Fight or Kite: PvP games to play if you’re still boycotting Blizzard

    
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Please love me again.

The past couple of weeks in the land of Blizzard have made for a wild ride. Some of us have extremely strong feelings and emotions regarding Blizzard and its handling of the whole Blitzchung situation (if you’re lost, here’s the rundown). However, at BlizzCon on Friday, Blizzard President J. Allen Brack apologized for the debacle – maybe, kind of, basically, or maybe not, depending on your take.

Now, whether that apology swayed you back into the arms of Blizzard or not, that’s not my business – I’m not here to judge you. What I want to touch on are some of the different PvP games you could be playing instead of Blizzard (PvP) games. This is Fight or Kite, MOP’s PvP column, after all. So whether you still #BoycottBlizzard or you just want a quick look at something else to play, let this be your guide.

If you miss Overwatch or hunger for Overwatch 2

Overwatch is the first-person, team-based shooter and arguably Blizzard’s biggest esports push currently. There are dozens and dozens of FPS games, but what Overwatch brought to the genre was a bit more life, character, and MMO-style classes. So, where do I see you hitting some of those same notes?

Paladins is likely the nearest game, tone- and style-wise. We have the team-based shooter aspect. You also have heroes with specific roles: DPS, support, and tank. Sure, many shooters that came before allowed players to choose to be medics and the like, but those roles were not as hard and defined as you’ll find in Overwatch and Paladins. Not to mention that both games have a fantasyish theme to them. This is your first stop post-Overwatch.

Team Fortress 2 makes for another strong contender. I realize you don’t have all your favorite fantasy magic in this older title, but the quality and tone does offer a lot. It’s a more military-unit-style shooter, but you do have character roles such as the spy and medic. Not to mention the game has been running for ages now, so there’s no worries about servers shutting down on you.

Also worth mentioning are a few battle royale games. I do understand the aversion to BRs among our audience, but if you’re seeking fast-paced, arena style battle,; you really should at least give them a glance. Fallout 76: Nuclear Winter was also lot of fun if you can look past Bethsoft’s other shenanigans. And if you absolutely must play a fantasy game, Ashes of Creation Apocalypse definitely deserves a few matches. Oh, I guess Fortnite is worth a mention too. At least Tyler thought there was some fun to be had in there – somewhere.

While it doesn’t exist yet, we did hear about the PvE modes coming to Overwatch 2. There isn’t an overabundance of info out about it yet, but, why even wait? We have plenty of looter-shooters already. Destiny 2 and Anthem don’t want to be forgotten. I also wouldn’t be surprised if Paladins began to reconsider its PvE mode now too.

If Hearthstone was your TCG boo

The card game genre has always been an interesting one to me. It seemed like Blizzard was the first team to do a digital card game right with Hearthstone (if we don’t count Solitaire).

GWENT, the spin off card game from The Witcher series, should be on everyone’s radar. I played a few hands in The Witcher 3 and was totally lost, but the game itself is reportedly lovely. In addition, you can actually play it on iOS (and PC) already, with an Android version in the works. This should be your first look for a solid digital card game.

Magic: The Gathering Arena is the latest attempt at a MTG digital game. It’s one of the original, big-time one-on-one combat games in the genre. It kind of amazes me that it’s taken as long as it has to become a real, digital game. The huge issue with this one, and I imagine the primary reason most Hearthstone players couldn’t move en masse over to MTG Arena, is lack of mobile support. Supposedly, it’s in the works, but not having Android and iOS clients yet is bonkers.

Artifact, dear sweet Artifact, you’ve had a tumultuous beginning if there ever was one. From the steamworks of Valve, and based on Dota 2, this title initially gave gamers high hopes that Artifact would be the beginning of a new wave of digital card competition. That hasn’t exactly panned out. It isn’t on mobile yet either. But if you are looking for a card game equivalent to Hearthstone style-wise, you should consider it.

Finally, MTG, the card game. If you really need to get your card game fix in, get it from the real deal. There are tournaments hosted around the country. Buy some packs and start playing!

If you’re jonesing for World of Warcraft or long for Shadowlands

Of course, we’ve also got to address WoW. It might not be thought of first and foremost as a PvP game, but it still remains as one of the largest esports titles and one of the few in the pure MMORPG space (generating its own share of Blizzard controversy). Obviously, I’m not going to list out every MMO with PvP, but these would be my top considerations depending on your preferred mode. And if I left out your baby – please let me know!

Do note I’ve picked these specifically for their PvP in an MMO setting, not for their PvE features. (That would be a whole ‘nother piece for a different column.)

Guild Wars 2 is at the top of my list because, well, it’s my game. ArenaNet has made a ton of mistakes, especially recently, and I certainly think it’s mishandled PvP up and down, but it’s actually still good, especially for an MMO. The combat is top-notch, and the fact that you can play arena-style or even large-scale RvR is great. Let’s not forget the recent raid tournament too. If you want a broad swath of options in your MMO PvP, Guild Wars 2 is the place.

