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There are dozens of free MMOGs on the market. Most are built around micro-transactions, so in essence they aren't truly free if you wish to have the entire game experience. Nonetheless you can try them out, whittling away at them without dishing out your credit card.

They are becoming so popular that we are actually considering building a section of the network that allows our members to download these free-to-play games and try them out. Two years ago I would not have thought we would even consider such a move, but as casual players blend with MMOGs the acceptance of "less is sometimes more" is growing.

Some titles are far more impressive than others. Anarchy Online for instance is a game that many of you would (and possibly have) paid to play. Puzzle Pirates is another great game that falls into this category. There are literally dozens of these titles, Hero Online, Scions of Fate, Mu Online, Shadowbane are just a few names that pop immediately into my head.

There are concerns that this influx of free games will hurt the industry, but I don't see it that way. As great as Anarchy Online is, it doesn't compare to World of Warcraft, EverQuest 2, Lord of the Rings Online or any of the other AAA - A titles. What games like AO provide is a way for new players to experience a MMOG without forking out $50. I see it as a breeding ground for new players rather than a graveyard for those of us that have been around been around long enough to know what a drudge is.

Are free-to-play games helping or harming our favourite pastime?

Thanks to Scott Adams for pointing out my linkless "direct link goodness" over the last few days. Fixed!
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John "Boomjack" Hoskin

Last Updated: Mar 13, 2016

About The Author

Hoskin 0
Dissecting and distilling the game industry since 1994. Lover of family time, youth hockey, eSports, and the game industry in general.

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