WoW Wednesday: The Rewards of Korrak’s Revenge!

World of Warcraft’s 15th anniversary is now in full swing, with events aplenty for players to dig into. On top of the LFR-styled ‘Memory’ Raids, which cover famous bosses from Warcraft’s first three expansions, Alterac Valley has returned! Based on the original build of the famous Epic 40-Man Battleground, Korrak’s Revenge is a seasonal brawl available through January 7th 2019. With no reinforcements, evolving NPC assaults and a ton of rewards scattered throughout, this is a densely packed holiday event. This week we’ll be peeling apart the particulars and set out a path to maximize your rewards!

The Alterac Valley of olde is infamous amongst Vanilla Purists and regular community goers for how long its matches were. Some took several days due to the deadlocks players would face on the battleground. Due to the variety of scaling in Korrak’s Revenge, however, most matches take roughly as much time as a regular Alterac Valley; up towards several hours long. Accessible from level 60, Korrak’s Revenge is a fantastic way to power level your characters with the anniversary experience buff.

The main draw, however, is the two limited time mounts. Featuring updated versions of the classic Alterac Valley faction mounts, the Frostwolf Snarler and the Stormpike Battle are completely remastered mounts. Featuring higher resolution textures and updated rigging based on newer model skeletons, these are two VERY excellent mounts. Rewarded from the achievement ‘Alterac Valley of Olde’ you’ll need to earn 200 Timewarped Badges while playing in Korrak’s Revenge. This currency can be used elsewhere in conjunction with Timewalking events, and this provides the best opportunity to grind quite a bit for rep tokens, mounts or toys.

“Raised in the Alterac Mountains and trained to bite dwarves.”

At first glance, Alterac Valley of Olde may seem easy to complete. Most players will pick up the breadcrumb quest, “Soldier of Time,” which rewards 400 Timewarped Badges for gaining 500 honor inside the Battleground. While this is an easy, and recommended, quest to complete none of these badges will contribute to your total. Instead, you’ll need to rely on the quests in Korrak’s Revenge.

The biggest thing to regularly perform will be COMPLETING the battleground itself. Currently, in the EU, zerging towers and the Alterac Generals has fallen back into the popular meta-strategy. Thankfully, this results in quicker games more often, and simply falls to whichever team can complete strategies quicker. In order to kill Drek’thar or Vandarr Stormpike, you’ll need to burn down every bunker and tower on your way to the enemy team’s base. Each has a nearly 3 minute cap timer, in which you’ll need to defend your claim until it is destroyed. Capturing graveyards along the way is essential to your team’s reinforcement and rewspawning. Winning a match in Korrak’s Revenge will net you 20 Timewarped Badges, while a loss will net you 10.

While most matches may go quickly there are still an incredible host of quests to perform, most of which are daily. A number are not, however, and work as breadcrumb or introductory quests. Korrak the Bloodrager and The Legend of Korrak will see players facing off against the chieftain of the Winterax Trolls. In an effort to control the Field of Strife, the Alliance and Horde will send players to slay this Champion and claim his territory for the respective faction.

Other one-time quests will see you assisting third parties in the Valley. Master Ryson’s All Seeing Eye is given to players by members of the Syndacite, the criminal survivors of the fallen Human Kingdom. Stolen by the Winterax trolls, the object of the same name has been taken deep into their territory. It will require players to group up to fight the elite creatures and push through to the Orb itself. The first faction to push into the caves and save Master Engineer Zinfizzlex will unlock his quest. Zinfizzlex’s Portable Shredder Unit will reward a portable killing vehicle for use in the Valley during the event, and all he requires are some (legally) acquired materials. Each quest will reward 10 Timewarped badges.

There are also a multitude of repeatable daily quests. Each will give 10 Timewarped Badges for your first turn-in every day, while some which include resource deposits will give an additional 2 badges every turn in. Most of the daily quests will involve capturing objectives, such as personally claiming a graveyard, capturing a tower or claiming a mine for a faction. Resources, such as armor scraps or crystals, can be collected off of the bodies of slain enemies and turned into NPCs at your home base. Once daily you can also collect resources from each mine and turn them in for 10 Timewarped Badges.

Not popularly mentioned is a quest that is given at your faction’s stable master. Awarding 2 Badges for each turn in, you must capture an Alterac Ram or Frost Wolf for your respective faction. This is a repeatable quest up until the stables are full, which takes some 20-30 turn-ins. If you join a match late, and your team is already zerging to the enemy base, this can be a great way to quickly collect a few extra badges. Just beware of preying Druids and Rogues!

“I seem to be a little out of sorts today…”

Once you are done waging war inside the Valley, there are still more rewards OUTSIDE. At the world queuing locatins for Alterac Valley, some of the older vendors have crossed into an odd aspect of time. At each entrance in the Alterac Mountains, Jorek Ironside and Thanthaldis Snowgleam have both become displaced in the time ways and are offering unique and old items. Costing both Marks of Honor and Timewarped badges, these two vendors will not only be offering some of the regular fare, but also several removed appearances that have not been seen in-game since before Cataclysm. Some are unique to specific armor types, such as mail and cloth, and must be purchased on characters of that armor class to unlock and save the appearance. Others will require you to kill Korrak before they can be unlocked for purchase. These removed items will only be available while Korrak’s Revenge is ongoing, and on January 7th they’ll be once more gone forever!

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WoW Wednesday: Pilgrim’s Bounty 2019!

The fall turns again in the World of Warcraft, and Pilgrim’s Bounty has arrived for the adventurers and claimers of the continents of Azeroth. Breaking bread with friends of all kinds, holiday goers can enjoy the wonderful food in every major city and brush up their own skills to provide the greatest feast for revelers throughout the land. From November 25th through December 2nd players can partake in Pilgrim’s Bounty and garner the rewards found therein. This week I’ll be your guiding hand to getting the most out of the holiday and how to fill out your achievements for the Pilgrim title and Plump Turkey Pet.

Most of the holiday festivities take place at the Bountiful Tables across Azeroth. These are located in each of the faction’s major cities and every minor town with an innkeeper, as well as Light’s Hope Chapel and the Ruins of Thaurissan. At any of these locations you’ll find that the tables have been stacked high with food which you can sit and eat at, even the enemy factions! Major city tables also have vendors selling seasonal goods such as toys, transmog, and recipes for the season. Eating five helpings of each available food will give players The Spirit of Sharing buff, which increases reputation gains by 10% for an hour, a vital addition for anyone grinding reputations through Timewalking or world content! This year, with the event overlapping with the 15th Anniversary now is a GREAT time to stack both reputation buffs from the holiday (along with Darkmoon Faire on Sunday) to DESTROY any remaining reputations you might be grinding!

Best known for its aid in leveling the profession, Pilgrim’s Bounty has a host of recipes that can quickly level players’ cooking skills. Gathering these is the easiest and fastest method of leveling the Classic tier of the profession, as the vendors selling the recipes also sell most of the ingredients as well. Mixed into these are also static seasonal quests and the ongoing daily quests, rewarding the Pilgrim’s Bounty satchel which contains the Turkey Shooter as well as potentially the Silver-Plated Turkey Shooter, Fine Pilgrim’s Hat or the Frightened Bush Chicken.

Two of the Pilgrim’s Bounty vendors, still celebrating amidst the war effort.

Of course, Pilgrim’s Bounty’s main draw is the nine unique achievements that can be earned towards the Pilgrim meta-achievement. It is worth noting that Pilgrim is not required for What a Long, Strange Trip It’s Been, the World Event meta-achievement that requires a solid year of meeting every other holiday achievement (aside from the Day of the Dead, Pirate’s Day and other micro-holidays). All in all, you’ll need the following achievements to complete Pilgrim and claim your Plump Turkey:

“FOOD FIGHT!”
For this achievement, you’ll need to find a free seat at one of the Bountiful Tables in the world, and share food with a fellow reveler until you, “miss,” and bounce the food off of a player’s head! This will happen when the player the food is getting passed to already has the maximum amount of food, so just simply sit at a chair and pass the dishes until you’ve earned this achievement.

Sharing is Caring
In line with the premise of “FOOD FIGHT!” this achievement simply requires you to sit in each of the chairs at a Bountiful Table and pass the food to another seated player. Sit at each of the five chairs and pass a dish to earn the achievement, something you’ll more than likely do on your way to claiming the previous (and for more mischievous) entry.

One of the many Bountiful Tables located outside the major cities of the world.


Now We’re Cookin’

For this achievement, you must cook one of your faction’s specific Pilgrim’s Bounty Dishes. These recipes can be learned from Miles Standish for the Horde, or Gregory Tabor for the Alliance. Nearby holiday vendors will sell all the reagents you’ll need to cook these recipes and you’ll need at least 280 in your Classic Cooking to learn all of them.

Pilgrim’s Paunch
For this achievement, you must have a complete meal and earn The Spirit of Sharing at each Bountiful Table in your faction’s major cities. Simply travel to each major city and get five healthy helpings of each of the foods to complete this achievement!

Pilgrim’s Peril
This particular achievement requires you to put a little bit of risk and reward in. First, you’ll need to obtain an article of Pilgrim’s clothing, either the Pilgrim’s Dress, Pilgrim’s Robe or Pilgrim’s Attire which are awarded from one of the daily cooking quests. After you’re garbed in the universal attire of peace, you must then seat yourself at the Bountiful Tables in the enemy factions’ major cities. With the introduction of War Mode with the Battle for Azeroth pre-patch, this achievement has become far easier to complete by simply toggling it off.

Pilgrim’s Progress
This achievement is one of the easier on the list, merely requiring you to complete each of the Pilgrim’s Bounty daily quests. You can get each quest from the quest givers outside of your faction’s classic major cities, and all five are available every day. Keep in mind that you don’t need to cook for these dailies, all you have to do is turn in the food!

One of the Wild Turkeys currently plaguing both Elwynn Forest and the Tirisifal Glades.

Terokkar Turkey Time
For this achievement, you will need to first collect a Pilgrim’s Hat and one of the seasonal chest pieces from the Pilgrim’s Bounty dailies. Afterwards, you must then travel to Terokkar Forest and the Sethekk Halls wing of Auchindoun. While there, simply defeat Talon King Ikiss while wearing your seasonal attire on either Normal or Heroic! This is an easy one to incorporate into your daily mount-runs, but can only be completed by players who are of level to zone into Sethekk Halls (level 63).

The Turkinator
This achievement can be one of the trickier ones on the list, simply for the level of players often trying to complete it. The Turkinator requires you to be back, and kill 40 Wild Turkey critters, with no more than 30 seconds apart per kill until you have obtained the Turkey Triumph! buff. Wild Turkey can be found in both Tirisfal Glades and Elwynn Forest, and you can choose to kill them in either zone. Using items such as Tracker Snacks or class abilities like Track Beasts can help track the turkeys and chain your combo killing spree together.

Turkey Lurkey
This achievement is no doubt the hardest on this list, requiring you to use your trusty Turkey Shooter on a Rogue player of each race (aside from Pandaren and the Allied Races), transforming the poor stealthies into a turkey! A Turkey Shooter can be obtained from the Daily Quests, but it’s consumed after a single use, meaning you’ll need to do at least 2 days worth of dailies to earn enough and complete the achievement. Be careful, if you shoot a player who has the buff and is in a vehicle (such as the Bountiful Tables) you will get an error message and be unable to earn credit towards the achievement.

