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Blizzard’s MMORPG is currently in decline. Players like yourself might be looking for alternatives, so what are the best games like World of Warcraft?
WoW debuted in 2012 as both a spin-off and sequel to Warcraft III. It’s a spin-off because, instead of an RTS, it’s an RPG title on an online, persistent world. Then, it’s a sequel because it follows the Frozen Throne story.
After eight expansions, though, the plot has become increasingly complex. The story is no longer beginner-friendly, but players can always try WoW: Classic to enjoy the vanilla experience.
Yet, Wow is a 2012 game, so players like you may want to try something else. Other games like World of Warcraft should offer gameplay you could enjoy for years on end.Selecting Games Like World Of Warcraft
WoW has evolved and grown plenty since its debut. Over the years, though, the MMORPG title has remained consistent to a formula.
Thus, selecting games like World of Warcraft requires understanding the formula. We believe the titles WoW fans would like feature a mix of the following aspects:
Genre: WoW is an MMORPG game living within the Warcraft persistent universe.
Universe: The game features deep lore and users Warcraft locations. That includes the Azeroth continent, the Dark Isles, the Outlands, and more.
Story Design: Rather than playing as the “protagonist” of a story, you are a “witness.” By completing quests, you unlock the cinematics.
Extensive Plot: Each race and class may follow different quest lines until converging on the main plot of the expansion.
Expansions: Expansions add new areas, items, features, plots, and villains. As usual, players complete a set of required quests until unlocking the expansion area.
Classes and Races: The game’s customization options start by choosing one of the classes and races. There’re dozens of choices.
Skill Trees: Each class has three distinct skill branches. You unlock a skill point on each level, and you have many options to develop.
Gameplay: The combat revolves around classical MMORPG tactics. You play in third-person, choose an enemy, and use the skills on your action bar.
Professions: There’re dozens of trade-oriented occupations, and you can pick and develop two of them. You can also develop any secondary discipline.
Crafting: Similarly, there’re eight crafting options. You can develop any by crafting a wide selection of tools, items, and gear with your loot.
Roles: Another classic system is roles. Characters can either fill the role of a tank (defensive), DPS (offensive), or healer (support).
Co-op: The main WoW experience is PvE. However, many areas and bosses need co-op play, such as going on a dungeon raid with a party.
PvP: There’re also various PvP modes, either 1v1 or team-based game modes. PvP is complex and requires balancing the party-member roles.
Factions: You create a character in one of the two factions. These follow rivaling quests in different areas. They also have different races.
Items: The game features a hefty itemization. Items come in rarity and levels. Moreover, players have 18 gear slots.
Economy: Players can auction their items on a city marketplace. There’re also trader NPCs.
Overall, World of Warcraft is a classic MMORPG, and many games have used the same ingredients to create similar experiences. Others, though, have evolved the formula with tweaks and innovations.
Games like Warcraft feature both old and new MMO features. That said, we’re not looking at offline-only games; we bet that’s not what you expect.Games Like World Of Warcraft Final Fantasy XIV
Developer: Square Enix
Publisher: Square Enix
Release Date: September 2010
Platform: PS4, PS5, Windows, MacOS
Final Fantasy XIV stands currently as the biggest MMORPG in the industry. It features PvE, co-op PvE, PvP, raids, sieges, and an overall hefty mid-game and end-game content.
As an MMORPG game, you’ll enjoy complex skill trees, as well as dozens of races, classes, and crafting professions. Also, like on WoW, the character customization screen is quite powerful.
And as a Final Fantasy game, you’ll enjoy rich storylines and lore, Japanese-animation visuals, and gorgeous music. Moreover, there’s the classical FF story about good vs. evil and magical artifacts. And you unlock the story by watching the cinematics after completing quests, like on WoW.
Then, the story, features, and word map have evolved a lot since its debut. The developers have released four major expansion packs. The current Steam version includes the base game, plus the first expansions.
Lastly, WoW players should be familiar with the price design of the alternative. You’d have to buy the base game and the expansions, on top of paying a monthly subscription.Guild Wars 2
Release Date: August 2012
Platform: Windows, MacOS
Guild Wars 2 is a free-to-play MMORPG. It’s more casual than WoW, as its mechanics are easier. However, its expanding universe offers equally time-consuming gameplay.
You create a character from one of the five races and follow an instanced-based story. That means entering main quests opens up individualized areas where you can complete the quest.
This is important, as the game has choices and consequences. In other words, the story branches in different directions depending on what you do on each quest area. And if you do it in co-op, others can’t interfere with your choices.
That said, the game uses a horizontal progressions system. You level up, unlock skills, and become a better player by understanding the mechanics, not the gear. That’s because there’s no “better gear,” as you can upgrade every piece you find with easy-to-use systems.
That said, the game also includes crafting, professions, guilds, side quests, PvP, PvE, end-game content, and more. For instance, it has large-scale siege battles. Lastly, continuous expansions keep adding areas, features, and quests.Blade & Soul
Developer: Team Bloodlust
Release Date: 2012 (Korea), 2024 (international)
Platform: Microsoft Windows, iOS, Android
Blade & Soul is a free-to-play MMORPG game. In particular, it feels, looks, and even sounds like World of Warcraft. Many call it the Korean WoW. Moreover, it has no pay-to-win elements, as payment options revolve around cosmetics.
