WoW has been the definitive MMORPG for nearly two decades. However, no king rules forever, and with the recent slew of criticisms and controversies surrounding WoW and its parent company Blizzard, many have opted to look for a different game.
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How do you abandon the comfort that comes with playing WoW for years, you ask? By choosing one of the best games like WoW, of course! If you’re looking for a new game to fill the void that WoW has left behind, this list will help you find a new home. Let’s get started.
The 7 Best Games Like WoW
For the sake of this list, we’ll be focusing on games that are fully released and not in a testing stage, such as New World. We plan on creating another article for those games and updating this one as they come out, so stayed tuned!
- Developer: CCP Games
- Release Date: May 2003
- Cost: Free to try, subscription to progress (average $15/month)
If you enjoy the social dynamics of a guild, having an open world where you determine your own goals, and Machiavellian-level politics, then EVE Online might be the right choice for you.
Effectively a spreadsheet simulator posing as a RTS (Real-time strategy) game set in the far off future of space, EVE is a game about deciding what you want early on and dedicating all your resources to achieving that goal.
Upon starting the game, you’ll find yourself as a nobody with only a dinky little space shuttle to their name. With no definitive goal set before you by the game, you must learn to navigate the universe, pick up the skills to survive, and make a name for yourself… if that’s what you want.
The game is incredibly open-ended with players creating their own fun. Do you want to become a feared warlord, maybe the baron that sits at the head of a trading conglomerate, or just a random pilot trying to stay alive on their lonesome? You set the narrative by deciding what you want to achieve and accumulating the necessary skills over time to do so.
Oh, and every player is playing on a single server with their actions potentially affecting the entire universe. I’m sure you can see the potential chaos this results in as corporations (guilds) form grudges and alliances with each other.
With over four hundred skills to choose from that require real time to level, you’ll have to decide which fields to specialize in. The right choices can make you as effective as a veteran player in doing something like piloting your ship, but they’ll have more skills overall.
While it is one of the best games similar to WoW, things are fairly slow paced. Traveling to locations, leveling up your skills, setting up massive space battles, etc., all take time. Learning how the game’s mechanics works takes even more time, with many players grasping the basics only after months of learning.
Regardless, you’ll need money, power, and clout if you want to survive in this game. The best way to do so is to form social connections. In EVE, having the backing of a corporation is huge. Accomplishing anything on a meaningful scale requires the cooperation of others, but in a game as lawless as EVE, anything goes. Betrayal, back room deals, and systematic bullying by bigger fish in the space sea is common.
There are some ridiculous stories out there created by player interactions. A notable example is a player spending a literal year infiltrating another corporation’s ranks to climb to the top, before fleeing with its funds and disbanding the entire corporation.
Yet it’s moments like that which make EVE Online such a memorable game for those who invest the time in it.
- Developer: Hypixel
- Release Date: June 2019
- Cost: Free to play, server limits can be bypassed as a donor
Originally, Skyblock was a challenge map mod in Minecraft where players only had a single floating island and minimal resources to work with. The goal was to survive and build a thriving environment.
Hypixel decided to turn it into an MMORPG.
Their spin on the mod maintains the original skyblock island but has added another floating island with a portal. Entering said portal would lead players to a bustling hub city, where hundreds of players could interact with one another and do all the standard things you would expect from an MMO.
The game has all the typical hallmarks you would expect from an MMORPG. There’s a leveling system for various skills, multi-tiered armor and weapons to obtain, quests and special events, different zones in the form of islands with unique challenges and dungeons, and the ever-persistent grind that all MMORPG players are used to.
As is befitting of a Minecraft mod, the crafting system in the game is quite extensive. Players can create all sorts of enchantments, pieces of gear, and housing improvements. The catch is that permanent buildings can only be placed on your floating island, which effectively functions as a form of player housing. Naturally, players are inclined to make the most amazing houses they can and can allow other players to visit them from the hub town.
The game has a surprising amount of content and depth to it the deeper you go, with all the familiar mechanics of Minecraft being preserved. The moderators/dev team are quite involved with the game, with special events taking place in relation to player feedback and activities. It even has a system in place for addons!
As a bonus, making an account to play Skyblock lets you easily access all the other game modes/mods that Hypixel has created, effectively turning it into a central hub to access minigames and battlegrounds to mix up your gameplay a bit.
