style="width: 581px; height: 130px;"
style="background: rgb(57, 65, 76) none repeat scroll 0% 50%; -moz-background-clip: initial; -moz-background-origin: initial; -moz-background-inline-policy: initial; overflow: hidden; float: right; display: table; width: 300px;">

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

of Feb 28 - Mar 6, 2010

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

of Magic

href=""> style="text-decoration: underline;"> style="text-decoration: underline;"> href="" target="_blank"> style="text-decoration: underline;">3.  href=""
target="_blank"> href=""> style="text-decoration: underline;"> style="text-decoration: underline;">

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

5.  href="../../../../DOCUME%7E1/ADMINI%7E1/LOCALS%7E1/Temp/"
target="_blank">  href="" target="_blank"> style="text-decoration: underline;">Allods Online href=""
target="_blank"> href="" target="_blank"> style="text-decoration: underline;">

6. target="_top">Silkroad
target="_blank"> href="" target="_blank"> style="text-decoration: underline;">

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

8. target="_top">Mabinogi

9. target="_top">Perfect
World International
href="" target="_blank"> style="text-decoration: underline;">

10. target="_top">2Moons href=""

target="_top"> href="" target="_blank">

style="text-decoration: underline;">

We are gearing up for our departure to GDC this week here at Ten Ton
Hammer (actually I will be on my way to San Francisco as you read
this), and from the looks of things free-to-play games are going to be
making a big impact this year.  I know I’ve been banging the
free-to-play MMOG drum like a monkey, but I feel it’s my mission to
keep shouting out, “The F2Ps are coming! The F2Ps are coming!” like a
modern day Paul Revere, with Microcosms as my virtual white horse.
There should be plenty of news and information coming our way at the
conference and you can rest assured this column will be jam packed with
it next week, so make sure you check back here next Tuesday, and every
Tuesday, for all the latest.

It seems that spring is the season for overblown controversies as style="font-style: italic;">Allods Online was
joined by Cryptic’s Star
Trek Online
this week in another case of href=""
target="_top">players angry over potential costs.
The furor has died down a bit on the style="font-style: italic;">Allods side, as
most folks have adopted a wait-and-see attitude over the issue. Luckily
enough for Allods,
their issue cropped up during beta and not a month into the game going
live. We will definitely be checking with folks from gPotato this week
for any status updates they can give us about the death penalty and
item shop pricing.

This week’s feature showcases a couple free-to-play titles and, even as
loathe as I am to do this normally, compares them to a AAA title in an
attempt to help you decide which game may be right for you.

style="background: rgb(57, 65, 76) none no-repeat scroll 0% 50%; -moz-background-clip: initial; -moz-background-origin: initial; -moz-background-inline-policy: initial; overflow: hidden; display: table; width: 632px;">

style="font-weight: bold; color: rgb(255, 204, 51);">Microtransaction
Highlight of the Week  

style="border: 0px solid ; width: 110px; height: 92px; float: left;"

Sadly, this week’s microtransaction spotlight once again focuses on a
world tragedy that was the result of an earthquake. Much like the
crisis in Haiti, the events that transpired last week in Chile have
opened up an outpouring of support from around the world and, of
course, gamers are coming through as well. EverDream studios has
launched href=""
target="_blank">a program for its title style="font-style: italic;">Dragons
Call that will donate 10% of the game’s sales
to relief
efforts. If you have been on the fence about visiting the item shop in
the game, maybe the added bonus of helping a good cause will make it
easier for you to decide. 

As I stated at the top of the column, I usually roll my eyes when I
hear someone comparing two different MMOG titles, especially when one
is a AAA title and the other is a free-to-play. However this new crop
of subscriptionless games has closed the gap enough to make such a
comparison possible. Now, this isn’t your typical in game general chat
channel chatter about whose dad can beat up whose, but rather an
assessment of the free-to-play titles and how well they would be able
to the hold the interest of the on-the-fence gamer by giving them a
familiar point of reference.