The game has two playable factions, who face each other on PvP and other game modes. You also choose one of the races, classes, and crafting professions.
Then, the world is massive, gorgeous, and encourages player exploration. There’re tons of side content, as well as hidden treasures, side quests, optional bosses, and items to find.
Moreover, it has one of the best combats in the MMORPG game. It’s akin to an action-RPG title, as its third-person combat is fast-paced, intense, and complex. It relies on martial arts skills and combos.
The visuals and performance are better than WoW, most definitely. The game uses Unreal Engine 4, so it looks quite modern and feels like a WoW overhaul.The Elder Scrolls Online
Developer: Zenimax Online Studios
Publisher: Bethesda Softworks
Release Date: April 2014
Platform: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PlayStation 5, Google Stadia, Microsoft Windows, macOS
The Elder Scrolls franchise turned Tamriel into a persistent online world. Currently, the online Western RPG enjoys over 15K daily players on Steam, and both the fans and the content keep growing.
You create a character across many races and classes and pick one of the three factions. Then, you enter a massive world with massive possibilities. Not only can you follow hundreds of character builds, but there’re also hundreds of activities and professions to follow.
The current Steam version includes the base game, plus the base game. There’s no subscription, but you’d have to buy the follow-up five expansions. Each adds new areas, enemies, villains, and quests.
Moreover, developers keep adding features to the MMO. For example, the title has an AI companion system, an ever-expanding story, a rich world, and thousands of items. However, the main plot revolves around regaining your lost soul. You can follow the story in any part of the world, in any order.
Lastly, you can play the entire game solo, as the story and the features are good enough to rival other games in the series. Otherwise, you can play with others or in PvP. There’s crafting, sieges, exploration, and more.Black Desert Online
Developer: Pearl Abyss
Publisher: Pearl Abyss
Release Date: July 2024
Platform: Windows, Xbox One, PS4, Android, iOS
Like many other games on our list, Black Desert Online debuted first in Korea. Since its debut in global markets, it has remained a popular MMORPG, offering addictive gameplay, gorgeous character designs, and fast-paced combat.
The action is snappy and intuitive. You play in third-person and must aim manually, dodge, block, and use combos. You can fish, farm, trade, and customize your house outside combat. That said, the gameplay is more PvP oriented than WoW or, for example, The Elder Scrolls Online.
The PvP systems include duels, large arenas, siege events, and castle team-based battles. These game modes also relied on the classic role system and character builds and levels. For example, there’re 20 classes, subclasses for each category, and a massive character creation screen.
That said, the game has an in-depth character progression and customization system. On top of that, sandbox and immersion elements include dynamic weather, day/night cycle, and NPCs that follow schedules.
Overall, Black Desert Online is a hefty and modern MMORPG. The amount of things it allows players to do is massive. You could even control entire cities if you’re capable.New World
Developer: Amazon Game Studios
Publisher: Amazon Game Studios
Release Date: September 2023
Even though New World has received a lot of criticism, we can’t leave it behind. It ticks most boxes WoW fans would want on a new MMORPG.
First, the game has a wide crafting and profession system, but unlike WoW, you can perform any “job” you’d like and develop these skills for trade.
Then, the open-world is vast and features a lengthy main quest and tons of side quests. Like on WoW, there’s a lot of grinding involved regarding resource gathering, traveling, leveling, and fighting.
Yet, there’re no classes. Instead, you develop weapon masteries by using particular weapons and earn skills for these trees. As for combat, you have to manually aim, dodge, block, parry, and attack; you have bows, crossbows, muskets, swords, axes, shields, and more to fight.
The negative heat is due to how the game feels like it’s breaking apart. It has a lot of issues, like an entirely player-driven economy that’s not working, scarce end-game content, unstable servers, performance issues, bots, and others.Lost Ark
Developer: Tripod Studio, Smilegate RPG
Publisher: Tripod Studio, Amazon Games
Release Date: December 2023 (Korea), February 2023 (international)
Lost Ark belongs to a different genre, but it’s still an MMO. Currently, though, it’s the biggest free-to-play game on Steam. Its success came because of its isometric action-RPG formula.
Lost Ark is a vast world with seven distinct areas. Like in games like Diablo, you play across an episodic story arc to complete the main quest, either solo or co-op. Then, you reach the end-game to play challenging instances or join PvP arenas.
The class system is vast as well. There’re various classes, and each one has three or four subclasses. The action is fast, varied, and customizable. You progress by leveling up, customizing skills, finding better gear, and earning a lot of gold. More importantly, the Powerpass system allows you to bypass the grinding by granting a new level 50 character after you complete the main quest.
You can also gather resources as you explore and then use your personal hub to craft the resources. Then, you can trade the items you crafted on a global marketplace akin to WoW’s auction houses.
The game’s many systems seem complex, but the experience is easy to understand. Most importantly, almost everything you do yields reward and improves your character. Overall, the game features satisfying combat, a lengthy campaign, and a lot of content.Path of Exile
Developer: Grinding Gear Games
Publisher: Grinding Gear Games
Release Date: October 2013
Platform: Windows, Xbox One, PS4, macOS
Path of Exile is another free-to-play action RPG. It has remained a top 10 title in the genre since its debut. It has evolved plenty since its introduction as a Diablo II spiritual successor.
