Playing games online is more popular now than it ever has been, and so it's hardly surprising that so many games (literally thousands upon thousands) have been, and are continuing to be, created. Everyone loves choice, gamers probably more so than anyone else, but the downside of it is that choosing can sometimes be a little overwhelming, and newcomers to the world of online gaming no doubt feel like that when faced with such a huge range of games.
Fortunately, choosing a game or two to play can be made an easier choice by knowing a little about the most popular genres of online games. So, which genres of online games are the most popular?
Shooter games put you in the position of being a character who must fight, shoot and combat against the other players in the game. These games generally give you the view of actually being inside of your character and seeing the world through their eyes. The objective is typically to kill as many other players as possible whilst keeping yourself alive for as long as possible. Different scenarios are possible, with army, gangster and alien being favored by most gamers.
Games in the action-adventure genre require you to follow some storyline whilst completing various tasks along the way. Such games are often like movies, but rather than just watching what happens, you get to play out the action. You will normally have one overall objective to aim towards, which you will only be able to achieve through the exploration of a landscape, the gathering of various items, and the combating of other characters.
Role-playing games allow you to become an adventurer within a vast new world. Typically set in some strange magical, medieval type world, you must first choose what type of character you want to be and what skills (combat, spell casting, healing, etc.) you want them to have. Then, you set out into the world and complete missions and battle against good or bad (the choice is yours).
Games in the strategy genre require you to use resources (normally money and / or people) made available to you in such a way as to complete some pre-determined challenge. Building and maneuvering your own army with the aim of wiping out competing players armies is the most popular format. These games can be either 'real time', whereby the action is continuous and constantly changing, or 'turn based', whereby you make your moves, then your opponents make theirs, then you make yours again, etc.
So, those are the main genres of online games. You will be sure to find some absolute classics, and some new breakthrough games, if you look at those sections of online gaming sites.
A final point, always try to keep an open mind and be willing to try out games in different genres. You mind be surprised at what you find if you allocate yourself an hour a week solely for looking for and trying out games in genres that in the past you have overlooked. Remember that just because you have found that you don't like a genre in general, it doesn't mean that you won't like any games at all within it.