The main objectives of the present work are to review the global wave energy resources according to the most recent datasets available, to identify the locations with the worldwide highest wave energy potential and to assess in those locations the performance of some state-of-the-art wave energy converters. For this purpose, 15 years of wave data provided by the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts, covering the time interval 2000–2014, were considered, processed and analysed. After identifying the geographical regions with the highest wave power, 15 reference points, which were considered more relevant from the point of view of their wave energy potential, have been defined in each hemisphere (northern and southern, respectively). As a following step, corresponding to all of these reference points, the most relevant wave patterns have been identified, and this information was subsequently used to assess the expected power output of the wave energy converters considered. Some other relevant parameters, such as the capacity factor or the capture width, were evaluated as well. Following the results provided by this work, we can expect that most of the existent devices for harnessing wave energy would perform well near most of the coastal environments identified. Moreover, it also must be highlighted that in the future, wave energy farms can play a very active role from the point of view of coastal protection.