You play as an Exile on a journey for survival on a Wraeclast. The quest goes along nine chapters in nine different areas. After defeating the main quest, you can play on “maps,” customizable end-game instances with nearly endless loot and bosses to defeat.
Then, the “Exiles” are the classes, and all classes start on a different area of a shared and massive passive skill tree. On top of that, each class can unlock one of three specialized “Ascendancy” classes by completing an optional labyrinth.
Combat relies on your gear and your skill gems. Gear comes with gem slots, where you place your skill gems and skill modifiers. Then, you use them with the action bar. Similarly, the trading system relies on trading crafting resources or gear, as there’s no in-game currency.
Lastly, the developers release new “Seasons” every 13 weeks. These seasons are the expansions, adding new features, often areas, loot, crafting resources, and more. Once a season ends, often the developers leave elements of the expansions in the game forever.Warframe
Developer: Digital Extremes
Publisher: Digital Extremes
Release Date: March 2013
Platform: Windows, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series, Nintendo Switch
Warframe is a third-person sci-fi shooter with an MMO setting. It’s a special title that enjoys a massive fan base, ever-growing content, and a free price tag. Developers don’t even charge for follow-up expansions, only for cosmetics.
You start by picking one of the three beginning classes. The “classes” are “Warframes” are unique techno-suits that deliver special abilities, perks, and stats. There’re dozens available in the world, and you can use them to level them up.
Then, you’re part of an ancient warrior against enemy alien races. The plot happens on a massive open-world galaxy with many places to explore. There’re ships, planets, bases, dungeons, and more.
You can play alone and follow any mission by yourself. You can also play co-op, which is the game’s focus. Or you can play co-op against others and against AI enemies. In that case, there are even massive space battles where you can board other ships for sabotage.
Overall, Warframe doesn’t look much like WoW, as it’s instead a spin of the classic MMO formula. If you’re looking for a modern, sci-fi alternative with tons of content and progression, it’s a great option.Age of Conan
Release Date: May 2008
Age of Conan is a free MMORPG that also feels much like WoW. However, it has its own lore, as it takes inspiration from the novels of the same name.
The gameplay elements are quite similar, though. You pick a class, explore a world, and complete the story. Moreover, you can gather resources, craft items, and gear and upgrade your skills and equipment.
AoC follows an episodic story. Fans of the novels would recognize some key events and characters, races, classes, and locations. However, the plot is mostly original.
The game has a unique combat system that relies on finishing movements. Combat gets increasingly complex after level 20, though, because that’s when the game opens up PvP scenarios on top of PvE exploration.
Overall, Age of Conan is a fun, rich, and unique MMORPG, perfect for World of Warcraft fans. Even so, it’s decidedly easier than WoW, as the mechanics and the itemization is way smaller.Neverwinter
Developer: Cryptic Studios
Publisher: Perfect World Entertainment
Release Date: June 2013
Platform: Windows, Xbox One, PS4
Neverwinter is a free, classic MMORPG. It’s based on the acclaimed Dungeons & Dragons fantasy board and roleplaying games. It means the stories are epic, rich, and complex.
The vast fantasy world includes the dark forces, the forces of evil, clashing against the heroes. You play as one of the heroes, pick a class and race, and join an immersive story.
If you’re familiar with the table-top RPG, the game follows the stories of the 5th Edition Dungeon & Dragon plots. Even the eight classes available hail from the stories, such as Tomb of Annihilation or Ravenloft.
The combat gameplay is the classic experience in the genre. You target enemies with your TAB or mouse and then use your action bar skills. AS usual, enemies from XP and loot to keep improving your character.
Overall, Neverwinter is close to WoW regarding story, content, gameplay, and character designs. It’s a similar high-fantasy setting allowing you to explore a vast world full of stories across various mediums.Rift
Developer: Trion Worlds
Publisher: Trion Worlds
Release Date: March 2011
Rift is an interesting MMO. It packs plenty of features, but it never became the “WoW” killer it pretended to be. Instead, it currently has a small player base.
Either way, you create a character, pick class and race, and join one of the two rival factions. Other classic MMO elements include resource gathering and a comprehensive crafting system.
Aside from that, the story is about finding “Rifts” in the world and closing them before enemies pour out of the portals. That opens up sudden attack mechanics and high reward systems.
Rifts come in various elements types, which influence the enemies and loot within these instances. Moreover, they open various game modes like survival against hordes, dungeon-crawl, or raids.
Lastly, the character progression system revolves around “souls trees.” It’s a complex multi-layered system offering perks, passive bonuses, active skills, and shared classes across all races.TERA
Developer: Bluehole Studio
Release Date: May 2012
Platform: Windows, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series
TERA is also a free MMORPG by the same studio of the Battle Royale PUBG. This game is much smaller, though, as it has less than 20 daily players on console and less than 1K daily players on Steam.
Still, it’s a pretty-looking game that takes many WoW elements while adding its own spin. Even so, you pick a class, race, faction, and profession.
