10 Grindy Games Like Black Desert Online

Image credit: Pearl Abyss

Maybe you just want a new setting to grind in, or something to play while you wait for the latest Black Desert Online update. Either way, we have you covered. Our list will help you find a new virtual home to farm in.

Black Desert Online is a one-of-a-kind experience, and there isn’t anything else quite like it in the MMO genre. Its combat system is one of the smoothest I’ve seen in gaming history, and it literally packs a punch.

The game is also backed by breathtaking visuals and an immersive sandbox world – it’s hard to beat. However, our hand-picked list is full of 10 grindy games like Black Desert Online that also provide the same, addictive style of play.

Lost Ark

Available on PC.

Out of every game on this list, this one comes the closest to offering the Black Desert Online experience. Lost Ark doubles down on the action-packed combat, and also shares a similar aesthetic.

Lost Ark feels like the developers made a cocktail mixing Diablo’s gameplay with a dash of Black Desert Online’s systems. It plays like your classic top-down ARPG, but expanded to an MMO scale.

You will feel right at home with the combat system in Lost Ark if you’re coming hot off games like Black Desert Online. The attacks actually feel powerful, and you can see the impact.

If you’re a huge fan of action-combat games, you should also give our games like Path of Exile list a read! A few of the titles on there have BDO’s fast-paced combat and gear grind.

Along with the amazing combat, Lost Ark also allows for really diverse character builds. Abilities in the game have multiple tiers for customization, so you can really experiment and great creative.

The endgame and progression in Lost Ark is also well fleshed out. The early game focuses on grinding levels, and then tiered gear once you hit max. There’s also plenty of content when it comes to raids and dungeons.

Lost Ark’s world design is also off the charts. The map has seven continents, which all have their own unique culture and personality. It helps the game feel so much more immersive, and fans of games like Black Desert Online will love it.

Final Fantasy XIV

Available on PC, PS5 and PS4.

What kind of ‘games like Black Desert Online’ list would this be if we didn’t recommend Final Fantasy XIV? It’s one of the biggest titles in the MMORPG genre, and the franchise is iconic.

Also, who doesn’t love moogles and chocobos? Because this game is full of them! Cute creatures aside, FFXIV delivers on every front, from the crisp combat to the story and world design.

While it doesn’t offer the same high-intensity action BDO is known for, the raids and dungeons in the game can be just as thrilling. It also has one of the best tab-target combat systems and feels highly polished.

Final Fantasy XIV also has an unlimited free trial available, and it lets you try out most of the classes! The trial is pretty lengthy, and progresses way past the base game.

Whether you’re a Final Fantasy fanatic, looking for a new world to raid in, or even crafting and player housing—this game has something to offer to nearly every type of MMO player.

The strongest part of Final Fantasy XIV lies with its writing. It’s regarded as one of the best stories in the entire FF franchise. It’ll pull at your heart and get you in tears – it’s an emotional ride.

Final Fantasy XIV is just as much a JRPG as it is an MMORPG. If you’re a fan of the genre, it is not a story you want to miss. Our games like Persona 5 list is a good read if you want similar narrative-heavy games.

Genshin Impact

Available on PC, PS5, PS4, Android and iOS.

Pack your bags and prepare for anime characters, because it’s time you took a trip to the beautiful, cel-shaded world of Teyvat. Genshin Impact might not be an MMO, but it scratches the same itch and fans of games like Black Desert Online will love it.

The game is an online action RPG, and the gameplay loop is filled with grinding. It will have you farming for materials to level up your characters and gear.

Exploring the world of Genshin and grinding for levels is seriously addictive. The game set the standard for traversing open-world maps, and the combat system is engaging.

It might seem a bit slow compared to Black Desert Online, but it’s still filled with complexities and is gratifying to master. Battles in Genshin consist of you swapping between party members to combo attacks and elemental effects.

Unlocking characters in Genshin is typically done through gacha summoning. Every character has their own unique abilities, weapon type, and elemental attribute.

With the large cast of characters available, this really allows for some unique party set-ups and diverse builds. It’s easy to get into theory crafting teams and optimizing them for combat.

Genshin Impact really shines with its vibrant cast. The passion the developers put into designing the every character is noteworthy, and you can’t help but fall in love with their strong personalities.

The game is also generous with its premium currency. While the word gacha usually raises red flags, Genshin makes it pretty easy to collect characters. It’s also free-to-play and multi-platform.

MapleStory

Available on PC.

Watching the damage numbers rise into the millions, over-the-top animations for skills, and character stats growing exponentially – MapleStory’s gameplay loop will turn you into an addict.

