As a game released in 2004, World of Warcraft brought new meaning to the massively multiplayer online role-playing game genre. It boasts millions of active players. Giving World of Warcraft a subscription-based model was controversial, but it worked out because of its sizeable updates.
There is never a shortage of things to do in World of Warcraft, yet players might want alternatives after grinding hundreds and possibly thousands of hours. The most elite players have spent now countless hours across multiple characters (and usually accounts). Fans looking for alternatives should try out these games for a challenge outside the World of Warcraft.
Updated October 5, 2022, by Ritwik Mitra: World of Warcraft is an MMO that needs no introduction. This title was released all the way back in 2004 and revolutionized the landscape of MMOs in a way that was never seen before. Sure, people may argue that it’s not the best MMORPG anymore with other titles doing a far better job in the genre, but the fact of the matter is that these titles probably wouldn’t exist in the first place had WoW not burst onto the scene and showed just how immersive and engaging MMOs can be when executed properly. With that in mind, it’s only a given that fans of this game would want to check out more titles in the same vein. There are more than enough games like World of Warcraft that can scratch the same itch, and not all of them necessarily need to be MMOs either!
20/20 Guild Wars 2
Guild Wars 2 is a pretty unique MMO that many fans have grown to love. Its steady stream of content updates means that players can jump back into the experience and enjoy a wealth of new content to explore, which is especially entertaining with a group of friends.
The sheer number of things to do in this game is mind-boggling and will ensure that players can sink hundreds of hours into the game without feeling even slightly bored. Guild Wars 2 is a massive achievement that shows just how much the MMO landscape has evolved with its innovative mechanics.
19/20 Destiny 2
Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Google Stadia, PlayStation 5, and Xbox Series X/S
A multiplayer looter-shooter that is absolutely brimming with content, Destiny 2 is a game that needs no introduction. This title is essentially a perfect sequel that improves on all the mechanics of its predecessor, with its base game serving as a great foundation for future expansions to build upon.
As a result, the volume of content in Destiny 2 is off the charts, with the weapons in this game being quite fresh and engaging to use. Suffice it to say, fans who love World of Warcraft and want to combine its gameplay elements with that of a robust first-person shooter will be more than well serviced by the uninhibited brilliance of Destiny 2. Players who are on the fringe when it comes to such titles should definitely give Destiny 2 a chance — they won’t be disappointed in the slightest.
18/20 Final Fantasy XIV
PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, and PC
The initial release of Final Fantasy XIV was nothing short of an absolute disaster. However, Square Enix had the hindsight to pull the plug on this title and re-release it after all the kinks were sorted out.
The end result was Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn, one of the greatest MMORPGs of all time. It fixed almost everything that was wrong in the previous iteration, with its expansions being universally beloved by fans. Players seeking out games like World of Warcraft will certainly be well-serviced by this title.
17/20 Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age
PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and PC
While Final Fantasy XII might not be an MMORPG, there are still various facets of this title that make it a game like WoW. The Zodiac Age version of this title is easily the best way to enjoy the game.
Featuring an ensemble cast and one of the best stories ever featured in a Final Fantasy game, Final Fantasy XII is an excellent title that is worth anyone’s time. Just keep in mind that the game is a bit dated, so using the fast-forward mechanic is key to not getting burned out by this experience.
16/20 Dragon Age: Origins
PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, and PC
At the time of its release, Dragon Age: Origins was considered by many to be one of the greatest RPGs ever made. The world of this game was incredibly fleshed out and allowed players to immerse themselves in a wondrous title that hit all the sweet spots for most RPG aficionados.
It might be a stretch to say that this is a game like World of Warcraft. However, the high fantasy setting and combat definitely share some common elements.
15/20 The Witcher
The first game in The Witcher series was a gargantuan achievement by CD Projekt Red as they successfully put themselves on the map with this amazing dark fantasy RPG. Little did anyone know that this game would be the first step in a wild journey for the Polish developer.
The Witcher is a game that players could play with either the keyboard and mouse or just the mouse itself. Fans of World of Warcraft can understand why this title is a game like WoW, with their styles of gameplay being quite different yet somewhat similar at the same time.
PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, Nintendo Switch, and PC
Much like in World of Warcraft, groups of Warframe players can complete quests for in-game experience points and other rewards. Warframe takes place in a different realm than World of Warcraft, yet there are many parallels between the two. For example, finding new gear and creating clans is a big part of Warframe.
This spacefaring game lets players create a customizable Clan Dojo where they can purchase equipment, research new items, and spar with friends.
13/20 Age Of Conan
Xbox 360 and PC
This massively multiplayer online role-playing game is similar to World of Warcraft in more ways than one. It was released only a few years after World of Warcraft and was likely inspired by the game.
Some have criticized the Age of Conan for its lengthy tutorial missions and lack of content. For those who are interested in a game set in the world of Conan the Barbarian, Age of Conan is a surefire way to scratch that massively multiplayer online role-playing itch.
12/20 Divinity: Original Sin II
PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, Mobile, and PC
Larian Studios crowd-funded this now smash-hit top-down RPG in their Divinity series. But this game takes place long after the events of the first Original Sin title. It places players as a custom character or one of 6 pre-made people with unique stories and plenty of ways to derail the main narrative.
The game harbors hundreds of choices from what order to do quests to whether or not that Magister who spoke down to you lives to see nightfall. Three of the most attractive parts of the game for WoW players are the soundtrack, great visuals, and captivating world lore.
