Developed by Blizzard Entertainment, World of Warcraft (WoW) is a vast multiplayer role-playing game in an immersive fantasy world. Since its launch in 2004, it has gradually gained popularity and is one of the most widely played MMORPGs today.
It allows gamers to create characters, join teams and embark on missions and fights in a virtual world. It has persisted as one of the greatest franchises in gaming and has released numerous expansions over the years, each with additional content and capabilities.
For various reasons, some gamers might look for alternatives to World of Warcraft. It may be because they have already finished the endgame content and crave something different or because they do not like the game’s mechanics or community anymore.
There are now many options available for those looking for something different in terms of MMORPGs. This genre has seen a significant increase in offerings; each offering varied gameplay, environment, and features. We’ve prepared this list of WoW alternatives to try in 2023. WoW loosely inspires these games, and some even have their unique twists!
Take a Look at the 6 Top Rated Games Like WoW
1. Elder Scrolls Online
You might know this as an offline RPG game. Well, good news for you. The developers have brought the fan-famed world of Elder Scrolls to the online platform.
A bit shoddy, the graphics still retain the soft hues of the original Elder Scrolls. And you get double the adventure and action in the MMO version. You get to explore Tamriel’s entire continent, including Skyrim’s land.
The aggregation of nine provinces sets the gameplay aside, providing unlimited freedom over Tamriel’s world. You get to explore, fight, trade, and unearth countless mysteries.
And since it’s an online game, the development never stops. The developing team is adding more and more content to the world. This means you’ll never run out of adventures and side quests.
The game features two modes: Adventure and Player vs. Player. You enter a world full of highly immersive and expansive geography, set in the land of Tamriel.
The primary game objective is to retrieve the player’s soul, sacrificed to a Deadric prince. Players can join three factions and unlock the fourth faction at the game’s start via an in-game purchase.
You can experiment with weapons, armor, passive abilities, and different factions. Each quest in the game requires meticulous strategy, timing, and extensive knowledge of character roles.
Why Play This:
It is an excellent alternative to World of Warcraft since it follows along with the same immersive storyline aspects. You interact with other players in real time, and the PvP setting only adds to the gameplay experience.
It also follows the concept of factions and races, which have become commonplace in MMORPGs. So the adventure is similar but the same, giving you that sliver of variety you were looking for.
However, be mindful that this isn’t a free-to-play game. You must pay via a monthly subscription.
Next, from the creators of PUBG, you have the fantasy MMO TERA. TERA expands on the explorative capacities of WOW, with over 80 regions to probe. And the in-game combat requires more strategy and timing than auto-aiming.
Inspired by WoW, TERA takes gameplay mechanics to the next level. And the lore is unique too. Set in the magical world of Arborea, each mortal and immortal race is entirely dreamt up by two sleeping titans.
Aside from the unprecedented gameplay mechanics, TERA is also known for its bright graphics. The colors are vibrant and perfectly balanced, and the graphics get smoother with every update.
TERA has revolutionized real-time combat gaming. It rejects concepts like auto-casting and macro gaming, which brings combat to a more granular level, where you’re constantly dodging skills and landing attacks.
That makes combat more immersive and true to life, allowing you to get lost entirely in the fantasy world of TERA.
Being an MMORPG also brings the multiplayer and PvP aspect to the gaming zone. The player has to choose between 7 races and over 12 classes of characters, and each one has its benefits and drawbacks on the battlefield.
Why Play This:
TERA is a game similar to WoW but touches upon a more immersive (and admittedly difficult) combat style. For this reason, it has gained notoriety in recent years.
You can still experiment with different races and explore more regions than WoW would allow. It makes the game an ‘expansion’ to the Warcraft environment. It’s a great game with smooth dynamics. And the best part is that it’s free to play.
This game isn’t for you if you prefer auto-aiming and macro strategies. It may be too difficult for a newbie.
3. Age of Conan
Take a break from the fantasy worlds of WoW with the Age of Conan. Developed and released in 2008, the Age of Conan is set in the functional Hyborian Age. Fantastical Characters and monsters intersect with the real world, and you get to choose from four races.
Age of Conan is a free-to-play online RPG that combines the real world with aspects of fiction. Since the setting is more or less true to the real world, its gaming world is easier to imagine. It provides a unique kind of immersion that WoW cannot bring.
