Rahul is a video game addict. Some of his favorite games are "Red Dead Redemption 2" and "The Witcher 3."
People follow World of Warcraft religiously. Though it was originally released in 2004, it's still an incredibly popular game almost 2 decades. Perhaps World of Witchery would be a more suitable title, as there must be something going on that has kept more than a million subscribers hooked.
Many developers have tried and failed to replicate this game in hopes of gaining a similar following. So the million-dollar question is, “Is there ever going to be a game that can top World of Warcraft?” Well, these 14 games come pretty close.
14 Games Like World of Warcraft
- Star Wars: The Old Republic
- Runes of Magic
- Lord of the Rings Online
- The Secret World
- Age of Conan
- Perfect World
- Guild Wars Series
- Dungeons & Dragons
- Star Trek Online
While there may never be something that can replicate the success of WoW, these games are incredibly similar in terms of design and gameplay. So if you're looking for a new MMORPG to play, get your hands on one of these great games!
1. Star Wars: The Old Republic
Developed by Bioware and published by EA, this is one of the most expensive games ever made. Initially designed to be a subscription-based MMORPG like WoW, they switched to free-to-play pretty quickly to keep their players playing. So unlike WoW, you don't need to pay for this game unless you want to purchase optional upgrades.
Depending on whether you join the Sith Empire or the Galactic Republic, your story and gameplay will take shape accordingly. Throughout the game, you can explore, craft items, and complete missions. And as you progress, you’ll be able to learn new skills taught by various trainers.
Did I mention that this game is fully voice acted? Yes, it's true! The dialogue quality is strikingly similar to single-player games like Mass Effect.
2. Runes of Magic
Runes of Magic was created to match WoW, but it never became as popular. Don't mistake a lack of players for a mediocre game, though.
Featuring 10 different classes: Warrior, Mage, Priest, Rogue, Scout, Knight, Champion, Druid, Warden, and Warlock—there is a total of 66 class combinations you can go for. (Some classes are race-locked, though.) The multi-class system, however, allows you to choose a different class once you reach level 10. And once you reach level 20, you are allowed to choose a third class, if you wish to do so.
You will also be provided with a residence and a basic housekeeper. You can choose to upgrade your residence as well as the housekeeper by either paying for it or using your own skills. While most of the things are free in this game, some things, such as upgrading the housekeeper, can only be accomplished by paying for it. Runes of Magic features some pretty solid PvP as well. You can buy houses and castles for yourself or your guild members to help your team in PvP battles.
Fighting monsters is super fun in this game. Apart from the fun factor, the other incentive to go one-on-one with them is Monster cards. Some monsters drop cards once they are slain. These cards would provide you attribute bonuses while also serving as a trophy.
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The pet system is really unique, too. You need to use traps to obtain a pet. They will also assist you in combat, depending upon how loyal they are to you.
The in-game currency system is "Diamond," which can be accrued in-game by visiting shops and spending real money. You need to be careful though as these shops are the real money suckers. In some cases, you will be rewarded with Rubies for buying Diamonds. These can also be used for in-game transactions. You may gift your Diamonds and Rubies to other players if you want.
I could go on in a similar manner trying to pen as much as possible about every unique feature of Runes Of Magic, but I will curtail it here.
World of Warcraft is a subscription-based game, but most of the games I have included in this list as WoW alternatives are free-to-play. What an irony! Well, if you want a game similar to World of Warcraft in terms of business model, Rift is a great game to try out.
Before embarking on your journey, you’ll have to choose between four classes: Rogue, Mage, Warrior, or Cleric. You will encounter several types of raids and dungeon quests—most of which will probably need some help from your friends to complete. You can be a lone wolf if you want to, but Rift is designed to be played with others. Once you make it through the main game, you can participate in hour-long raids. These end-game raids are going to test your combat skills for sure. That's where the real fun lies!
Powered by Unreal Engine 3, this gorgeous game offers a responsive, true-action combat system. With more than 80 zones and approximately one-thousand quests to complete, it is certainly going to keep you busy for a while.
