Evolutionary game dynamics in finite populations assumes that all mutations are equally likely, i.e., if there are n strategies a single mutation can result in any strategy with probability 1/n . However, in biological systems it seems natural that not all mutations can arise from a given state. Certain mutations may be far away, or even be unreachable given the current composition of an evolving population. These distances between strategies (or genotypes) define a topology of mutations that so far has been neglected in evolutionary game theory. In this paper we re-evaluate classic results in the evolution of cooperation departing from the assumption of uniform mutations. We examine two cases: the evolution of reciprocal strategies in a repeated prisoner's dilemma, and the evolution of altruistic punishment in a public goods game. In both cases, alternative but reasonable mutation kernels shift known results in the direction of less cooperation. We therefore show that assuming uniform mutations has a substantial impact on the fate of an evolving population. Our results call for a reassessment of the “model-less” approach to mutations in evolutionary dynamics.