Welcome to the first of our MMOBomb.com 2018 Year In Review articles! Today, we'll be examining the best new free-to-play games of 2018. Did you play that hot new free-to-play game this year? The one everyone is talking about? You know what I'm talking about, right?
Well, maybe you don't.
We'll get into a “top F2P games to look forward to in 2019” list later on – and it might have a few entries that are legitimately exciting – but looking back on 2018, things were … less than spectacular? Or at least less-populated.
We considered making this a top 10 list originally, but thought we might be scraping up against the barrel to include some titles that received little fanfare throughout the year. What's the saying? Quality over quantity? If so, than this is an extremely high-quality list!
5. Bless Online
Bless Online didn't launch as free-to-play, but once it was, it still had enough hype and momentum to draw in a lot of curious eyeballs and keep enough people playing to land it on the edge of our truncated list. It's not perfect, and given how it's performed in other regions, is in constant danger of shutting down, but a few people are calling it their new MMORPG home – at least until next year's offerings arrive.
In a world where there are relatively few monster-hunting games (see what I did there?), Dauntless stands out as a title that's different from just about anything out there. Phoenix Labs has done a great job of communicating to its player base throughout the year, will expand to new platforms in 2019, and has the resources to continue improving the game for the foreseeable future.
3. Ring of Elysium
Tencent's take on the serious – i.e., more like PUBG and less like Fortnite – battle royale genre hasn't received the same fanfare that its competition has, but the numbers don't lie. Ring of Elysium is consistently a top 20 game on Steam, owing to its tight controls, snowy setting (complete with extreme sports!), and surprisingly good polish for an early access/open beta game. It's got a ways to go to compete with the two heavies in the BR scene, but it's a solid choice if you're looking for something new.
2. MapleStory 2
Is MapleStory 2 way too cutesy for its own good? Yes. Is it also a good game? Also yes. Nexon's long-awaited sequel opened its gates to the masses in October and is still rocking with regular new content updates. With quests, dungeons, raids, mini-games, housing, and more there's something for everyone, whether you're a casual player or hardcore grinder. And if it's not your cup of sugary-sweet tea, you can always go back to Bless.
1. Magic: The Gathering Arena
Magic players are showing MTG Arena much more love than they did the previous free-to-play attempt at the world's first CCG, Magic Duels. That game never quite seemed to get a handle on how to present itself, something the Arena devs understood and improved upon, to great success. We could still quibble about how it took so long for friends challenges to make it into the game; that issue aside, Arena's doing so well that it might give Hearthstone its first real competition in the F2P digital CCG space.
What game stood out to you as the top new entry in 2018?
About the Author
Jason Winter is a veteran gaming journalist, he brings a wide range of experience to MMOBomb, including two years with Beckett Media where he served as the editor of the leading gaming magazine Massive Online Gamer. He has also written professionally for several gaming websites.
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