Launched November 23, 2004, World of Warcraft is one of the most popular games in the world without question. After five expansion packs and another expansion being introduced in September 2018, WoW is the most story-rich MMORPG with over 5 million paid subscribers to date. And as the WoW saying goes, once you go warcrack (as WoW is affectionately called because of its addicting content), you never go back. However, if you don’t want to pay for the monthly subscription fee, here are 10 games that are just as good, if not better than WoW.
Bluehole Studio Inc, the creators of another the insanely popular Player Unknown Battlegrounds or PUBG, first gave the world Tera, a beautifully-made, free-to-play, MMORPG. Tera is a war-torn world, much like WoW’s Azeroth. The premise of Tera is that two titans, Arun and Sharah fled a destructive war. They combined their powers to create a new world. They somehow fell asleep and began to dream. While dreaming, their creation continued to shape around them, with their bodies becoming the land of the two continents of the world they created. the tears from their dreams becoming the seas.
Tera has over 80 aesthetically gorgeous zones that, when played, make you feel as if you’re in a fairytale. Tera has 12 playable classes and 7 races. Tera is open world, aside from dungeons. And the player versus player is among the best in the MMO world.
9. Blade & Soul
Blade and Soul is a visually stunning Korean fantasy MMO with a martial arts combat fighting style. Like WoW, B&S has two playable factions: Cerulean Order and Crimson Legion (blue and red). The factions, however aren’t warring the way WoW’s Horde and Alliance are. The Cerulean Order and the Crimson Legion fight along side each other to vanquish evil. However, their differences arise from their disagreement with the other faction’s methods.
B&S has four races and eight classes to choose from. Once you choose your class, you will be asked to choose your faction. Players get to explore an open-world environment through completing quests. What sets B&S apart is its combo, martial arts style (think World of Warcraft meets Street Fighter).
8. Conan Exiles
Source: Gaming Skinny
Conan Exiles is an open world survival game inspired by Conan the Barbarian and the environment he lived in. The premise is that the player is a convicted criminal just before the last Ice Age. The player is freed by Conan must now survive his exile.
Conan Exiles gives players 15 races, which are merely a cosmetic choice and have no effect on skills or experience. Players must survive harsh environmental conditions as well as enemy players. Players can build settlements and strongholds to fend off enemy invasions. Speaking of PvP, one thing that is cool about Conan’s PvP is the ability to sacrifice enemy players to the gods. Sacrificing an enemy on the alter can shift the luck of war in your favor.
7. Dungeon Fighter Online
Source: IGN Southeast Asia
Dungeon Fighter Online is a hack’em and slash’em fighting game. The game play is very different from World of Warcraft in that there are only 8 possible ways a player can move their avatar. DFO is a 2D game released in Korea in 2005 as Dungeon and Fighter and in the U.S. in 2010 as DFO.
The premise is simple. Players are in a land called Arad which is inhabited by demons and monsters. Gameplay takes place inside of dungeons. Even though it’s a 2D game, the social aspects of DFO are like WoW in that players can enjoy dungeons and PvP as well as join guilds. DFO gives players a choice of 7 classes with over 25 subclasses.
6. Elder Scrolls Online
Source: XBOX Newswire
Bethesda’s Elder Scrolls Online is a classic among giants. Elder Scrolls is a buy-to-play, MMO. Like Tera and World of Warcraft, ESO is a high fantasy game, drawing on various cultures from around the world. ESO takes place on the continent of Tamriel, where players can choose between three factions. The storyline is basically a spinoff of the Elder Scroll series and takes place about 1000 years before the events of Skyrim.
Unlike WoW and other MMOs, players’ abilities are not on a cooldown timer. If you have the energy, you can perform a specific ability as many times as you want. This is especially appealing being that ESO is heavily PvP-based.
