MMORPGs as a genre is very popular in Russia; the gaming audience as a whole is primarily PC-based over there, after all.
Research suggests that despite Russia’s lack of sophisticated internet networks like Japan’s or Korea’s, there’s a good chunk of people in Russia playing MMORPGs.
It’s evident in the fact that most global MMORPG titles have dedicated Russian servers; there’s also been significant growth of game development in Russia as a whole.
Although still in the early stages of the industry, there aren’t many Russian MMOs available; available ones are still in their infancy but feel great and offer a good promise.
Regardless, there are plenty of global titles that have managed to leave an impression on Russian gamers. Here are some of the MMORPGs that gamers are playing in Russia these days.
1. Lineage II
Lineage II is a popular MMORPG developed by NCSoft and released in 2003. The game is a prequel to the first entry, one of the first popular mainstream MMORPGs released in 1998.
Lineage II offers three very different experiences in the form of “Classic”, “Aiden”, and “Live” versions. For the most part, the classic version is widely accepted as the better experience.
The live version involves pay to win mechanics to gain meaningful progress in a reasonable amount of time.
Finally, the Aiden version could be considered the most newbie friendly way of playing the game as it allows faster level-ups and a fairly tone-downed version of vanilla combat mechanics.
As you can imagine, the game has a lot of content, and even though it’s almost two decades old now, the game receives a healthy amount of content in the form of new skills and quests regularly.
Lineage II is one of the more competitive focused MMORPGs. While the game features PvE elements, it’s more for the player to level themselves up for PvP fights.
There are also a ton of private servers, specifically in Russia, that alter the experience slightly or drastically to improve player experience and balance the game’s economy.
2. EVE Online
Eve Online is another fairly popular MMORPG developed by CCP Games and released in 2003. The game offers players a large persistent world in a space travel setting.
At the time of release, the game was praised for its large-scale world and organic economy, which was a rarity in MMORPGs.
The game offers persistent world gameplay, which means that people from all across the globe can interact with each other, and their decisions will influence the gameplay for everyone.
Most players naturally stick around with people of their country due to ease of communication and general comfort, and alliances are built around like-minded people.
The Russian player base has gained a bit of notoriety because of their very closed off group, and they have collected enough resources and strength to be a formidable group on their own.
EVE is very popular in Russia. The developers CCP Games hosts an annual Eve Fanfest in St Petersberg where players from all around Russia participate and celebrate the game, complete with in-depth conversations of the new changes coming to the game and discussing the lore of the Eve universe.
3. Allods Online
Allods Online is a free-to-play MMORPG developed by Allods Team and released in 2010.
Like EVE and Lineage, Allods is a game that focuses on PvP competitive elements more than your standard RPG, and while it plays like an ordinary game, for the most part, the biggest takeaway from this game is the magical Astral plane.
Players can traverse on self-built ships and explore hidden areas in the Astral or even take up arms against another player in naval combat.
The Astral plane is not the only place where players can participate in PvP as players are encouraged to complete quests with the flag or war raised (which allows other players to attack them), granting them good bonuses and rewards.
Unfortunately, the game is pretty dead with a dwindling player count; however, some fans have managed to keep the game alive using private servers.
Primarily these servers are Russian, and some of them allow players to get rid of the pay to win mechanics by allowing a subscription-based model.
4. Guild Wars 2
Guild Wars 2 is a fantasy-setting MMORPG developed by NCSoft and released in 2012. The game has since gained a lot of popularity and has a vast, devoted player base.
Guild Wars 2 is an amazingly detailed game both visually and story-wise and offers players a range of content and a unique skill-based combat system that has attracted a large population of MMORPG gamers, including Russians.
In addition, the game offers a competitive PvP mode that also levels all items and skills for all players to an equal level allowing for perhaps the fairest PvP experience in any MMORPG.
Unfortunately, even though the game doesn’t offer any Russian localization, players have managed to stick around.
The player base has been steadily growing in Russia despite the lack of communication from the developers and the apparent language barrier.
5. World of Warcraft
World of Warcraft is a classic MMORPG developed by Blizzard Entertainment and released in 2004.
The game was perhaps the most successful MMORPG of its time and laid the groundwork for future MMORPGs, which carefully followed the blueprint laid out by Blizzard.
WoW plays in a first or third-person view and plays pretty much like a standard MMORPG with players accepting quests from NPCs and fighting monsters to level up and collect good loot to make their avatar more powerful and access new content.
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Additionally, the game offers two varying experiences; while the Normal realm plays like a standard grindy MMORPG, the roleplay realm offers a better roleplaying experience (obviously).
In 2008 Blizzard announced complete Russian localization for the game, and since then, the game has had a good population of Russian players. In fact, it might be the most popular MMORPG in Russia.
Like every MMORPG popular in Russia, WoW has PvP elements where players must battle against other factions for rewards.
However, there are also areas in the game that permit free-for-all combat regardless of your allegiance.
6. Lost Ark (RU)
Lost Ark is one of the more recent MMORPGs developed by Tripod Studio and released in 2019. However, the game hasn’t been released globally and is yet to be made available in Europe and North America.
The game is well-polished and good-looking compared to other MMORPGs thanks to Unreal Engine 3 and an amazingly dedicated developer team; however, the game requires a decently specced PC to run the game smoothly.
The game is relatively new, so it doesn’t offer the same amount of content as other games on the list, but its quality more than makes up for it.
In its current state, the game also has very little to no pay to win mechanics, so right now might be the best time to get into the game.
7. Sphere 3: Rage of the Devastator
Sphere 3 is a Russian MMORPG developed by GameXP and released in 2015. The game offers a third-person view in a fantasy setting and claims to feature memorable characters and political spectacle.
The game also features a crafting system which is a kind of complexity most MMORPG players love.
Sphere 3 also focuses on PvP aspects but later in its life introduced PvE elements to allow better character progression. Of course, a Russian MMORPG will be heavily PvP focused.
Sadly though, the game is not the most polished experience; in fact, many players complain about the graphics and the physics of the game being subpar.
The game is also riddled with many control scheme issues; however, a considerable chunk of the loyal player base sing praises for the game and believe it to be severely underrated.
It’s one of those games that you’ll have to try to see if you like, but I’d say go with little to no expectations on a side note.
Pioner is an upcoming Russian MMORPG developed by GFA Games and set to release in late 2021/ early 2022.
Although it looks like a mix of standard MMORPG with S.T.A.L.K.E.R, the game advertises itself as having a deep, complex combat system that allows players to customize their weapons to suit their playstyle.
The game offers PvP in particular areas like most MMORPGs. The PvE consists of players trying to survive the harsh and desolate world of post-apocalypse Soviet Russia and the many dangerous beings that inhabit it.
I am curiously waiting for this one as it shows a lot of promise, and S.T.A.L.K.E.R has been one of my favourite RPGs ever. So an MMORPG version is gladly welcomed.
9. World of tanks blitz
While not an MMORPG, World of Tanks Blitz is a tank simulator MMO widely popular among people looking for a military-esque game.
It doesn’t follow the exact blueprint as a standard MMORPG but instead focuses on individual matches as players level their equipment and tanks up and earn currency to make upgrades etc.
The game is highly strategical and requires teamwork and communication first and foremost if victory has to be achieved.
The game is relatively popular in Russia, and although it’s not an MMORPG, it’s worth a mention if you’re tired of MMORPGs or just looking for a different kind of game.
There is undoubtedly a big market for video game consumers in Russia.
While they have enjoyed what the world has been offering, they have since started developing their titles, some of which show great promise.
However, only time will tell whether they can leave the same mark as some of the greats or not.