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DiscussionMar 1, 2024 8:00 am CT

Games don’t have to end. Do you have a favorite “forever” game?

A forever game is one in where players make tangible progress, find new experiences, and face new challenges all without ever actually finishing the game. World of Warcraft is on track to hit its 20th anniversary later this year. With nine expansions so far and three more announced, there’s a wealth of experiences to be had and players finding new way to engage with it constantly. 

Even coming up to a venerable 20 years and being considered the giant in the market, WoW isn’t the oldest MMO still in operation. While most gamers have heard of EverQuest (March 1999) an Ultima Online (September 1997), they probably haven’t heard of Tibia (January 1999) or Furcadia (December 1996), which are a pair of European based games with their roots in graphical MUDs. Newer popular choices include Guild Wars, EVE Online, RuneScape, Elder Scrolls, Final Fantasy and Black Desert Online.

Maybe MMOs aren’t your cup of tea, the original StarCraft (1998) and Warcraft (1994) RTS games still have dedicated player bases who compete with each other or play against the game itself trying to find the perfect path to victory. And despite its age, StarCraft still has a strong e-sports presence with the StarCraft Esports World Cup 2024 finals series currently playing out. In much the same way that you never stop learning how to play chess, RTS games can always present a new challenge to overcome.

What about ARPGs or Roguelikes, games that keep you coming back because they’re designed for you to fail and try again, or the ramp up the difficulty continuously so there’s always a new challenge to overcome. Or PVP shooters, where the challenge comes from your opponents — and sometimes due to matchmaking, your teammates. Or maybe you just want to prove that you know a game so well that you can play it from start to finish faster than anyone else, requiring you to play it over and over looking for more efficient paths to victory.

What’s your preferred genre and game that you keep going back to and constantly find something new that makes firing it up worthwhile? What obvious candidates did we miss?

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