While World of Warcraft is the undisputed king of MMOs right now, there are a number of other popular titles that provide many of the same features. Commonly known as WoW among its more than 11 million current subscribers, this title shares traditional role-playing features with several other online games. Some of these massively-multiplayer online games even provide a much better experience in terms of lore, crafting, or Player versus Player (PvP) content. Selecting another MMO in which to invest your time takes a bit of research, because you will want to avoid spending any money until you are sure of your choice. Luckily, many of these games offer free trial periods, allowing you to test the waters before plunking down your hard-earned cash.
Mythic Entertainment's "Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning" released to the American public in September 2008. Although it got off to a rocky start at launch, "Warhammer" did offer a number of innovations and improvements over WoW's general delivery. For instance, "Warhammer" allowed players a great deal more freedom in character creation. The races of this universe are numerous and there are plenty of class choices for each race. Also, the classes are specific to the two factions; while the Order faction may have classes that are rather similar to the Destruction faction's classes, there are no two exact matches. This helps to make each race and class combination a unique experience, providing much more replay value. "Warhammer" also offered a much more PvP-centric experience to players, including large, open-world battle zones, scenarios, and a complete lack of PvE-only servers.
Lord of the Rings Online
Another of the best games like WoW currently available is the newly free-to-play "Lord of the Rings Online." While "LotRO" has no real PvP to speak of, its Plaver versus Environment content with rich lore, player housing, and a compelling storyline is a real treat for fantasy gamers. Additionally, the lack of PvP also helps to contribute to one of the most friendly and helpful communities out there for an MMO. Players who are new to "LotRO" will have little problem finding guilds, receiving help, or making new friends. The lack of a subscription fee is only one of the bonuses that "LotRO" has going for it.
Rift: Planes of Telara
The newest addition to the many games like WoW is Trion World's fantasy MMORPG "Rift: Planes of Telara." Coming from a team of focused developers, "Rift's" open beta testing event was declared by many community bloggers to be one of the most polished beta experiences ever seen among MMOs. "Rift's" core design seems to be one of taking the best features of each previous MMO and incorporating them into the "Rift" experience.
For instance, the invading rifts that open spontaneously throughout the countryside seem very similar to "Warhammer's" Public Quest system, while the number and selection of professions available more closely resemble those of "LotRO." Trion apparently learned from NCSoft's mistakes in "Aion" by ensuring that crafting attempts cannot fail, and by incorporating the gathering professions seamlessly into the questing experience. MMORPG enthusiasts who are searching for a WoW replacement should be very interested in "Rift."