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WoW Wednesday: Reviewing the World of Warcraft

After 15 long years, the World of Warcraft still marches ever onward. Despite no less than four “WoW Killers” launching and failing, the original Massively Multiplayer Online Titan doesn’t just dominate pop culture. It dominates its own section of the fantasy genre, inspiring legions of fan works, devotees, and enough loyal subscribers to make up its own pseudo-nation. After eight entire expansions, a major motion picture, over 20 novels and a legion of popular propaganda, its time to give this game the review it deserves. After 15 years its time once more to criticize the wide world of Warcraft.

We here at MMOGames.com have reviewed the entirety of Azeroth previously. In this coverage, shortly after the massive graphical revamp and it’s 10th anniversary, we gave World of Warcraft a solid 8/10; “It is grand and splendid enough to be worth a player’s time and money.” This is a sentiment echoed throughout the industry, with similar reviews passing along the desks of MMORPG.com and PC Gamer. Last year we reviewed it’s 8th expansion, Battle For Azeroth slightly less favorably with a 7/10. Still passable and a fun experience, but with serious critical flaws incumbent to its systems.

In this review we’ll be peeling apart all of Warcraft’s systems from cradle to grave. From level one to 120, I dove into the wide world of Azeroth as a very much familiar Veteran. I’ve played the game for over twelve years, raided until shortly before Warlords of Draenor, kept up in the Rated PvP scene and written more about it than I would probably like to admit. While it is no small feat, I will be endeavoring to give you the most in-depth and pinpoint review. In an attempt to keep information relevant while we will be covering things from our Battle for Azeroth review, we will be more focusing on the systems present in Patch 8.2, “The Rise of Azshara.” While promises to fix many issues are incumbent with its 9th expansion, Shadowlands, we will be focusing on the game as is in its present state.

It’s time to see if after 15 years, World of Warcraft is worth more than your money. Is this MMORPG still worth your time?

Enter Azeroth

World of Warcraft is, at its core, a world at war. The land of Azeroth is host to dozens of races both native and alien. Originally set off its axis due to the invasion of the demonic Orcish Horde, the world has trembled under its two new national superpowers. Compromised of Humans, Dwarves, Gnomes, Night Elves and all noble creatures of Azeroth, the Alliance seeks to strive to do good like the knights of old. Banding together in the face of adversity, they seek the righteous way of the land and to do right by its denizens. Whether they follow the Holy Light, Elune, or the legacy of their original creators, they hope for a prosperous future for the entire land. Led by High King Anduin Wrynn, the young ruler endeavors to forge a world of true peace for his people.

Built on the bones of a dark legacy, the Horde has expanded to find its place at redemption. Composed of the once noble Orcs, the mysterious Darkspear trolls, the proud Tauren tribes and the cunning Forsaken Undead, this new Horde seeks to eke out an existence in a world that never wanted them. Drawing all kinds to its banner, the Horde promises unity and Honor no matter the cost. Recently in a political upheaval by the betrayal of its Warchief, Sylvanas Windrunner, the Horde now stands at a dangerous crossroads. While rumors of a council, a Coalition of Leadership, have begun to rattle through the ranks the future is uncertain for the Horde.

This will be your first major decision in World of Warcraft. Unlike other MMORPGs with cross faction play, tensions in Azeroth still run high. Its very unlikely that a Draenei from the Alliance would ever want to see a Blood Elf from the Horde, let alone work with them again. Races are restricted to certain factions, and who you will interact with will be. Certain cosmetic effects such as titles, mounts and more. Certain locations, major questlines and the world itself may change depending on which faction you select.


Once you’ve made your selection on the character creation screen, you’ll have 7 races to choose through (up to 11 for veteran players). Each race has its own unique storyline, racial abilities, customizations and can pick particular classes. Some, like the Trolls, are jacks of all trades but cannot pick certain heavy plate classes. Others, like the Gnomes, are limited by their diminutive size but can access every intellect-based class. Largely, based on what you want to do, your class will largely decide your race but your race will decide your faction overall. All have a slew of customization options throughout, though the interface is notably dated.

World of Warcraft is a fifteen year old game, built on an engine that is nearly 20 years old. As such, its rather amazing what can be done on it when it comes to newer content. When it comes to character customizations, however, you may find yourself completely screwed. On the large, older races like the Orcs have a wide plethora of options and selections, however these are worked through at most 15 or so static changes. While there are, realistically, hundreds of possible permutations for your character’s appearance some are better than others and are far more popular. That is, if you’re fortunate enough to have more than one favorable option; some newer races like the Nightborne or the Lightforged Draenei introduced in Legion are impossibly sparse on customizations; the Nightborne functionally only have one gender due to how ugly the male models and their faces are.

Once you’ve built up your avatar you can decide on your class. Warcraft being an older game, still works on the static Holy Trinity model of class design. Most classes are built to do one of three things: either soak punishment and deal area damage as a Tank, unleash powerful destructive fury as a Damage Dealer (or DPS), or keep their allies alive as a Healer. While most classes are tooled to perform only one role very well, such as the Mage or Hunter, just about every class can do one or the other. Some classes, like the Paladin, Monk or Druid, are Hybrid classes and can perform all three roles seamlessly.

Each class does play remarkably different, even between its three specializations. Some, like the Warrior, are exactly as its archetypical theme describes. They wade into the heat of melee combat and deliver punishment with one, sometimes two, massive weapons. Others, like the Warlock, use dark curses and stay at range while their minions deal with the enemy. Its hard to recommend a new class to newer players, simply due to the depth and volume of playstyles. This choice widens when players unlock Death Knights and Demon Hunters, Warcraft’s hero classes. These veteran-player classes are only unlocked after you’ve achieved a certain level on your first character, and as such start at a higher level in their respective expansion.

The best advice I can give you? Take your time and experiment with different player classes. Since its inception, my main has changed dramatically over time, from a Shaman to a Warrior to a Death Knight, Shaman, Warlock, Priest, Hunter and now a Warrior again. Even between them, each has up to three specializations that further customize your gameplay and feel like individual classes on their own. This is an expansive game, with plenty to do and explore.

We’re Going On an Adventure!

Once you’ve sorted out your character, and decided your class, you’re ready to get onto exploring the wide world of Azeroth. With recent graphical overhauls and a massive leveling change in it’s 4th expansion, Cataclysm, the world has never been more beautiful. From sunny high mesas in Mulgore to the steamy jungles of Stranglethorn, the world is utterly and absolutely breath-taking to explore. Even in the game’s older content through Northrend and Outland, there is not one zone I could complain about in its design, theming, or music.

Azeroth, however, is a dangerous place and even the heartiest diplomats will need to engage in combat. Being an older MMORPG, Warcraft’s systems are largely static in combat. Unlike entries such as the defunct Wildstar, heroes will often have a host of abilities to attack enemies in a somewhat standard, non-movement oriented combat style. While some classes subvert this by being based on movement, such as the Demon Hunter, others like the Mage and Warrior remain largely stagnant in order to deal damage. Instead, the complexity comes from intrinsic combat systems in order to maximize damage; buffs and debuffs to manage detrimental effects on your enemies.

You will be exploring them all as you adventure and progress your character. Starting at level 1, you’ll be working through several older RPG tropes and tools to level up. Starting with Quests, you’ll gain experience to level up and advance your character. After gaining so much experience your avatar will “ding” (gratz!) and you’ll get a little bit more powerful through new spells or advanced ranks of older ones. At major milestones your characters will unlock massive features such as mounts, class specializations, battlegrounds or new expansions worth of content.


In saying such, however, there’s a lot both good and bad in this progression system. You have 120 levels to advance through in Azeroth, and sadly there just aren’t enough rewards to make it feel worthwhile. While the journey is fun in this MMO, the RPG elements are incredibly lacking and are noticeable after your first five hours with the character. After reaching level sixty you’ll have most of your major class abilities unlocked and will be progressing onto your first expansion of content. Its unlikely, however, that you’ll see a new ability or intrinsic reward for your character’s power until another 7 to 15 levels away.

A lot of this power instead will come from your gear that you will obtain as you progress. Gear comes in a wide variety of colors, starting with White (Common) and Grey (Trash), you’ll gain Uncommon (Green) and Rare (Blue) items from questing or doing 5-man dungeons when you unlock them. Epic (Purple) quality items will drop from incredibly difficult challenges in your journey, or are otherwise incredibly rare. Legendary (Orange) are utterly unique items. Only a handful of them exist in the world and each will significantly change how you play your character. Most are incredibly difficult, if not impossible to get, but everyone knows their names. As you unlock them, you’ll save your gear appearances in your collectibles tab, alongside mounts, toys and cosmetic pets, and can transmogrify them over your gear to adjust your appearance.

Additionally you’ll unlock Talents. This interchangeable selection system unlocks tiers of abilities every 15 levels, usually themed around one type. While limited compared to previous iterations, this system allows you to change your playstyle for your class and specialization in between adventures, and offers a wide variety of utility. While most players will stick with the optimal or their favorite choice, staying flexible with your talents is rewarded in high tiers of gameplay and can massively alter what role you fill.

World of Warcraft
On paper this all sounds like a marvelous system, despite a few drawbacks, but the new player experience is painful, to say the least. There is a very good reason why Blizzard-Activision have been pushing their Character Level Boosting Service; leveling is painful, long and dull. Due to the rapid scaling of your character’s power in the early game in order to meet the end-game’s stats, enemies are never any major challenge. Instead they sit as more of a nuisance in between you and your objective, whether that involves collecting 4 zherva hooves or just trying to open a book.

In working on this review, I logged roughly additional an additional 30 hours between a Highmountain Tauren Shaman, a Night Elf Druid and a Nightborne Warrior. I can tell you, wholeheartedly, that the leveling experience is incredibly brutal. The only character I managed to max out was my Warrior, and that was simply because they’re my new main. Leveling is a tedious, repetitive venture to work through and a lot of its meaning is lost as you progress to the endgame; what many people rightfully cite as the ‘true’ game in Warcraft.

While we have covered it extensively in past entries of our WoW Wednesday Column, I’ll reiterate it once more here. There are not enough rewards to encourage players to naturally level and progress their character. The bloating of levels up to 120 is simply too vast a distance with the game’s current playstyle philosophy to reward players with spells or abilities every level. There aren’t enough talents or unlockables to go around, and this results in one of the most painful moments of any leveling experience.

World of Warcraft
The only moment that particularly stands out in a bad way, among hundreds if not thousands of quest texts, is Outland and Northrend. At level 60, you’ll begin to unlock additional expansions of content to play through, each with its own choice. From 60-70 you’ll be allowed to choose with either The Burning Crusade or The Wrath of the Lich King and their respective continents. Its also about this time that new abilities just stop coming all together while you adventure through some of the oldest, most difficult and outright obtuse questing content in the entire game.

While it is only for this small band, these two continents can kill nearly all of your momentum. Add in the issue of sharp increase in experience point requirements and it suddenly feels like a monumental mountain in your progression. There’s a reason that, at this point, nearly halfway to level 120 people either stop outright or start looking for ways to increase their experience gains monumentally. For veteran players, this is an easy hurdle to pass with a slew of experience boosting buffs that increase gains by over 200%. Other subversive options become the norm, such as grinding dungeons in an attempt to escape monotonous and awful questing. For newer, unguided players these options are more than likely not available or unknown.

Defender of Azeroth!

But you’ve finally done it, you’ve made it to level 120 despite all the hurdles and challenges. What awaits you is a wide plethora of content to explore and adventure through. Massive raids open up to challenge with up to 20 players. Rated Player versus Player combat and the cosmetic Honor system are ladders for you to climb in slaughtering your enemies. Pet Battles, cosmetic collections and more are at your fingertips. There is, quite literally, an infinite amount of things to do in Azeroth and with every expansion’s content unlocked at max level, you can do whatever you’d like.