Warhammer Online and Allods Online

First up in our comparison are two games that feature stylized
graphics, engaging quest-based leveling and large scale faction-based
PvP. While most of the in game banter tends to be a WoW vs. style="font-style: italic;">Allods themed
smack fest, the similarities there are superficial at best. style="font-style: italic;">Allods Online bears
far more resemblance to Warhammer
than it does to Blizzard’s juggernaut in both look and
feel. Both games feature PvP as their main focus, with PvE as an added
feature and not the core of the game (don’t hate on me PvEers; I am not
disparaging the PvE content here, it just isn’t the game’s priority).

Combat speed is similar in the two titles and the leveling process has
the same pace. Both games feature adequate quests, however fans of style="font-style: italic;">Warhammer’s public
quest mechanic won’t find anything that mirrors it in style="font-style: italic;">Allods. The most
striking resemblance to me, and the reason I grouped the two, is simply
how the PvP feels. While each game has its own unique classes with
their own styles, the way the factions work together and the
combination of abilities in Allods
had me flashing back to tier 4
battles in Warhammer
on more than one occasion, especially the healing mechanics and the
ability of hybrid classes to turn the tide of a battle by keeping other
players alive.

If you enjoy the pace, look and feel of style="font-style: italic;">Warhammer Online,
but are disheartened by the lack of population, then style="font-style: italic;">Allods Online is
definitely worth a look. While overall style="font-style: italic;">Warhammer Online is
a more complete game, with better individual pieces, the final product
is hamstrung by low population and a publisher that has seemingly
abandoned it, giving Allods
the slight edge for now.

Aika and Aion

Few games of the past several years have had so much hype and so much
fail as Aion
did. While most fans have walked away from style="font-style: italic;">Aion, the sheer
number of people who bought the title is a clear indicator that an
Asian-style PvP game can succeed if done correctly. While style="font-style: italic;">Aika may not have
as many features or as large a world to explore as style="font-style: italic;">Aion, it may prove
that less is more by stripping away the unnecessary fluff and focusing
on the core desires of the players.

Aika has
the instantly recognizable look and feel of many other South Korean
games--big shiny armor and weapons, anime style characters and
fantastical monsters that are of the sort that haunt us in our
nightmares. Combat speed is slightly faster in style="font-style: italic;">Aika, which is a
major plus for the free-to-play. Aika
also features one other area where the speed is improved over style="font-style: italic;">Aion, and that
comes in the form of overall time it takes to level your character. style="font-style: italic;">Aika may be the
most quest friendly game ever to come from the Far East, and by
shedding the grinding mantle so proudly worn by its contemporaries, style="font-style: italic;">Aika should be able
to retain a far higher percentage of its North American fan base than
the games that came before it. While there are no wings available to
players, Aika allows
you to satisfy the urge, at least partially, by giving each player
their own fairy (or Pran in the Aika
vernacular) to aid them in combat.

Aika may
be simplistic in design--indeed it only has 6 classes and they are all
gender locked--and lacking a large sprawling world, but it is able to
support and sustain the type of large scale PvP battles that haven’t
been witnessed since the height of Dark
Age of Camelot
. Perhaps style="font-style: italic;">Aika is the
spiritual successor to DAoC, only in a more eastern mystical form.

If you enjoyed the look and feel of style="font-style: italic;">Aion, but long for
the massive PvP battles that it never quite delivered, then style="font-style: italic;">Aika should prove
to be a more than satisfactory, and less expensive, substitute.

Both of the free-to-play titles featured today are still in beta, but
are preparing to launch this spring Stay tuned to Ten Ton Hammer and
Microcosms for all the latest news on these new titles and all your
MMOG news.

alt="" style="border: 0px solid ; width: 625px; height: 375px;"

style="font-style: italic; color: rgb(255, 204, 51);">
 Aika will give Aion a run for its money

style="background: rgb(57, 65, 76) none no-repeat scroll 0% 50%; -moz-background-clip: initial; -moz-background-origin: initial; -moz-background-inline-policy: initial; overflow: hidden; display: table; width: 632px;">

style="font-weight: bold; color: rgb(255, 204, 51);">Hot
off the Press!

To read the latest guides, news, and features you can visit our Warhammer 40,000: Storm of Vengeance Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning Game Page.

Last Updated: Mar 13, 2016