On top of that, it has over 80 distinct zones. More importantly, the games use a proprietary “True Action Combat” system. It forces you to aim your spells and attacks, as well as dodge enemy attacks.
The co-op system relies on “BAMs,” the short name for “Big Ass Monsters.” TERA includes countless multiplayer dungeons for co-op raids, PvP battlegrounds, and PvP areas in the open world.
Tera is an easy game to recommend for WoW fans. However, we can’t put it high on the list, as its player base is dwindling. It’s still free, though, so you have nothing to lose.
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It’s the most fun I’ve had playing World of Warcraft in years.
A word of warning before I continue with this story: this is a beta, which means the bugs I’m coming across in the game are no indication of the final state of the game. If earlier WoW betas are any indication then even relatively minor bugs will be stamped out before Blizzard ships the final version.
The Pandaria beta already has a host of new content available for eager WoW players. A new continent to explore with five more levels for your character to gain, a new race that players of either faction can select and a new character class, monks, that promises to add new play mechanics to the World of Warcraft. While plenty of players are logging in to get an early look at all the new content, I find myself just as interested in what isn’t there as what is.
Don’t get me wrong, the new zones and models are stunning and the animations and abilities of the Monk already have me working out how quickly I can level one when the game goes live. It’s just that with the relatively small amount of content available for testing at the moment you quickly find yourself running into strange holes in the world (some more literal than others). There’s a strange and indescribable kind of magic in playing a game that isn’t finished yet.
Betas are nothing new in the world of games, but what makes the Mists of Pandaria beta unique is the scale on which Blizzard is giving players access to the beta. Automatic beta access was included in Blizzard’s annual pass feature. Sign up for a guaranteed year of paying your monthly subscription to WoW and you’d get a host of goodies, including access to the Mists of Pandaria beta.
So far Blizzard has invited 750,000 of the annual pass holders into the beta, and that means more people are playing the beta for the next WoW expansion than have ever played many of the smaller MMOs on the market at all.
A friend of mine joked that in that quest text you could see the exact moment when 5pm on a Friday rolled around at the Blizzard offices. Strangely, I think that lack of polish and care is why I find the beta so addictive. In many ways WoW is an elaborate magic trick performed by Blizzard, who manage to keep all the work required to keep the game stable and (relatively) balanced for 10 million players safely tucked behind the curtain. The Mists of Pandaria beta offers a brief glimpse behind that curtain to see how the magic trick works.
While long term it isn’t a substitute for the finished game that will (probably) be released soon (judging by the state of the beta I’d guess a late July/ early August launch, but Blizzard is keeping to their typical “when it’s ready” release date so far) the peek at the man behind the curtain makes playing a half-finished game almost as exciting as the real thing.
Remember the Indian govt had banned 59 Chinese apps citing the sovereignty and integrity of Indian cyberspace? At that time the Indian government also banned PUBG Mobile, the popular battle royale game. While Krafton, the company behind PUBG introduced a new battle royale game – Battlegrounds Mobile India (BGMI) soon. But, it also faced the same fate as PUBG. While the Indian government has removed the ban on BGMI now temporarily, PUBG still remains banned in the country. To combat that, we have carefully curated the 7 best games like PUBG Mobile for both Android and iOS. So, read on to play some alternatives, until the govt. figures out what to do with PUBG Mobile.1. Call of Duty: Mobile
Call of Duty: Mobile was launched for both Android and iOS to give stiff competition to PUBG Mobile. Not to mention, CoD: Mobile is published by Activision, a US-based studio so the chances are next to nothing for the game to be banned. The best part about Call of Duty: Mobile is that it offers everything you used to love playing on PUBG. You have a 100-player battle royale mode, a 5v5 deathmatch, multiplayer modes like CoD Black Ops and much more.
Along with that, you can endlessly customize your character, weapons, unlock new characters, earn rewards, and much more. Best of all, the game takes up around 2GB of storage and runs pretty well on budget Android devices so it can sufficiently replace PUBG Mobile in the Indian market. Simply put, at this point, Call of Duty: Mobile is the best PUBG alternative that you can hop on.
100-player battle royale
Features other multiplayer games too
Compatible with both budget and high-tier devices
Takes up 2GB of storage
The community is relatively smaller than PUBG
Download: Android, iOS (Free, offers in-app purchases)2. Fortnite
With Fortnite ousted from Apple’s App Store and PUBG banned in India, it is time for Epic to tap the Indian market. Since more than 75% of Indian smartphone users use Android, Fortnite has the opportunity to grow big here. But, there is one thing that makes me put it in second place and that is its humongous download size and compatibility requirements.
Not to forget, Fortnite has also been removed from the Play Store, but you do have the option to sideload the game through its own store. The installation process is rather seamless and you can learn how to install Fortnite on Android without Play Store from our guide. Coming to my main complaint, Fortnite takes around 8GB of storage which is a big ask for budget Android devices, especially in India.
On top of that, Fortnite needs an Android device running Android 8 or higher, at least 4GB of RAM, GPU that features Adreno 530/Mali G71 or higher, and lastly, a mid to high-tier processor. In other terms, if your Android device comes with a Snapdragon 8-series processor then you are good to go. Along with that, now some 6-series processors are also able to handle Fortnite pretty well.
