For a sub-genre of MMO’s that hasn’t been around all that long, there are an absolute slew of free to play MMOFPS, MMOTPS and multiplayer online shooter games on the market. It’s not surprising really; this genre is like the perfect melding of two seemingly disparate things. The relentless action and excitement of shooters, with the joy of social features and item collecting found in RPG’s. With so many new entries out there, we figured we’d help you sort through them all with this list of the Top 10 Free Shooters to Play in 2013.
The second venture of Electronic Arts in the free-to-play genre with the Battlefield name (after the cartoony Battlefield Heroes), Battlefield Play4Free is a more serious game. Based mostly on the acclaimed Battlefield 2 game, this FPS offers 32-player battles in a Middle East setting. Players choose between the United States and Russia sides and enter some exhilarating FPS action. There are 16 vehicles to use in the game maps, such as helicopters, tanks and fighter jets, making things even more chaotic.
Play now: Battlefield Play4Free
After a warm critical reception, developer Hi-Rez Studio decided to drop the subscription on their jetpack-powered MMO shooter Global Agenda, and later opted for the addition of a free-to-play model. And then Global Agenda: Free Agent was revealed. Global Agenda: Free Agent offers some exciting team-based PvP gameplay and Agency vs. Agency territory conflict in a third-person perspective. The crisp graphics and polished presentation make this game truly shine.
Play now: Global Agenda: Free Agent
8. Alliance of Valiant Arms
Alliance of Valiant Arms (AVA) offers up tons of awesome game modes, near-limitless customization, and some of the tightest shooting gameplay to be found online. It’s good looking and stable, thanks to the Unreal Engine powering its thirst for blood, and runs nearly lag free.
Play now: Alliance of Valiant Arms
7. APB Reloaded
APB spent just a few months as a retail product and was promptly shut down… but not forgotten. GamersFirst acquired the rights for this MMO and after a revamp (including some features such as a new district and clan-based combat mechanics, among others) released it to an eager community. APB Reloaded is one of a kind and the mix of third-person shooting and driving is a successful one. The Criminals vs. Enforcers gameplay is an exciting one and the city of San Paro acts as a solid playground. APB Reloaded it´s not a perfect game (well… no game is perfect, all of them have flaws) but GamersFirst has a blockbuster in their hands, a MMO game with many indisputable qualities. If you like non-stop action, this is the one.
Play now: APB Reloaded
6. Gotham City Impostors
Fans of DC Comic’s iconic hero/villain duo Batman and Joker will find Monolith Productions Gotham City Impostors to be a welcomed addition to the F2P FPS genre. The shooter pits players as wannabe Batman vigilantes vs Joker thugs in zany, often over the top brawls. Players can choose from a large assortment of homemade weapons and contraptions including Jack in the Box explosives, pipe bombs, inflatable bouncing shoes, marble machine guns, katanas and other non traditional weaponry. Players can enjoy customizing the look of both their vigilante and villain with a wide range of costume unlocks, voice packs and unlockable perks which allow a player to tailor their character to fit a specific playstyle. Enjoy a large variety of maps and interesting game modes in this eccentric shooter!
Play now: Gotham City Impostors
5. Ghost Recon Online
Ghost Recon Online, is Ubisoft’s Free-to-Play rendition of their popular third person, cover-based tactical series. The TPS features a heavy focus on cover mechanics with the ability to seek shelter behind various walls and objects, providing the player with decreased recoil and increased bullet protection. Ghost Recon Online features three soldier classes each with their own unique weapon type and special ability, allowing players to work together as a tactical squad in order to complete objectives and gain the upper hand.
Play now: Ghost Recon Online
4. Tribes Ascend
With the experience gained with Global Agenda, it’s hard to think of a better suited studio than Hi-Rez to work on the popular Tribes franchise. Tribes: Ascend fully delivered on what fans were expecting of it, offering exciting and fast-paced FPS combat where jetpacks truly make a difference. The vibrant colors help create a compelling world that is quickly filled with all kinds of weapon blasts that any player with a slight interest for sci-fi and experience in the genre (not mandatory but helpful) just has to enjoy.
Play now: Tribes: Ascend
3. Blacklight: Retribution
Blacklight: Retribution is the follow-up to Blacklight: Tango Down, a 2010 downloadable shooter that earned some mixed reviews. This free-to-play FPS fixes some of the problems of the original title and adds some much needed quality to the genre. Among the distinctive features are the HRV (that lets you look through walls for partners and enemies) and the hardsuit, an hulking armor pretty much similar to a mech. With great graphics, customizable weapons and fast and furious gameplay, Blacklight: Retribution is well worth seeking out by fans of rock-solid FPS games.
Play now: Blacklight: Retribution
2. Team Fortress 2
Valve stormed the market by unleashing Team Fortress 2 as a free-to-play game, offering what is undoubtedly one of the finest shooters ever for free. It’s not just the brilliant cartoon visuals – from which Battlefield Heroes was clearly inspired – or the polished game mechanics, but also the humor that the charismatic characters bring to the matches. If there’s a free shooter out there that everyone must play, that shooter is Team Fortress 2. As long as Valve keeps things balanced between the free and premium players, this is a game that has a fantastic lasting appeal.
Play now: Team Fortress 2
1. PlanetSide 2
Sony Online Entertainment was the first to bring the scale of war to the FPS genre with the original Planetside back in 2003 and now again in 2012 with none other then the sequel to Planetside, aptly named Planetside 2. This unmatched open-world MMOFPS boasts the largest FPS battles currently available, with 2000 players spread across 3 factions in an all out war. Fans of vehicular warfare in games such as Battlefield, will enjoy similar ground and air combat, with Planetside 2 focusing heavily on air to air enagements and massive tank warfare. Unlike most traditional lobby based shooters, Planetside 2 is completely open world, with battles waging across 3 distinctly unique continents, each around 64sqkm in size! Planetside 2 offers an unprecedented amount of depth for a shooter, with 6 unique classes players can independently level up, customize and switch to on the fly. If you like organized large scale warfare, nothing beats Planetside 2.
Play now: PlanetSide 2
This impressive list of free shooters stands to grow even larger throughout the year, and several new MMOFPS and MMOTPS games are in development. Whether they can top any of the games on this list remains to be seen, but they’ll have their hands full. Still, we can’t wait to see where this genre takes us in 2013 and beyond.
**This page will be updated from time to time so don´t forget to share your top 10! Last update: Dec 4th 2012.