5 MMOs better than World of Warcraft

A feature of mine about good games that DON’T have Warcraft in their names and could use some well-deserved love is up on Massively. Check it out, let me know what you think :)

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Web developer for a Connecticut-based insurance company that's over 200 years old! Also a bicycler, a blogger, a kayaker, and a hunter of bridges.

19 thoughts on “5 MMOs better than World of Warcraft”

  1. I think the title should be, 5 MMOs that did something better than World of Warcraft. Out of the 5 games listed, I have played 3 and of those I have to say I only had more fun with EQ than WoW. And honestly I don’t even feel that EQ is a better game, what sets it apart for me is the experience I had with the other players and exploring a 3d virtual world for the first time.

  2. I’ll agree, the title is misleading. Each of the 5 articles speaks of a single thing that game does “better” (and better is in the eye of the beholder) but WoW’s strength is that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. It may not be the “best” in any category, but it’s “pretty darned good” in each of them, all wrapped up in a single shiny package.

  3. Misleading title…third AYE here.

    I can take those same 5 MMO’s and also say why they are worse than WoW

    1. EQ – Raiding is king, yet there is little to no solo play, and visually the game is a mush of colors that run at half the frame rate of WoW
    2. DAoC – Not friendly for beginners, not friendly on death’s and not friendly to non-guilded players
    3. LOTRO – Better lore, more annoying quests, horrible UI that was made for 1280×1024 screens, bad animations, outsourced tech support that is quite lacking
    4. EvE – Two words….”Paint” “Dry”
    5. Domo – Asian grinder, must use cash shop to make it ahead

    Really. No matter how much I dislike WoW, they really took all the elements of all the MMO’s and came up with a user friendly environment, great for beginners, lots to do, runs well on so many variations of hardware, solo and group content, raids, and more…

    I can see why they are hard to beat. And in all honesty, I do not expect any new MMO to beat them either…for now

  4. Well, there’s a reason WoW has 10 mil players. I just wanted to let people know about some other excellent games, nearly all leaders at one thing or another. DOMO was a tough call. I wanted to put Secrets of Ryzom there, but of course, that game tanked recently. DOMO really is a unique experience, though.

    I consider WoW mediocre at best. It settles for banality when it could really be something new. I would rather play a game that was fantastic at a couple of things, even if it failed on others, than play a game that was ‘meh’ at best. By the end of my time in WoW, I would log in and not think of even one thing I wanted to do in the game; that’s when I knew it was time to seek out something more fun.

    The lead-in picture is of my troll priestess Kanda in some mini-raid in Silithus :) Always looking for ways to pimp my chars :))

    What will kill WoW is what kills every game eventually. It starts off new and exciting, then it becomes commonplace and ordinary — where it is now — and then it becomes that old dinosaur. WoW will be around for a long time, but everything dies. I know lots of people who play it, but I don’t know anyone who is excited about it. That mantle has already passed on to AoC and WAR. Even if neither game gets 10 mil people, they’ll get the breathless press and eager players — those will be the games people try to get their friends to play. WoW, like EQ before it, will become the ‘default’ game for the people who want a safe, predictable playing experience, and the new games will have the sharp edge of innovation going for them.

  5. This is so true. And I also agree with
    1. WoW is mediocre…so is LOTRO which almost follows it’s footsteps exactly…
    2. Become the default game…for many…luckily mine has become EQ2, and I was able to let the WoW cartoon go….

    But, I am quite ready for the new games myself…luckily I still see how different AoC is (look at the article on massively as a matter of fact “Six things to love about AoC”) and WAR, even though so close to WoW, it is pitiful…but the public quests and my memories of playing the Warhammer RPG and it’s Germanic renaissance feel may make me all ok about it’s sameness…

    But…see? That article is the kind of writing we like (of course, I liked the sexy MMO pinup too…hmmmm…controversy is my middle name I guess)

  6. I love writing both kinds of articles :) I’m getting experience with so many games now — I can’t see how anyone could just pick one out of all of them to play exclusively!

