It’s that time of year in the sporting world where the talk turns to honoring the best of the best. If you follow Major League Baseball at all, you’re probably aware of the recent Hall of Fame voting results, and the NFL is also gearing up for the enshrinement of a new class soon.

I thought it would be fun to try and come up with my own version, the Free-to-Play Gaming Hall of Fame. Like the real halls, my rules for enshrinement will be mostly arbitrary and opinionated. And although the whole enterprise is not to be taken nearly as seriously as its sporting counterparts, I expect plenty of debate and labeling of myself as an idiot for my picks.

(No, this isn’t some attempt to create an actual award or virtual monument. It’s just an exercise that popped into my head. Please, no speeches. I’m begging you.)

So what makes a game worthy of my F2P Hall? The only real rule I have is that its free-to-play nature has to be an integral part of its history or success. That’s why a game like EverQuest – while certainly a worthy candidate in any kind of gaming hall of fame – doesn’t make the cut. I’d say that most people, when they think of EverQuest, don’t think of its current F2P nature as a major reason for its place in history.

Other than the nebulous notion of “worthiness,” I’m also going to say – at least for my Hall of Fame – that a game has to have been around for a while to be enshrined. How long is “a while”? Good question. Again, refer back to the part about being arbitrary, but that’s why a games like Path of Exile, Dota 2, and Hearthstone won’t be found on the list. Maybe in 2016.

Finally, I’m going to limit myself to five inductees, which seems like a nice, round number and is keeping in line with other Halls of Fame that limit the number of people voters can select (10 for MLB) or the number that can be inducted (four to eight for the NFL).

With all that in mind, here are my selections:


Team Fortress 2

Launched: 2007

F2P since: 2011

Billed as “the most fun you can have online,” Team Fortress 2 was a solid success even before going free-to-play. Once it made the switch in 2011, it sold more hats than a French boutique and monthly revenue was a dozen times higher than it had been before the switch. It’s still seen as the gold standard of free-to-play games, with nary a complaint about pay-to-win.


League of Legends

Launched (F2P): 2009

With over 70 million registered players, and about half that active on a monthly basis, League of Legends is an easy addition to any F2P Hall of Fame endeavor. It’s the game that put e-sports on the map and is largely responsible for the modern MOBA craze – not to mention the term “MOBA” itself. Those are good or bad points, depending on your point of view, but there’s no question that League is deserving of the highest recognition.


World of Tanks

Launched (F2P): 2011

Like League of Legends, World of Tanks makes the list for its massive player base (75 million registerd users) and high-level competitive play. And, like the early MOBAs, it’s spawned numerous other “tank battle” games. If those aren’t enough to ensure one’s place in history, I’m not sure what is.


Dungeons & Dragons Online

Launched: 2006

F2P since: 2009

In terms of active player base and financial success, DDO is quite a bit smaller than the other games on this list, but its historical significance and impact on the Western F2P market can’t be overlooked. Turbine took a big risk when it converted the struggling MMORPG to F2P in 2009, and its success inspired countless other games to take that F2P plunge, either at launch or later in their life cycles.



Launched (F2P): 2001

It ain’t pretty, and it’s often scorned for its huge botting population, but more accounts have been created in Runescape than in any other MMO, World of Warcraft included. It was accessible right from the start, being both free-to-play and browser-based before either were cool (and for many folks, they still aren’t), and it’s still going strong after 14 years.

So that’s my five-member Free-to-Play Hall of Fame class. What’s yours?

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.

38 Readers Commented

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  1. Mogar on January 21, 2018

    Agree with the list in terms of how long they’ve been out too. That being said I hope that the next Hall of Fame article you do includes Warframe. That is a game that has evolved so much since CBT/Release and continues to improve with no real pay-to-win.

  2. c0mmon on January 13, 2015

    QuakeLive must be added to this list

    As well as RTCW:ET

  3. lordNoX24 on January 13, 2015

    only 2 games come to mind, they are truly free with no pay to win what so ever and they’re not fucking mobas: Aion and Lineage 2 from NCsoft. If i ever get into a new MMORPG game it will be another NCsoft game cause all the other companies only know how to make crap games with crap pay-to-win systems (Archeage lol, what a joke) and all other truly free games are mobas…. I’ve played almost every single mmo, moba, massive multiplayer fps whatever game out there and still can’t find a more enjoyable and fun game than Lineage 2 was. The Pvp/Pk system was perfect. You kill a guy you get karma, someone kills you and you drop your gear, no safe zones outside towns. And no item binding bullshit. Also the ability to make a private store anywhere you sit down. Now i’m waiting for Lineage 3: Eternal which will no doubt be better than 90% of the crap that’s on the market today.

  4. kazz on January 12, 2015

    I see too much dota fans. Just to you know, the dota creators left dota do create LoL, thats why LoL is what it is today. For example I could even mounted a company, buy some rights over dota and make the dota 2 instead. Just because there is a dota 2 game it doesn’t mean he is the father of the moba and must be the best. There is dota players saying dota 2 is not the same as the 1st. Definitely Dota 2 is a good game, but as Jason Winter said, this is a personal list and he focus on games that went out some time ago like he said.

  5. lol on January 11, 2015

    Lol all at this dota fanboys.

  6. Player 1 on January 11, 2015

    what about of SIMTE, it sure take some time to grind gods without being premium but its a very fun and enjoyable game

  7. ezekiel on January 10, 2015

    to the author.. now you brought all the fanboys here to a nonstop argument of which is better

  8. Android on January 10, 2015

    WHAT A CRAP LIST :Dm world of crap is pay to win, dungeons and dragons is fake free to play with locked characters and content, leage is one map repetetive crap, team fortress is the same just different genre, runecrap is fake free to play also and was pay to play, there i9s only true free to play games, first two but these games suck

  9. zakena on January 10, 2015

    what a joke this list feels like the author just listed his favorites without doing proper research.
    there is a bunch of better f2ps Tf2 yes i agree but the rest is just utter crap.