Besides an intriguing combat system, the gorgeous graphics and an intelligent enemy AI is going to take you by surprise. Unlike other MMORPGs, the monsters are not going to swing blindly. They will fall back, strategize, and strike when you least expect them to. You are going to die more often compared to similar games, but it will be you who has the last laugh, as you are going to learn from your mistakes and come back stronger than ever!
Aion is another subscription-based MMORPG which switched to the free-to-play model pretty soon after its launch. Again, there are not a lot of subscription-based game left these days, so you'll have to put up with the free-to-play model, even if you loathe it.
There are three types of quests in Aion: Work Orders, Campaign Quests, and Ordinary Quests. Campaign Quests are the main quests that can be completed by you only. These quests can't be shared with others or abandoned as they are necessary for your story progression. Apart from campaign quests, the other types of quests available are quite similar to WoW.
Aion also features a unique PvP and PvE system. Unlike other MMORPGs, you are not going to have to wait to switch from PvP to PvE, or vice versa, as they are intertwined.
6. Lord of the Rings Online
There have been a lot of epic games, movies, and novels set in the fictional world of The Lord of the Rings, and this game won't disappoint you either. Featuring rich lore, tons of action-packed quests, and a gigantic world to explore, it's a great alternative to World of Warcraft with plenty of fan-service.
Developed and published by Turbine, the game was originally planned to be launched as a subscription-based game, but they switched to the free-to-play model with an option to subscribe soon thereafter.
The downside, of course, is despite being advertised as a free-to-play game, it is more of a "free-to-try" game that requires you to subscribe if you want to enjoy LotRO the way it’s meant to be. You can get a good chunk of this game for free, but you'll have to pay to access the rest of the content locked behind the subscription door. A subscription is also necessary to enjoy the frequently-released expansion packs. On top of that, paying for the game will also remove the currency cap and allow you to travel anywhere with ease.
Its unique combat and difficulty level is also worth pointing out. The seven-tiered system determines how easy or difficult your fight is going to be. Depending on your level and health, a particular NPC may or may not be a threat to you. Again, their hostile or neutral reaction depends upon various factors which are determined by the LotRO's difficulty system indicators. In a non-technical term, this system ensures that there won't be many repetitions in fights.
The PvP system is quite unique as well. Again, you'll need to subscribe to this game to enjoy most of what PvP has to offer. All in all, if you are looking to play a lore-rich game and don't mind paying monthly subscription fees for a game, you should definitely get your hands on this game.
7. The Secret World
The Secret World was developed by Funcom and published by EA. What makes this game stand out from the others is a rich and believable world with a lot of meaningful, mind-bending quests. Even though there are kill and fetch quests, they are presented to you in such a way that you won't get bored. Your journey will start with you choosing one of three factions: Dragon, Illuminati, and Templar. Your hometown and set of missions and will depend on which faction you choose. Initially designed to be a subscription-based game, they eventually switched over to the buy-to-play model. Now, you’ll only need to pay for this game once and you can enjoy it forever.
8. Age of Conan
Age of Conan is another action-packed MMORPG developed and published by Funcom. Unlike most of the free-to-play games, it features a more believable world with breathtaking graphics which is almost on par with single-player games.
What's surprising is, most of the quests of Age of Conan actually make sense. You don't see that often with MMORPGs, as the quests are usually random and have nothing to do with the plot. It has been designed with adult gamers in mind, so expect a lot of nudity and blood while you make your way to the top.
The only thing I don’t like about this game is that there is a lot of content that is unavailable unless you have a subscription. Many areas and raid opportunities remain exclusive to these premium players, which is a big turn off. You will not realize it initially, but once you start leveling up, you’ll feel the need to subscribe to the game as your progress will slow down significantly. The intrusive micro-transaction system doesn’t do this game any favor, either. I hope they will change it as soon as possible.