I would say in terms of gameplay, Fortnite is in fact better than PUBG Mobile. And now that a new Fornite season has just started, you can’t afford to miss this opportunity.
100-player battle royale
Multiple gaming modes
Gameplay is excellent
Needs high storage
Not compatible with all devices
Download: Android, Samsung Galaxy Store (Free, offers in-app purchases)3. Garena Free Fire MAX
The basics of the battle royale mode all remain the same. You’ll drop on a remote island and will have to find good weapons, as well as medkits, and stay inside the safe zone to win the battle.
49-player battle royale
Loot and shoot
Supports in-game voice chat
Pretty good graphics
Weapons are limited
Anti-cheating system does not seem to work4. New State Mobile
Developed by Krafton, the parent company of PUBG, New State Mobile takes place in the distant future in PUBG Universe, where economic instability has created class segregation amongst the rich and poor. For people who want to escape their harsh lifestyle, they take part in the Battlegrounds, the eponymous survival tournament, and the one standing tall gets a ticket to escape their harsh living standards.
New State Mobile features similar gameplay PUBG fans are used to. It still features the 4×4 maps, except for newer locations. The distinct difference between this game and PUBG mobile is the graphics, and gadgets like drones, etc. to fight against opponents. New State Mobile also features exclusive new vehicles. If you want an alternative to PUBG mobile, yet something that is distinct, New State Mobile is a great alternative.
Battle royale gameplay
Exclusive guns and vehicles
Intense graphics make it difficult to run on older systems.5. Badlanders
While not technically a battle royale, Badlanders follows gameplay that is similar to the battle royale formula. You still get into the game, and fend off against opponent players. You will still scavenge for materials, items, and even guns. The only thing changing is that players can bring the loot procured from the map, and sell them in a player-traded market. Furthermore, the money procured from selling your loot can be used to purchase better gear. If players for some reason get taken out, they’ll lose everything they carried in that run.
Badlanders is perfect for people that love their games thrilling, and with high risk and reward.
Extremely hardcore gameplay
Drop in-and-out gameplay
Fun guns to use
Player driven economy
Servers can be unstable
Extremely hardcore6. Knives Out
Another game made by NetEase, Knives Out is a 100-player battle royale featuring vibrant graphics, modern sports cars, fast-paced gameplay, and fun guns. The game still allows you to team up with other players, or play solo. It also has character customization. Furthermore, frequent events results in unique gameplay modifiers. Knives Out is a great game to spend time with, if you have that battle royale itch.
Familiar Battle Royale gameplay
Smaller player base
Loading times are long
Download: Android, iOS (Free, offers in-app purchases)7. Rules of Survival
Solo or duos gameplay
Different weather conditions and terrain
Play solo against 120 players, or duos against 300 players
Smaller, dedicated player base
Frequently Asked Questions
There have been many false dawns for Linux gaming, but in recent years things have been improving unabated. The launch of the Proton compatibility layer meant that thousands of DirectX-only games can now be translated to Vulkan and therefore work on Linux, while new Linux-compatible games continue to be released as well.
If you want to play Windows-only games on Linux, see our guide on how to set up Proton and Steam Play. If, however, you just want to check out all the best native Linux games in 2023 you can play, then read on below.1. Unturned
Voxel-based games are definitely not for everyone, but if you can wrap your head around the Lego-like aesthetic then there’s a very compelling survival game to enjoy here. And best of all, it’s free, and certainly of a higher quality than you’d expect from your average free Linux game.
In Unturned, you (and potentially a whole bunch of friends) are trying to survive the zombie-infested apocalypse. You seek out weapons amidst the ruins, gather supplies, and keep an eye on depleting bars like food, radiation and water levels. The map-maker allows for pretty much endless level variety and new game modes that include things like paintball and (of course) battle royale.2. Friday Night Funkin’
It’s time to give a little love to the excellent indie scene over at chúng tôi which is a veritable treasure trove of free games. Some eventually make it over to Steam, but others become cult classics for the Itch community.
Friday Night Funkin’ is one of the current big hitters on the Itch scene. It’s a rhythm-action game in the style of PS1 classic Parappa the Rapper, with a cheeky sense of humour, catchy tunes, and a vicious retired rockstar dad who’s trying to kill you as you try to kiss your girlfriend.
It’s super-simple to play, but very addictive… and did we mention that it’s free?3. Valheim
The viking-themed survival game was all the talk of 2023, Valheim may still be in early access, but it’s already an undisputed success. In a lot of ways, Valheim does much the same things as every other survival game, but it’s co-op focus (allowing for up to 10 people to play together) and its pretty PS2-style visuals make its randomly generated worlds a joy to explore.
The game runs perfectly on Linux, and is receiving a steady stream of updates as it slowly builds up towards a full release. Admittedly, its story and exploration aspects aren’t fully fleshed out yet, but you can already go through its main quest of hunting down several legendary beasts as you try to maintain order in the monster-beset purgatory of Valheim.4. RimWorld
Not only can you play this sci-fi colony simulator on Linux, but you can play it on a low-end Linux (probably even without a dedicated GPU, depending on how good your iGPU is).
