The competition in the free MMORPG space has gotten remarkably intense in the past few years, as more and more top notch games get converted to free-to-play models, and new games hit the market reveling in their unabashed freeness. Because of all the fierce competition, free games are no longer guaranteed to develop large fanbases just because they’re free, like many of the first free MMORPGs did.
This is of course good news for all of us gamers, as it means free-to-play MMORPGs are higher quality than ever, and there are more sub-genres and styles of free MMO’s available than ever before. So check out our top 10 free MMORPG’s to play in 2013 list.
10. Dungeons and Dragons Online
DDO seemed to have everything going for it upon its initial release, but never seemed to find an audience. It had great graphics, a unique play style, and the pedigree of one of the best MMO developers behind it in Turbine. Despite its failure as a pay-to-play game, don’t be fooled into thinking that was due to the quality of the game. Though it suffers from some of the repetition that other instance-based games suffer from, it’s still an incredibly challenging and enjoyable experience.
Play Now: Dungeons and Dragons Online
9. The Lord of the Rings Online
LoTRO went free-to-play recently, and surely stands as one of the best free-to-play games on the market. A massive world, challenging combat, haunting music, and beautiful graphics await all those who wish to enter the enchanted realm of Middle-Earth. Player-owned houses and mounts, a unique monster-play PvP system, epic raids and gear, legendary crafted gear, and much more exists in Turbine’s masterpiece.
Play Now: The Lord of the Rings Online
8. Allods Online
It’s easy to make the comparison to World of Warcraft when looking at Allods Online. The graphical style is eerily similar, though the art direction is actually quite original, and melds fantasy and sci-fi elements like few other MMO’s on the market. Allods features two distinct races in conflict with each other, and this conflict spills over into the game’s PvP mode. Humorous writing and scenarios are another hallmark of this charming little game. Don’t be put off by the WoW look, and give this one a shot.
Play Now: Allods Online
7. Dragon Nest
Dragon Nest is an action RPG published by Nexon where some of the greatest visuals ever seen in a free MMORPG go hand in hand with charming anime characters and exciting real time combat. There’s a lot to be amazed at in this game, an all-round polished offering that any self-respected fan should try.
Play Now: Dragon Nest
Vindictus was probably the most hyped free MMORPG ever when it released. The combination of stunning graphics and an action-based battle system that still retained the RPG elements we all know and love had gamers giddy with excitement. While the hype surrounding Vindictus has now died down somewhat, it still remains an enjoyable and unique game, with some thrilling combat. And those graphics… (drool).
Play Now: Vindictus
MMORPGs have begun moving away from the classic hotbar style of combat to a more open action combat system which focuses on aiming your skills rather then have your character automatically lock on. RaiderZ has one of the best action combat systems currently available, allowing players to join others in large dynamic confrontations against some of the largest and most varied open world bosses in an MMORPG. Players are also not bound to a specific class, but instead are free to choose among different weapon and skill types, allowing the player to choose what style of combat best suits them. All of this combined offers a refreshing experience for players looking for a more skill-based MMORPG.
Play Now: RaiderZ
Aion was released in the west as a pay-to-play game and quickly fell out of the limelight due to the games incessant need to grind for level progression. However with the release of the 3.0 update and the switch to a free to play model, Aion has gone from a traditional Korean grinder to one of the most promising and enjoyable F2P MMOs around with true depth and diversity. Players now have access to all content in Aion with no restrictions allowing them to enjoy the full range of the game. The MMO features breathtaking visuals, air combat, large scale PvP, raids set atop sky fortresses, competitive dungeon runs and much more. One of the most notable features is the large scale keep assaults players can participate in where players must deal not only with the imposing raid bosses within the keep but must also fight off players from the opposing faction who are also fighting for control. With Ncsoft continually updating the game with huge content releases players can expect a long and enjoyable MMORPG experience with Aion
Play Now: Aion
Rift is another prime example of a particularly above average P2P MMORPG converting into a stellar Free-to-Play one. While on the surface Rift may appear as your average tab-target “WoW Clone”, underneath is a dizzying array of depth and uniqueness. Rift’s main claim to fame is its diverse Soul system, which allows a player to combine multiple roles into one class. While Rift only offers 4 classes, each class has access to 10 diverse souls with three active at any time. Questing in Rift is average, but made more interesting with dynamic events such as Rifts. In any given area, multiple Rifts may spawn which spew out progressively harder mobs. If left unattended, these Rifts can eventually overrun nearby encampments preventing players from turning in quests or using its vendors. Players may also participate in random group adventures which span entire zones with their own separate quest lines and special rewards. Rift boasts an impressive amount of end-game PvE and PvP content, spanning from small 2 player instances to 20 man competitive raids. Overall, Trion has done a good job with the conversion and has shown they are committed to updating the MMORPG continuously with more innovative free content.
Play Now: Rift
Steeped in the rich lore of Dungeons and Dragons, Neverwinter is the newest addition to the open action combat MMORPG family. Based on The Forgotten Realms world of D&D 4.0, Neverwinter offers players a world full of quests, epic dungeons, and beautiful landscapes. What really elevates Neverwinter above most MMORPGs is an amazingly intricate dungeon bulding system, called The Foundry, that allows players to design, share, and participate in their own custom adventures, just like the pen and paper version of D&D. If you’re looking for hours of customizable action filled combat with, or against, your fellow adventurers, make sure you try this one out!
Play Now: Neverwinter
1. Tera Online
After converting from Pay to Play over to Free to Play in early 2013, TERA Rising has shown itself to be one of the premiere MMORPGs available. Showcasing expansive and impressively detailed visuals and a huge variety of wonderfully designed creatures, the open action combat of TERA allows players to have full control over their character while in combat, no more tab targeting here. Although the game does suffer a little from the typical grind of MMORPG questing, there is the option to participate in 5 player dungeons, an upcoming 20 man raid, Guild PvP, and open world PvP to mix it up. TERA also introduces a very unique and intricate political system, that allows a whole zone to vote on a player to become the zone’s matriarch, who can then influence various properties of the zone itself (power trip anyone?). So If you’re tired of dated graphics, repetitive monsters, or even tab targeting, TERA Rising may be the medicine to fix what ails you.
Play Now: Tera Online
Remember that we are featuring only the most recent free to play MMORPGs so we are not including big free mmorpg classics. We wanted to include all the relevant MMORPG games but we can only choose ten.
With these and other great free games on the market, 2013 promises to be an amazing year for MMORPG players. So grab your weapon of choice and maybe an energy drink or two and get prepared for thrills to last a lifetime.
*This page will be updated from time to time so don´t forget to share your top 10! Last update: 10/08/2012.