Who doesn't love a good fantasy universe? From dragons and fireballs to floating cities and sweet rolls, fantasy universes allow us to escape from our dull everyday life, and allow our imaginations to run wild with endless possibility. The past 50 or so years have seen the burgeoning of a niche market into something that's at the forefront of millions of lives. From open world universes to explore at the player's will, to guided experiences through huge worlds that could take months or years to see all of, Fantasy worlds are open books for the players to explore, and combine the best storytelling and freedom that the genre has to offer. This is a ranked list of some of the biggest, best, and most influential Fantasy universes ever created.
5. The Final Fantasy universe
This Universe has spawned countless (i.e. I can't figure out what to count and what not to count) games, shows, and (believe it or not) radio dramas. Millions of people all over the world love this franchise for its abundance of characters, stories, and settings, so I'm putting this in at number 5 on my list.
4. The War Hammer Fantasy universe
Maybe not as well known as the previous entry, this one still takes number 4 on my list purely for its sheer size. The time and painstaking detail put into the background of this world alone. Just take a look at this timeline alone, which briefly covers about 17,000 years of history. This universe has spawned a tabletop board game, several video games, books, an RPG (role-playing game) and so much more it's hard to wrap my head around.
3. The Elder Scrolls universe
At this point in time, the Elder Scrolls series is one of the most popular fantasy worlds to have ever been created. Countless hours have been spent on Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim alone! Just recently at the annual E3 convention, it was told that yet another Elder Scrolls game will be coming to us (see video,) and that means that a massive universe filled with horned helmets, dragons, and sweet rolls will only become even more massive. Definitely deserving of number 3 on the list.
2. World of Warcraft universe
This universe is an old one. Originally released in 2004, Blizzard has steadily added section after section to this world, creating one of the largest open world (non-procedural) games in existence. The lore is nothing to snuff at either, with each expansion an add-on to the story, creating an ever-evolving world filled with things to do. Honestly, I would have to put this at number 1 if it weren't for our next contender
1. Dungeons and Dragons universe
This is the big brother to all fantasy world RPGs, and one of the earliest game worlds ever created, serving as inspiration for many of the worlds on this very list. Dungeons and Dragons (D&D from here on out) has been around for about 50 years and is still going strong today.
The game itself has had spin-offs upon spin-offs, like Pathfinder, Starfinder, and 4 different standard editions, from 1st (called Advanced D&D) to 5th edition. (We, uh, don't talk about 4th edition...And I don't count it in this list, it was that big of a train wreck.)
Every other game on this list owes its existence in some part to this world, and that's why this universe is and always will be number 1.