Also there are public leaderboards for various activities. This has led to an epic three-part saga of an event known only as The Great Potato War. If you’re on the fence about the game, give it a watch.
Phantasy Star Online 2: New Genesis
- Developer: Online R&D and Sega
- Release Date: June 2021
- Cost: Free to play, has premium currency packs
If you’re looking for games like WoW for Xbox One or games like WoW for PS4, say hello to Phantasy Star Online: New Genesis!
One of the most recent MMORPGs to have come out, New Genesis is a standalone game serving as an expansion/continuation to Phantasy Star Online 2.
New Genesis has completely overhauled the game’s engine and appearance to modern standards. With improvements to the UI, combat and traversal systems, and overall flow of the game, it feels like it could simply be the third titled game in the series.
Set a thousand years after the original PSO2, you take on the role of an ARKS operative, sent out to help with the colonization efforts on a new planet. A friendly alien species known as the Meteorn have struck up an alliance with you in order to combat a race of giant mechanical robots known as the Dolls.
Combat is fast and high-paced with the option to target various sections of an enemy’s body. Dodging enemy attacks and positioning yourself to target their weak points is critical and somewhat akin to Monster Hunter games. Additionally, traversing the environment is satisfying and quick with the ability basically jetpack dash around the area.
WoW players will find themselves taking a bit to adjust to the higher speed of combat, but the familiarity of spending mana (PP in this game) to use finishing abilities known as Techniques/Photon Arts should be a familiar process.
With six different classes to choose from at the start covering a wide range of playstyles, players can expect future updates to increase the number and reintroduce classes from the previous game. As the game is still relatively new, many features such as player housing have yet to be implemented but are expected in the future.
Plus, the game takes on an MMO feel very quickly, as you run into other players almost immediately after finishing the tutorial. Missions across the planet and assaults from enemies will have you quickly teaming up to drive back your foes.
It remains to be seen if this game lives up to its predecessor, but the world is fresh and new. Now is the perfect time to embark on a new journey and discover what the game has to offer.
Elder Scrolls Online
- Developer: ZeniMax Online Studios
- Release Date: April 2014
- Cost: Basic Edition ($20), Full Edition ($60), subscription for DLC + convenience (average $15/month)
Despite a rough launch filled with exploits and bugs, ESO has managed to carve out a niche for itself as a stable MMORPG.
Fans of the Elder Scrolls series will find themselves right at home in ESO. With a rich narrative spanning the continent of Tamriel, you find yourself embroiled in a political conflict for the vacated throne while also attempting to prevent the Daedric Prince Molag Bal from shattering reality itself.
You align yourself with one of the three major factions vying for power and can choose from six different classes. Each class is capable of the three standard MMORPG roles (DPS, healer, tank) but certain ones are more suited for each role. However, you can play any class with any combination of gear and skills, such as a stealthy Sorcerer wearing heavy armor. Though whether or not you find success with such a build at higher levels is up for debate.
Combat is moderately different from other games like WoW. All actions must be performed manually with no real concept of auto-attacking and proccing. Additionally, you need to somewhat “aim” at your target and be within the proper distance for your attacks to actually connect, so positioning is even more vital. However, the system becomes fairly intuitive and easy to pick up after playing for a bit, so the switch shouldn’t be too bad.
While the game certainly has group content like dungeons and raids, the bulk of the game can very much so be experienced solo. The end game is rather open as opposed to WoW’s focus on hours-long raids and encourages you to dabble in everything the game has to offer you. There’s a strong focus on partaking in the large scale PvP battles known as Alliance Wars to secure fortifications and deny enemy supply lines. Additionally, ESO’s version of raids have limited lives and leaderboards to encourage competition amongst players.
The game is still going strong with plenty of planned updates in the future for additional content. However, we do need to note that while you can play for free after purchasing the base game, you will very likely want to buy the monthly subscription. Besides giving you access to all of the DLC (which would cost around $350 if purchased individually), it also gives access to the craft bag for unlimited inventory space for crafting goods. Trust us, you’ll need that bag if you plan on committing to this game.
