Blizzard’s MMORPG is currently in decline. Players like yourself might be looking for alternatives, so what are the best games like World of Warcraft?
WoW debuted in 2012 as both a spin-off and sequel to Warcraft III. It’s a spin-off because, instead of an RTS, it’s an RPG title on an online, persistent world. Then, it’s a sequel because it follows the Frozen Throne story.
After eight expansions, though, the plot has become increasingly complex. The story is no longer beginner-friendly, but players can always try WoW: Classic to enjoy the vanilla experience.
Yet, Wow is a 2012 game, so players like you may want to try something else. Other games like World of Warcraft should offer gameplay you could enjoy for years on end.
Selecting Games Like World Of Warcraft
WoW has evolved and grown plenty since its debut. Over the years, though, the MMORPG title has remained consistent to a formula.
Thus, selecting games like World of Warcraft requires understanding the formula. We believe the titles WoW fans would like feature a mix of the following aspects:
- Genre: WoW is an MMORPG game living within the Warcraft persistent universe.
- Universe: The game features deep lore and users Warcraft locations. That includes the Azeroth continent, the Dark Isles, the Outlands, and more.
- Story Design: Rather than playing as the “protagonist” of a story, you are a “witness.” By completing quests, you unlock the cinematics.
- Extensive Plot: Each race and class may follow different quest lines until converging on the main plot of the expansion.
- Expansions: Expansions add new areas, items, features, plots, and villains. As usual, players complete a set of required quests until unlocking the expansion area.
- Classes and Races: The game’s customization options start by choosing one of the classes and races. There’re dozens of choices.
- Skill Trees: Each class has three distinct skill branches. You unlock a skill point on each level, and you have many options to develop.
- Gameplay: The combat revolves around classical MMORPG tactics. You play in third-person, choose an enemy, and use the skills on your action bar.
- Professions: There’re dozens of trade-oriented occupations, and you can pick and develop two of them. You can also develop any secondary discipline.
- Crafting: Similarly, there’re eight crafting options. You can develop any by crafting a wide selection of tools, items, and gear with your loot.
- Roles: Another classic system is roles. Characters can either fill the role of a tank (defensive), DPS (offensive), or healer (support).
- Co-op: The main WoW experience is PvE. However, many areas and bosses need co-op play, such as going on a dungeon raid with a party.
- PvP: There’re also various PvP modes, either 1v1 or team-based game modes. PvP is complex and requires balancing the party-member roles.
- Factions: You create a character in one of the two factions. These follow rivaling quests in different areas. They also have different races.
- Items: The game features a hefty itemization. Items come in rarity and levels. Moreover, players have 18 gear slots.
- Economy: Players can auction their items on a city marketplace. There’re also trader NPCs.
Overall, World of Warcraft is a classic MMORPG, and many games have used the same ingredients to create similar experiences. Others, though, have evolved the formula with tweaks and innovations.
Games like Warcraft feature both old and new MMO features. That said, we’re not looking at offline-only games; we bet that’s not what you expect.
Games Like World Of Warcraft
Final Fantasy XIV
- Developer: Square Enix
- Publisher: Square Enix
- Release Date: September 2010
- Platform: PS4, PS5, Windows, MacOS
Final Fantasy XIV stands currently as the biggest MMORPG in the industry. It features PvE, co-op PvE, PvP, raids, sieges, and an overall hefty mid-game and end-game content.
As an MMORPG game, you’ll enjoy complex skill trees, as well as dozens of races, classes, and crafting professions. Also, like on WoW, the character customization screen is quite powerful.
And as a Final Fantasy game, you’ll enjoy rich storylines and lore, Japanese-animation visuals, and gorgeous music. Moreover, there’s the classical FF story about good vs. evil and magical artifacts. And you unlock the story by watching the cinematics after completing quests, like on WoW.
Then, the story, features, and word map have evolved a lot since its debut. The developers have released four major expansion packs. The current Steam version includes the base game, plus the first expansions.
Lastly, WoW players should be familiar with the price design of the alternative. You’d have to buy the base game and the expansions, on top of paying a monthly subscription.