Don’t let the simple visuals fool you, RimWorld is an incredibly deep game that was worked in Early Access for years before maturing to full release. It sees you manage a colony of people trying to survive on an Earth-like planet populated by other tribes.
Not only do you go through the basics of farming, building up your settlement and raiding others, but each in-game character has their own complex personality, relationships and needs, and it’s fascinating watching your little people chat, play with and even marry each other while you deal with delegating tasks around your colony.5. Factorio
Ok, now let’s strip the human element out of RimWorld and replace it with conveyor belts, production chains and processing plants. In the same way that RimWorld lets you enjoy the little human stories as you manage the bigger picture, Factorio is about creating complex production chains then watching it all become automated thanks to your work.
It’s vast and complex, and is all about gathering resources then processing them in the most efficient way possible. There’s an added wildcard element too, as the planet’s people won’t be too happy with your exploitation of it and will rise up against you.
Factorio is a joy to play alone, but can also be enjoyed as an online co-op game.6. A Short Hike
Some games are just designed to make you feel good, and while we’ve got plenty of deep and challenging titles on this list, we thought it’d be nice to start things off with this indie gem.
A Short Hike sees you wandering, flying and base-jumping around a beautiful national park as an anthropomorphic hawk. You explore the park at your own pace, traverse mountains, chat to other hikers, and generally have a wonderful time bounding around the bright and cheery landscape. It’s extremely relaxing, while also having some breathtaking moments as you can freely soar around the park on your birdy wings.
At a time when many of us want to escape into something that helps us relax and forget about the woes of reality, A Short Hike is the perfect getaway.7. Crusader Kings 3
It’s rare that a hotly anticipated new game runs on Linux straight out of the digital box, but medieval dynasty simulator Crusader Kings 3 does just that. Maybe that’s because it’s a game lacking in graphical complexity, as you hover over a map of the medieval world and look at moody kings and queens while plotting your next move in your rise to power.
The game puts you in control of a noble or royal bloodline – arranging marriages, assassinating rivals and marching armies as you attempt to expand your family’s influence and keep your bloodline going. It’s the best dynamic story generator around.8. Total War: Warhammer 2
When people dream up which video-game franchise would match up well with movies, board games or other IPs, the combo of Total War with Warhammer would surely rank high on many lists. A few years ago, this dream was realized, and the Total War: Warhammer bandwagon has plowed on unopposed ever since.
Total War: Warhammer 2 stacks on top of the original game if you own it, letting you combine all the factions from both games into one super-campaign. Each faction feels completely unique to play, and watching thousands-strong armies of Skaven, Undead, Lizardmen, Chaos and the other grimdark factions go at it is a sight to behold.
Several other Total War games, like Three Kingdoms and Attila, are also available on Linux.9. Desperados 3
Another new release that supported Linux from the get-go, Desperados 3 is a relentlessly old-school real-time tactics game in the vein of Commandos (or of course the older Desperados games). It’s tough, tactical, and will have your finger permanently hovering over the quick-save button as you try to execute your plans to perfection.
But Desperados 3 (made by the devs behind the excellent Shadow Tactics) modernizes the formula, too. Showdown mode lets you pause and slow the game down to line up moves by your ragtag crew of vagabonds, and you can even play with a gamepad should you want to kick back on your couch. It’s still a tough old game at heart, but made more palatable for modern gamers.10. Dying Light: Enhanced Edition
Probably the best zombie game that no one’s really talking about (but millions of people are playing), Dying Light has been around for a few years but is still top of the pile thanks to its frantic zombie hordes and excellent parkour mechanics. The Enhanced Edition bundles together a few years worth of DLC, including the excellent expansion, The Following.
Dying Light chucks you into an open-world city destroyed by a zombie pandemic, as you try to help out the enclaves of humanity that still live there. You refine your character with skills, leap between rooftops and chop up zombies with crafted weapons.
It doubles as one of the best co-op experiences out there, too, as up to three friends can dash around the city with you (complete with new challenges and competitive modes like races).11. Sid Meier’s Civilization VI
Civilization VI has the same stone-age-to-space-age turn-based formula as its predecessors, but adds neat new ideas like de-stacked cities, combined arms units, and (in the DLC) climate change, golden ages and dark ages. Some say it lacks the depth of previous entries, but now that all the major expansion packs are out, it’s a worthy addition to Sid Meier’s legendary series.12. Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire
Adding naval combat to the mix, Deadfire continues with the rich storytelling and excellent writing of its predecessor while building on those beautiful graphics and hand-painted backgrounds of the original game. This is a deep and unquestionably hardcore RPG that may cause some to bounce off it, but those who take to it will be absorbed in its world for months.13. Slay the Spire
Still in early access, but already one of the best games of the year, Slay the Spire is a deck-building card game that’s embellished by a vibrant visual style and rogue-like mechanics that’ll leave you coming back for more after each infuriating (but probably deserved) death.14. Dead Cells
This one deserves highlighting as the combat-platformer of the year. With its rogue-lite structure, Dead Cells throws you into a dark (yet gorgeously colored) world where you slash and dodge your way through procedurally-generated levels. It’s a bit like a 2D Dark Souls, if Dark Souls were saturated in vibrant neon colors.
