Top 5 Free-To-Play MMOs That Might Actually Be Worth Your Time
Drakensang, Battlestar Galactica, Runes of Magic, DC Universe Online, and Dungeons and Dragons Online, top our list of the best Free MMORPG’s. Here’s why.
By Enemy Crab
MMORPGs are fun or frustrating depending on your standpoint. Some people adore the grind of slaying a dozen “Juvenile Brown Bears”, collecting 25 “Sharpened Warg Teeth” or the slightly-less-routine “Escort Merchant Samson to the Fernbury Monastery.” Others find no difference between using a series of skills to slowly drag a monsters health bar to zero and bashing their head repeatedly into a wall. However, for those of us who still find pleasure in the process of pressing a certain combination of numerical keys to achieve an optimal damage output, the genre is coming into a new age.
In order to compete with, or raid alongside the best, a certain time commitment is necessary. I didn’t get my Human Paladin to level 80 by getting an adequate amount of sleep before work or going out for drinks on the weekend. I poured blood, sweat, tears and a ridiculous number of hours into getting my character raid-ready, all while following a meticulously written leveling guide.
The conflict that arises in playing such games is that we may not have the time necessary to get the most out of our investment. Most would agree that you haven’t really started “playing” World of Warcraft until you reach max level, a feat that can take hundreds of hours to accomplish. Unfortunately many of us may not have the time necessary to commit to a relationship with an MMO, and thus may not want to shell out cash for games, expansions, or monthly subscription fees.
This is why I have assembled the following list: 5 Free-to-play MMOs that might actually be worth your time. These entries have been chosen because they offer both a grinding, leveling, hardcore experience for those looking to deeply immerse themselves in a rich fantasy world, and also the chance to jump in and satisfy a quick dungeon-run craving on your own or with a friend. Plus, they’re free, and everyone likes free stuff.
1.The first game to make the list is Drakensang. This game, though not quite deep enough to warrant the title of “Diablo III Clone”, makes a valiant effort to imitate Blizzard’s now-juggernaut. This top down fantasy RPG, which offers 3 character classes with vastly different skill sets and abilities, brings instant gratification along with just a hint of the replay-ability that most MMOs have us coming back for more of. While I was able to jump right in and start exploring with a friend of mine quickly, I also was left in awe of the max level characters and their shiny fancy looking gear.
Drakensang’s gameplay is solid. Use the mouse to move and attack, activate skills which you gather whilst levelling up to do bigger damage, and pick up loot to equip your character with. I would recommend playing one of the ranged classes, as my brief experience with melee was reminiscent of a flash game where a character feebly chases your cursor around the screen. Overall Drakensang’s surprisingly high quality graphics, decent gameplay mechanics, and free roaming world qualify it as worthy of time consumption.
Battlestar Galactica Online
2.And now, for something completely different. Battlestar Galactica Online offers rich character customization, action packed space battles, and the constant question of who is or is not a Cylon. Like Drakensang, BSG online allows you to play right from your browser, adding a level of convenience I have come to appreciate as I delve deeper into the world of (relatively) casual gaming. While I haven’t watched the show, I’ve managed to ascertain that you do not in fact battle any stars. Who knew? That must be a euphemism for something.
Battlestar Galactica Gameplay
I had an excellent time attempting to set up my old Joystick from the days I spent piloting Japanese Zeroes in Battlefield 1942. After failing miserably in my efforts to utilize ancient PC peripherals, I had no issue with the keyboard and mouse scheme used to control my more modern starship. Battlestar Galactica holds surprising depth when you consider it features two sides in a galactic conflict, and offers combat on two planes. Players battle both on the ground (or inside space stations) and as I mentioned before in full scale space battles. Give Battlestar Galactive a shot if you like your science to be as fictional as your wallet.
Runes of Magic
3. Say World of Warcraft aloud. Ok, now say Runes of Magic aloud. Did you notice anything? The identical syllable count isn’t the only thing these titles have in common. In fact, you will probably have a harder time spotting differences between WoW and RoM than finding similarities. However, Runes of Magic is more than just a knockoff of Blizzards juggernaut, and even if that wasn’t true, who says it has to be anything else?
Runes of Magic Gameplay
Everything from the perspective you view your character from to the class selection are just about the same as in WoW, but there are a few features in Runes of Magic that set it apart. Freeness comes to mind, but along with this comes the ability to exchange cash for in-game diamonds to be used to buy gear, something most gamers consider to be a negative. Runes of Magic also has a housing system, which allows players to deck out their own customizable home with loot they acquire throughout their adventures. Runes of Magic is a great option for those looking for some WoW nostalgia while avoiding re-activating a subscription fee-based account.
DC Universe Online
4. If you find the character that represents you in a fantasy game doesn’t come off as “Heroic” enough, then perhaps you should find yourself bitten by the radioactive spider that is DC Universe Online. Or maybe have the nuclear waste that is DC Universe Online dumped on you. Or maybe build a bunch of gadgets to turn yourself into DC Universe Online man. Whatever your preferred method of becoming a superhero, you’re more likely to experience the thrill of saving (or rampaging upon) a city than in the fantasy titles mentioned previously.
DC Universe Online Gameplay
The game allows you to travel through both SuperMan’s Metropolis and Batman’s Gotham City while giving you the option to fight alongside them or their respective nemesis, the Joker and Lex Luthor. There is an incredible amount of customization which allows players to create whatever superhero they would prefer. However, DC Universe Online does lack a bit of the visual customization we have become accustomed to, requiring players to collect gear and apparel. The combat has a great feel as players unlock more powerful combos as they level up.
Dungeons & Dragons Online
5. The last title I’ve chose to list is Dungeons and Dragons Online. There are tons of classes, many races, and a variety of open worlds and dungeons to explore and discover. The game still holds a relatively large player base so you won’t feel too lonely while exploring what is supposed to be a massively multiplayer game. Don’t worry about gathering your friends and D20s in your basement; Dungeons and Dragons Online will do the legwork for you.
Dungeons and Dragons Gameplay
I spent a good amount of time leveling a barbarian on this bad boy for many reasons. Including but not limited to the following: An incredibly deep level of character customization, a quick introduction to the fun of running dungeon missions and acquiring loot, and fun gameplay mechanics. In fact, Dungeons and Dragons Online is essentially a virtual simulation of the time tested gameplay system in the role-playing (not-video) game, D&D. In combat, a simulated D20 is rolled and in general the statistics and leveling adhere to the rules of the pen and paper game I spent evenings imaginitizing myself into on so many high school evenings. Whether you’re a fan of the original or not, there is depth and fun to be had here.
Hopefully this list has connected a few more gamers to a few more opportunities to do what they love. You don’t have to take my word for it, give Drakensang, Battlestar Galactica, Runes of Magic, DC Universe Online, or Dungeons and Dragons Online a try and give your wallet a break.