Many of us have fallen down a myriad of MMO rabbit holes, finding the world that suits us best and making a new home there. Runescape was created in 2001 and has changed extensively over the years, updating graphically and adding content. But maybe it is time for a change?
With a wide range of MMOs to choose from it's sometimes overwhelming trying to find the right one. They take a lot of time to get the ball rolling and some are subject to serious paywalls. Furthermore for PvP lovers an active player base is needed, with all this taken into account below are five alternative MMORPG worlds to explore.
5. Dungeons & Dragons Online
Originally pay to play, this over 15 year old MMO went free to play in 2009. It has continued to maintain a dedicated and active player base to date. As a game that was built to capture the mechanics of table top D&D, many of fans play for this reason alone. Where Runescape over time has grown in graphical fidelity, Dungeons & Dragons Online definitely shows signs of its age. Though this is hardly a cause for concern, nostalgic MMO's have their own charm.
Delivering solid world building and character creation, this game aptly portrays the fun of tabletop. Though much like Runescape it does restrict some content behind paywalls, this can be a turn-off for most. With a free account, the max level cap is 20 and the majority of the story and world challenges are unavailable. If you play for long enough you can earn ‘DDO' points. These can be spent to unlock content of your choosing.
With a wealth of visual customisation, a rather unique quest system that goes beyond ‘go here and kill 10 of this'. There is still a lot to enjoy before you even have to decide to open your wallet.
Another title that originally was subscription-based, Rift went free to play in 2013. There is still a premium subscription that offers various bonuses for convenience and some extra content. That aside the gaming experience premium or no, is the same. You will immerse yourself in a massive world and large battles, players are treated the same. The world and the content within it is expansive. Named Telara, there are six elemental planes spread across multiple continents that are host to a range of various races and dungeons.
On top of the usual end-game raids and PvP, Rift offers its own unique events aptly named rifts. They open up across the world and offer up challenges for surrounding players. Victory over these rifts can be a trial, but offer up a good rewards. From a rift that spawns waves of enemies to timed challenges, there is plenty of variety.
If you are familiar with D&D mechanics, then this MMO will be worth a try. Released in 2013 for windows, then later on console. Neverwinter takes place in a vast city where chaos reigns and the leader of the city has gone missing. Character creation features classic D&D classes, such as the Trickster Rogue or Devoted Cleric, amongst many others. Furthermore there is no shortage of races to choose, from Menzoberranzan Renegade and sun elf to half-orcs. Sharing racial bonuses similar to their D&D counterparts, tabletop players will find themselves at home from the onset of the game.
While engaged in the range of PvE and PvP content available, it is made all the more enjoyable by the combat. A smooth, responsive and impactful series of animations and abilities. Combat in Neverwinter is a delight to engage with, calling on class specific powers as you dodge roll or evade attacks. You won't be fighting alone however, as Neverwinter has a companion system. Through it you can join guilds, hire help and earn extra content for your characters.
2. Drakensang Online
With the end of support to Flash and Java, Drakensang Online went from browser to downloadable client. The gameplay of this MMO is reminiscent of memorable action role playing titles, like Path of Exile. The slightly aged graphics still hold up quite well, the variety of enemies are well animated and the combat is visually pleasing. From character creation there are only four classes to choose from: The Dragon Knight, Spell Weaver, Ranger and the Steam Mechanicus (Dwarf Engineer). From that point you can then customise your appearance as normal, though some of the options are a little dated and colour sliders are unavailable.
Setting out into a gritty Diablo-inspired world, veterans of classic ARPG's will feel comfortable here. Pressing shift to stand and attack, walking over gold to collect it and hunting down mini bosses with glowing outlines. This MMO offers smooth progression, the combination of quests and room clearing will give you the necessary items to progress through the narrative. Enemies appear in a myriad of designs with the occasional elites for the extra challenge. It is hard to believe this game was once entirely browser-based.
This MMO is a little different from the rest. ArcheAge has been free-to-play from the get-go. It offers a vast amount of content in its expansive world. From adventures, dungeons, secrets, and an emphasis on player freedom. In a similar anime-style art form that is quite common in MMO's, ArcheAge has enough on offer to keep you playing and replaying. Variety in customisation alone allows for experimentation and the ability to create around 160+ different classes to play with.
Opening with a choice of six different races: Elves, Firran, Nuian, Harani, Warborn and Dwarves. Each with their own unique visuals, racial traits and abilities. Afterwards the game will place you into the world of ArcheAge. A world designed around the players ability to shape their surroundings while also choosing their own paths of progression. A true sandbox MMO experience, with nothing to tie you down to any one class or playstyle.
So, what’s your take? Do you agree with our top five? Let us know over on our socials here or down in the comments below.