The Elder Scrolls Online, World of Warcraft, and Final Fantasy XIV are currently among the most popular MMOs out there right now. With so many top-tier games to choose from, how do you pick which one to play? Do you want a good storyline? Do you look for the best combat system? What about content?
There are so many things to consider, but fortunately, we’re going to make it a little easier for you. We’ll be focusing more on the content and gameplay, so there’s no talking about the currencies (FFXIV Gil, ESO and WoW’s gold), nor any leveling up or farming guides. Each of us has different preferences, so we’ll just explore the games’ strengths and weaknesses and let you choose for yourself.
World of Warcraft
By virtue of being the “senior” among the three, we’ll go with World of Warcraft first. WoW boasts massive content, a huge world to explore, and hours upon hours of gameplay.
- Has the most content
- Good combat system
- Class customization (to an extent)
- No benefit to exploration
- Raids are a little daunting for beginners
- Content updates usually rehash old content in new environments
WoW has been going on for fifteen years. It’s has had seven expansions, bringing the level cap higher and higher to its current total of 120. Each expansion also added quests and additional activities to do. However, fatigue may be setting in, as some players have noted that new content updates are getting a little lackluster. Progression also gets slow at a certain point, and leveling becomes a sluggish, slog to 120. After that, there’s not much to do afterward, especially if you don’t like raiding and dungeoneering.
World of Warcraft is for those who won’t mind rather repetitive content and quests. Those who love raiding with others or with a guild will also enjoy this game. It is not for those who like good stories (though some zone questlines may tickle your fancy), nor those looking for varied content.
Final Fantasy XIV
FFXIV is the middle child who suffered a life-threatening accident only to be revived three years later, bigger and better than ever before. In other words, it shut down soon after its first launch due to a slew of negative reviews. In 2013, it got re-released with the subtitle A Realm Reborn, which players received more favorably. Now, it’s enjoying a sizable number of consistent subscribers who enjoy the game.
- Good storyline
- Varied quests
- Many, many activities are available for players
- No class customization
- Combat is slower compared to the other two
For the record, progression is tied to the main quest. While those who like good storylines won’t mind, those who do not could end up quitting before getting to the better content. It’s neither strength nor weakness, as you can decide whether it’s something you want to sit through or not. Anyway, since the story is an important part of the game, it kind of makes or breaks the FFXIV. It has a trial version, so you may see if you can sit through the story or not. If you can, great! If not, that’s fine, you can try the other games on this list instead.
Elder Scrolls Online
Hailing from the acclaimed makers of the Elder Scrolls series, the youngest entry of the three featured games is as good as it gets. It has solid gameplay, and while it doesn’t have the scope of content that the other two have, it more than makes up for it in other ways. Like FFXIV, it had a troubled first release but was better received the second time around.
- Solid combat system
- Good progression system
- Class customization
- Non-linear gameplay
- Works better as a single-player game
The game’s non-linear gameplay allows players to go wherever they want. Enemies they encounter will have levels scaled to the player’s level. It also has a different combat system than the other two, being more action-based. The two other games have tab-targeting systems, which could be something that you don’t like.
World of Warcraft doesn’t have a player housing feature. It’s something to consider, especially if you like that kind of feature. ESO may be more appealing to fans of the series, similar to Final Fantasy XIV. There’s also the graphics, and whether you prefer the cartoony look (WoW), the anime look (FFXIV), or the realistic look (ESO).
Then there are the subscriptions to figure out. WoW is on a subscription basis, while the other two are free to play with limitations. You can subscribe for access to more content, as well as receive other advantages. Otherwise, you may try them out for a bit to see if they fit your preferences.
If in-game economics is your thing, doing some research on that topic would definitely help. FFXIV currency can be farmed without even fighting once. You can just focus all your time in leveling your professions and crafting things to sell. In ESO, you’re more likely to use your crafted items as there is no auction house. Player owned shops are tied to guilds. WoW’s crafting system is abysmally bad and not even worth mentioning.
At any rate, go and pick the one that tickles your fancy the most! Sometimes, you really need to try it out for yourself to make a decision. Just make sure to enjoy the game!