The gateway to your personal progression, however, is now tied to Artifacts. Introduced in Legion and revamped for Battle for Azeroth, Artifacts now tool how your character plays more than your own end-game gear. The newest form of this, the Heart of Azeroth, unlocks class changing traits on your armor called “Azerite Traits.” While initially unique and could redefine your class in totality, most have now been reworked so that there are only one or two viable traits depending on your field of gameplay. While new, socketable essences have been introduced which act as additional spells or abilities, these are locked behind a leveling wall.

Your experience for the Heart of Azeroth? Azerite Power. This resource is rewarded from almost every single activity in World of Warcraft and can be infinitely grinded through certain gameplay elements like Island Expeditions or other instanced content. Due to this, however, there is a form of soft “scaling cap” each week. While you’ll unlock all of the passive and active slots on your Heart by level 67, it will also increase in power up to level 70 with certain Essences being locked behind that level cap. Essences themselves come from a wide variety of gameplay elements and hitting certain milestones will reward them.

World of Warcraft
There are a host of incumbent problems in this system, but the largest one is its effect on gear. While leveling, your gear will be rotated out roughly every zone or so. It goes through an upgrading process, but due to the limited number of customizations you’ll often be prone to keep it as is or hunt for smaller, rarer items to complete your look. As you reach maximum level, and are able to customize and change the appearance of ANY gear item, instead it falls to the name and what it’s worth to set it apart as an enviable object.

As Azerite and Gear can come from ANY source in Battle for Azeroth, most of it being Epic, it all really begins to blend together. Instead you’ll be hunting for gear with specific stats and Azerite traits in a constant form of upgrading to maximize what you can do in your class. In reality once you hit 120 you’ll be hitting a massive statistics crunch and will begin measuring your gear based on numbers instead of looks and rewards.

That’s not to say the content to get it isn’t fun. Raiding and Rated PvP are at their pinnacle in Azeroth. PvE encounters have only gotten more complex and varied throughout the years, and conquering a major villain with 19 of your friends can be incredibly rewarding. Even moreso, conquering other players and reaping Elite rewards isn’t just a challenge but a massive learning experience into the complexities of Warcraft. Playing through the fantasy of living in Azeroth is fun to do, even if you’re adventuring to cap off a few achievements or just to roleplay in a darkened tavern.

Gameplay: 5/10

World of Warcraft is an OLD game. Older than, frankly, quite a few people playing it. However, despite its stumbling and falling in leveling and rewarding characters, it is still IMMENSELY fun to play especially in the endgame. These flaws, like the infinite treadmill of endgame content and the crippling painful nature of leveling tar the whole process. There’s a lot here, and quite a bit of it is VERY good, but the struggle to get into that content and mean something as a whole dampen the entire project.

World of Warcraft

Innovation: 5/10

Once upon a time, Warcraft defined the genre in what it could do. These days the game and its team are struggling to keep up in similar showings from competitors. Desperately trying to keep a 15 year old engine alive, Warcraft’s developers seem to constantly struggle in adding things in such as ‘color tints’ for equipment. Addressing the inherit systemic issues caused throughout the game is a struggle for them, including admitting to their own mistakes for the worse. While they occasionally make a breakthrough concept for the game, it struggles to keep pace with others in the industry.

Multiplayer: 7/10

World of Warcraft is the Notorious B.I.G., the progenitor of the modern MMO. Community is everything to any worthwhile progression in Azeroth. While wolves and the rabble of the world won’t trouble your character, you will NEED friends in order to adventure into dark dungeons, heart-pounding raids, or merely to keep your sanity during leveling. While most basic endgame content is queue-able as a single player, generating you into a larger group, truly challenging content requires friends. If you’re invested in finding such and taking on the hardest challenges the community, on the whole, is largely receptive to new players and still thrives strongly to this day.

Graphics / Sound: 8/10

Despite being built on an older engine, Azeroth is beautiful to adventure through. Thanks to large-scale graphical improvements in Cataclysm, the world has never looked better for the adventuring player though more modern innovations such as Light Rays make it seem somewhat flat in color. Together, with a wonderfully orchestrated OST, Warcraft oozes environmental theme and beautiful artistic design. Whether it’s the pounding of the drums of war in battlegrounds or the eerie strings plaguing you in Azshara’s Eternal Palace, the hills of Pandaria and the dark dungeons have never looked and felt more beautiful.

World of Warcraft

Value for Money: 8/10

I cannot understate this: Warcraft has no end to its content. If you have the want to explore its vast breadth and depth from faction reputations to achievements to PvP to raiding to battling PETS there is legitimately no end. Even with a subscription model still attached to the game, my $15 USD per month is STILL well spent in Azeroth. There is enough to do legitimately every day of the week between its eight expansions and the base game, and still not get everything done that you’d like. While there are concerns on the depth of the content, there is enough breadth to make up for it.

Overall: 6.5/10

There are a lot of problems with Warcraft. I don’t think there’s a 15 year old on the planet that doesn’t have its slew of problems, but beneath all of them is a gemstone. While there are problems in a host of Warcraft’s systems, it feels exciting to go on that next adventure through Azeroth whether as the lone Champion or among a host of friends. Whether you fight for the Horde or the Alliance, this is a game that still lives and breathes fun and entertainment. While it can be a slog, sometimes more than even the developers would like to admit, charting the world of Azeroth is an adventure in and of itself in every sense.

With promises on the horizon to fix so many of its problems, I can only hope that we’ll still be adventuring throughout the worlds of Warcraft for many more years to come.

Pros

– Easy, simple pick up and play MMORPG
– Varied Systems of Progression
– Tons of Gameplay systems and Endgame Content
– Potentially Endless Content to Play

Cons

– Painful Leveling and Level Bloat
– Little Reward for New Players
– Meaningless Gear/Character Progression Outside of Artifact Systems
– Limited Avatar Customization and Cosmetic Personalization Outside of Armor

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WoW Wednesday: The Eternal Grind

It is a very rare occasion to have one singular quest in World of Warcraft ever piss me off. Not agitate me, per se, but fill me with such an intense blinding rage and confusion as to make me question its very existence. That isn’t to say that such quests aren’t, at times, warranted. Infamous ones such as Wrathion’s Valor Gating for the Mists of Pandaria legendary cloak have been used in the past to regulate the acceleration for top-end players. Others, like infamous Vanilla ‘Alliance Tower Escort’ were terrible not due to their design but the implications of performing it in such a massive world with interfering elements and players. None of them, however, quite stack up like ‘The Eternal Traveler.’

The Eternal Traveler is an oddly unique quest which put a bad taste in my mouth before it began. For those of you not in the know, World of Warcraft: Shadowlands has, like its predecessors, a Digital Collector’s edition for pre-order. For the new expansion, however, Blizzard-Activision has their editions broken down into multiple fields. The base copy, as always, comes with the expansion and early-access to Death Knights for all races much like Battle for Azeroth unlocked Allied Races in Patch 7.3. Then there are TWO different Collector’s Editions.

The Heroic Edition includes some of the standard fair. While it includes a Level 120 Character Boost to use instantly, it also includes the Ensorcelled Everwyrm Mount (unique to the Collector’s Editions) as well as a brand-new Cosmetic Transmog Set. The Epic Edition, which is an additional $20 USD, includes a cosmetic Weapon Enchant, a Pet (which usually comes with the regular Collector’s Edition), and a new Hearthstone toy in line with other Holiday Toys.


Those who follow my previous work know I have little issues with pre-orders or Collector’s Editions, but I do have an issue with multiple versions. The practice, made famous by Ubisoft’s Watch Dogs series, has resulted in multiple companies creating multiple types of ‘Collector’s’ products with varying objects between them. While, thankfully, Shadowlands’ editions at their apex contain everything you might be looking for if you’re purchasing at previous expansion’s full price, it still sets a very worrying standard.

With that in mind, you collect your initial rewards from either edition. Unpacking the Enscorcelled Everwyrm for a test-ride you’ll be able to click on an interactable object just behind the saddle. This will summon the newest object of your frustrations, Xolaritos, which begins the promised questline for your transmog appearance. Belonging to the Eternal Travelers, they have moved between the veil of worlds for untold millennia. Calling Oribos their home in the Shadowlands, they’ve now come to Azeroth in sensing the rising presence of Death. You can strike a bargain with them, for the right price.

Xolaritos wants Echoes of Mortality. When the living die, they leave behind fragments of their life force behind. The strongest of Azeroth’s denizens leave behind resonant pieces; portions that tremble with the life they used to have. Collect 40 of these and not only will you become an ally of the Eternal Travelers, but you’ll receive their unique transmog appearance. All of the textures and animations are unique (so far) and haven’t been seen in-game. The set, overall, is REALLY cool and looks fantastic.


This, at the outset, is an excellent opportunity and idea. Even in just giving you those bare details, it sounds like an EXCELLENT start to an intriguing quest; perhaps a lead-in to the ideas about what the growing influence of death means. While there is the trepidation of perhaps locking ‘content’ behind an exclusive paywall, you can do quite a lot with just a little. Recent goers of the War Campaign’s finale can find such a concept littered with Lor’themar Theron. After witnessing Sylvanas Windrunner utterly destroy Saurfang in their Mak’gora, he among several characters remarked about her using magic they had never seen before. That is VERY interesting and opens up quite a bit of possibility for exploring that in Shadowlands.

The Eternal Traveler decides to forgo that by instead creating the most obfuscating and infuriating questline ever.

In reality, killing any creature in your level bracket will feasibly drop Echoes of Mortality. Within your first few kills per day you will earn anywhere between 4 to 6 Echoes. Initially starting the quest you’ll get the impression that you can quickly complete the quest for your transmog. This is not to be.

After your initial gain the drop chances reduce to a pitiful number. The highest numbers reported by WoWhead, that do not come from raid enemies or PvP-tagged targets, are a little over 1%. Most are far below that threshold, dwindling into a 0.5% range, making individual drops as difficult to obtain as Invincible’s Reins from Icecrown Citadel. This resets after the daily lockouts clock over for your server, meaning that at 8am server time, you’ll once more be able to gain 4-6 Echoes from one mob.


This is content gating at its finest. Those purchasing any collector’s edition are now essentially paying for one quest which requires hours upon hours of grinding for a cosmetic appearance with no additional lore or incumbent excitement.

This results in this very real scenario: in an effort to quickly grind through this incredibly arduous and needlessly time-gated quest, players are using the group finder. There, they are gathered together to kill as many densely packed mobs as humanly possible in the shortest amount of time to maximize their chances at getting even one Echo to drop. The two well known hotspots are the Blood Gate in Zuldazar, and the Dabrie Farmstead in Arathi Highlands. I once spent a little over 2 hours grinding through over 400 mobs for a measly 5 Echoes.

The reality is that this is all based off of luck. If you’re willing to put in the time, and you’re incredibly lucky, you’ll be able to soar through the needed Echoes with little difficulty. However, a grind that players are essentially buying into should not be faced with the same amount of time-sinking that Insane in the Membrane or Rated PvP requires. It is, by and large, no less than a slap in the face to adopters of the new Collector’s Editions. Forced arbitrary grinding for the impatient, and a needless time gating for those willing to wait. Add that to your collection tab.

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Shadowlands – World of Warcraft’s Next Expansion

Blizzcon 2019 has finally come and gone to uproars of applause. After the tepid convention that was last year’s Blizzard-Activision trade show with the heavily controversial release and management if Diablo Immortal, the company desperately needed to make this convention a landmark release experience. As you’ll see throughout all our coverage this week, they certainly nailed it out of the park. For many, first and foremost it began with World of Warcraft’s newest expansion: Shadowlands.

