Other MMORPG's that World of Warcraft players end up playing

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World of Warcraft (WoW) has been inspirational in the PC Gaming industry. It was released in 2004 by Blizzard Entertainment and has steadily gained popularity. Now with four huge expansions and 10 million subscribers it is considered by many as being at the forefront of today's MMORPG genre.

You can play WoW free for the first 20 levels after which it does require a monthly subscription to access further content. There are many who dislike the subscription factor or even many veteran WoW players that have played for many years and have just exhausted themselves after playing the same game. There are many other MMO's available for you to play, some with the same fantasy theme, others with sci-fi, and even some MMORPG's that are completely free to play with no subscription at all.

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1) Star Wars: the Old Republic (SWTOR)

Sci-fi MMORPG like World of Warcraft

Star Wars: the Old Republic is based off the epic Science Fiction Movie series. SWTOR's development was undertaken by Bioware, who have also developed critically acclaimed role-playing games like the Mass Effect series and Dragon Age series. The game was finally released in December 2011, and became the fastest growing MMO ever with 1 million subscribers after just the first month. Initially SWTOR ran on a monthly subscription model but has recently scrapped that for the more widely used Free to Play model.

The most noticeable aspect of SWTOR is the fact that it's a story-driven MMO, which takes the monotony out of some of the typical activities that are involved in most MMORPG's. Fan's who have played WoW will have fun playing Star Wars: the Old Republic especially if they are intrigued by Sci-fi themes or Enjoyed the Star Wars movies.

2) Rift

Fantasy MMORPG like World of Warcraft

Rift is another fantasy MMO with core elements that are nearly identical to WoW. Released in March of 2011 by Trion Worlds, it quickly gained enough interest that 1 million users had play the game within a couple months after its release. Originally it ran off a monthly subscription basis, but in January 2012 it adopted the Free to Play plan which allowed you to play Free up until level 20 with a few restrictions. It has recently been updated with a huge Expansion; Rift: Storm Legion that increased the level cap to 60, introduced 2 new continents, added 4 new souls, as well as other updates and bug fixes.

There may be a lot of MMO veterans that have tired themselves out of other games, Rift offers a whole new perspective with complex gameplay, but still retains the familiarity that WoW gives. Rift is well known to have an expansive skill system offering the player various ways of playing the game. It also adopts a unique feature whereby space-time tears hole within itself creating huge rifts that allow all manner of powerful creatures into the game world. It is the players objective to come together with other players to help close these rifts, which get more difficult to close as time goes on.

It is quite common the case that most players who wish to take a break off WoW or want to play something different, migrate towards Rift. It offers a very similar experience at its base but also gives you new aspects to indulge in.

Rift - Official website

3) EVE Online

A Spaceship MMORPG

EVE Online is an incredible landmark creation by CCP Games. This is by far one of the most unique MMORPG's set in science fiction space. It was first made available for public release in 2003 and has since seen two major expansions every year, with a total of 18 in total, to date. EVE Online is a subscription based Sandbox MMO but it also allows the user to purchase game time with in-game currency that you obtain from completing missions and various other activities.

The player is a pilot in an immense Universe with 8,000 Star systems consisting of alien planets, stations, wormholes, complexes all available for you to explore or exploit. The whole galaxy is  ruthless environment where players fight over valuable resources which in turn fuels huge player-run alliances (group of guilds or corporations) which compete in the war to own more areas of Space. There are still the standard quests you can do to become rich and powerful, but there is also the option of pirating/stealing, exploring deadly wormholes or even creating a vast industrial empire of harvesting moons.

The fascinating thing is, EVE online runs continuously in one persistent world - no servers to pick from - everything you do has a consequence and those consequences ripple out to the edges of the entire game. You can pilot hundreds of ships, each with their own specific uses and even customize them in a myriad different ways. There is no limit to things you can do, and even after a year there will always be something new that you have never done yet.

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4) Guild Wars 2

Latest MMORPG like World of Warcraft

Guild Wars 2 is one of the latest fantasy games and has been the most eagerly anticipated MMORPG's of this year. Released in August of 2012, it was developed by ArenaNet who have made many other previous Guild Wars titles. Unlike other games it requires a one time purchase of the game, there are no monthly subscriptions like WoW.

