Nolan wrote:No other MMO out there has done a universe that is as rich in lore as WoW is, to my knowledge, and pulled it off. TESO is a mechanical mess full of retcons and contradicting lore, SWTOR is just garbage now with so much wasted potential, and EQN+L are promising despite being built by SOE. And one can't forget all the B2P and F2P alternatives out there. I'm not a fan of Final Fantasy so I can't speak for FFXIV:ARR players, but even that MMO seems pretty stagnant. (I personally can't get over all the asian influences choking the badassery out of everything. Femboys... ugh)
Mechanically, the only MMO out there that I found to be truly enjoyable was Wildstar during the time I played it in Beta. It felt familiar like WoW yet built on the success of the old buttons with the action combat of Guild Wars 2. I'm not saying though that I wouldn't want more than 6-10 buttons, but it's better than GW2 as a whole.
I wouldn't say WoW has the richest lore. It's certainly been around for a while, but it's got its fair share of holes and handwaves and retcons.
I think Kiraleen's right in that LotRO probably has hands-down the "richest" lore of all MMOs, but I don't think it's really fair to consider that. It kind of cheats, what with being tied to one of the most insanely in-depth world building authors of all time. xD
I enjoy Rift's lore quite a bit, to be honest. It has both high fantasy aspects combined with some subtle science fiction that pulls it in just the right ways. Trion really needs to hire better class story writers though, because the stories that came out attached to the new souls relatively recently were just horrid. With those exceptions, though, I really love the whole multiverse thing and the planes and the creepy factor of resurrecting people with other people's souls and... it's just quite fun.
FFXIV has really solid base lore, but its story is horrendous. Which is funny, because SE is supposed to be known for good story-telling, but in my time playing ARR, I can quite honestly say I have never experienced a more trite, boring, and at times downright nonsensical main storyline. Not to mention the infuriating "Meet me at the Waking Sands!" over and over and over and over and over and over and over and... WE HAVE LINKPEARLS FOR A REASON AUGH. /explode
I'm glad you mentioned WildStar, because I am seriously loving the ever-living shit out of that MMO right now. Its story hits all the right notes of science-fantasy, sci-fi western, crazy cartoon, and super serious. It's goofy and over the top while also being at times extremely disturbing. And the lore surrounding Nexus - not to mention the potential lore for the rest of the galaxy - is just delicious. It's such a new game that we're still discovering and learning, but I think it has some really fantastic potential in terms of story. (And you didn't hear it from me, but a lot of people's money is on Nexus being one giant computer program... the meta-ness is strong in that one. XD)