Massively multiplayer online role-playing games, or MMORPG, emerged in the mid to late 1990s as a commercial, graphical variant of text-based MUDs, which had existed since 1978.
By and large, MMORPG features the usual RPG objectives of completing quests and strengthening one’s player character but involves up to hundreds of players interacting with each other in the same persistent world in real-time.
The massively multiplayer concept was quickly combined with other genres. Fantasy MMORPG, like Final Fantasy XI, The Lord of the Rings Online: Shadows of Angmar, and The Elder Scrolls Online, remain the most popular type of MMOG, with the most popular “pay-to-play” game being World of Warcraft, and the most popular “free-to-play” games including RuneScape and TERA, yet other types of MMORPG are appearing. Sci-fi MMORPG like Phantasy Star Online holds a smaller part of the market, with the popular space sci-fi game EVE Online being the most notable. Other massively multiplayer online games that do not have a conventional RPG setting include Second Life and Ingress.