Dead Cells can be merciless, but its precise and responsive controls ensure that you only ever have yourself to blame for failure, and its upgrades system that carries over between runs ensures that you always have some sense of progress. Dead Cells is a zenith of pixel-game graphics, animations and mechanics, a timely reminder of just how much can be achieved without the excesses of 3D graphics.15. Team Fortress 2
Everyone thought Valve was crazy to turn Team Fortress from a Half-life style realistic(ish) online shooter to a bold and bouncy online shooter in 2007. But it worked, and incredibly well, too.
The bread-and-butter of Team Fortress 2 are classic team-based modes, like Capture the Flag, Control Points, and the excellent Payload, where one team needs to escort a cart across a level (sound familiar Overwatch fans?). You pick one of several distinct classes, specializing in either offense, defense or support, and dive into one of its many meticulously-designed vibrant maps.
It’s one of the best influential online shooters of all time, and it’s completely free these days unless you fancy splashing out on skins and other sillies.16. Dota 2
Another Valve stalwart, Dota 2 is a free-to-play MOBA phenomenon, rubbing shoulders with League of Legends as the most popular game of its kind. Fun fact: the original Dota is in fact a mod for the RTS classic Warcraft III.
So what makes Dota 2 special? It’s actually a little deeper than League of Legends in some ways (though I’m sure LoL fans will disagree). You can pick from one of over 100 heroes to take into battle, fighting alongside your team and your army of minions to push those lanes and destroy the other team’s base. Units range from healing support types to charging, head-down attackers. Whatever your play style, there will be one in there to suit you.
Dota 2 has a few interesting features as well, such as the option to eat up your own minions in exchange for gold and numerous ways of kitting out and upgrading your character. Be warned: Dota 2 isn’t for the faint-hearted.17. Open-Source Games
As an open-source platform itself, it’s only right that Linux is home to plenty of great free open-source games as well. There’s Brutal Doom for example – a beefed-up version of ZDoom, the open-source port of Doom, Doom 2, Final Doom and Master Levels. It features extra animations, gore, and weapons, as well as redesigned maps, modernized controls and UIs.
OpenRA lets you play Westwood strategy games like Red Alert, Tiberian Dawn and Dune 2000 online in high resolutions. There’s 0 AD – the seemingly endless project to make an Age-of-Empires strategy game, not to mention the brilliant Dark Mod, which is a Thief-style game in the Doom 3 engine with hundreds of brilliant player-created levels.
Other than these free Linux games, you can also install DosBox to play old DOS games on Linux. Alternatively, you can also play Windows or Android games on Linux.
Content Manager at Make Tech Easier. Enjoys Android, Windows, and tinkering with retro console emulation to breaking point.
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Do you experience long loading times or get stuck on loading screens while playing popular games like World of Warcraft, Fortnite, or PUBG? In this article, we’ll provide you with some workarounds and tips to help you fix the issue.
Firstly, we assume that the long loading screen problem is not caused by bad network connectivity or missing/corrupted game files. If you have a poor internet connection, you should check your connection stability or contact your Internet Service Provider (ISP). Otherwise, try the following tips.
Also see: Game Lag and Slow Performance After Windows Update
Here are some potential solutions that have been suggested by other players who have encountered similar long loading screen issues while playing WoW or PUBG. While not guaranteed to work for everyone, they have been effective for some individuals and are therefore worth considering.
A pro player suggests turning off the replay feature in the game. Turning off this feature has significantly improved loading times for some players.
Another suggestion is to exclude or add PUBG to the exception list of your protection software, particularly Windows Defender. Many players have reported that after turning off or adding PUBG to the Windows Defender exception list, loading times were dramatically reduced.
The most common fix for the long loading screen problem in WoW is to enter a command line in the chat while you’re logged into WoW and on any instance. The command line is:/console worldPreloadNonCritical 0
Reducing your view distance in-game is another practical way to reduce loading times, although this will sacrifice your view distance in exchange for faster loading times.
The most common reason for long loading screens in games is a slow, congested, fragmented, or faulty hard disk drive (HDD), regardless of the operating system (Windows 11/10, Mac, or Linux) you’re using.
Games need to load graphics and content from your HDD during the loading screen before you can play them. If your HDD is slow or in use by other software you’re running simultaneously with your games, it could cause slow and long loading screens.
Useful tip: How to Know Which App is Using The Internet in Windows 11
If it’s constantly running at 100% active time, it implies that your HDD has a problem and you may need to perform maintenance works (read below).
A slow hard disk drive (HDD) is one of the most common reasons for long loading screens in games, regardless of the operating system you are using, be it on a Windows 11, Windows 10, macOS, or Linux computer. This is because the game needs to load graphics and content from your HDD during the loading screen before you can play it.
A solid-state drive (SSD) is a faster alternative to an HDD and can improve the read speed of your computer. By using an SSD, you can significantly reduce the loading time of your games, as well as improve your overall computer performance.
SSDs are more expensive than HDDs, but the price has come down in recent years, and they are becoming more affordable. If you are a serious gamer or use your computer for other intensive tasks like video editing, a faster SSD may be worth the investment.
When choosing an SSD, make sure to look for one with a large enough capacity to store your games and other important files. You may also want to consider an SSD with a high read/write speed and good durability.