Guild Wars 2
- Developer: ArenaNet
- Publisher: NCSoft
- Release Date: August 2012
- Platform: Windows, MacOS
Guild Wars 2 is a free-to-play MMORPG. It’s more casual than WoW, as its mechanics are easier. However, its expanding universe offers equally time-consuming gameplay.
You create a character from one of the five races and follow an instanced-based story. That means entering main quests opens up individualized areas where you can complete the quest.
This is important, as the game has choices and consequences. In other words, the story branches in different directions depending on what you do on each quest area. And if you do it in co-op, others can’t interfere with your choices.
That said, the game uses a horizontal progressions system. You level up, unlock skills, and become a better player by understanding the mechanics, not the gear. That’s because there’s no “better gear,” as you can upgrade every piece you find with easy-to-use systems.
That said, the game also includes crafting, professions, guilds, side quests, PvP, PvE, end-game content, and more. For instance, it has large-scale siege battles. Lastly, continuous expansions keep adding areas, features, and quests.
Blade & Soul
- Developer: Team Bloodlust
- Publisher: NCSoft
- Release Date: 2012 (Korea), 2016 (international)
- Platform: Microsoft Windows, iOS, Android
Blade & Soul is a free-to-play MMORPG game. In particular, it feels, looks, and even sounds like World of Warcraft. Many call it the Korean WoW. Moreover, it has no pay-to-win elements, as payment options revolve around cosmetics.
The game has two playable factions, who face each other on PvP and other game modes. You also choose one of the races, classes, and crafting professions.
Then, the world is massive, gorgeous, and encourages player exploration. There’re tons of side content, as well as hidden treasures, side quests, optional bosses, and items to find.
Moreover, it has one of the best combats in the MMORPG game. It’s akin to an action-RPG title, as its third-person combat is fast-paced, intense, and complex. It relies on martial arts skills and combos.
The visuals and performance are better than WoW, most definitely. The game uses Unreal Engine 4, so it looks quite modern and feels like a WoW overhaul.
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
The Elder Scrolls franchise turned Tamriel into a persistent online world. Currently, the online Western RPG enjoys over 15K daily players on Steam, and both the fans and the content keep growing.
You create a character across many races and classes and pick one of the three factions. Then, you enter a massive world with massive possibilities. Not only can you follow hundreds of character builds, but there’re also hundreds of activities and professions to follow.
The current Steam version includes the base game, plus the base game. There’s no subscription, but you’d have to buy the follow-up five expansions. Each adds new areas, enemies, villains, and quests.
Moreover, developers keep adding features to the MMO. For example, the title has an AI companion system, an ever-expanding story, a rich world, and thousands of items. However, the main plot revolves around regaining your lost soul. You can follow the story in any part of the world, in any order.
Lastly, you can play the entire game solo, as the story and the features are good enough to rival other games in the series. Otherwise, you can play with others or in PvP. There’s crafting, sieges, exploration, and more.
Black Desert Online
- Developer: Pearl Abyss
- Publisher: Pearl Abyss
- Release Date: July 2015
- Platform: Windows, Xbox One, PS4, Android, iOS
Like many other games on our list, Black Desert Online debuted first in Korea. Since its debut in global markets, it has remained a popular MMORPG, offering addictive gameplay, gorgeous character designs, and fast-paced combat.
The action is snappy and intuitive. You play in third-person and must aim manually, dodge, block, and use combos. You can fish, farm, trade, and customize your house outside combat. That said, the gameplay is more PvP oriented than WoW or, for example, The Elder Scrolls Online.
The PvP systems include duels, large arenas, siege events, and castle team-based battles. These game modes also relied on the classic role system and character builds and levels. For example, there’re 20 classes, subclasses for each category, and a massive character creation screen.
That said, the game has an in-depth character progression and customization system. On top of that, sandbox and immersion elements include dynamic weather, day/night cycle, and NPCs that follow schedules.
Overall, Black Desert Online is a hefty and modern MMORPG. The amount of things it allows players to do is massive. You could even control entire cities if you’re capable.
