Over the last year or two whilst I was wandering ceaselessly, attempting to wait patiently for Conan to release, I tried my hand at many free to play Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Games. A lot of the games I didn’t like, but surprisingly, a lot of them I did!
These games generally originate in countries where English isn’t their native language, resulting in some really interesting phrases, occasionally confusing instructions, and a small or steep learning curve.
Once you get past that, you can generally get a good sense of the game and start having fun. My personal opinion is that these games are more of a grind fest than anything you’ll have to pay for. Yes, in essenses, “aren’t they all?”, but Free to Play MMORPG’s don’t tend to hide it as well.
**Note: Most of these games have cash shops. IE: You send money to the game creators for a pet, an item, a “bonus pack” for extra xp or gear. I do not use these when I play, so my reviews and opinions are coming from the completely free side.**
If you’re looking for some free fun, I recommend trying these games:
Maple Story: Despite the fact that there will be a handful who cheat at this game (speed hacks, item hacks, so on and so forth) it’s kind of cute. It’s a side scroller reminescent of the good old ancient days of games. Back when we had to go barefoot, up a hill, three times, just to buy a game–in the snow–and it’s terribly cute. (Cute is a theme that will be common here. Prepare yourself.) I played Maple Story for about a month or so and had a pretty decent time while I was there. The issue of course, was that I didn’t know anyone, most of the users seemed pretty young and had some confusion as to how not to mix numbers with their letters. I recommend this one because of it’s side-scroller niftiness just to try out.
Trickster Online: This is the first free MMORPG that I got into thanks to and his pictures of unbelievably cute characters, hats, and beautiful Engrish. Trickster online appeared to be relatively easy to figure out once I read a little bit on it via cluttered forums and played a bit. It is undeniably cute and may send you into a sugar coma–which is kinda what I like about these games, anyway! I played about a month by myself and was amused by most of the quests and chat. If you’re into bright, happy little games with kitton-hats and foxy-fox chicks, I’d recommend trying this one out.
Dreams of Mirror Online (DOMO): Dreams of Mirror Online is another game which reminds me heavily of Okami in it’s use of strong, black outlines for characters and it’s world. DOMO online caught me however for it’s bright colors, exceptionally cute characters and well presented world.
When I downloaded the game and started playing it, several other features within it began to make it stand out a little better than other free-to-play MMO’s, such as the fact DOMO Online wants to be a game that zeros in and focuses on the social aspect of gaming, instead of just soloing and grinding all the time.
You can create relationships with other players. Obviously, there is the romantic kind, but there are friendships and pledges, groups and families which the game rewards you for creating and keeping. Characters with certain relationships are granted buffs, bonuses and specials they can use depending on the relationship they have. The game uses “Fate,” an interesting quirk which brings you Destined Enemies, Destined Relative and Destined Love as well. It’s an interesting take and despite a few hiccups in the translation and learning curve department, it’s not a bad little game for a freebie. You can tell that a lot of time and effort when into some aspects of it.
And it’s cute. Did I mention that yet?
9Dragons: Acclaim’s free to play Kung-Fu martial arts PVE & PVP MMORPG game. This one, I admit, I have played off an on for the last year. My playing stints are generally no more than a week or two, or a month, but I enjoyed playing it.
I think I enjoyed playing it specifically just for the Kung-fu and martial arts alone and the look of the game. It’s a grind fest (of course) the players are often gooberheads that you don’t generally want to associate with, but I struck out and got lucky with a decent guild of adults (while I played) and came away with a favorable attitude.
The only issue that I had/have with this game is that the website is not designed with anything but IE users in mind.
Requiem: Bloodymare: One of the single most bloody free-to-play games I’ve gotten my hands on yet, Requiem is different in the fact that, if you’re bored with cutesy free games–this game will help. Twisted, grotesque monsters to fight which twitch, flail, scream and bleed, and bleed A LOT, when you kill them. At night time during a two-hour slot, the world turns into a “nightmare,” which special, more difficult monsters appear. There’s a definite lack of anything that will make you squeal like you do at kittens.
The over all design and look of the game is dark, gritty, and dirty. Someone made mention that it looks a lot like, or reminds them of Lineage II character wise. I played it for a bit and I also came away with the impression that, while you can solo through most of it, there will be certain group dungeons and instances that drop decent loot you’ll want to…well…group up for.
I was entertained by the twitching, flailing, bleeding and guts for a little while. If you aren’t into the saccharine happy sweetness good time fun of most Free to plays, give this a try.