My time in Black Desert was brief, but I was extremely impressed by everything I saw and touched. Graphics were hands-down the best I’ve ever seen in an MMO. And the open-world combat felt awesome. MOP’s Carlos wrote up an amazing column detailing the game’s PvP that is a must-read. If you want smooth combat with beautiful graphics and animations, you have to be playing BDO.

I mention Archeage Unchained primarily because it is where I’m spending the majority of my gaming time right now, but also because the combat and classes are so cool. The combat isn’t as smooth and fluid as in GW2 or BDO, but it is a lot of fun. If you are looking for some larger-scale wars with faction- and guild-based battles, check it out.

I couldn’t talk MMO PvP without mentioning Crowfall too. The game is still in development, but if you can give a studio money and it can give you a game to log into and play, well, then you’re open to discussion. Crowfall continues to improve with every update too. The combat is similar to BDO, with left-click to attack, so that might turn you off if you prefer tab combat. The population isn’t huge right now either, but for anyone looking for large(ish) scale territory combat akin to RvR, Crowfall could be your jam.

If you were a Heroes of the Storm stalwart

No, I didn’t forget about you, Heroes of the Storm players. Blizzard’s MOBA might not have taken off the way some of its other titles did, but some gamers held on until now, remarkably. I realize that both of you enjoy your game, but I’m sure you’re well aware of the alternatives. (I kid, I kid.)

DO THE THINGS

League of Legends is the big mama in the genre. It’s been around for years now and is the de facto MOBA. You’ve probably already played this and know in your heart of hearts that this is probably the MOBA you should be playing anyway.

Dota 2, the sequel to the original DotA and heir to the Warcraft 3 mod’s throne, was a finely crafted game, considering its humble origins. Personally, I preferred the hero style lane defender mods. Continue to be the hipster MOBA player: play Dota 2.

SMITE is the third most viable alternative to LoL and Heroes of the Storm. The most obvious difference to me is the third-person perspective of the game. So, if you wanted to get your MOBA on from a different perspective, this would be the place to play.

If you’re hunting for a StarCraft II replacement

Finally, we come to StarCraft II. There really aren’t a lot of options if you are looking for strong online RTS games right now. We even put the call out to you, our readers, to help us out in this arena, and we came up pretty short. But for completeness’ sake, I wanted to include a brief mention.

I don’t have a lot of experience with recent RTS games, but I did play my fair share of Age of Empires 2, Warcraft 3, and even Travian back in the day. I can’t say much about either of these titles, but Kingdom Under Fire 2’s launch is right around the corner – and the trailer looks cool. Travian Legends just celebrated 15 years, which has to count for something, right? If you can’t bring yourself to play StarCraft II, try these out and let me know your thoughts.

Well crew, I realize that was a pretty quick and dirty overlook at dozens of games. If you stuck with me through it, you must have a reason to #BoycottBlizzard, and I hope I was able to point you in a direction that provides the amount of fun and enjoyment you’d been having in your current Blizzard title(s) up until now.

If I missed out on your favorite game, and you think it can help others fill in the giant Blizzard-sized hole in their heart, let me know in the comments below!

Every other week, Massively OP’s Sam Kash delivers Fight or Kite, our trip through the state of PvP across the MMORPG industry. Whether he’s sitting in a queue or rolling with the zerg, Sam’s all about the adrenaline rush of a good battle. Because when you boil it down, the whole reason we PvP (other than to pwn noobs) is to have fun fighting a new and unpredictable enemy!

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Techno Wizard
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Techno Wizard

Heh, I moved on from Blizzard quite a while ago. Even so, I have observed the Acti-Blizz Hong Kong situation in equal measurements of amusement and seriousness, as en ex-retail player of Blizz and because of the political situation as a gathered whole.

And I welcome new refugees from Acti-Blizz, MMO / PvP life does go on after Blizzard and I admire your resolve to stand your ground with a Blizzard boycott. Maybe you will consider not returning to Blizzard’s retail games after you drop the boycott, as you will be free. But that is a choice I leave to you all.

Reader
Ben Stone

Wouldn’t APEX Legends be the best runner up contender to Overwatch?

Staff
Kickstarter Donor
Chris Neal

Write-in vote for Teppen as a solid CCG stand-in. It has extremely fast, turn-free gameplay and has you using Capcom characters fighting one another. Where else can you have Ryu face Rathalos?

Reader
Sorenthaz

For the PvE component of OW2, the closest I can think of right now would be Warhammer End Times: Vermintide 2 or possibly Killing Floor 2. Vermintide 2 is basically Left 4 Dead in medieval fantasy apocalyptic stuff, with each character having different classes, weapons, and perks they gain as they level up and do stuff. Killing Floor 2 is wave-based survival but also features classes and level-based perks. Left 4 Dead 2 would obviously be another choice if desiring something more straightforward and less complex.

As for LoL, the funny part is that with each season they keep adding more mechanics to the map that are basically taking pages out of Heroes of the Storm. Riot keeps pushing games to go faster (average match length used to be like 30-40 minutes, now it’s like 20-30) and so they keep spicing it up with new objectives and ways to basically push the game pace to go faster than it used to. The Rift Herald is basically akin to the Boss camps in HotS maps, and for Season 10 it sounds like they plan to have two Heralds spawn in one match instead of just one.

