Runescape is the most classic RPG MMO. It predates WoW, and it introduced the world to most conventions of the online genre.
The original title debuted in 2001, and the developers (Jagex) re-launched “Old School Runescape” in 2011. You’ve had time to explore its open-world, grind, loot, and level up. Perhaps you want something else now. So, we’ve compiled a list of the best games like Runescape that capture its charm, namely:
- Runescape is a free-to-play sandbox open-world MMORPG experience with complex leveling, crafting, and highly populated servers.
- The game offers a medieval fantasy setting with dozens of questlines, skill trees, areas, activities, resources, a player-driven economy, and systems to build houses and farms.
- The class system is free. There’re 28 skill trees to master, which you can do by doing specific actions.
- You combat against bosses, mobs, and other players in PvP areas. The gameplay happens in third-person by using skills from an action bar.
World of Warcraft Classic
- Developer: Blizzard Entertainment
- Publisher: Blizzard Entertainment
- Release date: August 2019
- Platform: Windows, macOS
The original World of Warcraft debuted in 2004, three years after Runescape. It quickly became the most successful MMORPG in the market. After many expansions, updates, and evolutions, Blizzard re-released “Classic” to re-capture its original magic.
The game offers multiple classes and races across two factions. Then, you can follow different questlines, raids, loot, craft, level-up, and almost anything you see on Old School Runescape.
The leveling is simpler though: you gain XP and skill points, and you unlock skills from one of your character’s skill trees. That said, your character is either part of the Alliance or the Burning Legion, two factions at war on the medieval fantasy continent of Azeroth.
- Developer: Origin Systems
- Publisher: Mythic Entertainment
- Release date: September 1997
- Platform: Windows, Linux
Ultima Online is a medieval fantasy MMORPG offering old-school graphics and systems, extensive PvP areas, and combat. It sits as one of the most influential games of its genre, and it’s still alive decades after its debut.
You play in a persistent online game with a player-driven economy and social systems. There’re multiple hubs in the world where you can interact with other players, as well as multiple PvP areas to challenge them for their loot.
The game’s perspective is isometric and 2D. You use the click to point, select, and shoot. Then, you level up your character by gathering XP, and then invest skill points into any tree you’d like.
- Developer: CipSoft
- Publisher: CipSoft
- Release Date: January 1997
- Platform: Windows, Linux, macOS
Tibia is another classic MMORPG that has kept its old-school design intact. It’s one of the earliest games in the genre, and like Runescape, it’s free but gates parts of its content behind a premium subscription.
The gameplay happens with a 2D and tile-based perspective. You play in a fantasy world with one of the eight available classes. Then, you put skills and tools on the action bar and do whatever you want to do in the sandbox world.
The core gameplay is killing monsters and bosses for loot and XP. Elsewhere, you can become part of a guild, decorate houses and guild halls, fish, train, follow questlines, and more. That said, interacting with NPCs requires typing, as Tibia’s dialogue is text-based.
- Developer:Sandbox Interactive
- Publisher:Sandbox Interactive
- Release Date:July 2017
- Platform:Android, macOS, Microsoft Windows, Linux, iOS, Classic Mac OS
Albion Online is a sandbox MMORPG within an open-world medieval fantasy setting. It’s all about freedom, gathering, and crafting; no questlines to pursue. Instead, you combat other guilds and teams for resources and loot.
Moreover, nearly every in-game item is player-crafted. Naturally, crafting involves massive grinding. You grind for power, and you need the power to explore rich areas like dungeons (solo raids) and hell gates (team-based PvPvE dungeons). Alternatively, PvP events reward loot.
Another key similarity to Runescape is the class system. There’re no classes; rather, you use the skills of the weapons you wear, and you can learn any skill by using “Learning Points” or earning fame. Additionally, you can build houses and farms on city plots and islands.