World of Warcraft: Shadowlands is the recently announced 8th expansion to the 15 year old MMORPG. Taking place right on the heels of Battle for Azeroth, disgraced warchief Sylvanas Windrunner pursues her quest to command death itself. Advancing on Icecrown Citadel, the seat of the undead Lich King, she endeavors to take his crown by force or otherwise. Laying waste to his forces and even chaining the Jailer of the Damned, she took up the unholy crown, the Helm of Domination, for her own.

Declaring that the world itself was a prison she took the Helm, the key to keeping the endless undead Scourge from destroying Azeroth, and tore it in half. In doing so, Sylvanas ripped the Eternal Veil asunder; the barrier between the world of the living and those of the dead. Throwing the Shadowlands, Warcraft’s afterlife, into chaos, she escaped to the dark recesses of its eternal prison. Uniting with her partner in the Maw, the mysterious Jailer has begun to draw souls and Anima, the essence of life, in earnest from the Shadowlands. If he is allowed to continue uninhibited, and the Shadowlands are left unclosed, all of Azeroth if not the universe will be fed to the Jailer’s unending hunger.


Heroes of Azeroth will be venturing through the inescapable Maw, a prison for the worst souls in existence, into the Shadowlands themselves. While there players will be exploring four new zones and the Covenants who rule over them. The Kyrians rule over Bastion, one of the first zones players will encounter. Angelic beings who revel in truth, duty and accept only the most virtuous souls, they assist the mysterious Arbiter in ferrying souls to the afterlife and sorting them after their judgement. With the drain upon the Shadowlands, those attempting to gain their wings through their trials have suddenly been unable to progress. With numbers of Kyrians dwindling, the Shadowlands are becoming more and more deprived of souls.

The Ardenweald is a place of nature and rebirth; a dark mirror to the Emerald Dream. Here, those souls connected innately to nature come to rest and find peace before being reborn into the cycle. Ruled over by the Winter Queen and her Night Fae, this place of nature is being hit the hardest of all. With both souls and their inherit living energy, Anima, being drained into the Maw, the Ardenweald is withering day by day. Soon the Winter Queen will need to decide how she rations the precious resource of the dead, and who may rest in the cold forever.

 

“Bastion, the realm of the Kyrians. They accept only the most virtuous souls into their ranks.”

Maldraxxus is the dark domain of the Necrolords, masters of the Shadowlands’ standing army. Here in their soul forges do they forge their forces into engines of destruction. It is not cruelty or evil that rules this land, but strength and power. Used in part to defend the Frozen Throne and the gateway to the realm of the dead, now this army has fallen into dissaray and chaos. While its soldiers stand ready to defend the souls of millions, its leader has mysteriously vanished. Now the five most notable Necrolords are vying for the position, and the responsibility for bringing death across the cosmos. In an effort to combat the other, each is building an army that will soon outgrow the normal standing forces of Maldraxxus. Soon, all out war will be unleashed…

Revendreath is the purgatorial realm of the Shadowlands and the domain of the Venthyr. At the dawn of creation they were charged with purging those sent to them of sin, draining it from their souls a drop at a time. Having gorged themselves on Anima for millenia, the Venthyr have become slovenly and gluttonous, much like those they are charged over. Content to whittle away their existence, rumours have begun to arise of the unfitness of the realm’s master. If he were to be replaced, perhaps Revendreath may find itself changing course to a better future…

These four Covenants will be the main drawing point of Shadowlands. Players will progress through each zone in a linear fashion, working cooperatively with each ruling body to reunify their disparate forces. As they do so, you’ll be able to unlock two abilities for aligning with that faction, both of which will change if you change your Covenant. One is a movement related ability for outdoor use, while the other is a class-specific combat ability much like Legion’s artifact powers. Each faction will have unique cosmetic rewards and armor tied to each, from winged cloak replacements to upgradable mounts.

 

Plate Covenant Armor Rewards, From Left to Right: Necrolords, Venthyr, Kyrians, Night Fae

Each Covenant will also have a Sanctum which game director Ion Hazzikostas described as a melding of Legion’s Class Halls and progression that players participated in with Suramar’s Shal’aran. As players work to return their Covenant to its former glory, they’ll recruit allies, establish portals, and develop their new domain into a symbol of hope for the Shadowlands. Tied into the allies you will recruit is the new Soulbind system.

Choosing one of your newer allies, players may bind their soul to them to gain new perks and abilities much like passive talent trees. These will be empowered, as well as several other Covenant tools, by Anima. Collected throughout a player’s adventure in the Shadowlands, this Anima will be used to progress through the talent tree and unlock relic-like slots for players to input passive effects into. On stage Hazzikostas confirmed, much to the roaring applause of the crowd, that Anima would not be an infinitely grindable treadmill such as what players experienced with Artifact and Azerite power in Legion and Battle for Azeroth.

All of this will lead up to players returning to the Maw, the infernal domain of the Jailer once more. Intended to be an endgame experience for max-level players, the Maw is an inhospitable and unfriendly wasteland; there are no innkeepers. There is NO safety. It is only yourself, those you take in with you, and the unnerring gaze of the Jailer and his forces. The rewards of venturing in can be risky and great, though anything you do can earn the gaze of the realm’s dark guardian. Should the Jailer notice you, he may send kill squads to engage you, rain fire from his tower, or more.

 

An in-game rendering of Torghast, the prison for the worst Souls in existence.

In the center of the Maw stands Torghast, the Tower of the Damned. An infinitely generated experience, this 1-5 player scaling pseudo-dungeon is based off of elements from roguelike games such as The Binding of Isaac. Each time you enter the halls of the ever-changing complex, it will be different in both it’s layout and what enemies are generated. The deeper you progress into the Jailer’s domain, the harder it will become, but the rewards will be great if you can make it out alive.

World of Warcraft: Shadowlands has an open release date of 2020, putting it a little over a year away at most. Players can pre-order the expansion now for exclusive rewards, including the ability to make a Death Knight of ANY race with the launch of Patch 8.3.

The post Shadowlands – World of Warcraft’s Next Expansion appeared first on MMOGames.com.

WoW Wednesday: How Shadowlands Fixes Leveling

World of Warcraft: Shadowlands has been announced to wild and dramatic buzz throughout the MMORPG’s community, even prior to its finale patch for Battle for Azeroth. In previous Blizzcon coverage this week we discussed its premise and the main hooks into its story. However, a much greater discussion is to be had about the game systems; what will build up the vital aspects of gameplay for adventurers coming into a new expansion. Before we discuss the endgame and the particularly ‘newer’ bits of content, it is far time for me to give Blizzard-Activision some accolades.

While Shadowlands is still quite some ways off, with a promised 2020 release date despite very early work being displayed at Blizzcon, Blizzard and director Ion Hozzikostas seem to be making a step in the right direction. The new player experience has become a paramount discussion, particularly with issues and questions raised regarding the Draught of Ten Lands and the widespread bans that came with it. In an effort to correct and assist in it a number of large-scale changes are coming to all of Warcraft.

The first, and one of the more controversial, is the level squish. Previously, World of Warcraft has had two major stat squishes in an effort to reduce numbers. The first, at the start of Warlords of Draenor was quickly undone in roughly two patch, with the second coming at the end of Legion to combat player health pools reaching into the multi-millions. This level squish is not unlike that, though there’s no word if we’ll see a stat squish come alongside it for the new expansion. With Shadowlands players will cap out at level 60, with all current max-level players being squished down to level 50.


The reason for this, as Hozzikostas explained, is two-fold. The first, is that leveling is INCREDIBLY long. In working on a 15th anniversary review for this website, I’ve easily clocked over 30+ hours on new max-level characters. The second, which we’ll dive more into momentarily, is that there simply isn’t enough to create intrinsic reward systems. With how few and spread out both abilities and talents are you could go for nearly 15 levels with some classes before getting a new thing. Previously, the effort to combat it was making leveling flexible in a sense; players would start on Cataclysm’s Azeroth, graduate to a pair of expansions, and unlock more every 20 levels. However, players would STILL out-level expansion related content with this new system. With a major focus on end game, newer players would apparently become confused with the lack of dungeon-guided content to participate in.

Instead, all of this has been completely scrapped.

Now, new players to Azeroth will play through their first ten levels on a completely new zone. Exile’s Reach is a small island off the coast of Stormheim, and it’s there that your faction has sent an exploratory force. They have since gone missing, and you’ve been recruited to assist in discovering their whereabouts and safety. This zone will culminate in a flexible, 2 boss dungeon for up to 5 players where heroes will thwart the efforts of a dragon-worshipping ogre cult! From there, new players will be guided to Battle for Azeroth content to level from 10 to 50, before being introduced to Shadowlands. Reportedly, this squish will make leveling through Battle for Azeroth to 50 roughly 50-70% faster.

In line with this system, Blizzard wants to have Veteran players making new characters feel like they’re investing in more of, ‘a New Game+ system.’ Players who have already completed Exile’s Reach may choose to level in their original racial starting zones, and afterwards may talk to Chromie to level through ANY expansion content. The reasoning for it is to make the player experience more flexible overall, while allowing people to enjoy entire expansions worth of content without interrupting the story. Citing Mists of Pandaria as a prevalent example for this, players would reportedly complete the Jade Forest, half of their second zone, and suddenly be ready to dive into Warlords of Draenor content. Death Knights and Demon Hunters will now start at level 1 for any starting zone, leveling up to 10 by the time it’s completed. Allied Race characters, as is the current course, will start at level 10.


This, in no simple terms, is a brilliant fix.  In discussions I just had last week with a member of my guild, the notion of making, ‘every piece of past expansions relevant’ came up; that desire to explore ALL of Azeroth and have it matter. Right now, Azeroth feels cracked into splinters with its wealth of content, but shallow level banding and irrelevant storytelling in older zones. Between initiatives in Timewalking and now this new leveling system it quite holistically unites the whole world. It makes it a cohesive Roleplaying Game again.

Imagine your first MMORPG, or even your first RPG. That exploration of a world foreign to you despite its threats. Games without enemies, like Shadow of the Colossus, do exceedingly well in this by making every piece of its world’s content relevant. Games such as Dragon Age face issues where, while new exploration is exciting, the challenge quickly begins to fade when you blow past enemies. Melding those two philosophies together, allowing you to explore a self-contained continent WHILE it still being relative to how you progress your character, is the perfect solution players have been crying for since we first broke the level 100 barrier.

This is enriched with the Great Unpruning. Jokingly referring to himself as ‘Ion the Unpruner,’ Hozzikostas revealed to a joyful crowd that classes would be having abilities returned to it. Citing issues with individual specializations carrying more identity than the class, the team has begun working on breaking down barriers to equip classes with old abilities and more utility. Some abilities, such as the Druid’s Cyclone, will be removed from the Talent Trees and reintroduced as a baseline ability. Others like the sorely missed Shattering Throw for Warriors, are being unretired and brought back into the game. Classes like the Mage will have spells like Frostbolt as a standard, with specializations adding more abilities regarding that spell, instead of mass-stripping and exchanging spells wholesale.

The idea seems to be to return to a mindset more in line with Classic’s development mentality. Each class has a large assortment of baseline abilities, some relevant to their current rolls and some not. Arms Warriors, provided they have a shield, will be able to once again use Shield Block which is currently Protection restricted spell. Activating particular specializations will then add additional mechanics and abilities around what is already available instead of resorting and landscaping hotbars en masse. “Every priest can call upon the Light,” lead game designer Brian Holinka said on stage, “And they can harness the shadow… That shouldn’t change between specs.”


