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style="font-weight: bold; color: rgb(255, 204, 51);">Top
Free-to-Play Games

of Oct 24th - Oct 30th, 2010

1.The Lord of

2. style="text-decoration: underline;"> href="" target="_blank">  href="">EverQuest2
Extended target="_blank">

href=""> style="text-decoration: underline;"> style="text-decoration: underline;"> href="" target="_blank"> style="text-decoration: underline;">3. href="">Dungeons
and Dragons
Online: Eberron Unlimited

4.  target="_blank"> href=""
target="_blank"> href=""
target="_top"> href=""
target="_blank"> href=""
target="_blank"> href=""> style="text-decoration: underline;"> href="">Runes
of Magic

5.  target="_blank">  href=""
target="_top"> href=""
target="_blank">Allods Online

6. href=""> style="text-decoration: underline;">Star Wars: Clone Wars

 7.  target="_blank">FreeRealms

8. target="_blank">Atlantica Online

9. target="_top"> href="">Perfect
World International

10.  target="_blank">Aika href=""
target="_top"> href=""
target="_top"> href=""
target="_blank"> href="" target="_blank"> style="text-decoration: underline;"> href=""

style="text-decoration: underline;"> href="" target="_blank"> style="text-decoration: underline;"> href=""
target="_blank"> href="" target="_blank"> style="text-decoration: underline;"> href=""> style="text-decoration: underline;"> style="text-decoration: underline;"> href="" target="_blank"> style="text-decoration: underline;">

Welcome aboard, Champions
, we have been waiting for you. I can’t say I was
completely shocked at the revelation that CO was joining the movement,
but it wasn’t one of the games on my radar. There are still a few
others out there that I feel would benefit from the conversion,
especially those that had rocky launches but have significantly
improved, such as Age
of Conan
and Aion.
Maybe one day they will join the fold as well and see the sort of
renewed interest that The
Lord of the Rings Online
and style="font-style: italic;">EverQuest 2 Extended
have enjoyed in the past few weeks. Update your wishlist in our forums
and tell me which current pay-to-play titles you would most like to see
make the jump.

The holiday season is in full swing in MMOG land and the free-to-plays
thus far haven’t been disappointing; they have kept stride with the big
boys pretty easily. Of course the most compelling events were in style="font-style: italic;"> FreeRealms, EQ2X,
LotRO and Allods
– the big budget games on the block. If my failure to include any of
the Asian games caught your eye, it’s no coincidence; I do prefer
European and North American bred games – but style="font-style: italic;">Vindictus is
quickly changing that preference. If you haven’t had a chance to check
it out, you really owe it to yourself to download the client and give
it a try.

We have broached the subject many times here in Microcosms:
what does it take to get past the preconceived notions so many MMOG
players have in regards to free-to-play? While it has never been easy
to make the case that these games can give players the same experiences
as their subscription counterparts, the argument is continually
bolstered by AAA converts and big budget releases. 

Myth #1 – Free-to-Play Games are Graphically Inferior


href=""> alt="Black Prophecy"
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Pushing the boundaries like few other current MMOGs, style="font-style: italic;">Black Prophecy,
from German-based developer Reakktor Games, may be the first title
since Vanguard to
prompt users to upgrade their computers to play it properly. While this
strategy has proved risky in the past, it may work here as gamers have
been very vocal in their desire for non-fantasy based games. Featuring
ship-to-ship combat in the vein of Wing
or X-Wing
vs. Tie Fighter
, Black
has more going for it than just slick graphics
Real time physics-based combat with realistic damage that allow
pinpoint attacks to disable your opponents at their most vulnerable
plus modular ship design give this game amazing depth.

2 Extended

When it was first released in 2004, EQ2 was one of the most graphically
advanced games on the planet. Few could run the game at full quality
then, and even now some 6 years later there are still a large number of
machines that can’t handle this game in its full glory. While stylized
graphics may age more gracefully in many cases, the look of EQ2X is
still awe inspiring – from amazing textures to mirrored reflections and
spell animations that are among the most detailed in the industry. You
will be hard pressed to find a game that feels more alive and immersive
than EQ2X, which has definitely helped elevate free-to-play with its
AAA pedigree.

Myth #2 – Free-to-Play Games Are Cheap Imitations


The spiritual successor to Mabinogi,
takes the notions of a traditional fantasy MMOG
and kicks them squarely in the teeth. Nexon’s newest heavyweight could
have easily led the graphical comparison section of this article with
its stunning 3D world, but gameplay and combat are what really set it
apart. Like Diablo
on steroids, Vindictus
uses a combination of mouse clicks and hotkeys to create a unique
combat experience. Left click gives you a standard attack while right
clicking your foe drops the hammer of a more fearsome blow. The
addition of grappling, throwing and kicking via the keyboard take it to
the next level, who knew three little keys could add so much kick ass?
Like Mabinogi before
it, Vindictus is
steeped in Celtic lore and offers a fresh take on many of the standard
fare fantasy elements.


href=""> style="border: 0px solid ; width: 260px; height: 148px;"
src="" alt="Allods">

This Russian import from developer Astrum-Nival has been at the
spearhead of publisher gPotato’s recent assault on the North American
market. Allods
is a big budget affair that mixes elements of fantasy, sci-fi and steam
punk in a faction-based PvP slugfest. Part of what makes it unique in
the free-to-play world is its massive budget, which is said to be in
the 5 to 7 million dollar range. Besides the large budget, there is a
lush world to explore, a cast of interesting and unique classes to play
and players have the chance to pilot their own starships through the
cosmos. Another departure the game makes from the current crop of MMOGs
is the lack of an auto attack option, which forces player into
remaining engaged and active in combat. Despite a constant back and
forth between the North American player-base and the Russian developers
over death penalties and perceptions of forced item shop participation,
Allods remains
at the forefront of the free-to-play movement. 

Myth #3 Free-to-Play Games are More Expensive

It’s true that it’s easier to go
overboard in a free-to-play
game item shop than it is in a traditional game, but players with a
to spend too freely can find an outlet for overspending in any setting.
data that has been steadily streaming out of the free-to-play market
shows that
only a small percentage of players spend regularly on their games. style="">Sword of the New World boasts one of the
most loyal and dedicated player-bases of any free-to-play, and it is
also among
the top in percentage of players who spend – at a whopping 10%. style="">Allods, whom many accuse of forcing
transactions to play, is rumored to have a spending population of
around 8% -
hardly earth shattering numbers any way you slice it. It is unlikely
that SOE
or Turbine will release hard numbers in terms of percentages of players
who pay.
I would imagine that games that already had a paying population will
benefit from greater penetration than their natively

In a recent edition of Microcosms I
talked about cost myths
and misconceptions and presented some hard numbers for how much one
could spend
per year in a free-to-play game, and what could be purchased for that
in relation to a subscription based game. The real benefit afforded to
is the ability to move easily between titles and pay as they play,
being bound by a monthly contract. That is the real power of
subscriptionless gaming,
giving players the freedom to explore as many of the exciting new
worlds as
they wish.

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 Not your father's free-to-play

Last Updated: Mar 13, 2016