10 Best Free MMORPGs to Choose From
Choose your destiny in our list of 10 best free mmorpg games
So, you've gotten tired of life and are looking for something to immerse yourself in and let the days drift by. You need a good massive-multiplayer online role-playing game, what's more, you need the best free MMORPG that 2015 has to offer. That's why I'm here, to help you out. Before I start listing, let's cover a few key details, events and criteria. If you're not really interested in the what, why and how, then feel free to skip straight to the list.
The past few years, have been great for the free-to-play MMO genre. If you guys still remember the old greats, like Fly For Fun (or FLYFF), Perfect World and most importantly - Maple Story. You will recall that, while they each had their charm, they were very mediocre. They were these Asian titles that each looked like one another, mostly disguising grind by putting a "quest" label on killing a number of creatures, followed by a bigger number of creatures to get a slightly better, yet similar, looking piece of equipment.
Now, Maple Story is still one to watch out for, since there's a Maple Story 2 in the works and it used to be a titan back in its day...until the pay-to-play games started going free. Somewhere around 2010, one by one, each game that required a subscription started switching to a free-to-play or freemium business model. Suddenly, the free MMORPGs were no longer just bland disguised grind, but proper full games, either rich or with something unique to offer.
Yet, there is a large issue when it comes to sorting the top 10 and that is their ever changing nature. An MMORPG is a constant struggle of balance and trying to surpass the competition to bring in more players. This leads to many and frequent updates that radically change the game. Often enough, it's possible for an update to make or completely break an MMO. Changes to their business model count as well (*cough* pay-to-win *cough*). Somehow, all of these possibilities have to be taken into account.
Let me just go over the business model terms mentioned above: Free-to-play is what we mostly want. It's games that are fully free, with a cash shop or some minor account expansions (like character slots or extra inventory space) that you pay for. Paying players get an edge, but free players don't miss out. Then we have freemium. This is something new where the game is essentially free, but it's the premium members who get all the perks and the full content. Usually there's locked options in character creation or even in stories that you can only access if you pay. Finally, there's that god-awful pay-to-win. That's where free MMORPGs fail the most. Their options for paying customers are so ludicrously good, that free players will feel like they're fighting a losing battle.
Because MMOs are the kind of games where you usually choose one and stick with it for a while, you will likely encounter both ups and downs in its growth. The important thing is for the general idea of the game to stay enticing enough to keep you going through the hardship of a game-breaking patch.
This game just barely made it on the list, but I had to include it for it's great ideas and huge potential.
Content is the word when we talk about ArcheAge. You have tons of options for what to do in the game. It's a sandbox pure and simple. You can build houses, farm land, sail on ships, establish countries etc. They really thought of putting everything in there. There's over 100 classes to help cover everything, there's a ton of abilities too. Of course there's combat as well, don't worry.
It's a truly open and free world and the game is free-to-play. The downsides? First off, it's pay-to-win. Second, it's completely broken. The economy in the game is ruined due to oversights during launch, some great ideas are ruined by poorly implemented systems and it has super annoying RNG. Let's say this is a game that has the potential to be one of the best free MMORPGs with a massive overhaul/reset patch.
Look mom, I'm a polar bear! Rawr.
Everquest 2 could've just as easily been here, if it weren't an old game that didn't live up to its name. Let's face it. Aion will never be the best free MMORPG out there, no matter how much they try to save it. It will be constantly weighed down by a rather questionable business model and being lackluster with their promise. By "questionable business model", I'm referring to the split Europe and NA release.
In Europe there seems to be huge limits on their free-to-play model, often labeled as pay-to-win. North America, on the other hand, gets what they call a "truly free" release. I'd say it's a case of freemium versus free-to-play and this really ruins the appeal for the game. Unless you're in North America of course!
Secondly, the game's biggest promise compared to other titles is flight (kind of like FLYFF), but it's surprisingly restricted. Yes, it can feel cool to fly around and glide all over the map, but it doesn't really let you traverse the land much easier. There's only certain areas where you can fly and not for a very long time. Though it's a bit of a letdown, I have to admit it's still pretty entertaining, which is why the game made it on this list.
Their crowning mechanic though is what they call PvPvE. Basically it's faction-based fortress battles where you fight both opposing players and opposing NPCs. Sounds a bit like a MOBA doesn't it? Well, it's fun, chaotic, and gives some level of epic to the PvP aspect. Plus, they're still tweaking and adding stuff to it even today, so who knows where it'll end up?