- Developer: Amazon Game Studios
- Publisher: Amazon Game Studios
- Release Date: September 2021
- Platform: Windows
Even though New World has received a lot of criticism, we can’t leave it behind. It ticks most boxes WoW fans would want on a new MMORPG.
First, the game has a wide crafting and profession system, but unlike WoW, you can perform any “job” you’d like and develop these skills for trade.
Then, the open-world is vast and features a lengthy main quest and tons of side quests. Like on WoW, there’s a lot of grinding involved regarding resource gathering, traveling, leveling, and fighting.
Yet, there’re no classes. Instead, you develop weapon masteries by using particular weapons and earn skills for these trees. As for combat, you have to manually aim, dodge, block, parry, and attack; you have bows, crossbows, muskets, swords, axes, shields, and more to fight.
The negative heat is due to how the game feels like it’s breaking apart. It has a lot of issues, like an entirely player-driven economy that’s not working, scarce end-game content, unstable servers, performance issues, bots, and others.
- Developer: Tripod Studio, Smilegate RPG
- Publisher: Tripod Studio, Amazon Games
- Release Date: December 2019 (Korea), February 2022 (international)
- Platform: Windows
Lost Ark belongs to a different genre, but it’s still an MMO. Currently, though, it’s the biggest free-to-play game on Steam. Its success came because of its isometric action-RPG formula.
Lost Ark is a vast world with seven distinct areas. Like in games like Diablo, you play across an episodic story arc to complete the main quest, either solo or co-op. Then, you reach the end-game to play challenging instances or join PvP arenas.
The class system is vast as well. There’re various classes, and each one has three or four subclasses. The action is fast, varied, and customizable. You progress by leveling up, customizing skills, finding better gear, and earning a lot of gold. More importantly, the Powerpass system allows you to bypass the grinding by granting a new level 50 character after you complete the main quest.
You can also gather resources as you explore and then use your personal hub to craft the resources. Then, you can trade the items you crafted on a global marketplace akin to WoW’s auction houses.
The game’s many systems seem complex, but the experience is easy to understand. Most importantly, almost everything you do yields reward and improves your character. Overall, the game features satisfying combat, a lengthy campaign, and a lot of content.
Path of Exile
- Developer: Grinding Gear Games
- Publisher: Grinding Gear Games
- Release Date: October 2013
- Platform: Windows, Xbox One, PS4, macOS
You play as an Exile on a journey for survival on a Wraeclast. The quest goes along nine chapters in nine different areas. After defeating the main quest, you can play on “maps,” customizable end-game instances with nearly endless loot and bosses to defeat.
Then, the “Exiles” are the classes, and all classes start on a different area of a shared and massive passive skill tree. On top of that, each class can unlock one of three specialized “Ascendancy” classes by completing an optional labyrinth.
Combat relies on your gear and your skill gems. Gear comes with gem slots, where you place your skill gems and skill modifiers. Then, you use them with the action bar. Similarly, the trading system relies on trading crafting resources or gear, as there’s no in-game currency.
Lastly, the developers release new “Seasons” every 13 weeks. These seasons are the expansions, adding new features, often areas, loot, crafting resources, and more. Once a season ends, often the developers leave elements of the expansions in the game forever.
- Developer: Digital Extremes
- Publisher: Digital Extremes
- Release Date: March 2013
- Platform: Windows, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series, Nintendo Switch
Warframe is a third-person sci-fi shooter with an MMO setting. It’s a special title that enjoys a massive fan base, ever-growing content, and a free price tag. Developers don’t even charge for follow-up expansions, only for cosmetics.
You start by picking one of the three beginning classes. The “classes” are “Warframes” are unique techno-suits that deliver special abilities, perks, and stats. There’re dozens available in the world, and you can use them to level them up.
Then, you’re part of an ancient warrior against enemy alien races. The plot happens on a massive open-world galaxy with many places to explore. There’re ships, planets, bases, dungeons, and more.