  7. I think the title was misleading but it did get peoples attention long enough to read your praises of what is good about each of those 5 games. I think you meant well though so I’ll let it slide. :P I really liked your write up on EVE and EQ, and I think people do need to get educated that there are good games out there other than their favorite(s). I agree that wow had and has a lot of potential but that potential is always incumbent of the creativity/imagination and desire of the developers. Wow developers have become complacent and are just trying to keep people interested long enough till their next expansion or game comes out. They could try for more, try for greatness, but that would require internal motivational factors to go into effect instead of external ones (money).

  8. I only hate WoW because they slowly butchered the lore that I loved about the Warcraft universe and shoe-horned PVP in quite sloppily to the point where it began hurting the PVE aspects of the game unjustly. Oh, that and it almost ruined my life for 2 years.

    I was in a top raiding guild, and was the Officer of the Hunters. We were #6 in the world to kill C’Thun – we also started a controversy regarding the gates of AQ that spread to many game news sites and even a few gamer magazines, making us even more infamous than we already were from all the Kazzak/Green Dragon griefing.

    I raided 12-15 hours a day for nearly 2 years and then I got a night job and was forced to quit WoW cold turkey (because no raiding meant why bother playing). I stayed clean for almost 8 months and then got the itch to go back. Luckilly for me, WoW hates returning players and it was impossible to catch up with my friends. I dabbled in WoW for about a month or two and then laid it to rest for good. So now, finally, I feel I am cured of that evil virus.

    I played EQ2 and felt much better. It wasn’t the EQ1 I fondly remembered from my 5 years of playing, but it had enough elements of nostalgia with a laid-back feel to it. It was the nicotine patch I needed to get over my WoW addiction gradually. I liked playing EQ2 but I did not feel compelled to log on every day. My soul is cleansed!

    Now I play lots of various games, and am cured of the ONE GAME TO RULE THEM ALL thinking.

  9. Do you really think these games are better then WoW the areas you listed or was this just something controversial in the same lines as Un-making D&D or saying Warhammer is overhyped. I admit WoW should be taken down a peg but it seems like its better then the games you listed in a couple of areas.

  10. Well, I did choose the title so that WoW players would want to check it out. EVE is probably better than WoW in all areas. I consider EQ2 superior to WoW in all ways as well, but I didn’t list that precisely because mentioning EQ2 at all would just turn off WoW players. I think all those games could give WoW a run for its money. Most current EQ1 players, after all, either are also WoW players or tried WoW and decided EQ1 was better. Now if we could get some WoW players to give EQ1 a shot in return… Though I freely admit there’s no longer many people with whom to play before about 50 or so.

  11. Well I didn’t think the raid scene in World of Warcraft was that bad before the Burning Crusade. I liked Zul’gurub more then anything I did in the Planes of Power. However, the progression path for the expansion was horrible with a 10 man instance being the lead in for 25 man raids. I tried to play EQ1 again when the classic server went up and the UI and slow seeming rate of leveling just made it plain that WoW was still better. I had a lot of fun playing a sarnak with Rise of Kunark though and I think EQ2 might be better then WoW in one or two categories but not the original.

    Eve Online I’m just going to say huh? I’m sorry but I’ve heard too many horror stories about pirates holding ships hostage unless you paid them off. Also I heard about the devasting amount of lost hours if you lose a good mission ship. Why can’t ships just have durability instead of being destroyed? Its bad game design aimed at appealing to a niche player base that likes feeling hardcore. This game attracts the serious griefers from the MMO market place and I thank CCP for building a sort of roach motel for them. Its not community that keeps everyone close knit in the game but fear of losing something that took 20 hours of grinding to earn. Hehe, controversy is fun.

  12. You don’t have to PvP in EVE. Lots of people don’t. I never did while I played; I just ran missions, skilled up, and was working on the millions of skills needed to make ships. The EVE community is strong — very strong, and if someone does get you, you bring your friends and you get them BACK. Plus you can use cloning and insurance to ameliorate the loss of your ship so it’s only really an issue of the rigs you lose — which can be costly, of course.

    I’ve often felt that a game built around PvP, but that gives you the means to choose your own risk, like DAoC and EVE, makes the game world a little more exciting. Like EQ1, death has a sting — that makes you careful and play better. WoW is a very artificial playground — even their PvP is risk-free, they managed to make even that toothless.

