Neverwinter is a successful MMORPG released in 2013 and developed by Cryptic Studios. Of course, hardcore fans of the ARPG genre know of Neverwinter Nights – an isometric ARPG series created by the legendary Bioware and Obsidian Entertainment based on Dungeons & Dragons rules.
However, the Neverwinter MMORPG has detached from its predecessors and ditches the isometric perspective for a more hack and slash third-person one.
It’s not a generic MMORPG in any sense of the world, and players might find more enjoyment if they treat it as a story based co-op experience. Unlike many other MMORPGs, Neverwinter chooses to focus more on the story than the grinding aspects.
Still, there is a lot to spend money on since it is a free to play title; specific actions might be more tedious, but still possible without coughing up real money.
Games like Neverwinter have to keep up with the content to keep the game fresh and exciting while balancing old content with the new one to keep the gameplay fair.
On release, the game was based on a modified version of 4th edition D&D rules; however, with updates, the game has seen a slew of changes to the playable characters and the world to bring it more in line with the 5th edition D&D.
Let’s take a look at other MMORPGs that share similarities with Neverwinter.
1. Dungeons & Dragons Online
Players familiar with traditional D&D perhaps know about this one. DDO is an MMORPG that was released in 2006 developed by Turbine and later passed on to Standing Stone Games.
Apart from sharing D&D rules DDO and Neverwinter are different games in terms of the gameplay loop. While Neverwinter strongly emphasizes the story, DDO chooses to keep the tried and test WoW MMORPG formula but with real-time combat.
However, being a game released in 2006, players might consider some elements in the game dated. For example, the player doesn’t automatically gain lost HP but must visit specific locations to do so. Another example would be how the game doesn’t reward players any XP for killing monsters; instead, players must rely on finishing quests obtained from various NPCs in the world.
The game has gained new content over the years and, as such, has had to adjust its level cap from 10 to 30, allowing players more rewards to unlock and quests to enjoy.
There are over a dozen total races in the game (including paid content) and fourteen classes to play as, allowing for various playstyles, making the game best enjoyed in a co-op experience.
DDO also features a reincarnation mechanic that enables players to respec their character, trading points with different attributes to change playstyles or builds; this is reasonably common in RPGs with a lot of content and replayability and is more than welcome here.
The game is a pleasant experience, and those coming off Neverwinter looking for a more traditional MMO experience with similar mechanics will feel right at home here.
2. Lord Of The Rings Online
Everyone’s heard of Lord Of The Rings, an epic fantasy tale revolving around the classic good and evil trope. LOTR Online is an MMORPG that was launched in 2007 and has been constantly updated with new content since.
The game featured four playable races originally but introduced a couple of new ones with its regular expansions. The gameplay loop is pretty similar to other MMORPGs; players can interact with NPCs throughout the world to gain access to quests that will allow them to gain experience, which can be invested in levelling up the player character.
There are minor differences in the game to bring it more in line with its LOTR setting. The game doesn’t feature HP; instead of calling it morale and mana is called power. Following the lore of LOTR, the game emphasizes gathering ingredients, cooking and farming.
Players can also acquire their own estate and decorate their house as they please, allowing for personalization that fans of LOTR are no doubt pleased to have.
Since its release, LOTRO has added new content with updates. For example, the Mines of Moria update introduced Legendary items that gain XP the same as the player wielding them, allowing them to scale with time and increase their power. Likewise, riders of Rohan introduced mounted combat and so on.
LOTRO is an underrated MMORPG that features a vast world with enough content to keep on engaged for a long time.
In addition, the community is amicable and pleasant to newcomers, and the game features a story exciting enough for you not to worry about other players anyway.
3. Blade and Soul
Blade and Soul is a Korean MMORPG developed by NCSOFT. The game focuses on fantasy and martial arts for its main gameplay loop.
I have noticed before that Korean developers seem to exclusively work on free to play MMORPG games that feature heavy pay to win mechanics and microtransactions. This title, unfortunately, is no different.