If you’ve been using your HDD for a long time, storing tens to hundreds of GB of content without properly maintaining it, it could be the reason why it’s becoming slower and causing long loading screens in games.
To help fix the congestion and fragmentation problem in your hard disk drives and to improve their reading and writing speed, you can use maintenance tools like CHKDSK and defragmentation.
CHKDSK helps to fix disk errors and eliminate bad sectors in your HDD. Here’s a guide on how to perform CHKDSK on your Windows PC correctly: How to Run CHKDSK in Windows 11/10.
Defragment is especially useful to fix slow HDD and HDD always run at 100% issues. It is a best practice to run defragmentation at least once per month for an always in used HDD. Here’s a simple steps to run defragment for your HDD using the Windows default defragmentation system. Alternatively, you can use a third party software like the popular Auslogic Disk defragmenter that has a free version which you can download and use for free.
Defragmentation is especially useful for fixing slow HDDs and HDDs that always run at 100% activity. It’s best practice to run defragmentation at least once a month for a heavily used HDD. You can use the Windows default defragmentation system, or a third-party software like the popular Auslogics Disk Defragmenter (which has a free version).
To defragment your E: drive, for example, follow these steps:
Go to This PC on your Windows 10 PC.
The defragmentation process can take a significant amount of time to complete, sometimes running for several hours depending on the size of your HDD and how full it is. While the defragmentation process is running, it’s recommended that you don’t use the HDD or access any files stored on it, as it can slow down the process and even cause errors.
After all the maintenance tools, including CHKDSK and defragmentation, have been successfully executed and completed, you should notice a significant difference in the loading time of your games.
In September of 2014, a cigarette break would lead to an incredibly important discovery of a human and ape ancestor’s remarkably complete skull.
Isaiah Nengo of the Turkana Basin Institute at Stony Brook University and De Anza College in Cupertino, California, the lead author of the study, had been screening a site in the Napudet area, which is west of Lake Turkana in northern Kenya, with a group of six local fossil finders when a colleague discovered a bone just as they were about to head back for the day.
“It’s time to go back, and we’re walking back to the field vehicle, kind of in a bad mood, and then one of my assistants, his name is John Ekusi, he pulls out some tobacco and starts rolling it up into a cigarette,” Nengo says. “We chase him away saying you’re gonna kill us with that smoke, go smoke it somewhere else. So he hurries up and walks ahead of us. As we’re approaching the car, before we go to the car, we see him stop and to go around in circles, and we realized he must have found something.”
Upon closer investigation of the bone, it became clear to Nengo that this was the skull of a primate.
The partially cleaned primate skull. Isaiah Nengo, Photo by Christopher Kiarie.
The skull, now nicknamed Alesi, is that of an infant primate dated back to around 13 million years ago, and could reveal what the common ancestor of all living apes and humans may have looked like.
Apes,which includes chimpanzees, gorillas, orangutans and gibbons, are the most connected to humans amongst all living primates. Our closest relative with chimpanzees lived in Africa 6-7 million years ago.
“Over the years, we have discovered quite a few fossils that help us to understand better the human stages of evolution, from present to about six or seven million years ago,” Nengo says. “We have found some spectacular fossils, the baby that was found in Ethiopia … and there’s Lucy, there’s the Turkana boy, there’s been some amazing fossil finds to understand humans. There’s still a lot to learn, a lot more.”
However when it comes to the prehuman stage of our evolution, we know significantly less, he says, mostly amounting to only finding tiny bones and teeth. Hopefully, the remarkable discovery of the lemon-sized, gibbon-like skull of Alesi will change that.
“We need to probe deeper now, and understand those pre stages of evolution a little better,” he says. “I hope [Alesi] will be the beginning of a much more concerted effort to better understand the pre-human stages of evolution.”
The skull being analyzed in the lab. Paul Tafforeau
A medical CT scan done on the skull demonstrated that Alesi’s teeth were not a monkey’s, but an ape’s, says Nengo. Additionally, team member Paul Tafforeau said in a press release that through growth lines visible in the unerupted adult teeth the ancient ape was only about a year and four months old. He also says imagery provided details of the brain cavity and the inner ears.
“Importantly, the cranium has fully developed bony ear tubes, an important feature linking it with living apes,” Ellen Miller of Wake Forest University says in the press release.
John Fleagle of Stony Brook University says in the same release that the teeth also demonstrated that Alesi belonged to a new species, Nyanzapithecus alesi. Other species in theNyanzapithecus genus are only known by a few, scattered fossilized tooth remains and scientists were unsure if they were even apes at all.
This study is just the beginning of investigating what Alesi could mean in terms of evolution, Nengo says.
“This study is just a preliminary announcement to let scientists know and the rest of the world know that we have something important here, and here are some of the questions we think it can address,” he says.
He has assembled a team of about 16 specialists to continue to explore the skull of the baby, and see what it could’ve looked like as an adult. Nengo also plans to go back into the field this upcoming January to explore more fossils at a site half a mile from where Alesi was found.
“This is going to become like an anchor for future studies and what babies can tell us,” he says.
This post has been updated with Isaiah Nengo’s affiliations.
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