Updated Mon, Feb 13, 2012 by Mem
Down time… the dreaded bane of MMO (massively multiplayer online) players everywhere. Inspiring more than a few snarky t-shirts, some curse words that are sure to make a sailor blush, and perhaps even a few children along the way, down time is an inevitability that every dedicated MMO player must suffer through. Even gaming giants such as World of Warcraft are not immune to this terror. Server crashes, weekly maintenance, and other nasty things that take the player out of the game they love.
Down time is especially frustrating when it happens on a night when you otherwise would be spending quality time raiding with your fellow guild mates. While down time may take you out of WoW, it doesn’t have to totally kill your night of planned gaming fun. Instead you and your guild mates can make use of your time and take on one of the free MMOs on the market. This way you can still spend some quality time with your guild mates while waiting for the WoW servers to come back up, without breaking the bank with more subscription fees in the process.
Thanks to the explosion of the free to play market, you will find more than a few free or at least mostly free MMO options out there for your playing pleasure. Not sure where to get started? Check out my top 5 (in no particular order) personal favorite free MMOs that don’t suck.
Newly free to play, The Lord of the Rings Online can easily take the title of one of the best free MMOs on the market. Players who choose this game as their secondary option to WoW will find themselves drawn into a massive world full of lore inspired by the epic Lord of the Rings book series by J.R.R. Tolkien. With challenging combat, an inspired soundtrack, and graphics that are sure to take your breath away every moment spent inside Middle-Earth will be an experience you won’t regret. With player-owned houses, a usual monster-play PvP system, as well as engaging raid Turbine’s masterpiece is sure to make your time spent away from WoW a captivating experience that will be sure to keep you from counting the minutes till your server is available again. Just pay the initial cost to purchase the game and the entire world will be at your feet.
Play now: The Lord of the Rings Online
While it never quite found the audience needed to keep it afloat as a pay to play game and was eventually switched over to a free to play model don’t let that fool you into thinking that there is nothing exciting about Dungeons and Dragons Online. Based on the classic Dungeons and Dragons tabletop role playing game, this free MMO provides fast paced game play with one of the industries best combat systems, excellent graphics, and a massive world that provides hours of game play. With the power of Turbine behind it and regular updates, Dungeons and Dragons Online, is sure to grab and hold the attention of WoW players of all types and is even better when you have a group of friends to adventure with. Be warned though, that while the game has a lot going for it, it is still victim to some of the same repetition that other games suffer from.
Play now: Dungeons and Dragons Online
Ever wondered what a game would look like if it took the best aspects of a ton of other games (especially World of Warcraft), smashed them all together and presented it for play? You need to wonder no longer as Runewaker Entertainment has done just that with its free MMO; Runes of Magic. While this game is typically dismissed as a total WoW clone, instead of an insult, this should instead be viewed as a great compliment. Perhaps even raiding the appeal for the discerning WoW player looking for a way to pass the time while awaiting the reanimation of their server. While Runes of Magic is surely similar to WoW, there are enough unique features, such as its dual class system which allows you to choose two different classes for your character while enjoying the skills of both, to leave the game feeling unique in its own right. So if your looking for a free MMO that can be compared to some of the best games in the genre, Runes of Magic is it.
Play now: Runes of Magic
Tailsman Online is a 3D fantasy free MMO that takes place in an oriental setting. With 5 distinctive classes to choose from and an interface similar to that found inside WoW, players waiting for their server to come online will feel right at home in the world of Talisman. Inside this gaming world players will spend the grand majority of their time either defeating monstrous foes and interacting with other players inside the community. To add icing to the cake, this free MMO hosts one of the best cash shop systems seen thus far allowing players to trade cash shop bought items freely for in-game currency. With tons of quests, pets, mounts, and the unique equipment enhancing system, this fun, casual free MMO is a perfect place for displaced WoW players to spend their time.
Play now: Tailsman Online
With Free Realms players will enter a virtual online world where you can basically do whatever you want, whenever you feel like it. The best part of this free MMO is that you don’t have any downloading to do to play. Simply open up your browser, create a character and begin your adventure. Sure, Free realms might be targeted at children and it is a tad bit on the cartoony side, but despite all this Free Realms is sure to grab your attention and hold it, at least until your WoW server becomes available. Full of mini-games, featherbrained quests, kart racing, combined with an relaxed and loveable atmosphere you and your guild mates are sure to find hours of enjoyment inside Free Realms. Be warned though, that while Free Realms is free to download to play some features of the game do require a purchase to unlock. However, enough of the game is totally free that this free MMO easily keeps its spot on my list.
Play now: Free Realms
Do you have some excellent free (or mostly free) MMOs that you play while WoW is down? Be sure to share them with us in the comments section below!