Archlord: Archlord started off as a pay-to-play MMORPG, actually. I don’t know the full story, whether the company fell through or the developers all exploded in a horrible cake accident, but it’s free-to-play now. What caught me about Archlord was not the fact that it had an excellent PVP system, and that you could still choose to PVE if you wanted–but that it rewarded the single most best PVP player by making him or her Archlord over the entire server.
Specifically, the Archlord could control things like whether it was night or day, the weather, and a host of other really neat things. The idea was pretty cool.
The graphics weren’t too bad and I enjoyed playing it while it held my interest. Again, (as with most of these games) the grind fest got to me and I haven’t been back.
Perfect World: While the website seems eerily familiar to World of Warcraft Players, the world itself isn’t exactly alike. Perfect World is kind of impressive in a very cheesy way: they’ve their own theme song which you can hear after you install the game during character creation or log-in.
What made this game stand out for me is the possibility for character customization. So many free games give you, on average, four different faces, four hair colors, four body types and that’s it. Perfect World’s character creation (on the female end, sorry boys. I play chicks.) had a plethora of sliders, color choosers, size sliders and other things to fine tweak a character to your liking. That really stood out to me.
I have an account and I admit that out of the six months I’ve had the game installed, I’ve played maybe a week, but what I have seen and what I have played so far, I’ve really enjoyed.
Games I’ve recently tried but sucked so hard I didn’t make it past install and first hour:
Mabinogi Online: Months of waiting for them to open the game up to “Oceanic” people, just to find out that I am still in a “Service Denied” area. I guess they don’t want people from Florida US playing? I was really looking forward to this free game, as it touted as many support crafting classes (things like the ability to sheer sheep, spin thread and make custom clothing) but..Well. I CAN’T PLAY IT.
Zu Online (Beta): This is in beta and it shows. While it has a strong resemblance and nod toward the Okami feel with broad black lines and cartoonish characters, it looked really good. An hour into the game with poorly translated english and “help” prompts that made no sense what-so-ever, I left. Way, way, way too confusing for me to get.
2Moons: 🙁 I can’t get those 30 minutes and one hour of attempting to play back. EVER.
First impression of this game was standing in the main city after leveling up for the first bit and have nothing but scroll after scroll after scroll after scroll after scroll after scroll after scroll AFTER SCROLL of gold seller spam. In a free to play game. :/ After further inquiry, apparently all the main cities are like such, and it’s so bad that NO ONE can talk in any of the cities.
I know that gold seller spam and farmers (unfortunately) are part and parcel of most games these days, but that’s just the most ridiculous case I’ve ever seen. And the fact that game masters or volunteers don’t do anything about it sort of tells me the general jist of how they feel about their game. They don’t care.
At LEAST Maple Story and the other games will try and ban people cheating or openly selling gold, 2Moons people don’t seem to even care. It’s surprising to me that it’s a game made by the same people who made 9Dragons, which I actually liked!
- They’re free!
- No monthly fee!
- They’re generally not graphic intensive, so if you have a good computer with a few old parts or a semi-old computer that you are waiting to upgrade/can’t afford to yet, you can usually run these games smooth as buttuh without going 23232323232 dollars into debt just to have them run.
- You can solo through almost all of it happily by yourself without worry of being told by someone to hurry up because you aren’t l33t enough or leveling fast enough.
- You don’t have to spend a single cent in any of the cash shops for items or xp boosts to play and enjoy the game
- Most aren’t PVP only, so you can choose to skip out on that if you wish.
- Kids. Mom and Dad didn’t want to pay for the WoW account, so they turned around and downloaded one of the free to play games.
- Language Barrier. A lot of the people who play these games won’t all be speaking English, some of the actual GAME TEXT looks like it’s been translated into English by babble fish, a lot of internet short hand and text/1337 speak.
- Confusing instructions or none at all. Some of the games don’t have a terribly great help system for beginners and often times, you’re tossed into the middle of the world with a pat on the head and a “GOOD LUCK DON’T PRESS THE RED BUTTON BUT YOU WON’T KNOW THAT UNTIL LATER, WHEN YOU CURIOUSLY PRESS THE RED BUTTON.”
- People who spend money in the cashshops will always have the advantage over you. Cash shops sell unique gear (usually) that doesn’t drop anywhere else, experience boosts, special attacks, uber pets and more. This leaves the rest of us poo’ folk who may enjoy PVP at a great disadvantage. It’ll be extremely difficult to try and compete with these folks.
So there you go. I recommend installing and trying out the games that appeal to you, because the worst that could happen with a free-to-play game is that you don’t like it and you uninstall it 🙂