MMOs for Roleplayers - which are left besides WoW?

Yoho, this question is hopefully straightforward enough. People are leaving for Final Fantasy I heard, but is there anything else on the market? Any hopes for New World or is FFXIV the answer?


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probably not

ESO, SWTOR, FF14 and GW2 are your core options for alternate MMOs besides WoW. Obviously FF14’s seeing a hard spike in popularity right now for a variety of reasons. I’ve got little familiarity with ESO RP but Telaryn seems to think it’s pretty okay and I trust their judgement.


There’s very few/no MMO’s that have the same kind of feature set WoW has that supports roleplaying.

Even small things like speech bubbles or the ability to sit in a chair are missing from quite a few of the competitors, and they are hugely conducive to roleplaying.

I’ve tried most of the competitors and I end up coming back to WoW for just how good it’s QoL aspects are for roleplaying. Not to mention the communities in the other games are small and often times hidden.


FFXIV is a lot of fun to level through and very good if you like playing barbie doll dress up with your character (like I do…), but as Seaxwulf intimated, its quality of life features for RP are basically non-existent, outside of mods.

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Still blows my mind that something so basic as speech bubbles is overlooked.


Roleplayed last night in ESO with 7 of my homies (open world + not lame instanced player housing :sunglasses:)

I think that ESO has some let downs (primary complaint from people is combat), but IMO they’re outweighed by the game’s positives and I enjoy it a good bit - I do recommend it, and it has some decent facilities for RP too, albeit lacking in others that WoW might provide

I’ve played a good bit of GW2 too (I’ve a few max level characters & I’ve played through the expansion stories at least) and it’s pretty decent. I enjoy the event system in the open world and feels better than WoW’s world quest system, though personally the game does feel a little on the stale side right now while waiting for End of Dragons. The RP is also pretty difficult to find, and again I imagine a lot of it is in private instances, but you can find small crumbs of it on the Piken Square server (though the last RP I saw a few days ago was entirely in French, so)

Unfortunately the poor reality is that WoW is pretty arguably the best platform for roleplayers as a whole, but if you’re set on moving somewhere, they’re the two I’d urge trying (though the former more than the latter at the moment, especially as Blackwood just came out). I can’t really speak to FFXIV because I’ve not tried it


There are still small RP communities in GW2 and LOTRO, but from my experience it’s very small an insular these days, nothing like the glory days. LOTRO EU notably has its own AA equivalent called Laurelin Archives, and the events have reasonable attendance, but I don’t know if there’s any casual RP left.

Haven’t tried ESO or SWTOR RP so can’t tell. I’ll note that I’ve never seen any MMO RP community as large and diverse as Argent Dawn, though. I’ll miss it.

FFXIV is experiencing a surge of popularity, and there is a sizable RP community on the Chaos (EU) data center, with Omega as the unofficial RP server, but it seems that insular, group-centered RP is more popular there than open-world RP. I’ve only just joined their RP community’s Discord and attended a small tavern event yesterday, and now we’re discussing plans to do more open world RP in the light of the influx of players.

There is also a quite sizable AD diaspora in FFXIV, as it turns out — some of whom are in the Chaos RP community. I’d like to help build bridges there and let the ADers reconnect to each other in a new world.

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ESO for RP, imo. Quality on life is better than WoW in many ways, from housing to how big and open world is.

And less vague lore with not that many grey areas.


This was my biggest beef with SWTOR, before the whole Eternal Empire timeskip issue, honestly.
I don’t get why so many games don’t go for the superior option :pensive:

ESO has a good setting and excellent tools for RP from character customisation to outfits, the ability to equip literally anything regardless of class, and other cosmetics. Emotes, personalities which modify existing emotes / idle stances, so on and so forth. Every NPC faction’s gear becomes available eventually through crafting, with different variations for light, medium, and heavy armour. You can mix and match things to your heart’s desire.

Here’s my gothic (as in the 15th century German art style :nerd:) knight

But also the gameplay isn’t for everyone and it turns many people off. Those who can get past it often end up loving it. The story is pretty stellar - it’s one of the better Elder Scrolls games out there. It has added so much to the world building of Elder Scrolls it’s genuinely insane.

It has an in game codex for every lore book you’ve ever picked up in the world, and every patch adds tons of new “contraband” items, i.e. mundane items you obtain from pickpocketing / stealing out in the world that have lore flavour text attached to them, adding little bits of mundane info to the world to flesh things out, because it gives insight into the kind of items that normal people possess since you literally steal it from them. Different NPC types have less/more valuable items giving further insight into what different social classes have access to. The items themselves aren’t literally in-universe contraband, it’s just the game mechanic term for the items you steal and can sell off for gold at fences to make gold via thieving.

UESP lists all the contrabands to date and you can sort by category or alphabetical order in the links in the page.


Compared to alternatives I’ve played, FFXIV has some features conductive to RP:

  • The ability to sit on chairs and benches, by approaching the chair/bench and typing /sit.
  • An RP flag (/roleplaying).
  • Lack of sharding (looking at you, GW2 megaservers).
  • A variety of animated emotes and the ability to adjust your idle pose.
  • A variety of gear and the ability to show/hide your weapon and headgear.
  • The ability to level multiple classes on one character, thus gaining access to an even wider variety of gear. (Again, it peeved me to have to keep three versions of the same character in GW2 for different armor types.)

I tried ESO, but the gameplay and initial story didn’t really catch my interest and I barely know anything about the setting (though this applies to all MMOs on Elenthas’s list except for GW2, which I played a lot back in the day), so I uninstalled it very early.


Oh for sure. And I do enjoy FF14, the story’s great. Although Stormblood has yet to blow me away in it’s early stuff.

But WoW’s QoL stuff is just… so much nicer. I know I harp on about it but SPEECH BUBBLES ARE SO IMPORTANT. Especially in busy crowds. I basically gave up trying to RP in FF14 outside of smaller groups, because straining my eyes to read through the chat log, even with the audio-ping for your name, was murdering me.


They really, really are. And now that I’ve used the Listener addon, I can’t imagine life without it in other MMOs.

Already I missed another RPer replying to me yesterday, even in a very small group, because there was no speech bubble and I missed the name in the chat log.

I also miss RP profiles, which have the added bonus of letting you change your IC name without paying for a character name change.

And easy transmogging for negligible sums of gold.

And many, many other things.

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The most annoying thing is, WoW is so decidedly average at so many other things.

Emotes? Terrible. There’s so many NPCs have, with comparable body types to PCs, that we just Do Not Have.
Sitting? Don’t get me started. Hell, expanding on the first point too; City of Heroes, a game which ALSO came out in 2004, ALSO had code akin to playing on-fire Jenga while on fire, had a whole raft of player emotes with options, from sitting, leaning, dances, actions, reactions, heck even different poses for when a character was flying!

Don’t get me started on the limitations of character customisation and transmog/armour/lack of casual clothing…

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The thing is, everything else we have is… just not available in other games. And it’s just so mind boggling that the basics are ignored.

I’m not really sure how much more I can extrapolate on this because it’s hot and my brain is fizzling away.


I get what you mean. WoW is the worst MMO for roleplaying, except for all the others.


FFXIV has the upside of also having mods like WoW. I have speech bubbles in my game because of them. Makes life a lot easier.

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This exists?


Thanks for the answers, guys! I will try out FF14 and ESO since they seem the most appealing in terms of roleplayer-base and since GW sharding sounds terrible.

Is RP on LOTRO still a thing?