Guild Wars 2 boasts to be very unique in the MMORPG genre, highlighted by a storyline that is responsive to player actions, something which is very common in single player games (for example Skyrim) but very rarely implemented in MMORPG's. The monotony of completing quests (which often becomes like a chore) is replaced by a dynamic event system which utilizes the 'ripple effect'. This encourages players to approach quests in different ways, group up with other players with different classes and actually make the whole gaming experience more varied.

Guild Wars 2 offers a very different angle to the fantasy world of MMO's and may appeal to those who are looking for a 'no-sub' MMORPG like World of Warcraft.

5) Lord of the Rings Online (LotRO)

Lore-based MMORPG like World of Warcraft

Lord of the Rings Online is set in the fantasy world based on the writings of J.R.R Tolkein's Middle Earth. You may be familiar of the Lord of the Rings books, maybe the films and even the recent Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey Film. Lord of the Rings Online first released in 2007 by Turbine, with a monthly subscription however it is now Free to Play.

Lord of the Rings Online follows the typical MMORPG concept with quested orientated gameplay. Noticeable features include mounted combat, offering a fast adrenalin filled battling system. There's also a well thought out crafting system (a feature which is deprived in most MMORPG's), with emphasis on farming and cooking.

Overall Lord of the Rings Online offers a story-orientated experience that makes the game more immersive and enjoyable to play. Whether you are a Lord of the Rings fan or a WoW player this is definitely a game worthy of trying out.

6) Planetside 2

First Person Shooter (FPS) based MMO with Sci-Fi theme

Planetside 2 is an MMOFPS developed by Sony Online Entertainment (SOE) and released on November 2012. Still retaining the fundamental features found in MMORPG's it also offers a completely new perspective in terms of gameplay.

The new graphics engine allows Planetside 2 to support up to 2000 player in one large scale continuous conflict. You have the option from choosing from three factions to fight in the effort of seizing territorial control on the planet Auraxis. Each faction be played by players around the world all competing for resources and territory, in one persistent world.

Through the use of upgradable land and air vehicles Planetside 2 offers very fast paced gameplay unlike any other MMO. It also features first person shooter elements that you'd associate with FPS games for instance look through scopes/iron sights and shield regeneration (such as games like Halo 4 and Call  of Duty: Black Ops 2).

Planetside 2 - Official website

7) Secret World

A Dark Fantasy MMORPG like World of Warcraft

Secret World is another unique concept, developed by Funcom and released in the summer of 2012. Requiring an initial one time purchase with the option of monthly subscription, It is a puzzle based MMORPG set in the present-time world.

There are many aspects of Secret World that set it apart from other MMORPG's, particularly the skill system. The player is not restricted to one class or skill set, rather they have the ability to pick and play from the traditional set of MMORPG roles as they progress through the game. There are of course restrictions of when you can change (for example you cannot change whilst in combat) to help balance this feature. This also allows the player to enjoy the game which ever way they prefer to play it. This not only means that it is unnecessary to grind up levels all over the same content again if you wish to play another class, but it also allows you to do whatever you want to do.

Another original element to Secret World are the missions. While it does have some missions that is composed of the typical layout, there are many missions that are puzzle based involving quasi-alternate reality games. This requires you to solve problems using clues on the internet using an in-game browser.

While Secret World doesn't follow traditional MMORPG architecture it does offer a breath of fresh air in this saturated genre.

Secret World - Official website

8) Entropia Universe

Real Cash Economy MMORPG like WoW

Entropia Universe is an Sci-Fi MMORPG developed by Swedish developers Mindark and released in 2003. Its a Free to Play Sandbox game with the option of micropayments.