The Elder Scrolls Online
- Developer: Zenimax Online Studios
- Publisher: Bethesda Softworks
- Release Date: April 2014
- Platform: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PlayStation 5, Google Stadia, Microsoft Windows, macOS
Elder Scrolls Online is a first-person MMORPG in Tamriel, the setting for Bethesda’s RPG series. It’s a cheap game, but you’d have to buy extra expansions separately.
Even so, the base bundle gives you a massive open-world to explore. It offers questlines, raids, sieges, PvP, dungeon-crawling, and a main storyline about saving the world from Oblivion.
You create a character by selecting gender, looks, class, and race. The class system is strict, but the rest of the game is about freedom. Additionally, the game also revolves around gathering resources and crafting items. You can make potions, gear, clothes, and more.
- Developer: Iron Gate Studio
- Publisher: Coffee Stain Publishing
- Release Date: February 2021 (Early Access)
- Platform: Windows
Valheim evolves Runescape’s old-school with action-RPG combat and servers that only support 10 people. It’s a single-player or co-op experience that offers a Viking-themed action adventure.
Story-wise, you’re in Valhalla, and the goal is proving your worth. The story is yours, though, you can do whatever. That includes fighting bosses for their loot, crafting tools, building castles, and leveling up.
Speaking of which, the experience system is akin to Runescape. The game rewards every task you do by advancing specific skill trees, such as woodcutting or swinging an ax. As for combat, Valheim allows you to parry, dodge, block, swing, and use skills against opponents.
- Developer: Ankama Games
- Publisher: Ankama Games
- Release Date: February 2012
- Platform: Windows, macOS, Linux
Wakfu is a turn-based MMORPG with the sense of humor Runescape fans would like. Aside from its humor, it has deep combat, environmental, and political systems.
Notably, the game’s community manages many parts of the game. For example, the community manages the government and organizes militias, elections, and other systems. Players also manage the weather, resource levels, crops, harvest, hunts, wildlife, and more.
In any case, you play with one of the 18 classes, each one featuring unique skills and elemental spells. Then, you strengthen these spells as you level up, choose professions, and follow a story that revolves around defeating ogres.
- Developer: Elder Game, LLC
- Publisher: Elder Game, LLC
- Release Date: March 2018
- Platform: Windows
Project: Gorgon is a 3D MMORPG offering an immersive experience. Notably, the game offers randomly generated loot and mobs in its open world and dungeons.
Another key difference is “Beast” skills, which allow players to morph into animals for additional combat moves. Additionally, players can combine skills from different classes to craft their characters. You can also use chemicals to unlock explosions, mutagens, and more.
As for the immersive elements, the game offers depth in its NPCs, backstories, questlines, shops, physics systems, and more. Additionally, you can learn as many skills as you want, but power may come with downsides such as diseases, debuffs, viruses, and even lycanthropy.
Black Dessert Online SA
- Developer: Pearl Abyss
- Publisher: Kakao Games
- Release Date: November 2017
- Platform: Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Android, iOS
Black Desert Online is an action-adventure MMORPG focusing on combat, life skills, and sandbox mechanics. You customize a character with an in-depth character creation screen and enter a massive open-world where you can combat, chop trees, fish, cook, pursue quests, slay monsters, and go to PvP wars.
Combat is fast-paced and akin to a single-player action-adventure game. You dodge, aim, and use your skills with a strategy on a combat system that requires player skill. However, you have to choose a class, so your abilities are bound to your initial pick.
Lastly, you can have a personal stable and a house. With the alchemy system, you can easily craft and create potions in your home. However, you can’t trade with other players, only with NPCs – it’s still a complex system, as it includes transporting your goods from one city to another.
Mortal Online 2
- Developer: Star Vault
- Publisher: Star Vault
- Release Date: November 2021
- Platform: Windows
Mortal Online 2 is a medieval fantasy MMORPG sandbox with a full PvP open-world map. So, the game encourages playing alongside party members or as part of a guild.
