Let's face it: Free-to-play (F2P) has all but become the norm in the world of massively multiplayer online games (MMOs). Aside from the old guard of subscription-based MMOs like World of Warcraft, Rift and Star Wars: The Old Republic, it seems that most existing MMOs have gone the F2P route while new ones opt for the more popular business model right out of the gate.
It couldn't be a better time to either get back into MMOs or hop in for the first time. But just because most MMOs are F2P doesn't mean they're ready to play out of the proverbial box. (A box--that's just plain cute.) For instance, DC Universe Online may be F2P now, but you better have a serious gaming computer if you want the best experience. With that, here are the top five F2P MMOs that you can download and play right away:
This Korean MMO sparked the F2P revolution in the West. Thanks to two-dimensional, adorable anime visuals and a simple premise, MapleStory makes for one of the most accessible MMOs out there. If you're looking for a little more merry in your MMO, this is the place to be. (And since it's on Facebook, chances are you already know what to do.) Find it here.
Spiral Knights (Three Rings)
Fans of the Zelda games from the '80s and early '90s might feel right at home in Spiral Knights, an isometric MMO with goofy, cel-shaded visuals and retro themes throughout. Players join up in teams of four to go dungeon-diving for loot and a challenge that both get shinier and more daunting (respectively) as you descend. Lone wolves need not apply. Find it on Steam.
Everquest (Sony Online Entertainment)
The game that popularized 3D fantasy MMOs in the states, this 13-year-old adventure finally went F2P. Fans of today's online adventures and newbies alike owe to themselves to pay tribute to one of the greats. While you'll have a somewhat limited experience playing for free, it's a hallmark of MMO history that deserves to be experienced. Find it here.
Realm of the Mad God (Spry Fox, Wild Shadow Studios)
The game's maker describes it best: "a cooperative MMO shooter." Players team up in this heavily retro-inspired MMO as one of several classic fantasy classes and go toe-to-toe with baddies on bullet-ridden battlefields where only the skilled survive. And we mean it--once your character bites the bullet (we went there), it's time to make a new one. Find it on Steam.
Puzzle Pirates (Three Rings)
Brandishing broadswords and flinging fireballs might not be your thing, but maybe puzzles are. Those with the mental wherewithal to parse puzzles--and fast--are welcome. When at sea with fellow pirates, each task to maintain the vessel is translated into a puzzle, and it's up to you to decide how to contribute. An MMO never married two genres so well. Find it on Steam.
Are you already a fan of any of the above F2P MMOs? What's your favorite F2P MMO right now? Sound off in the comments. Add Comment.