If you’re looking for games similar to Black Desert Online, you need to give MapleStory a try. The entire game is just farming monster-filled maps to level up, and it executes it so well.

MapleStory mastered the grinding formula years ago, securing its place as one of the long-standing kings in the MMORPG genre. It’s been running since 2003 and is alive for a reason.

The art style used is downright adorable, and the monster designs are iconic. Ask any MMO player if they recognize the slime or mushroom in the game, and they will without a doubt say yes.

The game features action combat with platformer-like movement. The feeling of satisfaction as you fly about the map and rain hell on monsters is almost indescribable. From launching missiles in a giant anime robot, to slamming monsters with psychic powers and even conjuring storms of magic – MapleStory keeps the game fresh with its wide range of classes.

There are over 20 classes to choose from, and they all offer different playstyles. You can really tell the developers went the extra mile in having each one feel unique with their identity.

MapleStory gives Black Desert a run for its money with diversity in combat with the sheer amount of classes available. It also doesn’t hurt to give the game a download—it’s free-to-play!

Dungeon Fighter Online

Available on PC.

If you don’t mind a blast from the past, Dungeon Fighter Online is a must-play for any action combat fan. It’s a fast-paced MMORPG that focuses on delivering satisfying combat and grind.

It’s an old-school game inspired by classic beat ’em ups like Double Dragon and Streets of Rage. The gameplay is an instant nostalgia hit, and feels like you’re back on an arcade machine.

Dungeon Fighter Online is a game similar to Black Desert Online in the way it fills the same need for fast and impactful combat. They also both have a combo-based system. The battles in Dungeon Fighter will hook you in immediately. Punching the lights out of enemies, cutting down monsters, and even throwing them across the map—it’s super engaging.

The controls are also reminiscent of fighting games. Some skills even require special inputs, and some need to be part of a combo.

Dungeon Fighter Online doesn’t offer much in the way of life skills the way Black Desert does, but it doesn’t need to. It set out to make one of the most enjoyable combat systems and succeeded.

There’s also over 15 playable classes in the game, and each one also has various subclasses to specialize in. Dungeon Fighter Online does a great job at making the classes play differently.

The diversity in playstyles due to classes also helps keep the game feel fresh. Creating alt characters can be a breath of fresh air, and keep the grinding enjoyable.

The Elder Scrolls Online

Available on PC, PS5, PS4, Xbox Series and Xbox One.

Maybe it’s time you take a trip to Tamriel, and make it your new home. The Elder Scrolls franchise needs no introduction, it’s one of the most successful RPG series.

The Elder Scrolls Online combines the best of the series’ rich lore and sandbox elements with the MMO formula. Adventure anywhere, run dungeons, and finally experience TES with friends.

The high point of ESO is the world. It’s hands-down the most immersive game in the genre. It’s fully voice-acted, including the random NPCs you see strolling through the streets.

Almost any item you see can be interacted with, and you can even kill NPCs. While this is a usual feature for Elder Scrolls games, no other MMO has this level of interactivity. On top of that, the world just feels so alive. Every NPC has a little routine. It might just be walking around the town, or sweeping up their house, but all the little details add up.

This is what makes ESO worth trying. The combat doesn’t even come close to rivaling Black Desert, but the attention to detail makes it worth playing.

The level of effort put into designing the game and world makes grinding in it so much more enjoyable. Having the world and environments around you living and breathing beats static maps.

It’s also the perfect game for grinding with friends. Most MMOs make it impossible to group if there are level gaps between the players. However, in ESO you can still quest together and get rewards tailored to your level.

Albion Online

Available on PC, Android and iOS.

Throw EVE Online and Old School RuneScape into a blender, and you’d get Albion Online. It’s a true sandbox MMORPG set in a fantasy world inspired by Arthurian legends. It’s one of the best MMO sandbox games on Steam.

The game is played from a top-down isometric perspective. While the combat doesn’t offer fast-paced action like BDO, it’s still compelling and draws inspiration from MOBA titles.

It also has a heavy focus on groups and guild-oriented gameplay. The game even has territory wars, with alliances fighting over claim to locations in the game’s world.

The combat in Albion is responsive, and extremely fun once you master it. Fights can get the adrenaline pumping, especially during the heat of giant battles between guilds.

Albion also has a massive world that works similarly to EVE. The map is split into dozens of connected zones. Each one falls under a different type, ranging from protected to full-loot PvP.

While the PvP elements of Albion are amazing, the game really shines with the player-driven economy and sandbox world. If you liked the market aspect in BDO, this dials it up to ten.