In doing this every class reportedly should get something new every level. While its not necessarily a long-term fix for Warcraft, particularly if we have a whack of expansions in the future, it solves the fundamental problem currently. Players are once more intrinsically rewarded as they level. End-game and high-level players will now have a far more adaptable and complex toolkit to experiment with. Even in the case of the Warrior, where both DPS specializations are essentially build-and-spends around damage windows, even just adding Shattering Throw opens up the field FAR wider. Is it wiser to use it as an additional Colossus Smash to make the most out of an early Avatar, or is better to spend it on soon-spawning adds?

The problem, however, comes in with Blizzard’s new penchant for ‘temporary’ abilities. With spells such as the Artifact power abilities and now our Essences for the Heart of Azeroth, they will disappear at the end of the expansion. These spells are irrelevant with new content. This trend will continue in Shadowlands with Covenant Powers, abilities your benefactors will impart to you in exchange for your allegiance. Invariably, much like Shaman Totems, players WILL get connected to these incredibly unique abilities and will miss them once they are gone. While Legion reintroduced several powers into Talent Trees, many are still compulsory and have the entire class built around them. Eventually we will return to the problem of ‘not enough reward,’ in leveling, especially if when the 9th expansion comes out, Shadowlands has to compete with Battle for Azeroth for the 10-60 bracket of leveling.

Ultimately, time will tell if these systems hold true. All in all, the level squish and new changes to dynamic leveling are a massive step forward. Exile’s Reach, if successful, may become a wonderful system for engaging and reaching out to new players. While focusing on getting to the endgame still seems to be the team’s main design direction, honing the first ten levels does remarkable dividends. Making what new players experience more in line with what they can look forward to in the endgame not only culls player confusion but has better chance to retain new adopters. After all, don’t you enjoy playing something if you know exactly what you’re getting into?

The post WoW Wednesday: How Shadowlands Fixes Leveling appeared first on MMOGames.com.

Breaking up with Blizzard? Here are 36 Games to Replace your Library

Blizzard means something different to everyone. For some it could mean a war between orcs and humans carried out from a bird’s eye view, and for others it could be an intergalactic battle between the humans and the Zerg. Still for other players it might be the magical adventures of sword and sorcery curated by the World of Warcraft team. Maybe you recently got into Blizzard games and found them appealing, or maybe they’ve been a constant for the entirety of your life.

I remember my first foray into one of Blizzard’s universes; it was a CDROM version of Starcraft that I purchased at Best Buy and installed on a junk PowerMac that I dug out of the wreckage of an abandoned school. No, I’m not joking, my childhood was weird. Those were some great memories but I have to admit, things have soured over the years. Apart from subpar expansions to World of Warcraft, Blizzard has rocked the political stage and alienated many players by banning player Blitzchung from Hearthstone and revoking thousands of dollars in prize money over his pro-Hong Kong statements.

Where there are some who fall on the other side of the issue, many agree that this is a threat to free speech and a condemnation of Hong Kong’s people by Blizzard. Whether or not Blizzard meant it that way, it chose money over people, and chose to quash free speech. I’m not sure if an apology will even dig them out of the hole they’ve dug themselves but that does leave an interesting question: where are players going to go if they leave Blizzard and Battle.net behind? How are they going to get their hack and slash fix? What world will they move on to after Azeroth? Here’s some great news: we’re not living in 1996 anymore; we have access to a massive library of games, many of which are just as good or even better than the digital buffet that Blizzard has served up over the years. In this article we take a look at some of the options and explore just where you might go on your next digital adventure.

Diablo

1996 was a decent year for video gaming, especially given everyone’s favorite Hack N’ Slash, Diablo hit PC’s, Macs, and eventually the Playstation. It featured a beautiful dungeon crawling experience that allowed you to play through many of the same elements that you’d encounter in D&D without forcing you to move along at a crawl in order to gain the most miniscule amount of experience. Quite frankly, it’s a great game to come home to after work. The years were pretty good to Diablo; while the first installment featured only a multi-level dungeon and town, the second included more of an overworld, with the third finally bringing us an expansive world to explore and multiple dungeons combined with an epic storyline. Most importantly, like all Blizzard games, it features multiplayer whether you want to travel through the dungeons with a friend or go head to head in multiplayer. Diablo is a great series, but if you’re looking to ditch Blizzard for good, there are some decent alternatives out there that will scratch the itch.

Fate

For a game released by Wild Tangent in 2005, it certainly has picked up some steam. With three sequels and randomly generated dungeons, Fate is much closer to the original Diablo concept than some of the others on this list. There are some off-putting elements, the first being that the game is a bit cartoony. If you can get past that however, you have a great Diablo clone that allows you to descend infinite floors, at least until you get bored of it. Fate differs from Diablo in a few ways, the most important being that you now have a pet that will fight alongside you, and will carry items back to town for sale.

 

 

Multiplayer: No
Buy It:
Steam: https://store.steampowered.com/app/246840/FATE/

Torchlight

This game is very similar to Fate, though the first multi-level dungeon in the game is not randomly generated. There is a campaign with a decent but highly predictable storyline and only 30’ish main dungeon floors. Once you beat the game you will be able to unlock a randomly generated dungeon, giving you the ability to play and replay as much as you like. Just as with Fate, Torchlight features a pet system with the same functionality. i.e., sending the pet back to town for item sales, and fish that will transform it into different types of monsters. Torchlight II changes it up to create a game more dependent upon the overworld and plays more like an isometric World of Warcraft with the quests visible on the right pane rather than in a Quest Journal that you need to pull up every single time. The interface for Torchlight 2 is more streamlined and will remind you a bit more of Diablo III rather than the previous installments in Blizzard’s series. In addition to having a more expansive world, Torchlight II improves on the inventory systems by giving you more slots and storing consumables in a different tab.

 

Multiplayer: Torchlight 2, LAN, Internet
Buy It:
Steam: https://store.steampowered.com/app/41500/Torchlight/
Steam: https://store.steampowered.com/app/200710/Torchlight_II/
GOG: https://www.gog.com/game/torchlight
GOG: https://www.gog.com/game/torchlight_ii

Titan Quest

If the open world Hack and Slash model calls to you, then Titan Quest is probably what you’re looking for. Released in 2006 it’s a little older, but it does feature a vast world that is based upon Greek mythology. While it is old, it has been re-released as Titan Quest Anniversary on Steam with new expansions currently being released. For mobile users, a mere $7.99 can get you a version for your tablet, phone, or even your Chromebook.

Mutiplayer: Yes
Buy It:
Steam: https://store.steampowered.com/app/475150/Titan_Quest_Anniversary_Edition/
GOG: https://www.gog.com/game/titan_quest_anniversary_edition
Android: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.dotemu.titanquest&hl=en_US

Sacred

The original Sacred is a 2D open world Hack and Slash RPG with brings it closer to Diablo III, but really makes it a hybrid of Diablo and Diablo III. It takes place in the world of Ancaria and features multiple questlines. The start of the game will depend on the character class you choose, for example the Gladiator begins in an arena and is forced to fight for his freedom while other classes may simply start in town. Like Diablo, Sacred features hordes of monsters and tons of abilities to help you explore Ancaria in the most violent way possible. Sacred 2 continues the tradition and Sacred 3 takes it into an unexpected nosedive from which the franchise will never recover.

Multiplayer: Yes
Buy It:
Steam: https://store.steampowered.com/app/12320/Sacred_Gold/
Steam: https://store.steampowered.com/app/225640/Sacred_2_Gold/
Steam: https://store.steampowered.com/app/247950/Sacred_3/
GOG: https://www.gog.com/game/sacred_gold
GOG: https://www.gog.com/game/sacred_2_gold

Grim Dawn

Like Diablo III, Grim Dawn is a dark fantasy Hack and Slash game with fast paced action and a crafting system much like in the original DOTA mod. The story takes place in the world of Cairn where humanity is on the brink of extinction and the story itself is much more involved than Torchlight. It is often compared to Titan Quest but it improves on it in many ways with better physics and even a dismemberment system, allowing you to specify just how you want your enemies to die. Grim Dawn does feature factions, meaning you’ll have far more to worry about than hacking through thousands of monsters, though that’s always going to be a defining part of these games.

Multiplayer: Yes
Buy It:
Steam: https://store.steampowered.com/app/219990/Grim_Dawn/
GOG: https://www.gog.com/game/grim_dawn

 

Path of Exile

Released around the same time as Diablo III in 2013, Path of Exile strives to recreate the general awesomeness of hack and slash games while rejecting some of the poorer decisions made by the Diablo III developers. A full featured online game, it is completely free and allows you to team up with your friends to discover the secrets of Wraeclast. The story for the game is intriguing in that you are an exile sent to live out your days on the continent of Wraeclast where the entirety of the game takes place. The game spans three platforms, PC, XBOX One, and Playstation 4, making it a great experience no matter which side of the console war you come down on.

Multiplayer: Yes
Get It:
Steam: https://store.steampowered.com/app/238960/Path_of_Exile/

 

Kingsroad

Okay, admittedly it’s odd to include a browser game on here, but why not? Kingsroad was released in 2013 and it’s very much a Diablo style game. I played it on Facebook initially but these days it plays on an external site and it can even be downloaded for mobile. Most importantly, it includes multiplayer and even a clan system, making for a more dynamic experience than most browser games. If you have an itch to scratch and need a low spec multiplayer experience, Kingsroad is the way to go.

 

Multiplayer: Yes
Play It:
Browser: https://www.rumblegames.com/kingsroad
Mobile: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.rumbleentertainment.kingsroad&hl=en_US

Starcraft

Real Time Strategy games were nothing new in 1998, but with Starcraft Blizzard really managed to redefine the genre. The game was released for PC, Mac, and even Nintendo 64, making it one of the only console RTS games available. Alongside Command and Conquer 64, it really was a giant in its day. Unlike C&C however, Starcraft was still a 2D game. On the surface it appears to be extremely simple, but it is complex enough to have lasted through several decades and has been used as the foundation for countless video game tournaments. As one of the most popular games in South Korea and the world over, it is no surprise that it received a sequel that easily rode upon the success of the original. But, even if you have enjoyed the game over the years, where do you go next?

Warhammer 40k: Dawn of War

Released in 2004 and based on the Games Workshop tabletop universe, this game featured multiple expansions and in the beginning, Starcraft itself was slated to be a Warhammer game anyway. Set in a dark future, you can choose from multiple factions including the technologically advanced Eldar, the deeply religious space marines, the forces of Chaos, or even the near-invincible orcs. All the entries in this franchise feature the unit building that you came to love in Starcraft, but it also features a morale system and a terrain system that can completely change the outcome of a match if they are not properly taken advantage of. Dawn of War and its expansions mirror Starcraft in many ways, but Dawn of War II tends to take the path of a MOBA with limited building construction options and a focus on smaller squad incursions.

 

Multiplayer: Yes
Buy It:
Steam: https://store.steampowered.com/app/4570/
Steam: https://store.steampowered.com/app/15620/
Steam: https://store.steampowered.com/app/285190/Warhammer_40000_Dawn_of_War_III/

 

Supreme Commander

This is considered the spiritual successor to Total Annihilation and TA: Kingdoms, featuring a larger scale battlefield and the ability to deploy thousands of units. The combat is faster, the strategy more complex, and the multiplayer amazing. It throws out the resource rules of other real time strategy games by limiting you to two: Power and Mass. Mass is extracted from the ground while power is generated from a number of different sources. Typical power plants serve as a good start but you will move on to geothermal plants and other options that will serve to help you expand your base. The centers around the ‘Commander’ who serves as a mobile base, capable of creating basic structures. From there you will create more advanced structures and units, eventually moving forward to attack your opponent. The nature of the resource system forces you to keep a careful balance between Power and Mass, forcing you to think ahead and carefully consider the placement of each building. It’s a thinking person’s game but deeply rewarding.

