The MMO (Massively Multiplayer Online) game genre is hugely popular among gamers for several reasons. MMO games offer a chance to play alongside (or against) millions of other players. They allow people to be social, trading items, discussing how best to defeat a tremendously difficult boss or a particular area. And they offer a sweltering amount of things to do in an effort to keep players engaged for longer.

But what sort of MMOs are people playing? And what sort of games use MMO mechanics? Here are five of the most popular types of MMO games.



An Xbox One player holds a controller via Pexels


Although the terms “MMO” and “MMORPG” (Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game) are often used interchangeably, there is, in fact, a big difference between MMO and MMORPG games. The term MMO refers the overall genre whereas MMORPG is just a subgenre. Every MMORPG is an MMO, but not every MMO is an MMORPG.

An MMORPG is a game in which players assume the role of a character and control their actions. You may go on quests and huge, world-saving adventures in medieval fantasy and sci-fi worlds. One of the most popular MMORPGs is World of Warcraft, a game with magic and races like dwarves, elves, and orcs. At one point, World of Warcraft made $1 billion a year thanks to the monthly subscription payments required to play it.


Massively Multiplayer Online Battle Arena games (commonly known as MMOBA or MOBAs) are strategy games that see players take on the role of a hero, leading a team that is competing against another group of players. MOBAs typically see players go down “lanes” accompanied by AI-controlled minions.

The goal is usually to destroy the other team’s structures. For example, in Heroes of the Storm and in League of Legends, players will have to destroy turrets which fire damage-dealing shots at players if they stand within the turret’s range without a minion. Each match is a battle of wits and know-how as players figure out how to use their map and their hero’s skills in order to secure a win.

Although MOBAs are known for being tough to master, many gamers love the genre and spend a huge amount of time (and money) on games like these. It’s why, despite being free to play, League of Legends was one of the highest grossing games of 2017. Developer Riot Games also sells character skins and other cosmetic items and fans seem to love them.



Two people hold their controllers as they play a soccer video game via Pexels

While sports games are all about simulation and realism, in recent years many sports video games have branched out and have actively begun to embrace MMO gameplay mechanics. Thus, the game genre MMOSG (Massively Multiplayer Online Sports Games) has been born.

FIFA Online 3, a free-to-play PC and mobile game for the Asian market, is one such example. In it, players can play as and customize teams from leagues all around the world. They can play against others, earning EP to unlock more players and items in the game.

Because of how lucrative the MMO genre is, fans should expect more games in more genres to embrace these sorts of social, connected, open-world gameplay mechanics. While that’s good news if you’re looking for an entertaining and engaging experience, these games sure do take up all of your free time.