World of Warcraft is considered king in the MMO market. Despite this claim to the throne, there exist countless alternatives to WoW that won’t go near your wallet. For those with a MMORPG itch to scratch, I give you six great alternatives to World of Warcraft that won’t cost you a dime!
When it comes to MMOs, you don’t often get something unique. Dragonica brings just that to the table and more. This 3D, side-scrolling MMO is an arcade-style, hack & slash, combo-fest. If you were to put Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles, Dokapon Kingdom, Little King’s Story, and Mystic Heroes into a blender, you’d have Dragonica. Well, that or the weirdest smoothie ever.
The place where the game really shines is the combat. It’s fast, chaotic, and highly skill-based with impressive combos around every corner. Whereas WoW battles are determined almost entirely by stat numbers and character class, Dragonica requires you to actually be good at video games to perform well. You and your friends will take on hordes of monsters with only your own gaming skills to keep you alive. A few other big plusses are the support of USB controllers, quirky humor, the very friendly player base, and commendable game balance. The game features Warriors, Thieves, Archers, and Magicians- each of which can branch into new, exclusive classes. My personal favorite MMO, Dragonica is worth your time if you’re looking for an arcade-style MMORPG.
Fan Base- 8
Class Balance- 9
2. Silkroad Online
Those that know there history are probably familiar with the cultural and material exchanges of the historic silk road. This legendary trade route brought the west and the east together. Now you can experience it in MMO form.
While not as highly rated as others on this list, Silkroad Online does have a lot going for it when considered as a WoW alternative. The game’s unique setting and historic basis are sure to pull in some curious gamers. The game itself split’s the player base into two factions- the Chinese and the Europeans. Each has unique attributes that set them apart from typical MMO trappings- the Europeans function with traditional classes while the Chinese are more weapon-based. The game is fairly easy to play, the world is a departure from the norm, and there’s a certain charm to the subject matter’s significance. Not the best World of Warcraft alternative, but a respectable one.
Fan Base- 5
Class Balance- 6
Another major complaint often levied against WoW is its fan base. While not as bad as your typical Halo fan, WoW players are often rude, unsociable gaming elitists. They usually hate game consoles, other MMOs, noobs, correct English, outside opinions, and the rest of the world. They’re quicker to insult you instead of answering a simple question and are emotionally unstable- usually succumbing to rage at the drop of unwanted loot. This where Fiesta really impressed me. This high quality MMORPG features an extremely friendly fan base (for the most part!), that’s always willing to help you out if you’re in a jam.
OutSpark’s 3D, anime-styled game is similar in mechanics to WoW, albeit less serious. The game features monsters that range from classic to over-the-top with character classes numbering 4- Fighters, Clerics, Archers, and Mages. The game is free to play, has a heavy guild/PVP focus, has a huge variety of dungeons, and allows parties of up to five to tackle challenges together. The game is notable for its trademark ‘Kingdom Quests’- giant, server-spanning quests that recruit and unite an assortment of players from all over in a common cause. Worth mentioning is the game’s impressive sound track, diverse character customization, and the in-game world is huge.
Fan Base- 9
Class Balance- 6
Another MMO from OutSpark, this one is something of a combination of MapleStory and Dragonica. Think MaleStory with Dragonica gameplay, to put it simply. Many gamers find their PCs unable to run World of Warcraft due any number of reasons- RAM, graphics card, internet connection, or so on. For these people that are unable to replace their aging hardware, games like Windslayer are a godsend.
While there are plenty of MMOs with low system requirements, rarely do you get a solid product. Windslayer requires a paltry sum of RAM and is no graphical powerhouse. This RPG with fighting game elements features excellent PVP, varied classes, humorous enemies, and a greater focus on player skill than stats.
Fan Base- 6
Class Balance- 6
5. Atlantica Online
It’s hard to not heap praise upon Atlantica Online as so many before me have done. For many non-WoW gamers, their favorite MMO is either Runes of Magic or Atlantica Online. This highly strategic, turn-based revolves around you and the army of mercenaries you recruit.
Atantica Online’s production values, game design, and uniqueness are all through the roof. The combat, while turn-based, is still fast-paced and exciting thanks to the game mechanics, flashy animations, and time limit for turns. Players in AO are generally higher minded than what you find in most MMOs as the turn-based nature is often off-putting for less patient gamers. Battles waged in Atlantica Online are as epic as they are tactical- feeling much like a classic RPG or an MMO inspired by Nintendo’s Fire Emblem series. Be warned, if you don’t like turn-based RPGs, this stellar MMO will not impress you.
Combat- 2 or 9, (Depends on tastes)
Fan Base- 9
Class Balance- 4
This last spot came down to a showdown between MapleStory and Runes of Magic. While many would have selected RoM as an entry on this list, I feel the originality of MS deserves it more. Whereas gamers looking for something as close to WoW without being WoW will appreciate Runes of Magic, people looking for a genuinely fun, original game will adore MapleStory.
MapleStory is a 2D, anime-styled, side-scroller with an emphasis on teamwork, humor, and individuality. The game lets you play the way you want with all sorts of fun, random things to do. The combat is relatively deep compared to most MMORPGs and the variety of classes will likely cause you to make multiple characters. The anime expressions, tropes, and style will win over many fans. The game is filled with charm and is a great introduction into the world of MMOs.
The game is also notable for its platforming elements and whimsical music. The player base is very friendly and the game world expansive. Like Fiesta, the quests can get a bit repetitive and (like Windslayer), not everyone will like the 2D graphics, it’s a game worth trying. Over one hundred million gamers can’t be wrong!
Fan Base- 9
Class Balance- 7