Multiplayer: Yes
Buy It:
Steam: https://store.steampowered.com/app/9350/Supreme_Commander/
Steam: https://store.steampowered.com/app/40100/Supreme_Commander_2/
Steam: https://store.steampowered.com/app/9420/Supreme_Commander_Forged_Alliance/

Planetary Annihilation

If this game looks similar to Supreme Commander and TA, you aren’t imagining things. It was designed by some of the same team members who worked on both and it completely expands the gameplay presented by Supreme Commander. Rather than focusing on a single battlefield, the game allows you to develop multiple plants and engage in interplanetary warfare. You can even destroy the celestial bodies that your enemies inhabit if you don’t want to fight them on the ground. It’s a far more advanced version of Supreme Commander and definitely not for the faint of heart.

Multiplayer: Yes
Buy It:
Steam: https://store.steampowered.com/app/386070/Planetary_Annihilation_TITANS/

 

Act of Aggression

Real Time Strategy games have grown more and more complex over the years and one of the reasons players loved Starcraft 2 was its ability to be fresh while staying true to its roots. Granted, games like RUSE and Wargame are fun, but sometimes it’s good to return to the source. Act of Aggression is considered to be the spiritual successor to Act of War and combines classic RTS gameplay with modern graphics and multiplayer functionality. If you’re pining for the good old days but want a veritable feast for the senses, you have to pick up Act of Aggression.

Multiplayer: Yes
Buy It:
Steam: https://store.steampowered.com/app/318020/Act_of_Aggression__Reboot_Edition/?l=latam&t=1441522800

Command and Conquer

The original C&C was released in 1995, long before Westwood Studios made complete fools of themselves and were subjected to an EA takeover. The first installment, later to be known as C&C Gold was a monumental success following Dune and Dune 2. It featured simplistic gameplay that was revolutionary for the time and found itself leaping onto several consoles. Most notably, it was ported to the Nintendo 64 where it became the very first 3D iteration of Command and Conquer, even preceding Generals itself. There have been multiple sequels spanning three different universes, but today you may want to check out either C&C 3 or C&C 4. In my opinion, 3 is one of the better options if you want to relive the glory days and get as close to Starcraft as possible. C&C 4 features a mobile base and works okay if you just pretend it’s not a C&C game.

Multiplayer: LAN

Buy It:

Origin: https://www.origin.com/usa/en-us/store/command-and-conquer/command-and-conquer-the-ultimate-collection

Company of Heroes

If you like your RTS to have a World War II theme, then this might just be right up your alley. The game runs on the same engine as Dawn of War and uses many of the same resource gathering techniques. Fuel, for example, can be harvested from what would otherwise be requisition points. Thanks to the physics of the DOW engine, you can expect to see an extremely gritty representation of World War II combat including advanced vehicle destruction, terrain usage, and much more. Company of Heroes 2 is a bit different in its base construction but still fun if you want to check it out.

Multiplayer: Yes
Buy It:
Steam: https://store.steampowered.com/app/228200/Company_of_Heroes/
Steam: https://store.steampowered.com/app/231430/

Halo Wars

First released in 2009, Halo Wars has finally made the long journey from the XBOX 360 in the form of Halo Wars: Definitive Edition. Halo Wars serves as a prequel to the original FPS series and allows you to duke it out with the covenant from a bird’s eye view. The base building is tight, but the ground combat is a lot of fun and kind of has the Starcraft vibe you might be looking for. If you want to take it even further then you might have a look at Halo Wars 2 which is available on the Microsoft Store right now.

Multiplayer: Yes
Buy It:
Steam: https://store.steampowered.com/app/459220/Halo_Wars_Definitive_Edition/
Microsoft Store: https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/p/halo-wars-definitive-edition/9nblggh52xvl
Microsoft Store: https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/p/halo-wars-2-standard-edition/c42kcjclx6mx

8 Bit Armies/8-Bit Hordes

Following the success of Star Wars: Empire at War and the absolute flop of Universe at War, Petroglyph, formed from the ashes of Westwood Studios released 8-Bit Armies which has a sort of ‘Lego’ feel to it. It’s a very basic RTS but it has one very important thing going for it: it brings back the feel of the classic Command and Conquer without the burden of a story. This game exists for skirmish and multiplayer, and if you want, you can also purchase 8-Bit Hordes to add a bit of sorcery to your military RTS. If you want to be spoon fed a raw RTS experience that will awaken the nostalgia centers of your brain, then here you are.

Multiplayer: Yes
Buy It:
Steam: https://store.steampowered.com/app/427250/8Bit_Armies/
Steam: https://store.steampowered.com/app/497850/8Bit_Hordes/

Warcraft

in 1994 Blizzard threw its hat into the RTS arena bringing us a game that would define many lives over the years. Eventually, the franchise morphed into the 3D: Reign of Chaos, and of course the famous World of Warcraft, but that’s another story. What’s important here is that you find something to give you that Warcraft fix. We have five great games here that will whet the appetite and give you that medieval experience.

Age of Empires

The original Age of Empires came out in 1997 alongside many other amazing RTS games and it was quickly followed by Age of Empires 2 which improved on it in every way possible. Tech upgrades in Age of Empires 1, 2, and 3 are dependent upon you progressing through ‘ages’. To simplify this, in AOE 2 you start in the Dark Ages, progress to the Feudal Age, and eventually the Imperial Age. Each age brings new technologies and new building designs which can give you a significant advantage over your opponent. While Age of Empires III does feature great online connectivity, AOE 1 and 2 have recently been remastered on the Microsoft Store and Steam. If you want to go back in time at optimal resolution, now would be the time.

Multiplayer: Yes
Buy It:
Steam: https://store.steampowered.com/app/1017900/Age_of_Empires_Definitive_Edition/
Steam: https://store.steampowered.com/app/221380/Age_of_Empires_II_2013/
Microsoft Store: https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/p/age-of-empires-definitive-edition/9njwtjsvgvlj
Microsoft Store: https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/p/age-of-empires-ii-definitive-edition/9njdd0jgpp2q

Stronghold

Firefly Studios brought us Stronghold in 1997 and along with its sequels, it brings us far more than an RTS. The game gives you the classic birds eye view of combat, but there are also many castle building elements. If you have ever wanted to design your own kingdom, this definitely gives you the chance but there are many other resources that you will need to manage. The building of troops for example requires blacksmithing and leatherworking. Fletching is also required if you want to build archers. Stronghold Crusader 2 takes the burden off of you to an extent by allowing you to recruit mercenaries rather than making you harvest the raw materials yourself. Each of these games features a robust single player campaign, among which Stronghold 2 was my favorite.

Multiplayer: Yes
Buy It:
Steam: https://store.steampowered.com/app/40950/Stronghold_HD/
Steam: https://store.steampowered.com/app/901735/The_Stronghold_Collection/
Steam: https://store.steampowered.com/app/47400/Stronghold_3_Gold/
Steam: https://store.steampowered.com/app/232890/Stronghold_Crusader_2/
GOG: https://www.gog.com/game/stronghold
GOG: https://www.gog.com/game/stronghold_crusader
GOG: https://www.gog.com/game/stronghold_crusader_2

Empire Earth

From 2001 to 2007 the Empire Earth franchise has provided us sufficient carnage and empire building in the medieval era. It is similar to many medieval RTS games of the era but it has two hooks:

-Advancement from the Dark Ages to the Nanotech Age
-Space Battles

Another thing I absolutely love about Empire Earth is the use of Priests which are similar to the monks from Age of Empires. The difference between them is that priests are always extremists of a sort and capable of literally bringing down plagues or volcanos upon the enemy. As you progress through the ages the priest takes on different forms, eventually becoming a homeless fanatic wearing a cardboard sign stating: ‘The End is Near’. Empire Earth is a unique take on a tried and true genre and one you want in your library.

Multiplayer: Yes
Buy It:
GOG: https://www.gog.com/game/empire_earth_gold_edition
GOG: https://www.gog.com/game/empire_earth_2_gold
GOG: https://www.gog.com/game/empire_earth_3

Spellforce

The first entry to the Spellforce series came in 2003 and the latest in 2017. Under the guidance of JoWood and THQ Nordic, Spellforce has brought us an experience more like Warcraft 3 than anything else. The game centers around heroes that you directly control, though you can use WSAD and zoom all the way to ground level if you wish. Once you finish character centric quests you return to a birds eye view and the game turns into a standard RTS. The direct control element makes it unique and you can continue to take control of those characters during the RTS portions. There is nothing quite like being able to explore the town you build on foot, and it’s something you would never find in Warcraft.

Multiplayer: Yes

Buy It:

Steam: https://store.steampowered.com/app/39540/SpellForce__Platinum_Edition/

Steam: https://store.steampowered.com/app/39550/SpellForce_2__Anniversary_Edition/

Steam: https://store.steampowered.com/app/311290/SpellForce_3/

Overwatch

For FPS players the world over, Overwatch has been the center of attention for several years and with good reason. Like a few other games in the genre it breaks the typical shooter mold by introducing classes, each of which have their own unique purpose on the battlefield. The thirty characters in the roster all featured their own backstories, some of which have drawn controversy over the years. Overwatch set itself apart from other shooters by requiring teamwork and forging friendships. Competitive and casual gamers alike have been enjoying the game, but now that many are stepping away from Blizzard, there are still a few other class based shooters to turn to.

Paladins

Paladins is a free to play team-based shooter from 2018 that brings some serious magic to the table. Overall, the game is skill based but your characters can be augmented with cards and other upgrades that change the way they traverse the battlefield and perform. If I had to describe it, I would call it a steampunk fantasy game. The game can be downloaded for free via Steam or Discord as well as other platforms including the PS3, Switch, and XBOX One. With frequent updates, it’s going to keep you interested for years. Plus, as a free game, it requires zero commitment on your part.

Multiplayer: Yes
Get It:
Steam: https://www.paladins.com/play-for-free

Team Fortress 2

Team Fortress started out in 1996 as a mods for Quake, but in 1999 it was released as a standalone product titled ‘Team Fortress Classic’. Finally, Team Fortress 2 was released and while it was once a buy to play game, it is now entirely free and brings a lot to the table. Like Overwatch it features several character classes including a sniper, the Heavy, Medic, and Spy. The game appears simple on the surface but each character brings different abilities that will hinder the enemy in varying ways. Getting to know the functions of each class will be vital to procuring victory for your team, but don’t expect to be an expert right out of the gate. The game is available via Steam, as would be expected from Valve.

 

Multiplayer: Yes
Get It:
Steam: https://store.steampowered.com/app/440/Team_Fortress_2/

Dirty Bomb

You may remember this game as ‘Extraction’. Renamed to ‘Dirty Bomb’, this game is a free to play multiplayer shooter set against the backdrop of London following a radiological attack. Of all the shooters I mention, this is the most modern looking and probably one of the prettiest. It has more of a modern vibe and 23 different classes to choose from once you unlock them. No matter which you have unlocked, they will fall into a specific category which will include: Objective Specialist, Fire Support, Medic, Assault, or Recon.

Multiplayer: Yes
Get It:
Steam: https://store.steampowered.com/app/333930/Dirty_Bomb/

 

Heroes of the Storm

Everyone like HoTS because it took the best characters and settings from the Blizzard game franchise and turned them into an online arena. If you’re not too overly attached to Blizzard at this point however, then you probably won’t mind playing with some other heroes. There are three great MOBAS listed here that you can use to easily replace your HoTS addiction, starting with the tried and true League of Legends.