Where Black Desert put restrictions on market min/max prices, Albion is completely determined by the players and supply/demand.

Albion is also amazing if you want a game that offers grinding and meaningful progression for life skilling. Every non-combat role is important and plays a massive role in the game’s economy.

There’s also a wide range of life skills to choose from too. From farming to mining, cooking and even fishing – each one also has a deep tree to grind and level through too.

Monster Hunter Rise

Available on PC and Nintendo Switch.

Nothing scratches the action-combat and grind fix like the Monster Hunter series. Farming for gear, and taking down the same enemies over and over is a core part of the series’ identity.

Do yourself a favor and grab Monster Hunter Rise as well as its Sunbreak expansion. It’ll satisfy any grind fix, and keep you occupied for hundreds of hours.

If collecting materials and gear progression is your favorite part about MMORPGs, then Monster Hunter is a match made in heaven. It’s literally the entire gameplay loop.

The game has you slaying giant monsters, carving them up, and using their parts to craft better gear. It also offers so much variety when it comes to builds, and puts most actual MMORPGs to shame.

Monster Hunter Rise has 14 different weapon types, and they all handle differently. Want to be a katana-wielding samurai? Or maybe you want to use a bow gun and snipe from afar? There’s a weapon and playstyle for everyone. From heavy machine guns to transforming sword-axe hybrids, and even a glaive that shoots out insects.

The combat is entirely skill-based too. You’ll need to perfectly time dodges, remember the attack patterns as well as AI for bosses, and carefully plan every move.

Every attack and animation also feels weighty. You even see the impact that any gunshot and sword slash has on the monsters. It’ll cause scarring, you can cut off tails and even break off parts.

Phantasy Star Online 2 New Genesis

Available on PC, Xbox Series and Xbox One.

New Genesis is the successor and upgrade to Phantasy Star Online 2. It shifts focus to adventure and exploration, topped off with gorgeous anime visuals, and fast-paced action combat.  

Actually, everything in New Genesis is fast-paced. The movement is snappy and swift, and draws some inspiration from Breath of the Wild. You can glide over terrain, dash around and even double jump. 

It makes traversing the game’s open-world zones exciting as you zip about. You’ll find the combat system familiar coming from Black Desert Online too, it’s just as quick and features combos.  

The entire experience of New Genesis probably one-ups BDO when it comes to feeling fluid and responsive. The animations aren’t clunky, and the controls feel smoother. 

One of the game’s best features is the class and weapons system. It allows for so much freedom with builds.

You can even mix-and-match weapons with the game’s subclass mechanic. Subclasses let you use abilities and weapons from another class. Do you want to punch up monsters and then swap to a gun? You can. Or maybe dice enemies with a katana and then whip out a magic rod 

If you want more freedom with playstyles, New Genesis is a must-play. There are over 5 different classes and more than 12 weapon types to choose from. It’s also free-to-play! 

The anime aesthetic and sci-fi setting might also be a fresh change to BDO’s grim fantasy world. New Genesis takes place on the planet Halpha, and is so colorful and vibrant in comparison.  

Destiny 2

Available on PC, PS5, PS4, Xbox Series, and Xbox One.

Load your weapons and get ready to take the grind to space. Destiny 2 is the go-to game if you’re open to trying looter shooters for farming loot. To this day, I still haven’t found another looter shooter with gunplay as smooth as Destiny. It’s fast-paced, and the weapons are satisfying – from the sounds to animations, the game nails it.

There’s also something captivating about running through maps and raids with friends, blasting through aliens and exploring distant planets. On top of that, there’s also a class system and space magic.

In-between unloading all your rounds, you can summon bolts of electricity, swing around scorching fire hammers, or even conjure up Captain America-esque shields.  

Destiny 2 cuts out the fluff that most MMORPG games have, and gets right to the dungeons and action. There are no boring fetch quests, instead, it’s just battle after battle, grinding for better loot. 

If you were obsessing over progression in Black Desert Online, you’ll lose your mind over Destiny. The euphoria that comes with finally getting a new legendary weapon in the game is unreal.  

With over 10 different weapon types in the game, there’s a playstyle for everyone. Whether you want to blow things up with a grenade launcher, or sit back and use a sniper rifle.

It might seem like an out-there recommendation on a list for games similar to Black Desert, but they actually share a lot in common. Destiny 2 is also free-to-play, so it doesn’t cost a cent to try.

The dungeons and raids in the game are masterfully designed too, and actually a challenge. It also has a strong PvP scene as well if you ever want a break from grinding.

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