Reader
Kickstarter Donor
Java Jawa

Card games, you really have 2 options here:

1) ESO Legends
2) Magic

Both of the above are solid, the later is a classic, the first is elderscrolls based and actually has a fairly decent story.

The shooter stuff, there’s lots that can fill the niche:

1) Fortnite
2) Apex (close)
3) see above + google it, really there’s endless amounts here

Lots of choices here! Pick your poison – heck you could even do warframe for bonus points – this would replace overwatch 2

MMORPG:

1) star wars the old republic – themepark
2) elderscrolls online – themepark +
3) guild wars 2 – themepark
4) final fantasy 14 – themepark ++
5) everquest 2 (if you don’t mind dated graphics) themepark +

** i think the above are all pretty safe bets, going forward too
+ extra stuff
++ extra extra stuff!

I can’t chime in on RTS as my references go a bit too far back! Anyways my two cents.

K38FishTacos
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K38FishTacos

Great post, Java! Why are people so stingy with likes around here?

latorn
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Kickstarter Donor
latorn

This article is missing some Elder Scrolls love, both the MMO and it’s PvP (IMO ESO Cyrodiil is better than GW2’s WvW), and with the card game Elder Scrolls Legends which is actually a super refreshing a well-paced game!

Reader
glenn woodcock

I’ve been thinking of moving over from classic to AA Unchained for a few months . Not really because of a boycott because I thought Blitzchung was a silly immature teen who deserved some kind of sanction ( even though I also thought Blizzard went a bit overboard and handled things terribly ) . I just fancy a change and to see what its like because I always thought it had potential .

Reader
Chris Walker

In terms of PvP in MMORPGs, I think the PvP in ESO is better than the ones listed. With Cyrodiil, an awesome, huge zone with castle sieges /defenses, relics, and city battles, combined with BGs after level 10, you can’t go wrong.

Reader
glenn woodcock

Can you advance your gear by playing pvp in ESO ?

Reader
Chris Walker

Yes, it’s possible to advance your gear, but it’s more about earning “Alliance Points” and going up ranks. You get awards for achieving AP ranks and you get an additional special reward at the end of a campaign. You can also spend APs on gear and other items, as well as gain XP and Champion Points through PvP.

Reader
Bruno Brito

I would agree, if ESO didn’t had weaponswap, and animation cancel.

Reader
Anton Mochalin

That feeling when you’re recommended to play Fallout 76 instead of Overwatch. Or Anthem. Oh yeah I’ll go check if Anthem has any good PvP. Wish me good luck.

P.S. Still thanks for recommending Smite. I have some love/hate relationship with it because it’s dying but the process takes so long… But while it’s still not quite dead it’s definitely worth checking out. Anyone tried it on Switch? It seems to be the only MOBA on Switch, right?

Bree Royce
Staff
Bree Royce

He was saying Fallout 76’s Nuclear Winter BR and Anthem’s looter-shooterness. :D

My husband loves SMITE and tried it on Switch… and immediately went back to PC. If that helps you decide hehe.

Reader
Anton Mochalin

Well what you said about Smite on Switch makes me sad, I really hoped it would find sort of second wind there…

Bree Royce
Staff
Bree Royce

It may yet with console-first people! My husband’s just a PC person.

Reader
IronSalamander8 .

No mention of Plants vs. Zombies: Battle for Neighborville? (I won’t suggest either Garden Warfare game as while they’re great, they won’t be getting that much support with the team focused on the new game right now). Yeah, I talk about the series a lot but the fact that it doesn’t have a callout while Anthem of all things does, rankles.

It has team based PvP with various modes, turf takeover being the best if you like objective based play, free roam PvE zones with quests, exploration, and treasure (much like Destiny 2’s I’m told), co-op ops where up to 4 players battle against waves of enemies, and of course all with the PvZ look and feel.

They don’t do the class variants like they had in GW1 and 2 but added more base characters with more coming later so you can go pure offense with the zombie foot solider or peashooter, heal with the sunflower or zombie scientist, snipe withe the cactus and captain deadbeard, and more.

I’ve never understood why the 2 GW games, which are great fun, I have more time in GW2 than TF2, Overwatch, and Paladins combined, never got the attention they deserved in the first place. With BfN trying to become more team based with some of the changes, removing variants that were neat but hard to balance, and even having a decent price point, I really want to see the game get more credit than it’s predecessors have been getting. That has to be maddening to the team at PopCap.

I do feel they have to fix a couple of things like the prize map, but few games can I play a disco roller skating zombie with an auto-tuned voice zapping a giant pickle boss!

TF2 and Paladins are both decent game though, to be sure.

Edit: Characters so people can take a look:

Plants:
https://www.ea.com/games/plants-vs-zombies/plants-vs-zombies-battle-for-neighborville/about/characters

Zombies:
https://www.ea.com/games/plants-vs-zombies/plants-vs-zombies-battle-for-neighborville/about/characters#zombies