Moreover, the game features skill-based first-person combat where you need to aim, dodge, parry, counter, and over 600 abilities to learn. In other words, the game allows you to build complex character builds and combinations.
There’s a comprehensive crafting system as well. Every in-game equipment is player crafted, and every area is full of resources. That said, there’re no quests to follow.
STAR WARS: The Old Republic
- Developer: Bioware
- Publisher: Electronic Arts, LucasArts
- Release Date: December 2011
- Platform: Windows
The Old Republic offers the classic gameplay and combat design of the MMORPG genre. Like Jagex’s title, you combat by using your left-click, plus a massive action bar and items tooltip.
It’s also a free-to-play game, although further expansions are behind a paywall. Regardless, the base content is lengthy and highly repayable. For example, you can pick a class out of eight factions, resulting in 8 unique campaigns and 16 gameplay styles.
Then, you complete a lengthy questline with instanced choices and consequences. It makes the journey personal, closer to a single-player experience as you decide your character’s actions.
- Developer: Tripod Studio, Smilegate RPG
- Publisher: Smilegate, Amazon Games
- Release Date: December 2019 (Korea), February 2022 (worldwide)
- Platform: Windows
Lost Ark is a free-to-play MMORPG with an isometric perspective. You play across Lost Ark, an open world with seven distinct continents. The main quest is about finding a special item in each area of the world.
You pick a class, and each class has subclasses. Then, you level up your characters, customize your skills, and mix and match weapons. For combat, you click and select your abilities from the taskbar to defeat mob hordes.
Then, there’s the crafting system. You can gather resources on the land, and multiple non-combat skill trees allow you to craft items like potions, armor, and weapons to sell. Aside from crafting and combat, there’re PvP raids, team-based dungeons, PvP events, and large siege battles.
- Developer: Amazon Game Studios
- Publisher: Amazon Game Studios
- Release Date: September 2021
- Platform: Windows
New World is an open-world first-person MMORPG with action-RPG combat. It allows you to parry, block, dodge, and slash on a skill system that depends on the weapons you’re wearing. That may be shields, melee weapons, bows, crossbows, and firearms.
You customize a character’s looks and enter Aeternum, a fictional land. Here, you’ll level up, gather resources, craft, trade, and combat. By the way, the economy is driven by the players.
Lastly, you can join others for powerful raids and siege battles. You can also join your friends for co-op questing, or join guilds to claim territories plus their settlements and crafting stations.
- Developer: Pugstorm
- Publisher:Fireshine Games
- Release Date: March 2022 (Early Access)
- Platform: Windows
Core Keeper is a 2D action platformer that adds a crafting system as its core mechanic. It’s also an indie family-friendly game that feels like a crossover between Runescape and Terraria – and you can play it with up to eight people.
There’re two core gameplays in the game. First, you explore caves to mine relics and resources. Second, you use these resources to build a base, craft equipment, plant crops, cook, etc. However, you need the proper tools to mine specific resources.
The game’s goal is powering up the Core, deep beneath the surface. The journey means defeating monsters, discovering secrets, and looting. The worlds are procedurally generated, so you won’t see the same thing twice.
- Developer: Re-Logic
- Publisher: 505 Games
- Release Date: May 2011
- Platform:Microsoft Windows, macOS, Linux, PlayStation Vita, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Nintendo Switch, and Xbox One
Terraria is a 2D single-player open-world action sandbox game you can play with eight additional people. It adds a hefty crafting system plus old-school graphics and OST.
On Terraria, you dig, explore, fight, rescue NPCs, and defeat bosses. So, the gameplay is about exploring far away into the land and deep into the ground for treasures and raw materials. Then, use these materials to craft ever-evolving gear and machinery.
The crafting system allows you to create structures, weapons, armor, potions, etc. That said, skills depend on the weapons and armor you carry. Even magic skills come from items you can find or craft.