League of Legends

This 2009 game wasn’t the first MOBA by far; it followed Demigod and DOTA but somehow launched the genre to even greater heights. League of Legends has long stood beside DOTA and DOTA 2 as a competitive title for tournaments and more. If features a slew of heroes including many free ones, which allows free players to fully enjoy the game. If you have the extra cash to burn you can invest in different heroes and skins, making it a more customized experience. The game itself has been considered toxic, especially as far as chat is concerned, but players above a certain level are allowed to participate in a tribunal which gives it some self-policing.

Multiplayer: Yes
Get It:
Homepage: https://signup.na.leagueoflegends.com/en/a2/signup/redownload?page_referrer=index

Smite

This is a bit of a different take on the MOBA franchise in that it is not presented in an isometric view. Instead, 2014’s ‘Smite’ brings you the action from a third person perspective while allowing oyu to select among a roster of 106 characters. Each character will belong to one of the fourteen pantheons including: Arthurian, Celtic, Chinese, Egyptian, Greek, Hindu, Japanese, Mayan, Norse, Polynesian, Roman, Slavic, Voodoo, and Yoruba. While the goal of the game is certainly to eliminate the enemy team, you will need to traverse the ‘jungle’ in between which is teeming with computer controlled monsters. Cyclops and Furies will make their play on you and keep you from progressing if you do not work as a team. Killing these monsters brings a substantial reward in the form of buffs that can be picked up by the player and used against the opposing team. The third person perspective of the game changes it as a MOBA entirely as fighting from ground level is an entirely different situation. Try something different; you might just like it.

Multiplayer: Yes
Get It:
Homepage: https://www.smitegame.com/download/

 

Hearthstone

Competitive online card games have always been a thing. This trend even started offline with the likes of Pokemon and Magic the Gathering. In the online world, one of the original collectable trading card games happened to be Legends of Norrath which was an intrinsic part of both Everquest and Everquest 2. Hearthstone was much the same, originally titled ‘Heroes of Warcraft’. Today it is both a highly popular CCG and an enemy of democracy, so where do you turn when you want to get competitive online?

Elder Scrolls Legends

If you like The Elder Scrolls then you’re in luck: Legends is a competitive card game set entirely in-universe. You have the opportunity to build a deck comprised of allies from all over the continent and you will get to embark on extensive campaign, all teeming with lore. You do, of course, get to take on other players which makes it even more fun. As a multiplatform game it can be enjoyed on PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, Android, iOS, Xbox One, Microsoft Windows, and Macintosh operating systems.

Multiplayer: Yes
Get It:
Steam: https://store.steampowered.com/app/364470/The_Elder_Scrolls_Legends/
Play Store: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.bethsoft.theelderscrollslegends&hl=en_US
Apple App Store: https://apps.apple.com/us/app/the-elder-scrolls-legends-ccg/id1084019358

Magic the Gathering: Arena

Do you remember Magic the Gathering from your days in elementary school? You may have been one of those kids who had a massive portfolio of cards that you played with at recess. Then again, you might have been one of those kids all ticked off that your parents wouldn’t let you buy a deck. Don’t worry: you can play now. Arena is probably the third online iteration of the game and while it’s not available on mobile as of yet, you can play it on Mac OS and Windows.

Multiplayer: Yes
Get It:
Home Page: https://magic.wizards.com/en/mtgarena

Shadowverse

If you want to jump into some new territory and play it on your mobile, then why not give Shadowverse a try? This is an anime themed CCG published by Gygames, and it is undoubtedly one of the most popular in Japan. In 2017 the game made its way to the United States and we’ve seen it released on multiple platforms including Windows PC. If you played the developer’s previous game, Rage of Bahamut then you might recognize some of the assets but that doesn’t take away from the fun in the least. As someone looking to split with Blizzard, a fresh start is always welcome, and Shadowverse may be a game unconnected to any franchises you currently know.

Multiplayer: Yes
Get It:
Steam: https://store.steampowered.com/app/453480/Shadowverse_CCG/
Android: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.cygames.Shadowverse&hl=en_US
iOS: https://apps.apple.com/us/app/shadowverse-ccg/id1091512762

 

World of Warcraft

We’re finally approaching the elephant in the room; the one that nearly everyone has at least dabbled in during the course of their lives. WoW has had an insurmountable impact on the gaming world, insomuch that even if you aren’t a gamer, you’ve heard of it. Celebrities and mortals alike have entered the world of Azeroth and fought against the Murlocks, cleared out the infested gold mines, and walked through the Dark Portal. The memories that have been forged in the town of Goldshire and the Horde lands beyond can never be replaced whether they are fresh in your mind from the last few years, or an intrinsic part of your childhood, but if it’s time to leave, then you have a few places you can land. There are plenty of MMORPG’s out there but we’ve handpicked a few that you might want to look at.

Final Fantasy XIV

Many who flee from the world of Azeroth often find themselves on the shores of Eozrea and it’s not a bad alternative if you can handle an MMO on rails. The game itself is amazing but one of the problems I’ve always had with it is that the content is locked behind story. In WoW you can travel wherever you please as long as you can handle the mobs, but in FFXIV you need to finish the main quest to progress through the world. That’s a little irritating for those who want to run around in a pseudo sandbox but it doesn’t take away from what the game is meant to be. It’s designed to be an engaging story with the ability to bring your friends along, and that’s exactly what it is. Though it’s from 2010 the game is beautiful, plays well, has multiple expansions, and dungeons that are second to none. To top all that off, it’s cross platform. Now, the problem with the cross platform play is that everything is platform specific, so if you purchase the game or an expansion on one platform you have to buy it on another. This also applies to the Steam and PC versions – if you buy an expansion as a standalone, not on Steam, then you cannot use the key on steam. Try not to make mistakes with purchases, but do enjoy the game!

Multiplayer: Yes
Buy It:
Steam: https://store.steampowered.com/app/39210/
Home Page: https://www.finalfantasyxiv.com/

Guild Wars 2

Guild Wars 2 takes us pretty far away from the original and into a world where the Charr have overtaken Ascalon and the majority of humans live in Divinity’s reach and the outlying settlements. The world is expansive and there are many beautiful environments to traverse as you progress through the main storyline. One of the most interesting features is the exclusion of a traditional quest system; the only thing even roughly similar to it is the personal story that carries you through a winding campaign, first culminating in the death of the elder dragon, Zhaitan, and then moving into a jungle based expansion. The game is action heavy and features an extensive crafting system that will satisfy every player looking to take a break from the combat. The game is more action heavy than WoW and it is driven by world events that include boss monsters and NPC driven gathering quests that will keep you busy for some time. With new content coming out regularly, it’s unlikely that the game will wind down anytime soon.

Guild Wars 2 - Ley line anomalies

Multiplayer: Yes
Get It:
Home Page: https://welcome.guildwars2.com/en/play-for-free

Rift

In 2011 Rift was created to compete with World of Warcraft and while it fell flat on many fronts there is still quite a bit to like about it. Particularly, if you are a WoW player looking for a similar experience then Rift is extremely alike in controls and combat. The class system is also a little more complicated and gives you far more to play with than WoW ever did, so get ready to create a custom character. My biggest complaint about Rift is that the world itself isn’t very convincing; many of the major cities are simply buildings or platforms with NPC’s standing around offering services; it is in no way as immersive as WoW, so keep that in mind going in. As a free game today, much of it seems to be locked behind a paywall unless you want to pay the monthly fee, but it kind of looks like a used car lot if you don’t want to fork any money over.

Multiplayer: Yes
Get it:
Glyph: https://www.trionworlds.com/rift/en/

Elder Scrolls Online

Set a thousand years before the Elder Scrolls universe as we know it, TESO shows us a Tamriel where Vivec City is still under construction and one where we can finally see the entire continent in all its glory. Do you want to cross the border from Morrowind into Vvardenfell? Actually, do you want to see mainland Morrowind for the first time? Activision finally made it possible and the game is worth checking out. The housing options are superb and some of the storylines are extremely deep. If you aren’t familiar with the TES style of storytelling then you might be in for a bit of a shock as you realize just how much darker this MMO is from WoW, Guild Wars 2, or pretty much any other out there. Still, it’s well worth the price of entry and there is plenty of more content to come.

Multiplayer: Yes
Buy It:
Home Page: https://www.elderscrollsonline.com/en-us/freeplay

Archeage

This 2014 title from Trion brings with it many of the elements that made up classic MMORPGs including the action bar system but it also turns the entire thing into a sandbox. The premise of archeage is to create a world where every single person matters, with their contributions to the world being more than significant. A blacksmith for example could forge the swords used by the largest guilds in the game to defeat the latest raid boss, but you could also become a real estate mogul if you’re into that sort of thing. The game came out a while ago but if you want to start fresh then you might want to have a look at Archeage unchained, the new Buy to Play version of the game that forces everyone to start fresh and removes the pay wall that had previously inhibited many players. Starting at just $25, Archage Unchained is a great gateway into the remastered version of the game, especially as a new player. Still, if you want to try it out for free, you can always try the F2P version before you make a commitment.

Multiplayer: Yes
Get It:
Home Page: https://www.trionworlds.com/archeage/en/
Steam: https://store.steampowered.com/app/1147660/ArcheAge_Unchained/

Aion

Admittedly, this one is a bit older but it’s still active and it’s still very fun. A very standard, action bar based MMO, this one adds flight mechanics and beautiful graphics. In addition to that there are massive raids that go far beyond the 25 players events we saw in WoW. The game is free to play now, giving you good enough reason to jump in and give it a try. As I said, it’s a bit older but if you’re looking for some mid-2000’s nostalgia to remedy the hole WoW left in your heart then you might as well give it a try.

Aion

Multipayer: Yes
Get It: https://www.aiononline.com/

For many of us, Blizzard has been a part of our lives for as long as we can remember whether we fought the Zerg under the guidance of Jim Raynor, or descended deep into the dungeons below New Tristram to defeat evil itself. Then there are those who lost many years of their lives building a new one in the lands of Azeroth. If you have decided that it’s time to move on, then the memories will always be there, but you will find that there are greener pastures elsewhere. If you still feel the need to play, however, I would go so far as to say that enjoying their older titles won’t net Blizzard any revenue. You’ve already paied for Diablo and Starcraft, and even Warcraft, so continuing to have a blast with them really isn’t going to hurt anyone. At the end of the day it’s your decision, but I hope that this list has given you some ideas and can help you to continue to get your fix whether you are ready to move on, or want to linger a little while longer in the worlds that defined your childhood and your early gaming career. Perhaps it’s time to make some new memories and explore a new generation of games.

The post Breaking up with Blizzard? Here are 36 Games to Replace your Library appeared first on MMOGames.com.

WoW Wednesday: Hallow’s End Has Come for 2019!

At last, the bells have tolled! Shelter your weak, your young, and your old; each of you shall pay the final sum! Cry for mercy, Hallow’s End has come! With Halloween right around the corner, my favorite Holiday returns to Azeroth to curse the world with devilish glee. Originally created as a harvest festival for the native Lordaeronians known as the ‘Wicker Festival,’ the date also became infamous as the exact date the Forsaken were released from their enslavement to the Scourge. Celebrated by both the Horde and the Alliance, revelers now gather candy, wear spooky costumes, and keep Azeroth safe from the spirit of a dark crusader….

The season comes to life all across the wide World of Warcraft from the always loved (or hated) Headless Horseman dungeon event, to trick or treating events throughout the world. Tricky Treats are the unique currency of the holiday, and can be used to purchase a slew of toys, pets, and special items to celebrate the season. Most of it takes place outside the gates of Stormwind, for the Alliance, or in the past version of the Undercity for the Horde.