You can play alone and follow any mission by yourself. You can also play co-op, which is the game’s focus. Or you can play co-op against others and against AI enemies. In that case, there are even massive space battles where you can board other ships for sabotage.
Overall, Warframe doesn’t look much like WoW, as it’s instead a spin of the classic MMO formula. If you’re looking for a modern, sci-fi alternative with tons of content and progression, it’s a great option.
Age of Conan
- Developer: Funcom
- Publisher: Funcom
- Release Date: May 2008
- Platform: Windows
Age of Conan is a free MMORPG that also feels much like WoW. However, it has its own lore, as it takes inspiration from the novels of the same name.
The gameplay elements are quite similar, though. You pick a class, explore a world, and complete the story. Moreover, you can gather resources, craft items, and gear and upgrade your skills and equipment.
AoC follows an episodic story. Fans of the novels would recognize some key events and characters, races, classes, and locations. However, the plot is mostly original.
The game has a unique combat system that relies on finishing movements. Combat gets increasingly complex after level 20, though, because that’s when the game opens up PvP scenarios on top of PvE exploration.
Overall, Age of Conan is a fun, rich, and unique MMORPG, perfect for World of Warcraft fans. Even so, it’s decidedly easier than WoW, as the mechanics and the itemization is way smaller.
- Developer: Cryptic Studios
- Publisher: Perfect World Entertainment
- Release Date: June 2013
- Platform: Windows, Xbox One, PS4
Neverwinter is a free, classic MMORPG. It’s based on the acclaimed Dungeons & Dragons fantasy board and roleplaying games. It means the stories are epic, rich, and complex.
The vast fantasy world includes the dark forces, the forces of evil, clashing against the heroes. You play as one of the heroes, pick a class and race, and join an immersive story.
If you’re familiar with the table-top RPG, the game follows the stories of the 5th Edition Dungeon & Dragon plots. Even the eight classes available hail from the stories, such as Tomb of Annihilation or Ravenloft.
The combat gameplay is the classic experience in the genre. You target enemies with your TAB or mouse and then use your action bar skills. AS usual, enemies from XP and loot to keep improving your character.
Overall, Neverwinter is close to WoW regarding story, content, gameplay, and character designs. It’s a similar high-fantasy setting allowing you to explore a vast world full of stories across various mediums.
- Developer: Trion Worlds
- Publisher: Trion Worlds
- Release Date: March 2011
- Platform: Windows
Rift is an interesting MMO. It packs plenty of features, but it never became the “WoW” killer it pretended to be. Instead, it currently has a small player base.
Either way, you create a character, pick class and race, and join one of the two rival factions. Other classic MMO elements include resource gathering and a comprehensive crafting system.
Aside from that, the story is about finding “Rifts” in the world and closing them before enemies pour out of the portals. That opens up sudden attack mechanics and high reward systems.
Rifts come in various elements types, which influence the enemies and loot within these instances. Moreover, they open various game modes like survival against hordes, dungeon-crawl, or raids.
Lastly, the character progression system revolves around “souls trees.” It’s a complex multi-layered system offering perks, passive bonuses, active skills, and shared classes across all races.
- Developer: Bluehole Studio
- Publisher: Krafton
- Release Date: May 2012
- Platform: Windows, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series
TERA is also a free MMORPG by the same studio of the Battle Royale PUBG. This game is much smaller, though, as it has less than 20 daily players on console and less than 1K daily players on Steam.
Still, it’s a pretty-looking game that takes many WoW elements while adding its own spin. Even so, you pick a class, race, faction, and profession.
On top of that, it has over 80 distinct zones. More importantly, the games use a proprietary “True Action Combat” system. It forces you to aim your spells and attacks, as well as dodge enemy attacks.
The co-op system relies on “BAMs,” the short name for “Big Ass Monsters.” TERA includes countless multiplayer dungeons for co-op raids, PvP battlegrounds, and PvP areas in the open world.
Tera is an easy game to recommend for WoW fans. However, we can’t put it high on the list, as its player base is dwindling. It’s still free, though, so you have nothing to lose.