Guild Wars 2
- Developer: ArenaNet
- Release Date: August 2012
- Cost: Base Game (Free), Expansions ($50 for all), premium currency available
One of the big MMORPGs that has persisted over the years, Guild Wars 2 is a very solid game with strong class identity, a highly interactive world, and a live story for its players to interact with.
With nine distinct classes (professions in this game) to choose from, each fulfilling a different fantasy archetype, players will be able to easily find one that fits them. If you feel as though your current kit doesn’t fit the situation, you can equip a different type of weapon to access a brand new group of skills with further customization through adjustable talents.
One of the biggest changes players from WoW will have to contend with is the dodge mechanic. Utilizing a stamina bar, every character is capable of doing a tactical dodge roll to render themselves invincible for a brief second. This is critical for surviving multiple fight mechanics and avoiding detrimental effects.
Additionally, there is no dedicated healer class and no conventional tanking.
All classes are capable of healing in some capacity with a greater focus on supporting the party by applying buffs on the fly to prevent damage. Tanks are merely classes with abilities geared more towards staying alive and bolstering allies’ defenses. While group composition still matters, this change makes putting together groups much easier and speeds up gameplay considerably.
The game’s story also takes a different approach from the other games like WoW. As opposed to having the narrative progress at the player’s discretion, GW2 has a living story that is constantly moving forward.
Major events occur for limited periods, offering unique rewards and story elements that can only be experienced during the event. Previous story arches can only be experienced if you missed out on them by unlocking them with the game’s premium currency. This strongly encourages players to stay active in the game but can be a point of contention.
Finally, the game offers one of the most robust and balanced PvP systems out there for an MMORPG. As opposed to having faction battles, there are massive dedicated battlegrounds to world PvP between different servers. With a constant back and forth between controlling key defensive structures and siege warfare, the game offers a very unique take on mass scale PvP.
For those interested in smaller scale matches, any player can simply queue up for a battle and be on equal footing with their opponent. Gear between all players is equalized and you simply choose what stat line you want to prioritize. Battles are simply dependent on teamwork and personal skill. With such a system in place, it makes GW2 one of the best games like WoW if you’re primarily interested in PvP.
Star Wars: The Old Republic
- Developer: BioWare and EA
- Release Date: December 2011
- Cost: Free to try, subscription to progress (average $15/month)
With recent updates giving the game a fresh breath of life, Star Wars: The Old Republic has surged back into relevancy after having fallen into a period of stagnation. It’s one of the few games like WoW that’s actually free to try, and there are more expansions slated for at least the next two years, meaning the overall health and future of the game is looking bright.
Set in the incredibly popular sci-fi universe, the game takes place thousands of years before the movies. This time period is rife with conflict between the Jedi and the Sith and allows players to choose which side of the Force they wish to align themselves with.
With eight different classes to choose from, split evenly between the Republic and Empire faction, players can choose to live out their fantasies of being a Jedi Knight, a Bounty Hunter, and more. Each class has specializations to choose from, similar to WoW, and fill the standard roles of DPS, healer, and tank.
Additionally, your choice of class determines what spaceship you have access to and what NPC companions you interact and bond with on your journey. Your choices throughout the game’s story influence them, unlocking new content and skills for them to help out in combat. The universe is rich with story, and you can take part in some events that help shape the state of the series centuries down the road.
It should be noted that choosing one side of the Force doesn’t mean you have to act like a typical Jedi or Sith. You could be a cruel, callous Jedi or a compassionate, friendly Sith. The choice is yours, giving a lot of nuance to the conflict between the two factions.
There’s a lot to be done in the game from exploring iconic planets like Alderaan, to taking on space battles in their customized ship, and partaking in raids of up to sixteen players. Most notably is forming a guild and working towards obtaining a personal guild hall and guild flagship.
Both guild features are fully customizable and can be decorated with trophies from various accomplishments and victories. Few things are as satisfying as flying an imperial dreadnaught, navigating it while decked out in your ancient armor belonging to the first Sith Lord.
As a bonus to some of the more hardcore fans of the Star Wars universe, the game follows the Legends timeline, so you can disregard the more recent movies as non-canon if you weren’t a big fan of them.