Adventurers in the land of Azeroth have a lot to do as the holiday rolls around, as the meta achievement [Hallowed Be Thy Name] is one of the prerequisites for [What a Long, Strange Trip Its Been…], and will take you through all four continents of Azeroth and the two different timelines of Outland, as well as saving the poor villages of Azeroth from the accursed Headless Horseman; a maddened Knight of the Silver Hand who believes he is the last living man on Azeroth and the rest of the world are undead. No matter your choice of activity in Hallow’s End, there’s tons to do.

For those looking to get the most out of the Holiday, you can cross the world of Azeroth to complete [Hallowed Be Thy Name] and still attain most of the awards intrinsic to the holiday. All of which we’ll detail below.

[Tricks and Treats of Azeroth] will see you crossing the world to every single friendly inn, and trick or treating at their Candy Buckets. You can track this achievement’s completion by tracking [Tricks and Treats of Eastern Kingdoms][Tricks and Treats of Kalimdor] and [Tricks and Treats of Outland]. While there are Tricks and Treats achievements for the other lands of Azeroth, they aren’t necessary for completing the meta-achievement. They are the easiest way, however, to gather Tricky Treats for other rewards in Hallow’s End. Visiting just one Candy bucket will also reward you with [Trick or Treat!].

[The Savior of Hallow’s End] requires players to complete the Shade of the Horseman event. Lower level players can participate in the Shade of the Horseman event in low-level villages; Goldshire, Kharanos, and Azure Watch will come under siege in Alliance lands, while Razor Hill, Falconwing Square and Brill will feel the Horseman’s wrath for the Horde. Players will be charged in putting out fires and bringing the Shade down to earth in order to save the town. After the fires have been extinguished you can return to a nearby Costumed Orphan Matron and receive a Crudely Wrapped Gift! These will contain masks, candy, ride-able objects and more, some of which are necessary for the Hallow’s End achievements.

[Rotten Hallow] is the last of the quest achievements necessary for [Hallowed Be Thy Name], requiring you to inflict tricks instead of treats upon the enemy faction. Deliver stink bombs and extinguish the Wickerman of the opposing faction while beating back their similar efforts upon your own Capitol City.

WoW Hallow's End 1

[Check Your Head] requires you to stick a Weighted Jack-o’-Lantern on one of each race from both the Horde and the Alliance.  Jack-o’-Lanterns can be looted from Crudely Wrapped Gifts or the Headless Horseman encounter.

The following achievements are dependent on your gathering Tricky Treats:

[Out With It] requires you to eat so many Tricky Treats that you get an Upset Tummy debuff. The amount needed to make your character sick is random, but you’ll generally require less than five.

[G.N.E.R.D. Rage] needs the G.N.E.R.D.S. treat that can come from either a Handful of Tricky Treats from candy buckets or can be purchased for 2 Tricky Treats at holiday vendors. Under the effects of G.N.E.R.D.S., you’ll need to gain 10 honorable kills against the enemy faction. This is easily doable in either Alterac Valley, Isle of Conquest or in open world PvP.

[The Masquerade] requires you to be transformed by other players into specific costumes by a Hallowed Wand. These can be purchased for 2 Tricky Treats each.

[That Sparkling Smile] requires you to use a Tooth Pick, which also costs 2 Tricky Treats.

The last two achievements can be accrued from fighting the Headless Horseman, which all characters from Level 23 onward can queue for. The Headless Horseman encounter is only available during Hallow’s End and is known for many incredibly rare cosmetic drops. Two of these drops, the Sinister Squashling pet and the Hallowed Helm, are required for [Sinister Calling]. If your luck is poor, you can also purchase both of them for 300 Tricky Treats.

Hallow's End

Last, but certainly not least is [Bring Me The Head of… Oh Wait], which requires you to kill the Headless Horseman once in his queue-able encounter. It’s also recommended that you work on farming the Headless Horseman daily for his pet, cosmetic, and mount drop, on top of the item level appropriate loot that he can drop for max level players.

This isn’t to say that there isn’t more to the holiday. There are a multitude of pets, masks, costumes, pet costumes, toys, and the ever-elusive Headless Horseman’s Mount to tantalize your inner collector throughout the holiday. And that is only scratching the surface! A multitude of achievements still remain for those looking to increase their count, from collecting all of the masks in [A Mask For All Occassions] to the rest of Azeroth’s Candy buckets in Northrend, the Cataclysm and Pandaria and even finding Pepe’s spookiest attire in [A Frightening Friend].

No matter how you intend to spend the holiday, this year the festivities are available from October 18th through to the 1st of November, giving you plenty of time to harass the Horseman for his rare steed.

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Games Like World of Warcraft in 2019

For more than a decade now World of Warcraft has dominated the MMORPG genre and helped shape the development of the entire genre. But nothing gold can stay. The bad news is that there are very few AAA MMORPGs being developed anymore. The good news is that there are still quite a few amazing ones out there you can play right now. Below is a list of games like World of Warcraft that you can download and jump into right now. It isn’t in any particular order, we wanted to mix in a variety of options to try to cover what everyone might be looking for. We did a similar list back in 2015 but felt it was time to give the topic another look.

 

Final Fantasy XIV

ffxiv anniversary

Final Fantasy XIV (FFXIV) may very well be the best MMORPG that is currently available on the market. It has had three amazing expansions, the most recent being Shadowbringers in July 2019. Shadowbringers was praised by many fans of the game to be the best MMORPG expansion there has ever been. On Metacritic the expansion has a critic score of 91 (out of 100) and a user score of 8.9 (Out of 10). This puts it in the number one spot for best PC game of 2019 on Metacritic.

Something that makes FFXIV stand out from other MMORPGs is that you are able to level all classes and jobs on one character. So, if you’re the type of person who enjoys trying out everything you won’t have to roll up a new character to do it. On the other hand, if you like having a lot of alts FFXIV may not be for you. This is a dungeon-based game and getting through the storyline will require you to complete dungeons.

 

Tera

Tera is a fantasy MMORPG that came out in North America and Europe in 2012, then released on consoles worldwide in April 2018. It uses action combat and a non-target battle system. This basically means that you have to make sure you’ve got your enemy in front of you in the cross-hair cursor in order to execute an attack. For anyone who is used to the old fashioned tab targeting that is usually found in MMOs this can be a difficult hurdle to overcome. Those that do get past it enjoy Tera for its many unique and interesting classes and the constant updates that are coming to the game despite its age. It’s clear that Tera still has many more years of life left in it so don’t let its age scare you away.

 

Guild Wars 2

Guild Wars 2 is without a doubt the most beautiful MMORPG there has ever been. It is absolutely gorgeous and the developers at ArenaNet know it. Fashion is a big part of the Guild Wars 2 experience, so much so that the game has the nickname Fashion Wars. It is broadly considered a more casual friendly MMO than most but that doesn’t mean there aren’t challenges to be found. It’s a great game if you prefer to play your MMOs solo. The story is designed with a solo player in mind but there are still tons of opportunities for groups to play together too.

So far, Guild Wars 2 has had 2 expansions but it also gets content updates every 3 months. These include a brand new zone, another part in the ongoing story, and lots of beautiful weapon skins It also has a lively PvP scene with two different types of PvP to pick from.

 

Runescape

For many MMO players today Runescape was their first love. The game has been around since 2001, making it even older than World of Warcraft. But, just because it’s nearly 20 years old doesn’t mean it is slowing down or that it looks 20 year old. It has had a number of updates over the years as technology has advanced.

Runescape isn’t for everyone though. The game puts a big emphasis on grinding which can be really unattractive to a lot of people. A lot of people also say that the community isn’t very newbie friendly. Which can be quite difficult to overcome if you’re looking for a communal experience from your MMORPG.

 

Blade & Soul

Midnight Skypetal Plains Raid

Blade & Soul is sometimes called the World of Warcraft of Asia and despite its massive popularity in the East it rarely grabs headlines in the West. Which is unfortunate because it is a very good game that is a blast to play. It has been so popular in Asia that it had a 13 episode anime series adaptation. There is also an incredibly popular mobile version of the game. It stands out on this list for being more martial arts focused with classes like Kung Fu Master, Zen Archer, and Blade Master. If you’re looking for a completely unfamiliar MMORPG experience then give Blade & Soul a try.

 

Elder Scrolls Online

Despite its rough launch Elder Scrolls Online has gone on to become one of the most successful and most popular MMORPGs on the market right now. It is without a doubt one of the top 3 MMORPGs you can play right now. It is full of content that is accessible to both groups and solo players alike. It is still getting regular content updates with new expansions and DLC. For those familiar with Tamriel and the Elder Scrolls universe, the game takes place a millennium before Skyrim, 800 years before the events of Morrowind and Oblivion. If you’re looking for an MMORPG that is guaranteed to still have a long life ahead of itself then ESO may be the game for you. In a recent panel at PAX Australia ESO’s Creative Director said that Zenimax is planning to continue to support the game for a long time and that they have development plans through 2020 and beyond.

 

Rift

When it launched Rift was aiming to be a WoW killer and they weren’t shy about it with their advertising either. It is perhaps the most World of Warcraft like MMORPG that’s on the market without being a Chinese clone. Unfortunately it has had its share of struggles through the years and it has been relatively quiet since Gamigo bought it and developer Trion Worlds in October 2018. However, the core game and its expansions do still exist and it is all extremely playable. The playerbase may not be what it once was, but for a game that is 8 years old and has moved on to an entirely new developer it is still going strong.

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Blizzcon Protest Now Being Organized

On Friday, after 5 when most news writers, including MMOGames had packed up and gone home for the day Blizzard made a statement that backpeddled their heavy handed ban of professional Hearthstone player Blitzchung. Now a Blizzcon protest is being organized by the non-profit organization Fight for the Future and the Protest Blizzcon subreddit. Yes, there’s now a subreddit.

The Protest Blizzcon subreddit has a GoFundMe campaign running at the moment with the plan of getting hundreds of Hong Kong flags for protesters at Blizzcon. They’ve already raised $3,285 though they were only asking for $3,000. The campaign is still running so there is still time to donate if you’re interested.

“This is not going away,” said Evan Greer, deputy director of Fight for the Future, “Blizzard, and other companies who are engaging in censorship on behalf of an authoritarian government, are not going to get away with it. They have no idea what kind of Internet shitstorm they’ve unleashed. We’re going to make an example out of them to make sure that all companies know that throwing human rights and free expression under the bus to make some extra money will not be tolerated.”

Dayton Young, Product Director at Fight for the Future, added, “Gamers deserve to know which companies are willing to engage in censorship on behalf of authoritarian regimes and which companies will defend basic freedom of expression. Blizzard has engaged in blatant censorship and should immediately reverse its decision to ban Ng Wai Chung, restore his tournament winnings, and repair its relationships with the livestream casters. No gamers should be punished for expressing their views on politics and human rights. And no game company should ever ban or penalize players for advocating for their own political freedom. We call on all game developers and publishers to make a public commitment to support the rights of their customers, employees, and fans to freely express their beliefs in America, in Hong Kong, in China, and around the globe.”

In case you missed it, on Friday Blizzard made a statement saying that Blitzchung would be receiving his tournament prizes and that his ban, along with the ban on the two casters has been reduced to six months. They also said that Blizzard’s decision to punish them had nothing to do with their business in China. But, Blizzard fans and gamers were unconvinced by this statement, especially as a social media post from Blizzard on Weibo was translated and it vows to protect the national dignity of China was being shared on Reddit, Twitter, and other English focused social media sites.

 

It’s unclear right now how many people will be attending the Blizzcon Protest but we will continue to follow the news as it comes.

 

Source: Fight for the Future, Protest Blizzcon Subreddit

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