War Thunder

From wizards to ninjas, starships to battleships, there’s a free-to-play game for just about everyone out there. Some are better than others, though, whether it’s due to gameplay, the cash shop, or just that special “something” you can’t quite quantify.

But quantify we will do over the next few weeks, as the staff of MMOBomb takes a crack at ranking the top 50 free-to-play games in existence as of the end of 2015!

To qualify for the list, a game had to be “effectively launched” in North America. That did count games in beta, as long as they were fully free and didn’t require any selection process (like a typical closed beta) to get in. That’s why you’ll see Brawlhalla on the list, which is in open beta and anyone can play right now, but not H1Z1, which requires payment at this time, or Total War: Arena, which requires a beta key to play.

The four of us – Mike, Jason, Zach, and Quintlyn – rated our top 50 choices to create this list, which we’ll reveal to you, 10 games at a time, every Monday for five weeks. Our selections were averaged out and tweaked slightly if one person was way far off from everyone else’s choices to develop the final rankings.

Now we’re getting close! This is the top 20, where you’ll start to find the meat and potatoes of the F2P world, games with big budgets and bigger fan bases. Perhaps not coincidentally, six of the next 10 games started out as pay-to-play games but found their greatest success as F2P titles. They’re as sure a sign as anything that free-to-play is a viable and popular way to go.

Games #41-#50
Games #31-#40
Games #21-#30

20. War Thunder

A popular alternative to Wargaming’s massive titles, War Thunder hasn’t quite managed to command vast audiences like its competition, but its lighter cash shop and different modes of play help keep it a fan favorite for plenty of devoted players.

Marvel Heroes Antman

19. Marvel Heroes

Like a superhero who’s gone through a score of retcons, Marvel Heroes keeps reinventing itself. Gazillion stays dedicated to producing a fine ARPG, producing new heroes at a dizzying rate, while also making the extra effort to stay true to its source material.

18. World of Warships

Wargaming’s newest title torpedoes onto our list at #18, and – trivia bit – it’s only one of two games, along with #1, that three of our four voters put in the same “box” of picks. In any case, it brings a (mostly) new style of combat to gamers, apart from the usual “tanks and planes” that have become almost commonplace. It’s one that requires a very different way of strategic thinking.

17. The Lord of the Rings Online

Nearly nine years after its launch, LOTRO still captures that Middle-earth experience like no other game out there. Whether battling Sauron’s minions or just fishing in the Shire alongside Hobbits, it’s a game that pleases both hardcore gamers and role-players alike.

Aion

16. Aion

Aion was probably the first “big hype” game from Korea, paving the way for later games like Blade & Soul, ArcheAge, Black Desert Online, and our #14 game. Like many of those games, it didn’t quite live up to its initial billing and needed a F2P switch, which serves the title well.

15. Heroes of the Storm

It’s still new, but Blizzard’s MOBA has already taken the world by, uh, storm, due in no small part to its licensed characters and Blizzard’s large marketing coffers. Even so, it’s a good game in its own right, simplifying the MOBA experience for casual players while still offering strategic choices for competitive types.

14. TERA

Initial marketing might have been a little off-target – remember this? – but TERA’s gameplay speaks for itself and has won the game a legion of fans. Its action combat is considered among the best in the MMORPG world, and being pretty to look at doesn’t hurt either.

Team Fortress 2 free to play

13. Team Fortress 2

The venerable TF2 has started to show its age a bit, with new “battle-arena” games stealing the spotlight and looking all shiny. It’s still one of the best free-to-play shooters around, though, and a great way to lose hours of your life without even noticing.

12. WildStar

It still remains to be seen if WildStar’s F2P move will stem the bleeding and turn it into a profitable title. That aside, it’s a great experience that its core players adore, mixing challenge with moxie and providing a fantastic world to explore.

SWTOR_KOTFE_Screenshot_22_Lana

11. Star Wars: The Old Republic

Sporting the biggest of budgets, but floundering badly, SWTOR needed a free-to-play switch like no other game out there. People still grouse, and rightfully so, about the restrictions placed on F2P players, but it’s succeeded despite that, with fantastic expansions and a player base that numbers over a million Jedi and Sith.

12 Readers Commented

Join discussion
  1. Tronedar on January 25, 2016

    Sto much better F2P game than Swtor and isnt even on the list.

  2. Apoth on December 30, 2015

    Wow no wonder I am so utterly bored with games these days. I’ve heard of every single game on the list and played the better part of at least half of them. Nothing is appealing anymore it’s just a big money suck until the population finds a newer, shinier, better game.

    The gaming industry lacks innovation. It’s turning a lot like into the movie industry, just remake this they’ll pay for it, sure enough the public does.

    Maybe I am just getting too old for games now, being at 32 I’ve tried just about all there is to try. Games just feel like a huge scam these days, you don’t get your money’s worth and the f2p system is so ridiculous you won’t be getting everything out of a game for a lowsy 50 bucks like you used to.

  3. GamingMaster on December 29, 2015

    LOL SWTOR 15# ?? it’s the most unbalance “free to play” game in the history of free to play.

    You probably never played SWTOR!

  4. Beta Gamer on December 28, 2015

    These pay to win games that talked on the review on mmo bomb and other site need to stop plus the develeoper are killing their own Goals on their product games listening to the community so much that they lose support completely. (Video games are suppose to be fun not Pay to power)

    The Example of 3 games that gone bad.
    1. Elsword
    2. Lost Saga
    3. Dungeon fighter online

    • Pinkipie on December 28, 2015

      Thumb up! I Agree that main problem with developer and community and company these days which is why really there no more skilled player on video games. The only player we see are Very bad one who pay to power over Good player in term skill gameplay.
      ————————————————–
      (Video games are no longer fun anymore by Developer plus the Nightmare Community on MMO Games too.)

    • Todoran on December 29, 2015

      this pentium 2 games where bad from the start.

  5. FQlyfe on December 28, 2015

    why is heroes of the storm #15

    • unkis on December 28, 2015

      because DOTA 2 > other Moba

      • Xevian on December 29, 2015

        yea still it is nowhere near as profitable and popular than league of legends.

        Its time you should get out of your delusional dream kid.

        Also if no blizzard,no warcraft 3 = no dota mod = no dota 2, so respect the company! 🙂

        • DopeBoi on December 30, 2015

          lol? have you seen the latest prize pool for dota? 18mil thats a percentage of the money that the community paid for items cosmetics and skins and etc so ur saying theyre not profiting well?

      • stylz on December 30, 2015

        The truth is that LoL is the biggest moba ever made. I’m not saying this has a LoL fan but this is just the facts of real world. I was a LoL player for years and I have to say that I’m tired of it, so I quit. Many of my friends still play it but I got bored of the game and its community. I tried DotA 2 but that was not my style. At moment my favourite moba is HotS, very fun and good community compared with the others.

  6. Todoran on December 28, 2015

    NR1 Mapple Story Confirmed!

HAVE SOMETHING TO SAY?