  10. Jooq on January 10, 2015

    Personal opinion as always 🙂
    – LOTRO
    – SWTOR
    – DCUO
    – War Thunder
    I don’t know…I just love these games, even with SWTOR f2p stupid restrictions 🙂

  11. Echoless on January 10, 2015

    So you got LoL on the list, but not Dota… And you claim dota2 isn’t old enough which I can digest, but really no dota? LoL basically copied dota and without dota, lol wouldn’t even exist. Oh well, LoL is famous I guess.

  12. Pennlion on January 10, 2015

    Runes of Magic should certainly make the list, first big F2P game and still going. By you own rules DDO is disqualifed. Maple Story, Perfect World, and even Dungeon Fighter Online also deserve a place.

  13. Todoran on January 10, 2015

    I wouldn’t touch em with a 100-foot barge pole except TF2.

  14. bigweel on January 10, 2015

    have to say… Dungeon and dragons online isnt really F2P since you have to buy expansions after a certain point

    • Freshundead on January 10, 2015

      true you can get to cap w/o spending a dime(I’ve done it)but the best gear, and realy any good gear ya have to pay for adventure packs.

  15. Grims Bane on January 9, 2015

    My list honestly would be as follows

    – Runescape, mainly because this mmo has seen its ups and downs but truly has kept itself unique throughout the years and is one of the longest standing mmo’s out there to date that is still going.

    – EQ

    – LoL

    – Tera

    – Aion

    • Rust on January 10, 2015

      The only one on your list that isnt garbage or even qualifies is EQ. Which should have taken a spot up there. The others are simply to young to fit a “Hall of Fame”.

      • Grims Bane on January 11, 2015

        Runescape isn’t young lol, where have you been.

        • Fakescape on January 14, 2015

          Explain to me how Runescape is free 2 play.

  16. Freshundead on January 9, 2015

    good list, though I would also add EQ for its staying power.

  17. Razer on January 9, 2015

    TF2 is the only one on the list that I’d ever recommend to anyone. The other four? Wouldn’t touch ’em with a 10-foot barge pole.

    • EpicTony on January 9, 2015

      I wouldn’t touch em with a 100-foot barge pole

    • Grims Bane on January 9, 2015

      Really you wouldn’t touch Runescape there’s a reason that game can afford weekly updates and is one of the longest standing mmo’s out there.

      • Rust on January 10, 2015

        Really… I wouldnt touch run-escape either. I never have and never will. It can afford weekly updates because some still think its fun and are wiling to pay. It’s also a cheaply made game (Putting it into todays standards that is). I remember when it first came out. Still had no interest and it was right up my ally. There are also misconceptions people like you don’t tend to see. Some games only stay afloat because of their most dedicated customers, a good example is a current game called “LaTale” its only still competeing with other 2D mmorpgs because some people spend thousands a month and they really enjoy their title so even if it starts to tank they’ll find a way to keep it going. Which goes hard for this game as well. Considering how badly they screwed up a few times (I keep in the know because of friends).

        The point being. Don’t defend it if it doesn’t need defending. Its an conflict of interest… There are also thousands that agree with the OP.. thats why its a dying game.

      • Dongelerino on January 11, 2015

        But runescape is barely free… You have to pay after a certain point to get any “fun” out of the game.

  18. what a joke on January 9, 2015

    Not dota 2? What a joke.

    • You wot m8 on January 9, 2015

      Its a copy of a mod… It has nothing special about itself except for valve pouring money in to it.

      • prohero113 on January 9, 2015

        so lol isnt? your comment is nothing special except for you pouring time in it.

      • Seanny Chwan on January 10, 2015

        If it wasn’t for dota/dota2 .. non of moba will be exist

        • Rust on January 10, 2015

          WRONG 100%… This style of MoBA may not have such a huge following. Is probably what you meant to say.

        • Apoth on January 10, 2015

          You sir obviously have no idea what you are talking about since the whole “defense of the ancients” started with that exact name as a modded usermap in WARCRAFT 3.

        • ezekiel on January 10, 2015

          ermm.. the original maker of dota which is guinsoo is the game deisgnter or league of legends.. just so you know.. honestly i love dota…its where all it started..but if i have to choose among all the mobas.. id choose LoL and Dota… not Dota 2.. imo HoN is way better than dota 2..

          • KnightRaid on January 11, 2015

            “the original maker of dota which is guinsoo is the game deisgnter or league of legends” lol, not really since guinsoo just continued an old Starcraft map, sooooo yea~…..

        • ezekiel on January 10, 2015

          oh and when they went to dota.. guinsoo’s name was removed fom the hex item.. but in lol they still put his name.. guinsoo’s rageblade

      • Rust on January 10, 2015

        And Team Fortress didn’t start the same way? Educate yourself ya tool. Ignorant “gamers” as yourself really piss me off. DoTA paved the way for most other MoBA’s and I really hate saying that because these kinds of MoBA’s piss me off. (in case someone brings up the whole genre war argument)

        Putting world of tanks on there is a joke. But if this is just going by age (which it is) then yeah chalk it up.

    • NIGGA YOU GAY on January 20, 2015

      dota 2,LoL,WoW is a moba game…freak

    • dafuq on January 20, 2015

      Bro dota 2 sucks its a copy of league of legends.

      • Sakee on January 25, 2015

        …It’s just a copy of Pong…

        I don’t get why people don’t understand this.