5 MMOs To Try Other Than World of Warcraft
Finished with Warlords of Draenor? Try these other MMORPGs to satisfy your WoW cravings.
Massively multiplayer online role-playing video games, or MMORPGs, did not begin with World of Warcraft, nor do they end with it. The genre’s ancestry can be traced back to the 1970s when multi-user dungeons, or MUDs, grew popular. Over time, they gained more and more traction, and MMOs have developed into some of the most popular modern games – with World of Warcraft in a seemingly permanent lead against the rest.
Many worthy games are overlooked, concealed in the shadows of World of Warcraft. Here are five MMORPGs who deserve the public’s attention just as much.
5. Star Wars: The Old Republic
The Knights of the Fallen Empire trailer for Star Wars: The Old Republic
Star Wars: The Old Republic could be the most-hyped MMO of all time. It gained more than a million subscribers within three days of release, and, at that time, was the most expensive game ever made. For a while, many gamers had their eyes on this release!
After the initial burst of excitement, the fan base of SWTOR faltered a bit. Publishers of the game dropped its mandatory subscription fee for an optional one in an otherwise free-to-play format. Making the game accessible to everyone would widen their audience and, consequently, their pockets again.
For the lore lovers, the events of Star Wars: The Old Republic take place about 3,500 years before any of the events in the Star Wars movies. In it, the Sith are rising again!
However, one does not need to like the films in order to understand or enjoy The Old Republic. Each player decides his or her personal storyline, which is pivotal to progressing through the game.
The first and perhaps biggest choice is whose side you will be on – the Galactic Republic or the Sith Empire. But don’t be fooled, the light/dark morality system exists on a spectrum.
Conversation, personality, and player choice all matter so much in SWTOR that you may develop a romantic relationship with your favorite NPC based on your interactions. Fully voice-acted for a cinematic experience, players have multiple choices for what they want to say, and then can watch how it is said in the succeeding cut scene.
4. Guild Wars 2
Guild Wars 2’s Anniversary Trailer
Out of all the MMORPGs, Guild Wars 2 is probably the least like World of Warcraft. That is not necessarily a bad thing; it distinguishes itself from the genre’s accepted conventions, and comparisons can hardly be made because both games succeed at what they are doing individually.
Narratively, Guild Wars 2 best resembles a BioWare product. While MMOs are often criticized for their flat, uninteresting storylines, the core of GW2’s design is its dynamics.
Roles are actually being played in this roleplaying game; players make decisions that matter and guide their story along its unique path. In cut scenes, the players have multiple dialogue options – their own voice! It is not uncommon for online multiplayer games to only feature silent protagonists due to the constraints of building an already huge world.
Furthermore, Guild Wars 2 led the pack in adopting a business model that does not include subscription fees. Consumers pay a lump sum cost of $60 to have permanent access to the game, and then are never obliged to spend money on it again.
Players explore Tyria, a land of fantasy and whimsicality. The plot of Guild Wars 2 stars a community unifying to save themselves from a menacing species that threatens their home, the Elder Dragons. Renowned in the industry, the game is both beautiful to the eye and the heart.
3. Lord of the Rings Online
The trailer for Lord of the Rings Online’s latest expansion pack, Helm’s Deep
Lord of the Rings Online is a game can be played at a slower pace than others. The experience playing LOTRO is much like the experience of watching a LOTR film – fanciful, charming, and ethereal. Sometimes the experience can transcend into being storybook-like, as if a homage to the original J.R. Tolkien novel.
An example of such eccentricity is the Minstrel class. Minstrels fight with music, singing ballads and yodeling calls to achieve victory. They can confront opponents or boost his or her team’s spirits all from a harmonious little jingle!
Players can create a character of any common race they would like: Dwarf, Hobbit, Man, Beorning, or Elf. This choice will affect the zone the player will begin in, as well as what classes they may play as.
Once their character becomes Level 15, they are able to purchase a home in any of the races’ respective neighborhoods. Houses vary in size and price, but all require weekly rent by in-game money. The player can earn furniture through quest awards to make their abode comfortable, or it can function simply as a safe house between areas.
Like Star Wars: The Old Republic, Lord of the Rings Online is free to play, but offers an optional VIP subscriber system that grants access to extended areas, adds fast travel, and affixes several economic upgrades. If players want the full experience, they can pay $14.99 a month for it.
2. The Elder Scrolls Online
The trailer for The Elder Scrolls Online: Tamriel Unlimited, this year’s clever rebranding of the original game
In the beginning, there was a lot of skepticism about The Elder Scrolls Online.
Because it did not closely mimic previous games in the series, ESO was met with disappointment and confusion by fans when first released in 2014. Gamers have been asking for an ‘Online Skyrim’ for a while, and that would be the closest chance they had to fulfilling their dream.
This year, ESO was renamed to The Elder Scrolls Online: Tamriel Unlimited and re-published with some key improvements from the first time around. A big one was the expense; initially having a monthly subscription fee, Tamriel Unlimited is buy-to-play like Guild Wars 2.
As a whole, The Elder Scrolls Online is a solid MMORPG. Features that stand out the most include the detailed character creation screen, open world, and non-linear quest line – some of the best components of previous Elder Scrolls titles as well.
Each playable race is true to the series’ lore: Nords, Redguards, Dunmer, Atlmer, Bosmer, Breton, Kha’jit, Imperials, and Argonians. While there are only four available character classes (Templar, Sorcerer, Nightblade, and Dragonknight) to choose from, the abilities on their skill tree will be easily customized over time. It is not entirely unlike the systems in Skyrim.
Naturally, ESO takes place in Tamriel, and the first expansion adds Orsinium, Imperial City, and the City of Cyrodiil to the growing map, much to the fans’ pleasure. Rumors have also been surfacing about the possibility of a Dark Brotherhood quest line. Groups like the Mages Guild and Fighters Guild are already a substantial part of The Elder Scrolls Online experience.
Unlike most games, The Elder Scrolls Online seems to age like fine wine; it gets better all the time! Now is the time to try it out.
1. EVE Online
A trailer detailing the origin story of EVE Online
Published in 2003 before even World of Warcraft was around, EVE Online is a legendary MMO in its own right.
The game’s economy was analyzed worldwide after it became something of a phenomenon. Player-run, it is a living, breathing economy that fluctuates based on the actions of the community. Several economists work full-time jobs to maintain its balance, ensure rules are followed, and protect their intricate systems from being exploited.
Also, EVE is set in space. Basically, a player’s main goal is to attempt to upgrade their spaceships more and more over time – that is, with serious business on the side.
What’s special about EVE Online is how it operates as an open-ended, sandbox, roleplaying game that blurs the lines between playing a role and actually being genuine. Being player-driven requires dedication and commitment from both the developers and the players, and for that, the EVE community shares a bond few other games can replicate.