In search of a new MMORPG home

Nicole Bremer Nash says she's done playing World of Warcraft. Geekend readers, what MMORPGs do you recommend she try on her new PC?

By the time Wrath of the Lich King came out, I was pretty finished with World of Warcraft. I realize that there were still many aspects of the game that I hadn't yet enjoyed, but playing the game was beginning to feel a lot like work. I had to play Player vs. Player so often in order to get gear good enough to go on the big dungeon raids. I had to sign up in advance for said raids, and if something happened and I couldn't go, a replacement had to be found. I stopped enjoying the game, so I stopped playing.

My computer had also gotten old, and by the time Lich King was released, my old system couldn't really handle WoW anymore. But now I have a new computer and a new interest in MMORPGs. Thing is, I'm still feeling finished with WoW; I need a new MMORPG to dig into, and I would like some input.

Here are a few MMORPGs that I'm considering. This list is by no means complete, so please bring any other great MMORPGs to my attention. The downside to some of these options is that they aren't out yet, but that's okay -- I think I can be patient.

  • Some of my friends claim that Aion is the way to go. The world does look well developed. The promotional materials indicate that the world of Aion experiences weather changes that actually affect gameplay. If that's true, then maybe Aion really does offer something that WoW doesn't.
  • Star Wars: The Old Republic is set to launch this year and is currently in beta testing. The world promises to be expansive, and LucasArts usually delivers on the idea of go big or go home. That said, I just don't know that space exploration is really going to hold my interest.
  • Final Fantasy XIV is also set to come out this year. I can't tell yet if this game will succeed in breathing new life into an aging franchise. The graphics look promising, but the story seems a little weak. Currently, there are only three city-states, but the game does allow you to select from five races. More importantly, some of the creatures listed in the Bestiary are distinctly different from anything I ever saw in WoW.
  • The world of Age of Conan doesn't interest me much, but the new gameplay does. Apparently the player has to actually control the weapons during battle. The game now features a notoriety system so that player vs. player activity is recorded, and you earn a reputation for it. Also, this game seems serious about for mature audiences only. The downside is Age of Conan is over a year old, and I haven't heard much about it.

I hate to spend money on a game that I end up not enjoying, so please share what you know about current and upcoming MMORPGs with me -- tell which MMORPG games you like or dislike and why. I need to pack up my sword and move on from WoW. Go ahead and try to sway my opinion; I'll likely take your advice.