    EVE is adding avatar play in the space stations. You won’t be fighting or anything, of course, but those will become the bases of your operation — a real corporate headquarters where the political and economic games will become ever more critical. There is simply no other game out there that offers what EVE offers, and I truly and honestly believe that anything WoW does — EVE does it better — except tell you what to do. EVE only does that for a little while, while WoW tells you what to do every minute you are in the game — and with Daily Quests, the treadmill is complete.

  13. Even though I have officially quit, I must admit daily quests were necessary for the raiding community – and were actually kind of a nice change. New encounters took time to learn, and the constant wiping in the process of learning had very expensive consequences. Guilds became depressingly poor. This happened to my own guild during the first world kills of Vaelastrasz. We became hobos in a matter of days.

    Daily Quests sort of “broke the cycle” as far as raid time/off time went. Most people did nothing between raids, favoring to log off and wait for the raid to start. They could have been farming for the materials they’d need that night, but trust me when I say only 5% of any guilds population did that. While doing dailies you earned very good money for your time spent, and you usually got faction with reputations that lead to other rewards. Not to mention there’s always the chance something rare could drop while you did kill quests.

    In all honesty, I’d say daily quests were the most fair thing Blizzard ever added to WoW.

    Of course it didn’t make up for the killing off of beloved major lore characters and using the excuse “Oh, they uh…went…crazy.” for the hundredth time. Kalecgos is next on that list, and Arthas will likely follow hirsute.

    It also didn’t heal the brutal rape of the game when Blizzard forced it’s PVPness into WoW, stuffing it in any way it could. Wow kept saying “No!” but Blizzard just wouldn’t listen.

    I glower at WoW dubiously.

  14. I can understand why some people are passionate about Eve but saying it its better then WoW in every way smacks of hyperbole. I’ll admit the large scale battles between BoB and the Goons gives me goosebumps when I read about it on blogs. However, the PvP is something that fascinates me from a distance but nothing I would actually want to participate in. It’s kind of like watching someone wrestle an alligator. Also listing that a game has insurance policies to reclaim gear destroyed by player killers isn’t exactly a good selling point. People are already complaining that a lot of MMO’s heavy on grinding are like second jobs. Insurance policies and mining duty seem to just reinforce this problem.

    Now if the PvP was opened up a bit more in Eve with less of a barrier of entry then I would probably jump in. Introducing avatars is a big step in the right direction but a lot of the game is unfriendly to the average MMO player which unfortunately was brought into the market by WoW. I can help but feel that EvE Online is going to be the Everquest of the Sci-fi MMOs. Its going be very influential for years and years to come but some one new is going to come into the market and make a lot of money by copying it with a more casual theme.

  15. It’s an interesting article. And I agree with the point that WoW will get old sooner or later, although Blizzard SEEMS to be aware of that general trend and is working to subvert it. But such efforts tend to fail, and while Blizzard is highly competent in many respects, only time will tell.

    As for the specific games listed, I feel unqualified to comment on a couple of them, although I’m inclined to dismiss DOMO as just another bog-standard Eastern Grinder, and while I’ve never raided in EQ, I’ve fooled around with it and it’s frankly dated enough that comparing it to WoW is a bit like comparing a lodestone floating in a bowl of water to the Global Positioning System.

    There’s also no question that DAoC (while I haven’t played it,) has another dimension that WoW does not currently possess. Same deal with the upcoming Warhammer Online, of course, but again Blizzard seems to be moving toward introducing similar elements with the persistent PvP zone in WotLK.

    EVE, now… that’s a whole ‘nother kettle of fish. I don’t think it’s superior to WoW in ALL respects – it’s much less accessible and considerably grindier – but there’s no doubt in my mind that it’s the deepest and most sophisticated of the major western MMOs, and the one that comes the closest, at present, to acheieving the true potential of the MMO concept. It has some technical faults that WoW doesn’t suffer from, but then again, EVE is still evolving at a rate far exceeeding that of most MMOs, WoW most definitely included.

    EVE is probably getting close to the point where its practical market potential is more or less completely exploured; I suspect that it won’t get too much bigger than it is right now. But 500K subscriptions is a very healthy population, even without considering that most or all of that is one a single shard (I have no idea whether the Serenity numbers are included in the total or not.)

