The term â€œWoW cloneâ€ gets thrown around a lot when it comes to MMO games. Much in the way that every game with a first person view of a huge gun is not a Doom clone, there are plenty of MMORPGs that deliver a great gaming experience without being a copy of the Blizzard behemoth.
Even so, there is no denying that the most popular MMORPG for the last few years has been World of Warcraft, so it makes sense that weâ€™d see a few concepts shared between different titles. Since thereâ€™s more than one place that sells hamburgers, it only makes sense that thereâ€™s more than one place that offers the WoW-like experience.
Video games feel like one of the only things for which saying â€œif itâ€™s free you canâ€™t complainâ€ doesnâ€™t seem to apply. This counts double in the world of online gaming, where free-to-play games rise and fall on how happy they keep their communities. Talisman Online has a small but highly active community, and for the most part that group is pretty satisfied.
Account creation for Talisman is a little frustrating, mostly because they break a few basic internet rules, like emailing you your password in plain text. Once, I got over that and created myself a character, Talisman does a pretty good job of making sure you have a lot of unique content to start off with. The game places you in the â€œAncient Orientâ€ against a dark evil that you must vanquish. Instead of allowing to choose one faction or another to play for, youâ€™re stuck being the good guys.
A good part of the game feels like it could be played solo, but once you leave the starting area for your character you can team up with whoever is willing. The battle system feels almost identical to World of Warcraft, right down to the starting placement of attacks and the hovering icons for NPCâ€™s that have things for you to do. The soundtrack that accompanies this game feels like it is straight out of Final Fantasy, including the more aggressive but still 16-bit battle music.
If youâ€™ve got some time to kill and want to jump into something a little different, Talisman Online is free to play and requires very little in terms of hardware.
Given the highly social nature of MMORPGs, most of these games do very little to integrate with your existing social networks. Itâ€™s not hard to see why â€” maintaining an online community yourself gives you the ability to control what is being said (this is good for keeping conduct above board) and see everything as it happens. Allods Online surprised me out of the box by offering my account creation to just come from Facebook, as though I were playing a smaller, web-based game.
The basic concepts behind Allods are all very familiar. Youâ€™ve got two battling factions to choose from, and neither of the races on either side offer any appreciable benefit during gameplay. Allods has a ton of class types, and limits certain races to certain classes initially. Once you are in the game, you go through a tutorial style first mission that gradually acclimates you to the rules of the game and the placement of the keys for everything. By the time you have joined the rest of the world you find yourself with a few levels worth of experience and the required skills to play the game.
Allods introduced some interesting concepts that arenâ€™t found in a lot of other MMOâ€™s. The spellcaster classes, for example, have access to spells early on that can be stored for combat later. Since one of the key PVP advantages to playing against casters is the ability to get up close and personal before they can charge up most of their powerful spells, this concept introduces a great dynamic that helps shake up the stereotypes found in a lot of MMOâ€™s today. Since it is free to play and requires very little of your system, Allods Online is a great game for any fan of WoW style gameplay to check out.
Star Wars: The Old Republic
Thereâ€™s nothing wrong with Azeroth or anything, but sometimes you just need a few lightsabers in your life. Star Wars: The Old Republic (SWTOR) takes your character throughout what fans of the Star Wars franchise affectionately refer to as a stroll down memory lane. A game like this makes perfect sense, especially since Star Wars already has all of the hard parts laid out for you. Thereâ€™s a vast yet extremely detailed universe, more races than you can count, and a clear cut line in the sand between one faction and another. Itâ€™s as if George Lucas planned the whole thing! All you need to make it work is a game publisher clever enough to shape the game around concepts that MMO gamers were already familiar with and youâ€™d have a hit, right?
While it is pretty clear that elements of the character creation, battle system, and even the grind-style missions arenâ€™t exactly original thoughts, thereâ€™s plenty of original content in SWTOR. The game features a completely unique set of plot points for each class type, though by staggering them through the same basic areas thereâ€™s still plenty of interaction between the classes throughout the game.
Recent updates like the Legacy system allow users to create entire families with stories that link into one another, allowing for the idea of a personal back story to flourish. The game itself has seen a number of attempts to keep users playing the game, including the move to Free to Play (with some restrictions).
Next page: Two more games like World of Warcraftâ€¦