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Top Ten Free-to-Play Games

Posted Fri, Oct 03, 2008 by Ralsu

By Danny "Ralsu" Gourley

About This List
Please refer to the Top Ten Free-to-Play Games Portal to find out how to get a game you make or like on this list.

Week in Review
Confession time: I only played one game this week: Atlantica Online. Atlantica is the only game I needed to fill all of my (too little) free time with enjoyment. Open Beta is alive and doing well, and the game is still very fun. I told readers last week that my current goal is only to find the very solid titles to round out my Top Ten. As I go forward, I am trying to also go back. That is, I have enjoyed Rohan into level 30+, but I have not reached my 30s in Perfect World International. Will I still find the game enjoyable when the grind sets in? If I get bored and quit before level 30, can I keep the game on the list? So, I am trying new games while still playing the ones already in the Top Ten to be thorough.

Some of you have more gaming time on your hands than I do. If I recommend a game based on a favorable initial experience--like Requiem: Bloodymare--but don't ever play into the mid-levels, I will never know about the colossal grind. By contrast, readers may plow straight into the grind and think I am a sadist or a masochist, depending on whether they think I was trying to inflict the grind on them or myself.

I'm not changing my stance about first impressions being key with free-to-play (F2P) games. If a F2P title has not dazzled me in the first 3-5 hours, I will probably never play it again. Subscription-based, or pay-to-play (P2P) games, don't face such a challenge. If a gamer shells out $30-50 for a game, he is very likely to try to get his money's worth by taking full advantage of his 30-day free trial. He feels obligated to justify his purchase. That's just not the case with F2P titles. Now I am applying extra scrutiny about the longevity of my pleasure with F2P titles, too. 

What's your benchmark? How long will you give a F2P game to impress you? How about a P2P title? Tell me in the forums.

The List
My one change this week is to bring Fiesta Online back into the Top Ten. I've said for a while now that the slot occupied by CABAL Online could be held by a number of games. Fiesta is one of those. It's a great game for your younger brother to cut his teeth on. Once he has gotten the concepts down, you can blow him away with some of the other titles on the list.

I downloaded and installed Florensia and Cronous. The former title has been recommended by a handful of readers. The latter is another F2P game from Aeria Games. The question is whether it is more like DOMO (solid translation and fun class system that make playing worthwhile) or like Shaiya (poor translation and grinding gameplay that made me uninstall).

Look for news about these two titles soon. In the meantime, here are my Top Ten Free-to-Play Games for this week.

Disclaimer: The opinions, beliefs and viewpoints expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions, beliefs and viewpoints of the Ten Ton Hammer network or staff.


Top Ten Free-to-Play Games
October 3, 2008
Rank Previous Game

1

1

Atlantica Online - (www.playatlantica.com)
NDOORS
Atlantica would sit in the Top Ten of my favorite massively-multiplayer online games. It's the best game that subscription gamers may never try because of the common biases against free-to-play titles.

2

2

Wizard101 - (www.wizard101.com)
KingsIsle Entertainment, Inc.
Wizard101 has some fun minigames that can eat hours of your time if you let them. I frequently do.

3

3

Mabinogi - (http://mabinogi.nexon.net)
NEXON
Mabinogi may have art style that is geared toward younger players, but I feel confident that adults other than myself can find something to like in this game.

4

4

Dungeon Runners - (http://www.dungeonrunners.com) NCSoft
Dungeon Runners is a fun example of self-reflective media. The jokes may take gamers outside of the fantasy world (so they break immersion), but they help you have fun at the satirical expense of gaming conventions.

5

5

Dream of Mirror Online - (http://domo.aeriagames.com)
Aeria Games & Entertainment

Dream of Mirror Online uses some of the staples of fantasy gaming because its foundation is a mythology that has existed for thousands of years. Even so, it has some quirky fun things, like the special fashion clothes players can obtain.

6

6

Rohan: Blood Feud - (www.playrohan.com)
YNK Interactive
Rohan has pretty much tanked according to the gaming "public" who visit many forums I read.  I disagree and really suggest anyone who isn't afraid of nProtect Gameguard hacker protection (it's one of those rootkit-like programs used to keep players from cheating).

7

7

Magic World Online - (http://mwo.enjoymmo.com)
Goldcool Games

Magic World Online offers all of the features a player could want: questing, crafting, city warfare, and player-vs-player combat.

8

8

Runes of Magic - (www.runesofmagic.com)
Frogster

Runes of Magic remains the only game on the list that the general public can't play (it's in Closed Beta). The publicly released details are very promising.

9

9

Pefect World International - (www.perfectworld.com)
Beijing Perfect World

Perfect World International makes some commendable attempts to establish a story and make the world come to life.

10

N/A

Fiesta - (http://fiesta.outspark.com) Outspark
The grind may start to wear down the shine on this game in the mid-teens, but it is high on fun and low on cost.


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