This game borrows a lot from WoW. You get to design your character, choose from 12 classes and 4 races, and have to complete countless quests. It taps into the dynamics of trading, gathering resources, and exploration more than any other game.
One thing that does make the gameplay unique is the style of combat. Players now must pay close attention to where they are striking the enemy. Different angles and combinations of strikes will produce varying levels of fatality. It can be hard to get a grip on, but nothing you can’t master.
As for the multiplayer aspect, you get to cooperate with other players to build cities, walls, and buildings. You even get to build your catapults and get to learn the art of teamwork. For instance, certain races of players in certain formations will greatly buff up the team.
Why Play This:
The age of Conan provides a low-fantasy world that merges with the real world. It becomes more relatable while still retaining aspects of fiction. It is a great game to play if you’re a fan of team fights and exploring.
It borrows so much from WoW that it’s become a go-to for players who want a WoW alternative. The gameplay isn’t too different, with some aspects of combat requiring more strategy.
If you were good at WoW, you’d be great at the age of Conan. Plus, the game is free-to-play but does have some in-game purchases.
4) Final Fantasy XIV
Square Enix developed and published the highly acclaimed multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) Final Fantasy XIV (FFXIV). It takes place in the imaginary realm of Eorzea, where players explore, complete missions, and fight monsters as adventurers.
Final Fantasy XIV offers a unique level-up system wherein each character can accumulate multiple classes & jobs. Additionally, this game prominently focuses on player housing, crafting, and gathering.
When we compare FFXIV as an alternative to WoW, both FFXIV and WoW are MMORPGs with similar gameplay mechanics, such as completing quests, forming groups, and engaging in battles. But compared to World of Warcraft, Final Fantasy XIV has a classic leveling system whereby players can level up multiple classes and jobs on a single character. Furthermore, there is more of an emphasis on crafting & player housing in FFXIV than in WoW.
An exciting feature of the FFXIV game is the Realm Reborn system, which starts players off with a fresh start. This permits them to keep their characters and equipment but reset their world & narrative.
One of the distinguishing features of this game is its system which allows players to level up various classes and jobs with a single character. It also provides an intricate crafting and gathering system and a noteworthy focus on player housing.
Final Fantasy XIV is a fantastic option for gamers who prefer a traditional MMORPG experience with its focus on crafting, collecting, and housing. The game’s unique levels, as well as its captivating storyline, separate it from other MMORPGs in the market.
5. Lord of the Rings Online
Yes, you heard that right. An online Lord of the Rings RPG! Made famous by the books and movies of the same name, the world of LOTR has no comparison. With thousands of magical species, such as orcs, elves, and trolls, LOTR has quite a loyal fan base.
There’s an impossibly large world waiting to be explored in LOTR Online. Like many other MMORPGS, you can choose from various races in the game. And it takes the concept of grouping and teamwork to the next level.
The gameplay is pretty much orthodox among online RPGs. You control a character that you get to customize and take on adventures. There are countries and entire continents to be explored, and you get to partake in exciting side-quests.
It touches upon the concepts of farming and building and brings to life the most immersive gameplay we’ve ever seen. You get to stay in your house that you can customize and decorate. And you can change the look of your character as well.
LOTR Online updates are spread out over four expansion packs. And there’s a lot of rich lore to ponder, which you’ll find interesting if you haven’t read the books.
Why Play This:
It’s a game similar to WoW because it is just like most MMORPGs. However, it introduces the concepts of farming and the economy, which is quite an exciting venture.
One of the biggest reasons to play this game is the lore. If you’re a LOTR fan, you’ll know that the narratives and stories in the game are well-planned and thought-out. And if you like the fiction of Tolkien’s world, there’s an entire franchise of books and movies to indulge in.
This may not be for you if you’re not all that into LOTR. It’s still a fun MMORPG to play, but if you don’t like LOTR’s storyline, this won’t be your cup of tea.
Perhaps the only MMORPG that comes close to rivaling WoW, Rift, is an endless universe of fantasy and fiction. It takes every aspect of MMORPGs and stitches them up into one.
It is, by far, one of the most diverse games ever. It combines concepts like crafting, raiding, collecting resources, and exploration. You also get a PvP and PvE (Player versus Environment) mode.
Dubbed “The WoW Killer,” Rift fell short of the hype, but it still stands as a monumental game. It’s a fun game to play with your friends and still has a compelling storyline.