    Good Gods, this could have been a blog post in its own right.

  16. @Syncaine — welcome back from the spam bucket :( WHY does it do this to you? No, this wasn’t my first post at Massively :P And if it were EQ propaganda, I’d have mentioned EQ2. If you believe the common wisdom, it would be hard to see how EQ could ever have been enjoyed by anyone. Yet, it was. Best to wait until we see what WoW looks like after nine years before making any comparisons between the two as far as which holds up better over time.

    @Ardwulf — with all due respect, if you never raided in EQ, then you can’t make the comparison I was trying to draw, which is that EQ raiding just blows WoW raiding away in its scope, teamwork and intricacy. Raids like Plane of Time A, where the raid would split into three separate raids to complete five different objectives, successfully, in an hour; then another set of three objectives in an hour — eight different raid targets in two hours with the raid in pieces — then coming together for another timed romp, then two tiers of four gods and their armies each, and then the grand target of Quarm… new guilds could take three days to clear the Plane of Time. My guild could do it in two-three HOURS. The boss of Plane of Water — the entire raid, start to end, had to be completed within 14 MINUTES. That includes clearing, the mini bosses along the way, and the big guy himself. In this fight, even clerics had to nuke — and heal. That’s just Time, that’s a really old raid. They got a lot more complicated — Overlord Mata Muram was a masterpiece of precision teamwork with various squads doing different things. Every class in a raid had a class leader and their own chat channel to coordinate their efforts. Everyone had to know their job. MOST raids could be done in several different ways — there was no “right” way for them.

    Obviously, WoW and EVE are different games. You can’t dance naked in bars, in EVE, and there’s very little variety in how you appear to others. Mostly everyone is just a name in a chat window, and even when you’re gathered in a fleet, ships are usually scattered due to differences in speed, so you don’t get that same feeling of being grouped. However, the core sorts of gameplay are in both games, and I believe that listing them one-to-one vs the way people typically spend their time — crafting, harvesting, doing quests, building faction, raiding — EVE is a strong contender and quite possibly superior in every way — except that EVE raids are PvP vs WoW’s PvE.

  17. I have no reason to question the idea that EQ raiding is better than WoW raiding – I’ve never raided in either game, so I have no ground to stand on. Besides that, some of the EQ content I’ve heard about does indeed sound quite neat.

    However, I think that *overall*, EQ is not only crushingly dated, it’s virtually impossible to get into now with a hope of participating meaningfully in endgame-type content like raiding, even where raids may be available at levels well below the cap, without a life commitment to getting your character to the point where you can get into that kind of thing, and even then the EQ community is almost absurdly mature. By modern standards, the game is horrendously unfriendly to newcomers.

    I think that direct comparisons between WoW and EVE tend to be like comparing apples and hedgehogs. EVE’s approach is radically different and, I would agrue, leads to the game being indisputably superior in a number of respects. But at the same time, there are other areas in which I think the comparison is far less clear. Broadly speaking, of course, the specific activities that one engages in while playing either game are reasonably similar, as you point out. But the things that drive those activities are very different. I think this results in a vastly different play experience in the two games.

    Obviously, one can easily make a case that one game is superior overall to the other, as you have done. I personally feel that EVE is a clearly better game than WoW, and I think that CCP is a far, far more innovative company than Blizzard. But I also acknowledge that EVE is not neccessarily better in every single specific area (server stability and lag are obvious things to point at here,) and that the question is at least somewhat subjective. What makes a better game for me is not neccessarily what makes a better game for thee, and all that.

    Incidentally, I don’t by any means disagree with the broader point of the article. Besides, surely you expected it to generate controversy!

  18. It’s like you look for a game that isn’t horrible and is playable, give it some points. These points almost add up the points wow has as far as how fun it is, then you subtract points because wow is the popular one that you have a grudge against and then wow ends up having less points than Okay-good games. Yeah, your grudge doesn’t make those games better. I think each game has a strong suit and that your grudge against wow is off-putting because we can’t get unbias opinions; not that this is the point of your blog.

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