Final Fantasy XI
Final Fantasy XI is an old MMORPG, and the first of its kind in the popular Final Fantasy franchise. As an old MMO, it was inherently grindy, but its world and boss fights were unparalleled in my book. It has become easier with time and the developers have sought to make it more user friendly.
At its peak, teaming up with a community was a must. Dungeons were perilous experiences and corralling a group of players and carefully navigating the variety of locales was memorable. Beyond that, death meant a loss of experience points so it became possible to level down. In the most unfortunate of situations, you could level down, making it impossible to wear your gear. Dying in a dungeon also put you at the mercy of others as you counted on them for a raise.
I can’t overstate my appreciation for how difficulty brought players together in this game and I hope to see a vanilla version of this game come out one day. Or, really, just a return to old MMO sensibilities.