So if you are looking for some free games like World of Warcraft, Age of Conan should be your best bet, at least until you get to level 20–30 . . .
9. Perfect World
Perfect World is an MMORPG like World of Warcraft in a traditional Chinese setting. You can take on various roles, but it’s limited by your choice of race and class. Those two choices will determine the role you take in the game. You will level up and develop your skills as you complete quests and participate in raids and PvP battles. While I am not a big fan of PvP, Perfect World's PvP hooked me for good once I gave it a shot. If you love these battles, you are going to love Perfect World.
10. The Guild Wars Series
Developed by ArenaNet and published by NCsoft, the Guild Wars series is one of the best games like World of Warcraft. It’s also one of the few MMORPGs with the one-time payment option. Just pay for the game once and play it for as long as they don’t pull the plug. With a vibrant community that consists of millions of people from all across the world, it seems pretty unlikely that they will pull the plug anytime soon.
The game takes place in the fictional world of Tyria with your role as the savior of this region. You can perform quests alone, with your friends or with NPCs. The PvP is really amazing as well, but you can only fight a PvP battle in specific areas.
Guild Wars also has a subtle profession and skills system. While there are a good number of professions for you to take on, these are the top six: Monk, Ranger, Mesmer, Necromancer, Warrior, and Elementalist. On top of that, there are more than a thousand skills to learn. It’s certainly going to take a lot of time to learn even half of what this game offers. However, you can carry only eight skills with you at any given point, so you will have to change your skill set depending upon the scenario. A careful section of skills is required before you advance into raids or other battles.
RuneScape is the very first game I ever played. It was trending back in those days when we just brought our first ever PC.
More than 14 years have passed, but RuneScape is still loved by millions of people. Despite being a browser MMORPG, it still boasts amazing graphics with a lot of quests to take on, dragons to slay (my favorite!), gods to battle and mythical creatures to defeat.
RuneScape is an MMORPG where there is no linear kill-and-fetch type of quests. You, as a player, will set your own quests and goals. You can choose to fight an NPC, complete a ton of quests or invest your time in enhancing your skills. With 26 skills to master in RuneScape, it is definitely going to take some time before you can learn all or most of them. Using a skill frequently will gain you some experience points which will get you closer to mastering it. They will affect your gameplay quite significantly.
You can travel through the huge world on foot or by using magic spells. Charter ships are also available, but they are harder to obtain. The map is pretty huge divided between different kingdoms and cities with each region offering different types of quests. You will never run out of things to do here as they still release content frequently.
12. Dungeons & Dragons Online
Developed by Turbine, Dungeons & Dragons Online is an MMORPG with real-time combat. Initially launched as a subscription-based MMORPG, it switched to the free-to-play model back in September of 2009. You can still pay a monthly subscription of the game if you want to. Subscribing to this game will get you the VIP status with so many perks and privileges. Similarly, becoming a premium member requires you to pay for micro-transactions at least once.
What sets this game apart from most of these games is the real-time combat mechanics which is really fun. Granted, the combat system is nowhere near as robust and responsive as MMORPGs like Tera or Vindictus, it's miles ahead than an outdated point-and-click combat system.
You can choose to play in first person or third person mode depending on what you prefer. I personally prefer the first-person mode as you feel more immersed in the game in this mode. Third-person mode, on the other hand, is something I seldom switch over to.
Your quest options are determined by your level. If you are above the base level of a particular quest, you are going to get less XP and fewer rewards for completing it. On the other hand, if you are more than two levels below the required level, you are going to need someone else in your party to initiate that quest as you can’t do it. You can still, however, join the party and do the quest together with others. You also need to make sure that your character is not more than 3 levels below the highest level characters in your group; otherwise, you are not going to receive much XP after doing a particular mission together. In fact, you are going to be punished for what they call "power leveling."
