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Massively multiplayer online role playing games, or MMORPGs, is a gaming genre that lets you play with people from all over the world. These games take place in a variety of settings, from high-fantasy realms to gritty sci-fi futures. The one thing they share in common is that you’re in a world with hundreds or thousands of other players who you can interact with.
Unlike hidden object games or other casual games, a MMORPG is not a game you generally pick up and play for a few minutes at a time. These games represent significant time sinks for advancing your character, often called grinding. It’s also easy to get heavily involved in the community surrounding the MMORPG, due to the social nature of the game. One downfall of this genre used to be its dependence on monthly subscription fees to access the servers. If you didn’t get a chance to play enough to make it worth the money, you felt like that was a sunk cost. However, a push to free-to-play MMORPGs has taken place across a vast majority of developers out there. Here are five free-to-play MMORPGs worth your gaming time and attention.
The publisher of “Guild Wars 2,” NC Soft, has had many MMORPGs pass through its doors. “Blade and Soul” is one of their most anticipated releases, although localization efforts have been going slowly. It features action-heavy combat that breaks away from many other MMORPGs’ push-a-button-and-wait-style combat, which helps players feel more engaged in the world. The graphics are also stunning, so it has caught a lot of attention in the MMORPG world.
The “Planetside” series took on a MMORPG style that other companies wouldn’t even attempt. It was one of the first MMORPGs to take on massively multiplayer first-person shooter gameplay, as opposed to standard hack-and-slash role-playing fantasy. While some first-person shooter games support up to 256 players in a multi-player battle, it’s a small number compared to the amount of players an MMORPG deals with at once. The technical issues to surmount were vast, and “Planetside” managed it. “Planetside 2” is the latest game in this series, and it’s completely free to play. The world is 24 square miles and completely open, with battles throughout the land.
Middle Earth was tailor-made for an open-world game. The environments are diverse, the world has endless lore to flesh it out, and most people familiar with fantasy know all about the basic back story. If you’ve read the books or seen the movies, it’s difficult not to feel an instant connection to this free-to-play MMORPG. TLOTRO creator Turbine has plenty of MMORPG experience under their belt, and it shows with the polish on this game.
If you like the lore and the pen-and-paper aspect of “Advanced Dungeons and Dragons,” there’s a free MMORPG version of it waiting for you. DDO brings classic dungeons and dragons worlds and gameplay to your computer. It’s a pretty standard fantasy MMORPG, but it gets plenty of attention from developers and has a robust community.
This game series is one of the most popular RPGs for the computer gaming world, and it’s coming in MMORPG form this year. Developers Cryptic Studios and Perfect World are working on its development, and it’s currently in open beta. You are fully immersed in this classic RPG world, with the locations and characters you’ve come to know and love over the years.
Do you have a favorite free-to-play MMORPG? Share it in the comments.