I have always played RuneScape. Everyone says that it sucks because of the graphics but graphics aren't everything. There is tons to do in the world of RuneScape. It keeps your interest for a long time, you can play as free or members.
GuildWars is great, but it's hardly a real MMORPG. The only times when you actually see a "massive" amount of people at the same time is when you're in towns. When you exit them, you get an instanced dungeon, that is, a map exclusively made for you and your party. But, if you don't mind that (that is, the "closed" world), it's a great game. Many items, classes and skills. Besides, each of the campaigns can be played as a stand-alone chapter (except for Eye of the North, which needs Prophecies [the original game] to be installed) and provide solid storylines, something which is quite uncommon in this kind of games.
If you're looking for something more generic, try 2Moons and ArchLord, both of which are free to play, the former being only available to players from the US.
I had been doing Guild Wars for two years but it's not 100% technically a MMO as it can be done mostly alone if you want and pvp is in designated areas you map into.
A free one that plays surprisingly well and levels up fairly slow after you hit Lv20 is SILK ROAD ONLINE and it's pretty solid.
I'd recommend either really. GW has a pvp area where you can get as many as 12v12 in parties, and some 4on4 maps too, but much of it is singular in the maps where you can team up into a group of 8 to knock away at areas. The nice thing is you don't have the chance of being screwed by some losers and having some jerk kill you and rob your corpse. This can happen in Silk Road Online, but on the other end everything is real time so it's a 100% free MMORPG you can do in parties or not, or just singularly go at it with others in the area that'll help make things less nasty. Whatever floats your boat but with either it can't go too wrong and SRO is free while GW is free online but you got to buy the game.
not an mmorpg exactly (and I know its anoyying im not recommending , sorry I just dont like mmorpgs anymore) but Team Fortress 2 is GREAT , Really really good. Try a hacked version first and then if you really like it , pay just 20$ for the real version and you have 4k servers..
I have GuildWars and I don't enjoy it because you don't really play with other people. You just kind of pick your NPC helpers and then take them out on the field to fight. That and the quests/story just isn't that interesting.
My girlfriend loves it though.
I've played WoW, Ragnarok Online, Lineage2 a little bit, some others.
Final Fantasy XI.
It's not all item collection quests.
In fact, it's not like any of the other ones I've played.
It's so much more immersive and cinematic.
Every NPC dialog is kind of like a cutscene.
The quests are unique and interesting.
But more importantly, like in WoW, there are people everywhere.
There's always someone doing something wherever you go.
The downside is there's a lot of grinding.
It's probably the one that takes the most time to play out of all the ones I've played.
But it's definitely worth it.
You feel like your character is an extension of you rather than just a character on the screen.