13. Star Trek Online
Developed by Cryptic Studios, Star Trek Online is an MMORPG set in the Star Trek universe. They ditched the subscription model in favor of a much more popular free-to-play model back in January of 2012. Since then, the game has seen a surge is the number of players by quite a significant margin. If you have watched the Star Trek TV series, you will instantly relate to this game as it features several subtle references to the TV storyline.
The game starts out with you having to choose from one of the three factions available in this game: Federation, Klingon, and Romulan. Your journey in the Star Trek universe begins soon after that.
Star Trek Online features a skill-based crafting system which is pretty rare for an MMO. You will need to gather enough data and knowledge about an item before you can craft them. While it's really difficult and puzzling to master, here is a sense of adventure and fun in gathering data for crafting your favorite items.
Last but not least, there is a foundry system which allows you to create missions and share them with others, so you can try what others have created and vice versa. You will always find a lot of user-created missions on the in-game board. It's actually surprising to see how productive some of these gamers can be if given the right tools and the chance to create something. Some of the user-created missions are really amazing!
If you have not heard of this game, you might find it a bit tough to comprehend what’s going on as it's going to take some time to get the hang of everything. Don't worry; you won't need to read Star Trek novels or watch the show to get into this game. Everything will be clear once you are a few hours in. Investing your time in Star Trek Online is totally worth it if sci-fi and space exploration is your thing. it's one of the best sci-fi games like World of Warcraft.
Developed and published by Nexon, the Korean game developer and publisher, Vindictus is a prequel to another popular MMORPG, Mabinogi. Though it takes several hundred years prior to the event of Mabinogi, the settings still remain pretty much the same.
You can choose from eight classes. Each class has a unique set of abilities that would significantly impact your combat and gameplay style, so there are a lot of reasons to come back and try a new class.
The real hook of Vindictus, though, is its real-time combat system. It's fun to grab your enemies by the collar and throw them down the cliff (my personal favorite). You are welcome to experiment with the system and invent your own devastating set of combos. Getting used to it might take some time if you are accustomed to playing MMOs with traditional point-and-click combat mechanics, but it shouldn't take long. It’s easy to learn, but difficult to master.
Although Vindictus already has a ton of content to churn through, I consumed most of it in just a few days. If you are looking to get into this game, let me give you a fair warning—It's really addictive!
It's Time to Log In
MMORPGs give you the opportunity to interact with a diverse online community of gamers. World of Warcraft immerses you in a fantasy world with endless adventures, but sometimes it's nice to change it up. These games are just as fantastical, and will keep you busy for hours on end. So what are you waiting for? It's time to log in.
Poppy from Enoshima, Japan on November 04, 2018:
I absolutely adored Guild Wars 2. I played the free version of WoW but just knew I’d get addicted if I paid to play. MMORPGs are so much fun! Thank you for this great list.
Jake Clawson from Kazakhstan on August 25, 2017:
I really like The Division. Sure it had a rocky launch but with time it has improved and is still being worked on. It's just more involving due to the action combat that is more stimulating than the tab-targetting most post-WoW games use. The gear makes more difference now allowing for a detailed build surgery for a given task.
Kristian Howe from UK on June 10, 2017:
Runescape was also one of my first ever games. Brings back so many memories.
What are your thoughts on Black Desert Online? For me it is a very under-estimated MMO. Also think Elder Scrolls Online should be up there.
Seva on April 01, 2017:
Neither of them are like World of Warcraft...
Will on March 23, 2017:
Yourname on February 01, 2017:
Elder Scrolls Online (ESO). It's a great game.
BUNNY on November 12, 2016:
Hah! Where is Final Fantasy: Heavensward???
Rodney1415 on October 18, 2016:
In my opinion this list misses 2 of the best WoW alternatives.. Allods online and Wildstar
Ced Yong from Asia on July 07, 2016:
A good list here! A WoW guildmaster told me that Old Republic is actually better than WoW; good enough at least for him to put aside WoW for a year. I haven't tried it though.
Ashley Ferguson from Indiana/Chicagoland on January 24, 2016:
Been waiting for someone to come up with a list like this for awhile. Well played. :)