11/20 Phantasy Star Online 2
PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, PlayStation Vita, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, and PC
Phantasy Star Online 2 is something of a blast from the past, as well as a huge nostalgia bomb. The game even had a Persona series crossover to merge similar fandoms. However, a “shared universe” game called Phantasy Star Online 2: New Genesis is also available, which offers a slightly more modern take on the MMO genre.
WoW players might think the crossover from fantasy to anime stylings is a bridge too far. But the fast-paced, chain-focused combat will quickly win them over. Players utilize Photon Arts across different classes with unique Techniques, and Mags — small, ever-evolving droids.
PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC
Not to be confused with Neverwinter Nights, Neverwinter is a free-to-play massively multiplayer online role-playing game set in the Dungeons & Dragons realm. This fantasy role-playing game is appealing because of its free-to-play model.
It’s evident from games like Fortnite, Warframe, and Apex Legends that free-to-play doesn’t reflect poor quality. Neverwinter has flaws, but it’s a great attempt at the genre. Be warned, players might reach a point where they’ll need to surrender their wallets to microtransactions.
9/20 Diablo III
PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, and PC
Diablo III is one of the most highly acclaimed hack and slash games of all time. Playing as the Nephalem, players journey out into a world filled with hatred and oppression. The loot system of Diablo III is one of the best ever developed (after some serious growing pains). It’s a game for players who love grinding experience points and levels.
Fans will know that Blizzard Entertainment developed both Diablo III and World of Warcraft. Though the games are from two different genres of role-playing games, there are similarities between the two.
It’s easy to see the similarities between Rift and World of Warcraft. Both are fantasy games with several playable races and classes. While Rift is also a massively multiplayer online role-playing game, it stands out for various reasons.
In Rift, enemies appear out of rifts. Fighting waves of enemies as players improve their characters gives the game tons of replay value.
7/20 The Lord Of The Rings Online
The Lord of the Rings Online is a hidden gem found on Steam. This game can be downloaded and played for free. It contains one of the most detailed and expansive renditions of Middle-earth ever seen in gaming. In The Lord of the Rings Online, one can play as iconic races like the Hobbit, Man, Elf, or Dwarf. Players can even fight as a servant of a Sauron!
The Lord of the Rings Online is a must-play for fans of massively multiplayer games. The WoW community will also deeply appreciate things like holding a memorial for the actor who played Bilbo Baggins in the game.
6/20 Grim Dawn
Another dungeon crawler like Diablo, this game expounds upon the genre with dozens of possible builds. It might not be an MMORPG, but the game’s breadth of content isn’t exactly lacking. It’s a nice alternative for MMO players who want something a bit more personal.
Though a fantastic co-op game, Grim Dawn makes for a challenging and fun solo game, as well. It’s a little less hardcore than Path of Exile, too, so players who might be new to the genre or hesitant to pay a subscription fee for an MMORPG can get their feet wet.
Mobile and PC
Whether players choose to play OldSchool RuneScape or the new RuneScape, there is much incentive to get into this free-to-play game. It’s one of those games with a subscription option, but it’s not required. OldSchool RuneScape heavily influenced later massively multiplayer games.
Though the graphics are basic, mostly everyone agrees that the gameplay is phenomenal. One can fish, mine, blacksmith, cook, and more. The Steam release has crossplay with mobile users and makes a relaxing game to play with friends.
4/20 Dragon Age: Inquisition
PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, and PC
The highly acclaimed Dragon Age series is recognized for its combat system, romance options, and immersive storytelling. It’s not a massively multiplayer game, but the fantasy setting and solid RPG mechanics will definitely scratch a similar itch that WoW does.
It’s abundantly clear that Dragon Age 4 has big shoes to fill. With hits like Dragon Age: Inquisition and Dragon Age: Origins both stemming from Dungeons & Dragons, MMORPG fans can’t go wrong with any game from the series.
3/20 Star Wars: The Old Republic
Star Wars: The Old Republic was Electronic Arts’ most expensive video game to develop and market when it was released. This expansive game takes players to various worlds in the Star Wars universe. The ability to play as a Jedi or Sith gives this game much replay value. One can also choose to be a commando as they participate in group quests as well as single-player ones.
The story of Star Wars: The Old Republic is intriguing. Players can choose between dialogue options as they take control of the epic story. WoW fans might appreciate time in a space-themed fantasy game vs. another high fantasy game.
2/20 Baldur’s Gate 3
Google Stadia and PC
The studio behind Divinity: Original Sin II just released Early Access for Baldur’s Gate 3. It features all of the hallmarks fans of Dungeons and Dragons expect: dice rolls, turn-based combat, giant-tentacled telekinetic parasites, and, of course, dragons. It also expands on established lore in preceding Baldur’s Gate games.
But Larian has a cast of very unique characters ranging from a Githyanki princess to a dashing vampire. And all of the playable characters (including one that fans create) have Illithid tadpoles in their brains. WoW fans will appreciate the attention to detail, rich lore, and decisive combat of the game.
PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, Google Stadia, and PC
Putting aside that the combat in The Elder Scrolls Online is quite different and it obviously takes place in The Elder Scrolls universe, comparisons can be made to World of Warcraft. Both games are massively multiplayer and they have extensive lore to tie in with gameplay.
Though the game had a bit of a rocky start, many players agree that it’s reached a great homeostasis now. The now Microsoft-owned Bethesda Softworks announced a new campaign involving the Gates of Oblivion for 2021, as well.
World of Warcraft is available now on PC.
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