Final Fantasy XIV
- Developer: Square Enix
- Release Date: September 2010
- Cost: Starter Edition ($20), Complete Edition ($60), subscription to progress (average $15/month)
We’re sure you’ve heard every gaming news outlet talking about how WoW players have been migrating in mass to FF14, how the game is overtaking WoW, and how engrossed WoW refugees are in their new world.
Well it’s warranted, and it’s why FF14 sits at our number one recommend spot of games like WoW for PC.
As one of the few truly successful MMORPGs out there, FF14 has endured the test of time and steadily built an empire of content spanning eleven years of development.
With the massive world of Hydaelyn to explore, eighteen different classes (called jobs in this game) to choose from, and a story arch spanning ten years of build-up, there’s more than enough to engross you in the world of FF14.
With a variety of races to choose from, huge sprawling continents with variety of zones and quests, epic raids, and plenty of side content, WoW players will easily find themselves with the same sense of wonder they had when they first begun exploring Azeroth.
However, there are quite a few key differences between WoW and FF14. We’ll go through the major ones, starting with combat.
WoW refugees will immediately notice the global cooldown (GCD) of 2.5 seconds. What.
FF14 starts off at much slower pace in comparison to other games like WoW, but it’s for the purpose of easing new players into the game. As you level up, you’ll gain more instant cast spells that you are expected to use in between GCD casts. Depending on which class you play, you could very easily end up wishing the GCD was longer so you could have more time to go through your rotation.
There are also no addons in the game, so what you see is what you get.
This can be jarring to WoW players who are used to comparing their performance numbers all the time, but the effect on the community has resulted in a far less toxic environment with far more patient players. With systems in place that encourage and meaningfully reward veterans to coach and teach newer players, you’ll find FF14 to be a surprisingly welcoming game.
The narrative is long but engrossing, and makes you feel like you’re an actual person in the story.
You are forced to go through the entire story to progress in the game and unlock further content, but besides making you feel like a proper hero, it also gives you all the details you need to understand what’s going on. There’s no need to read novels outside of the game or do obscure lore digging to understand plot points and characters’ motivations.
You spend time between missions getting to know the various characters and just living a life. Not every moment is another harrowing battle, and you’re not standing there as some side piece bearing witness to the exploits of the other named characters (something that WoW is egregiously guilty of).
The game very much respects the amount of time and effort you put into it as a player.
Power ups that you obtain along your journey remain with your character throughout. Imagine if all that time spent leveling up your Legion artifact weapon in WoW wasn’t thrown out at the end of the expansion and remained a permanent upgrade to your character’s arsenal. In FF14, even things like profession materials earned at the start of the game still have a use and relevancy down the road.
Yes, gear is replaced and upgraded, but it’s more so to augment your journey as opposed to being the goal. Even the catch up gear feels like a progression that builds on your previous work as opposed to rendering it obsolete.
Most importantly, the gameplay loop isn’t designed to keep you infinitely grinding to maintain relevancy. Log in, get what you personally want to get done, log off until you feel like playing again.
The World Itself
Finally, the world feels like a proper world that you want to spend your time living in it.
WoW players know how the game has recently doubled down on only the latest patch’s content mattering. There’s little incentive or desire to really go anywhere else besides Korthia at the moment as of patch 9.1.
FF14 manages to avoid this with systems that reward and encourage players to actively partake in activities beyond the newest ones. All old content still provides meaningful challenge and desirable rewards with a highly balanced Timewalking system and daily Duties that send players to content throughout the game’s history.
There also plenty of non-progression activities that are genuinely fun and engaging to partake in, such as the minigame-laden Golden Saucer or decorating your personal home with your unique style and accomplishments.
FF14’s game developers have stated that their primary goal is to make sure that each addition to the game is actually fun. They actively communicate with the player base and personally clear each piece of content themselves. If players don’t think something is fun, the developers rework it from the ground up while communicating their intentions and reasoning. It’s something that WoW has sorely been slacking on, particularly systems like Torghast and the Domination Gems. It’s a breath of fresh air and something that many WoW players will immensely appreciate.
Become a High Grounder
And that’s it for our list of the best games like WoW! We hope that at least one of these games feel like they can replace WoW. If you were curious about upcoming games that are still in development like New World and Ashes of Creation, don’t worry! We plan on going over a list of anticipated MMO games in the future as well. If you think there are more games that we should include on our list, then subscribe to our site and leave a comment below.