The story follows two races that are constantly warring against each other. Now and then, a ‘rift’ or portal opens between the two planes, bringing in monsters and demons. The main objective of the game is to prevent these monsters from entering the real world.
As you can see, the storyline is unique. It’s set in the world of Telara, where there are five elemental planes: Earth, Water, Fire, Air, and Death. A rift is randomly created whenever two elemental planes start to seep into each other. Your objective is to prevent these rifts from opening, and save your land from the wretched monsters.
Players get to choose from 5 hero roles and must fulfill that role as is necessary. Players can team up with up to 5 members to explore Dungeons and battle through them.
Why Play This:
This game is a great WoW alternative. The primary reason why the game is looked down upon is because of the hype it created. But in all fairness, although it doesn’t genuinely rival WoW, it’s still a likely contender.
Choose Rift if you are tired of the traditional “battle orcs and dragons” narrative. It introduces the concept of rifts that must be closed, giving MMORPG players a new objective.
7. Guild Wars 2
Lastly, we have the sequel to the RPG developed by ArenaNet. Guild Wars 2 brings an exciting new storyline, set 250 years after the events of its prequel. It is by far the first MMORPG that introduces ‘choose your fate’ mechanics as a primary concept.
What this means is that you get to choose the storyline you like. While you could still do that to some extent in previous MMORPGs, the extent was reasonably limited. With Guild Wars 2, however, you get an endless option of storylines. It feels like you’re the one writing your fate.
It is a free-to-play game, so you just need the right system to run it, and you’re good to go. It’s been around since 2012 and continues to have an abundant fan base.
Guild Wars 2 plays out much like any other MMORPG. You can customize your character and choose from 5 races (with one new race exclusive to Guild Wars 2). And your primary objective is to fight battles, collect resources, and team up with other players.
As stated in the intro, Guild Wars 2 allows players to narrate their storyline, something yet to see in other RPGs. It allows for a healthy amount of character development while getting rid of grind-based strategies.
What also brings the game to much hype is the global difficulty level. When playing in PvE, the level of the player is reduced to match that of the monsters. So you get a consistent level of difficulty that neither discourages you nor makes it too easy.
Why Play This:
It should be quite obvious by now. Guild Wars 2 combines traditional aspects of MMORPGs with a unique ‘choose your fate’ storyline. It helps you take a break from repetitive gaming, and it’s so much more interesting than standard RPGs.
The best part is that you get the joy of replaying the game with a different storyline. So even if you are bored with your current game, you can just start and play a different narrative.
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What is an MMORPG?
MMORPG is short for Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game. Let’s break this down:
Role-Playing Games are games in which you assume the role of a character in a fictional setting. These are adapted from tabletop RPGs, such as Dungeons and Dragons.
Online means that the game requires an internet connection, but there may be some offline aspects to it as well.
Massively Multiplayer means that the game can be played alongside other players. These games usually have a concept of matchmaking and teaming, along with trading and economy.
MMORPGs have become highly popular in recent years. They contrast with RPGs, which aren’t online and don’t have an online multiplayer function. These games are normally set in a fictional world with a primary objective and multiple side quests.
What makes WoW so unique?
A lot of factors. The first unique feature is the importance of side-quests. No game before WoW had introduced side-quests in such depth. In fact, they’re so well-embedded into the game that a side-quest can be found in almost every region. The signature exclamation mark marks nPCs that have side-quests for you.
Another factor that comes into play here is the amalgamation of design with graphics and gameplay mechanics. Everything is so well-thought-out that WoW has become an unprecedented game in the community.
Why should I play a WoW alternative?
There can be countless reasons. MMORPGs like WoW normally have no end. You can explore the endless world and keep on building your skills and resources. It means once you’ve done everything you could think of, you’ll get bored and want to try something new.
WoW alternatives are a great way to get a break from WoW and immerse yourself in a different world. They feature similar elements of crafting, fighting, and exploring. All of these aspects come together to make a highly captivating adventure game.
Nothing can live up to the legacy of World of Warcraft. But some games do come close to it.
These were just 6 of the many games that parallel WoW. Each game has its storyline with a uniquely mesmerizing franchise. They’re a great way to get a break from the lore of WoW. And many are free-to-play, requiring the bare minimum in terms of system requirements.
Games similar to WoW come under the heading of MMORPGs. There are other types of MMO games you can try, such as MMOBA and MMOFPS games.
MMORPGs are the heart of modern gaming, and we hope that these above games will show you why!