GemStone IV sounds like a sequel, but it’s really just the latest iteration of a MUD (Multi-User Dungeon) that’s been running since 1988, making it, as far as we can tell, the oldest living MMORPG. And it’s seemingly still going strong, with frequent updates adding new stories and places to adventure. Most games this old are community-developed, community-hosted passion projects, but GemStone IV is a remarkable exception, with a dev team still backing it up. While you can sign up for a free trial, GemStone IV has a $15 per month subscription fee and a microtransaction store to boot. You can also pay for a “premium”subscription, which costs $25 on top of the standard fee, and nets you some extra stuff.
To put that in perspective, if you’ve been playing GemStone since 1988, you’d have spent about $9,000 by now (ignoring the nuance of inflation and subscription cost changes over the past 30 years). You could also be playing as a character older than most videogames. So that’s pretty cool.