Entropia Universe may seem like any other game in the same genre: you are able to do missions, there's an expansive skill system, you kill foul beasts for experience and loot. Of course all of this is great fun, but in Entropia Universe you can not only kill the foul beast for experience but also gain loot worth real money! A very radical idea which allows the in-game currency (PED) to be redeemed to your real world bank account at a fixed rate. This means that every virtual item within the game has real cash value. You can deposit cash into the game to purchase guns, vehicles, armour and kill creatures that have the potential to reward you with much more. There hundreds of people a day winning $10-30 in loot just for killing one creature, and there are dozens of people a week that kill creatures looting rewards in the $1000's. Once you've made the big kill, you then have the option to withdraw out of the game as real cash or invest it on more high end armour.

Some players casually play for enjoyment and others play for business, with investors paying $330,000 for a virtual space station (which was entered in the Guinness World Records for the most expensive virtual item). Players can purchase land area or even a space station, breed unique creatures on their property and then tax other players who come to exploit these creatures for their loot.

This is an extremely radical MMORPG and would appeal to those that are particularly exhausted by the typical MMORPG formula that World of Warcraft uses.

9) DC Universe

A Super Hero MMORPG

DC Universe is another MMORPG by Sony Online Entertainment (SOE), this time also available on PS3 as well as Windows PC. It features many well know characters from DC comics both super heroes and villains. It initially released at the beginning of 2011 with monthly subscription but eventually moved to Free to Play with premium features supported by the use of 'Station Cash' (a prepaid card).

DC Universe Online's main intent is to make a different more interactive MMORPG. One feature to note is the in-game world. Instead of having territory controlled areas by the Super Heroes and Villains, the world is composed of a large shared space that is 'publicly owned'. Within these areas you will find dynamically-generated events such as quests and way points that are designated to both Super Heroes and Villains. This creates a stigma and a perfect breeding place for PvP content.

The character customization offers many options, allowing you to merge the looks DC super heroes/villains from one side of the spectrum with abilities from the complete opposite side. If you are getting weary of the experience that fantasy MMORPG have to offer, DC Universe online is a perfect next step.

10) Age of Conan: Unchained

A Free Mature MMORPG with Fantasy theme

Age of Conan is an MMORPG developed by Funcom and released in 2008. It is the only MMORPG here rated 'M' with in-game content including blood, graphic violence and scenes of a sexual nature. In recent years the game has also adopted the Free to Play model.

Age of Conan has a magnificent immersive game world that is enjoyable to explore. The most notable feature is the combat system which allows you to attack your enemy from different angles. This combined with the combo feature which enables you to chain a set of attacks together with a succession of keyboard taps. The more damage the combo does, the more complex and longer the sequence of keys are. It an exciting way of always keeping the player engrossed in what they are doing.
The class system is quite substantial encouraging both solo and team orientated gameplay, something which most MMORPG's find difficult to balance.

Age of Conan offers a more darker tone compared to the usual fantasy MMORPG has to offer. In many ways, Age of Conan has various things more to offer compared to WoW. At least in Age of Conan you can take pride and say that you've ripped the heart out of a man's chest and consumed it.

11) Tera

An MMORPG like World of Warcraft

Tera is an asian Action-MMORPG, developed by En Masse Entertainment and Bluehole Studios and released in 2012.

Tera is graphically awe-inspiring fantasy MMO. At its core it plays typically like any other MMORPG, with quest and skill progression, vast choice of weapons and various classes to equip them on. However, unlike World of Warcraft the combat is more comparable to 'hack'n'slash' RPG's. WoW adopts the standard target-and-attack style of combat whereas Tera requires actual swinging and swipes of the mouse, which gives a lot more options in combat.

With enticing instanced battles, exciting encounters against huge creatures (nearly every creature is as big as you, creating an impressive atmosphere in combat), and a beautiful world which is enjoyable to play in, Tera is a must to try out.

12) Perfect World

An Asian influenced MMORPG

Perfect World is a popular MMORPG set in a fantasy world that is inspired by traditional Chinese lore. Released in 2006, it was developed by Beijing Perfect World.

Perfect World holds the closest resemblance to World of Warcraft in its PvP system. With huge guilds battling for control of territory in 80 vs 80 conflicts that can last many hours. The winning side is rewarded with ownership of land which benefits the winning guild and its players.

This is a very similar MMORPG to WoW, just with different theme and environment. An overall enjoyable experience if you have played WoW or other similar MMORPG's.