Source: Massively Overpowered
Another free-to-play epic fantasy MMORPG that is pure eye candy is ArcheAge. With ArcheAge, you can choose one of 2 factions and choose from 120 unique class combinations. ,ArcheAge is a zoneless, PvP wonderland, allowing for massive open-world battles between faction armies on both land and sea. What’s better than an MMO where you can battle at sea? An MMO that allows you to abandon your faction and become a pirate.
Players can also fight others within their faction if they flag themselves “Bloodlust”. Players also master over 20 crafting skills, build houses and manors in the open world, farm, trade, forge alliances. Although the game is free-to-play, for perks of Patronage, players can subscribe for $15 per month. Patronage allows players to buy land, farm their own land and place items on the auction house.You can be a conqueror and build an empire that spans continents.
4. Guild Wars 2
Source: Polygon via AreaNet
Guild Wars 2 is a different type of MMO. The world is persistent. Meaning, the world is ever growing, ever changing, even when players aren’t around. This gives the game a beautiful, real time, 3D experience.
GW2 is another high fantasy MMO that takes place in the world of Tyria about 250 years after the events of the first Guild Wars. The legendary guild, Destiny's Edge, was disbanded. And in their absence the 5 dragons that slept beneath the Earth were awakened, terrorizing the people and wreaking havoc on the lands. Players are tasked with finding members of Destiny’s Edge and reunite them so that they can form once more.
Character customization is more in-depth than other games on this list. Players first choose one of five races which, like WoW, affect a few variables, including having race-specific abilities, starting area specific to that race as well as appearance and lore.” Then they select gender, which has no bearing on gameplay at all. Next, players will select one of 3 professions that offer a subclass or sub-profession. After a player names their character, they will answer a set of questions which give’s their character a bio.
With PvE, players can explore 26 zones, 9 dungeons and 6 cities. Instead of having universal questlines, players have a personal storyline based on their bio, race and profession. PvP in GW2 is intense. Players can engage in structured PvP arenas or World v World which is a combination of PvP and PvE.
3. Lineage II
Source: Game Border
Lineage II is reminiscent of Runescape, except it looks better. Lineage II is a free-to-play MMO that takes place 150 prior years to the “sagas” of the first Lineage, “in a war-torn land that spans two continents.” Three kingdoms are at war with each other, fighting for power and control.
PvP takes place via large-scale castle sieges where the entire server is at war. Players can also attack other players without repercussions.
2. Final Fantasy XIV
Source: Game Skinny via Square Enix
Final Fantasy XIV was originally released in 2010 and it was awful. However, Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn released in 2014, was heralded as exceptional. Some would even argue that Final Fantasy XIV was better than World of Warcraft. FFXIV is a persistent MMO that takes place on the planet of Hydaelyn. The planet has several environments with different climates on three different continents.
Players can choose between 7 races but only 2 starting classes. Players must level up to access other classes. Through questing, players will take on odd jobs, investigate all kinds of dark dealings and gain experience points. Players will also be able to do instance dungeons, and, of course, PvP. The premise of FFXIV is that the continent of Eorzea is being invaded by forces from the Northern Garlean Empire.
1. Black Desert Online
Source: Game Neon via Pearl Abyss
Black Desert Online is another, open-world, high fantasy MMO. It’s an action-based MMO so players must manually aim at their opponent or target. BDO is about two warring nations, the Republic of Calpheon and the Kingdom of Valencia. Before the two nations began to feud, they enjoyed a long peace. But that peace was disrupted when merchants spread in a deadly plague.
BDO gives players three playable races with 15 classes and four main starting areas. Players tame animals in the wild for mounts. Players can also breed horses to create a new species of mount. In this world, though, mounts can be killed. Lodging or housing is instanced, and players can furnish their houses. Players get to experience massive, guild-wide PvP against other guilds, crazy weather patterns such as typhoons and become immersed in the beautiful fantasy world.
When it comes to MMOs, there is no “one-size-fits-all” gameplay. From captivating fantasy lore to beautiful graphics and large-scale player versus player events, MMORPGs continue to give World of Warcraft a run for their money. Have you played any of the games on our list? Let us know in the comments.