Blade and Soul features a third-person perspective, and players like any MMORPG have to interact with the NPCs to get quests and gain XP/currency to invest in themselves to move on to more challenging areas.
However, the most appealing factor of the game is its combat system. Unlike most Korean titles that feature isometric or 2D combat, Blade and Soul is closer to Devil May Cry in that sense because the action is very fast-paced and focuses on players successfully pulling off combos to win a battle.
The first part of the game is strictly PvE, but once enough story is progressed, players can also unlock PvP modes which would have been more fun if the game had Skill based matchmaking, but you can’t have everything, right?
The game was initially released in 2012, and in 2018, Blade & Soul Revolution was released for mobile platforms. The game still has a consistent player base, however small, and I’d advise strictly free to play players to steer clear of this title.
Bluehole Studios initially released the Exiled Realm of Arborea in 2011, to a favorable response by critics and gamers. Tera follows the same gameplay loop as other MMORPGs with crafting and questing.
However, the game separates itself from other generic titles by having massive action set pieces and allowing players to move fluidly through the battlefield, emphasizing dodging enemy attacks.
Tera has seven races to choose from and thirteen classes making for a diverse playstyle with unique abilities and stats. But, more is not necessarily always better as some classes and races might end up becoming redundant; thankfully, that’s not the case with Tera. Each race has its minor buff; however, it’s not game-breaking and is very well balanced.
Since its release, the game has seen many expansions and reworks and was even released for PS4 and Xbox One in 2018 with free upgrades to the next generation.
That’s always a good sign for console players; there are several other changes seen to the game and currency changes not allowing players to amass a lot of currency by using exploits.
5. Black Desert Online
Black Desert Online is another Korean MMORPG title that was released in 2015. While the game is majorly free to play, some editions can be paid for that allow access to items making grind a little less tedious.
Unlike other MMORPGs, BDO features gameplay more akin to third-person shooters like Gears of War. However, like Blade and Souls, the game emphasizes the importance of dodging incoming attacks and using combos to activate skills.
Players can also engage in mounted combat like LOTRO and have a more complex system of breeding certain types of horses to gain access to legendary mounts; however, these mounts are not permanent for the player and can die in battle.
BDO is famous for its immersion and sandbox nature. There are many weather effects in the game that breathes life into the world, like the fog, for example, which allows players to play more stealthily or significant scale events like typhoons that affect every player in the world.
BDO is a combination that shares elements from most of the games on the list. MMORPG players will surely appreciate the beauty and vastness of the world of Black Desert.
6. Path of Exile
Whenever I write about MMORPGs, I make it a point to mention Path of Exile. While the game doesn’t feature third-person action-oriented gameplay, it’s still a masterpiece in MMORPG game design and perhaps has the most prominent player base of any game on this list.
Of course, if you’re looking for a more action-packed title, I’d suggest looking at the four titles above. Path of Exile is an isometric ARPG, very much similar to Diablo games and features a similar gameplay loop; the exciting part is the build variety that players have access to.
Players progress a skill tree that allows them to use items and gain access to abilities that enable them to clear the more challenging dungeons and gain access to more loot that will enable them to grow even more powerful.
Not every player might gravitate towards games like PoE, but regardless it’s still one of the best MMORPG experiences out there.
7. Neverwinter Nights Persistent Worlds
Lastly, Neverwinter Nights, the classic title, also features a community-driven mod that allows for multiplayer gameplay.
Being community-driven, it’s not as susceptible to greedy monetization allowing for a smooth playthrough, but also, it’s not as polished as other MMO titles.
Still, if you’re looking for the more classic Neverwinter gameplay, you can’t go wrong with the Persistent Worlds mod.
MMORPGs can be great fun if they have enough content and a player base. Unfortunately, due to the nature of corporate sustenance (read: greed), not every game is fair in terms of the cost of items or the grind required to obtain items otherwise.
However, the titles listed above more or less deliver some amount of enjoyable time before players can decide whether they wish to invest in the game or move on to a better one.
Want to find out similar suggestions for other games as well? Visit our Games Like hub.