This research investigates a new coordination strategy for both isolated single-area and interconnected multi-area microgrids (MGs) using a modified virtual rotor-based derivative technique supported with Jaya optimizer based on balloon effect modulation (BE). Accordingly, the main concept of BE is to assist the classic Jaya to be more sensitive and trackable in the event of disturbances, as well as to provide optimum integral gain value on the secondary frequency controller adaptively for both suggested MGs. The proposed modified virtual rotor mechanism is consisting of virtual inertia and virtual damping that are added as a tertiary controller within proposed MGs considering full participation of the inverter-based energy storage systems. The proposed virtual rotor mechanism is consisting of virtual inertia and virtual damping that are added as a tertiary controller within proposed MGs to emulate the reduction in system inertia and the enhanced damping properties. Several nonlinearities were proposed in this work such as a dead band of governor, generation rate constraints, and communication time-delay are considered within the dynamic model of the suggested MGs. In addition, the proposed design of multi-area MGs takes the interval time-varying communication delays into account for stability conditions. In this study, A comparative study using unimodal (i.e., Sphere) and multimodal (i.e., Rastrigin) benchmark test functions are conducted to validate the proposed direct adaptive Jaya-based BE. Furthermore, Wilcoxon’s rank-signed non-parametric statistical test using a pairwise comparison was performed at a 5 % risk level to judge whether the proposed algorithm output varies from those of the other algorithms in a statistically significant manner. Thence, the superiority and effectiveness of the proposed method have also been verified against a variety of other metaheuristics optimization techniques, including classic electro-search, particle swarm, multi-objective seagull, and Jaya optimizers. In addition, an operative performance is assessed against the conventional integral controller, coefficient diagram method, and classic Jaya with/without virtual inertia. The final findings emphasize the superiority of the proposed direct adaptive Jaya-based BE supported by a modified virtual rotor and state better performance and stability compared to existing controllers.