Pleasing the MMO crowd is a Sisyphean task. We, MMORPG players, are a picky bunch. We have expansions, but we crave Vanilla content. We have so many MMO games to choose from, but we keep coming back to the same ones.
That’s why MMO private servers exist. Some might look at these rogue servers as a free ride and they are not wrong. However, private servers are more than that. They offer a different experience, whether it’s the original game capped at a certain expansion or the altered gameplay with custom features.
The popularity of WoW Vanilla and TBC private servers has somewhat decreased now that we have official servers but they are not entirely gone.
Chromie Craft is a new WoW Wotlk private server. It is a progression server with content made available in phases. If you ever want to check out the first two WoW expansions and advance no further than Patch 3.3.x, Chromie Craft is a good choice.
The people behind the project promise to keep things fair play for all users with no game benefits unlocked with donations and other pay-to-win features.
What if The Burning Crusade was never released and the developers just kept on adding content and features to WoW Vanilla? Turtle WoW is the mirror universe WoW that never had an expansion. First thing’s first, this is a PvE server and the new content is all PvE.
This is for people looking to chill, quest, and take care of their garden. What? Garden? That’s some MoP stuff right there. Well, in Turtle WoW gardening came to Vanilla. Extra content includes new races, new Warcraft III-based storylines, Nerubian world bosses, a Mirage Raceway event, survival skills, and more.
From the many FFXI private servers out there, we have chosen FFXI Eden because it’s one of the veteran servers and the people behind it seem to be serious about their job.
FFXI Eden includes the first three expansions and sets the level cap at 75. The XP rate is 1x. This is as close to 2007 Final Fantasy 11 retail as you’ll ever get. There are a few minor quality of life improvements but the gameplay is just like in the pre-Wings of Goddess era. If you are looking for Final Fantasy XIV private servers, we hate to break this to you but they don’t exist.
City of Heroes is one of the dead but not forgotten MMORPGs. The game ran from 2004 until 2012 when the official servers went offline.
In 2019, the developers released the CoH code which made possible the rebirth of the game in the form of the City of Heroes Homecoming private server. COH Homecoming builds on the original gameplay.
We have quality-of-life updates such as custom XP rates and the possibility to switch alignment whenever. The Sentinel is a new class exclusively available in Homecoming. The server has an active player base so it’s worth checking it out.
Warhammer Online was a short-lived MMORPG. It ran for five years only but that was enough to gather a loyal and stubborn fan base.
Warhammer Return of Reckoning private server has been up since 2014 and it’s doing great, thank you for asking. The private server allows players to enjoy iconic Warhammer Online features such as open-world massive PvP interactions but also new content. The developers are making regular game updates. PvP events are hosted each week. There is no cash shop so players cannot facilitate their way to success.
EQ Project 1999 brings back the original 1999 EQ experience. The private server operates under legal permission from the Daybreak Game Company, the studio that was known until 2015 as Sony Online Entertainment.
EQ Project 1999 features the first three continents of the game world and a level cap of 60. It has the original game interface and mechanics. EverQuest is a title from the first MMORPG era. Many MMO developers have EQ roots, whether as players or as contributors.
This is a non-profit emulation server with no pay-to-win features. It’s a fan-driven project endorsed by the company which means that the servers aren’t in any danger.
L2 Reborn and L2 Knight – Lineage 2
L2 Reborn is a Lineage 2 Interlude server operating since 2019. It’s a classic L2 experience that caters to the hardcore Lineage 2 player base.
The private server keeps the original retail gameplay with the normal XP rate, no pay-to-win features, no dual boxing, and no bots. It has a strict anti-RMT (real money trading) policy, although some say that RMT may happen inside clans. L2 Reborn has an active community with 2k daily online users which is a lot for a private server.
L2 Knight proposes an alternate L2 experience with new classes and systems. It’s an interesting concept that is worth a shot.
MU Global Evolution is a Season 1 Classic progression server for MU Online, the veteran MMORPG that was the bomb in the early 2000s. The official version is still up and running under Webzen but for those that prefer the original gameplay, we have MU Global Evolution.
The private server features a double XP rate, three playable classes, a level cap of 400, and six open maps. The player base is not huge but it’s enough to keep the server running. Regular events and updates are a good sign that MU Global Evolution gets plenty of attention.
MU Global is a Season 16 MU Online private server with customization and resets. Players can reset each time they reach level 400. It takes more than 50 resets to have a chance on top maps with challenging monsters.
MU Global implements customization and changes to alter the original gameplay. Leveling is easier and each map has various facilities. Quality of life improvements includes the option to sell unwanted items without visiting vendor NPCs. The server has a healthy population peaking at around 1k daily users.
Redemption is a private RuneScape 317 server. It’s a custom server which means that you will see some features that aren’t part of the original game. Redemption has unique NPCs, items, weapons, armors, and more.
It offers three game modes: normal, hardcore, and ironman. Players can purchase optional membership to unlock benefits.
Redemption is running since 2014. The server has an active player base that has a say in deciding new features and game additions. Most of the players are RuneScape veterans that are not happy with the official game, whether it’s RuneScape 3 or Old School RuneScape.
Blade and Soul Rebellion – Blade and Soul
Rebellion is a private BnS server operating since 2020. Characters are capped at level 55 and Hongmoon level 15. Chapter 1. The Encroaching Darkness is the last quest in the storyline available on Rebellion.
Players can create up to three characters and they receive a level 50 voucher for each of them. The cash shop offers premium cosmetics but no pay-to-win items.
Blade & Soul Rebellion offers the original B&S experience without the latest content updates and changes that didn’t sit right with all the players. The community is active and the Discord channel has all the needed info.
Rusty Hearts lived for three years only but that was enough to make an impact on the handful of people that started the Revolution private server.
The project focuses on PvP balance with PvE content. Players have the chance to experience the original hack-and-slash gameplay but the ultimate goal is to create a custom Rusty Hearts adventure with new content and features.
The updates include the removal of pay-to-win features. Revolution also takes care of bugs that were in the original version. Heck, it looks like these die-hard fans are doing a better job than the original developers.