The Top 5 Free-to-Play WoW Clones
The term “WoW Clone” gets thrown around a lot these days. While it may not really be fair to claim that any game should be labeled a clone of another game, it is the reality that we live in. World of Warcraft is, by far, the biggest and most popular MMORPG in the world and as the old saying goes, “If you can’t beat ‘em, copy ‘em,” or something like that.
With all that being said, just because a game shares a lot of similarities to the biggest game in the genre, it doesn’t mean you should automatically write the game off completely. WoW does so many things right, it would be smart to copy it where it matters most. With WoW turning 10 very soon and the impending release of Draenor, WoW fever is higher than it’s been in quite some time. As a result, this list isn’t of games that most closely mirror the WoW experience, but is instead a list of the best games that can be considered WoW alternatives.
5) Forsaken World
This is probably the biggest stretch on the list, because it really doesn’t share a lot with WoW itself from a surface level. Graphically, it looks much different, and the focus on diverse PvP modes is in relatively stark contrast to the heavy focus on PvE that WoW displays. It’s one of the many games offered from Perfect World International, a huge force in the free-to-play MMO market, but is actually based on western fantasy tropes, rather than an eastern approach like most of their other games.
Forsaken World is also a great modern choice due to the fact that you can access it on the huge PC gaming platform of Steam (it should basically be a law that all games should be on Steam. Let me know when you get on that, Valve.) Overall it’s a decent game, with plenty of races and classes to pick from, and you could do much worse if you want an all-around standard free-to-play alternative to WoW.
Now 4Story on the other hand, as well as pretty much all of the other games on this list, could easily be mistaken for World of Warcraft by a passerby. I may be wrong, but it strikes me as one of those games you’d see an ad for on Facebook with the tagline “Play a game like WoW for free today!” It’s heavily quest driven, graphically similar, and gameplay is nearly identical.
Rather than develop a focus on raids and other large-scale PvE content, 4Story builds itself up to participation in realm vs. realm PvP combat, due to the game’s three faction system. However, unlike WoW, the factions are divided in name only, not racial or class-based restrictions. Plus, the tutorial mode in the game even lets you take your class for a spin as a max-level toon, which is a great way to test out how they’ll fair once you get there yourself.
If you looked at the screenshot below and are wondering if you went to the next page or not yet, yes, yes you did, this game just happens to look almost identically to 4Story and, as a result, World of Warcraft as well. Alganon also supports a dual-faction system, but only a very limited number of classes. And each faction only gets 1 race, plus a 3rd race that can switch factions.
The recently released Rise o the Ourobani expansion earlier this year in 2014 added the 3rd race, lots of new PvE content, and flying mounts which, surprise, makes the game even more like WoW. The biggest unique selling point of Alganon however, is something that doesn’t even take place in the game itself. When you’re logged off, there is a “study” system in place that allows you to actually train up certain parts of your character’s growth.
2) Allods Online
If you took WoW’s art style and added in heavy sci-fi elements, you’d get Allods Online. A lot of the monster designs, story elements, world building, and questing (albeit extremely repetitive and run-of-the-mill) is very high-quality, and there was a lot of hype surrounding this game prior to its launch. It’s also worth noting that, once again, this is a dual-faction based game.
One of the biggest unique features you’ll see in Allods goes back to the sci-fi inspirations the game displays: ships. You actually get the ability to build a ship and sail around a large magical area referred to as “the Astral.” The large list of playable classes also helps to set this game apart from your run-of-the-mill free-to-play WoW clones that pollute the internet these days.
1) Runes of Magic
If you’ve ever googled “best WoW clone” or “free-to-play WoW” chances are that you’ve seen Runes of Magic is at the top of most lists, for good reason. I personally followed this game very closely throughout its beta stages and have kept up with it over the years. More than any other game out there, this is very much a free-to-play version of World of Warcraft, with its own unique twists.
For one thing, RoM features a great multi-classing system that lets every character take two different classes. And with a total of 10 different classes and 3 different races to choose from, the amount of diversity and customization is pretty incredible. There are loads of dungeon runs and raids to partake in, plus some great open PvP areas. Furthermore, decent player housing is hard to find in most free-to-play games, but it’s pretty robust in RoM. So if you can look past the obvious WoW influences, Runes of Magic is easily one of the best free-to-play games out there, WoW inspired or otherwise.
Pay-to-play subscription games aren’t for everyone. Maybe you don’t have the time to invest in that commitment, maybe you don’t want to pay that much money every year, or maybe nothing really stands out for you. As a result, the free-to-play MMO market exists for you. And if the World of Warcraft experience is something you’re specifically looking for, then look no further than these 5 solid free-to-play alternatives.