Sometimes you just want to pit yourself against the environments of an MMORPG universe, working with other players, or alone, to tame the wild. The following is a list of games that hold PvE to their core, often guiding players with an engaging narrative and plenty of gameplay elements such as housing and crafting.
Praised for offering one of the best MMORPG narratives, Final Fantasy XIV is a go-to choice for new players looking for an in-depth PvE experience. As you level you unlock story chapters, stomp through dungeons, and quell the ancient primals with other players. FFXIV also offers one of the most in-depth crafting systems, player housing (if you have the money to burn), and end-game raiding for players who want to band together and maximize their gear. FFXIV has enough avenues of gameplay, including running your own casino, that you may forget about leveling altogether.
With perhaps the most original setting and story for an MMORPG, The Secret World remains a prime choice for players eager to dip their toes into a PvE driven game. The story takes you through one of three cult factions: Illuminati, Templar, or Dragon as they stand against the occult forces threatening modern humanity. While a no-class system lets you customize your style on the fly, though combat is generally held as a bit awkward. But you play The Secret World for its immersive world and expansive campaign.
If you like your journey to be brimming with extensive voice acted quest chains then look no further than the Elder Scrolls Online. The MMORPG already builds off an impressive legacy of games, further expanding the world of ESO. And you’re not restricted to where you can level. The entire world is at your disposal thanks to level scaling, giving it an open go-wherever-you-want quality few MMORPGs manage to capture.
While the original leveling experience has been somewhat numbed, the latest expansion of World of Warcraft almost always provides an engaging PvE adventure. Though if you start from level 1, World of Warcraft has one of the most expansive worlds on this list. And max level isn't just running dungeons and raiding, there are plenty of achievements to collect and sidequests to complete for glory. And if you truly don’t like PvP, World of Warcraft has always offered purely PvE servers so you can level in peace.
If you’re a fan of Star Wars then you really ought to look no further for an MMORPG than Star Wars: The Old Republic. It’s a game almost purely driven by its class-based narratives, each one being unique so you feel compelled to play through them all. Plus, you revisit famous locations featured in the Star Wars canon as well as the expanded universe, perfect for anyone seeking a journey in a galaxy far, far away.
WildStar may have the most challenging and involved dungeons of any modern MMORPG, though its population has suffered thanks to a vicious cycle of wariness. Leveling is story driven, with vibrant environments and cartoony characters sprawling across its planet. Don't let the numbers fool you; WildStar still offers one of the most endearing PvE experiences.
Guild Wars 2 is an MMORPG that offers one of the most streamlined leveling experiences against the background of an original story. Automatic grouping stacks players into parties to tackle emergent event content as you stroll through the game's various zones. While not deeply challenging, Guild Wars 2 offers variety, and ArenaNet regularly churns out new events tied to the game's overarching story.