square Enix immediately took initiative and revamped the game from scratch, adding in various improvements to graphics performance, gameplay and two expansions that further the already intriguing story. Final Fantasy XIV takes place in the fantasy world known as Eorzea, where you take control of your character who had been transported five years into the future by the blessings of the gods. Your mission is to try to deal with the threat that the Garlean Empire is plotting before it’s too late.

Final Fantasy XIV saw massive cosmetic changes which pretty much turned the entire game around from its 1.0 version. Titled “2.0” by hardcore fans, A Realm Reborn pretty much lives up to its title perfectly because it truly does feel like the entire world is reborn to feel a lot more concrete all around. While most MMORPGs are free to play, Final Fantasy XIV does come with a subscription price tag but to be quite honest it’s totally worth every penny because the minute you jump into this world, you simply can’t escape it because of how addicting it is.


Final Thoughts

Unfortunately World of Warcraft isn’t really anime by any means, so putting it on here wouldn’t suffice. The title is certainly up there among the greats so we definitely give it the props it deserves with mentioning it. If you’re new to the MMORPG scene and just need one world to choose and play in, we hope our list provided you with enough info to make your decision a lot easier. For those who are still grinding away, which MMORPG title do you favor the most? Let us know in the comments below, and be sure to share, like and tweet out our articles to keep the community buzzing!

As always, if you want to know about all the latest buzz straight from the bee’s nest in Japan, be sure to keep it locked here at Honey’s Anime.

Rob

Editor/Writer

Author: Rob "NualphaJPN" B.

100% Vegan. A passionate fan of gaming, writing, journalism, anime, and philosophy. I've lived in Japan for many years and consider this place to be my permanent home. I love to travel around Japan and learn about the history and culture! Leave a comment if you enjoy my articles and join me on Discord! Take care!

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