I started my journey into the wonderful realm of MMO gaming with World of Warcraft. I loved it and was pretty much hooked immediately. Azeroth was full of awesome vistas, colorful characters and high adventure. Add to it excellent writing and a rich lore and it’s easy to see why World of Warcraft is arguably the most popular MMO of all time. I followed the story through the Cataclysm and Mists of Pandaria expansion packs and that’s when the grind started to wear on me. That’s what WoW turned into for me. Everything was a months-long slog to have a chance to get gear or mounts or even the ability to use flying mounts. It seemed as expansion packs were added, the game become more about the grind than the story. That’s when I lost interest and decided to see what else was out there. These are my favorite MMO’s that I’ve come across to date:
5: Otherland: Let me just start by saying that this game has its flaws. But that’s understandable considering its somewhat melodramatic history of being bounced between developers. It finally made it back into the hands of Drago Studios where it originated, I have high hopes for the future. The game is based on the Otherland novels by Tad Williams and features a unique world and storyline. One thing I find lacking in the MMO genre is a really good cyberpunk themed game. Otherland finally offers that and it does a great job scratching that cyberpunk itch. Unfortunately, like I said, the game has its flaws. Since Drago got it back they’ve been working on it but last time I logged on it still felt like I was playing an Alpha version of the game. UI is clunky as is combat. Class choices are limited to four. However, housing spaces look promising. The devs are extremely responsive and are very active on social media and Steam regarding updates and progress. Overall, it has been cool to watch the game evolve. Once it gets fixed this will quickly become my #1 MMO.
4.Wildstar: This game has been out for a while now. I was very excited about this game leading up to its release and honestly, I wasn’t disappointed. Carbine Studios spent a lot of time developing this gem of a game. They described their hope for Wildstar was to take WoW and ‘do it right this time’. The animation was cartoonish and excellent. The world and story are top notch. Class choices are average.The housing space is especially awesome. Your only limit is your imagination and there are some truly stunning plots out there. The biggest problem, in my opinion, was that the gameplay was too difficult for the casual gamer. And let’s be honest, it’s the casual gamers that keep the MMO servers running. That coupled with terribly elitist dedicated gamers turned people off. I’m still a member of some Wildstar groups on social media. And as of now, the game is described as “pretty much dead.” There are a few holdout communities of mostly RP’ers, but it’s definitely not the bustling world I had hoped for.
3: DC Universe Online: This game is so much fun and the only MMO I’ve really enjoyed on the console (I played it on Xbox One). It’s an action MMO based in the DC comics universe. You get to play a hero (or villain if you’re so inclined) who is fighting to keep Gotham and Metropolis safe from an alien invasion led by Brainiac. The graphics and customization are freaking fantastic as is the gameplay. The endgame grind isn’t too off-putting, but the storyline could use some work. It’s very episodic and not as immersive as other games. The housing space is underwhelming and uninspired. After a while I was logging in just to grind and that’s what ultimately pulled me away from the game.
2: Secret World Legends: I’ve been playing SWL since it was just “The Secret World.” It’s everything I’ve ever wanted in an MMO. It dares to ask the question, “what if all the conspiracy theories and urban legends were true?” It’s a modern day horror MMO and you play as a member of one of three secret societies. This game manages to hit every horror genre and even throws in a bit of Indiana Jones. On the down side, SWL offers no housing and mount options are limited. Character customization is excellent, though. Character classes are varied and unique. An interesting tidbit is that there is a show in development through Infinitum Nihil, which is Johnny Depp’s studio. I’ll definitely be looking forward to more news on this.
1: Final Fantasy XIV This game is absolutely beautiful. The graphics, the gameplay, the classes are all top notch. The storyline is everything you ever wanted in a Final Fantasy story and there are plenty of nods to FF games past. Housing is a bit of a pain as you not only have to be rich to afford a house, you have to be extremely lucky and find one that’s actually for sale. Besides the story, my favorite aspect of the game is the pleasant grind. It’s actually fun to play. For instance, when you get a fetch quest to go “kill 4 of this and get that from them,” you only have to kill four creatures for it. Some other games (I’m looking at you WoW) would make you grind for 20 minutes for the four items needed just to finish a stupid quest. The community is another excellent aspect of Final Fantasy XIV. The players are there because they love the game, the world and the story and the expansive list of emotes encourage social interaction. The only thing I really don’t like in the game is crafting and gathering. They are very tedious. Veeeeeerrryyyy tedious. But that’s really the only complaint I have for what is otherwise my favorite MMO to date.
If you haven’t checked out any of these great games, give them a go. Each one has its positives and negatives, but all of them offer something unique to the MMO genre.