5 Free MMOs You Should Try

Every gamer knows this feeling: You’ve been playing Game X for quite a while now and, while you were having fun with it, for whatever reason the thrill is currently gone. Maybe you’ll get back to the game later--in fact, you most likely will--but for now you’re in a slump. Sure, you could give up gaming for a while, but you’re no quitter.

5 MMOs

Every gamer knows this feeling: You’ve been playing Game X for quite a while now and, while you were having fun with it, for whatever reason the thrill is currently gone. Maybe you’ll get back to the game later--in fact, you most likely will--but for now you’re in a slump. Sure, you could give up gaming for a while, but you’re no quitter.

That’s why we’ve worked up a list of 5 games you should take a look at before you do something crazy...like watching endless reruns of How I Met Your Mother or getting obsessed with politics.

Read on to discover a few MMO gems you just may want to try.

Aion

Aion: Ascension


You’re probably thinking, “But, isn’t Aion a Korean grinder?” It certainly was when you had to pay for it, but now it’s “truly free,” with no level restrictions or any pay-to-win ceilings. And it’s also pretty awesome. Not only does your character learn that he is a demigod, but sprouts wings. And what’s really cool about Aion is that you’ll look and feel like a badass early on. This is one game that doesn’t dress your toon in rags and give her stupid low-level abilities while she works her way up to the impressive ones: you’re pretty much going to rock before you’re even level 10.

As free-to-play games go, Aion ranks up at the upper tier in terms of sleek, polished gameplay (both PvE and PvP), impressive visuals, and a solid story. Plus, it has shugos. And once you go shugo, you never go back. (You’ll simply have to play the game to figure out what in the hell we’re talking about.)

Allods Online

Allods Online


”But, it’s a WoW clone!” you cry. Well, okay, we’ll admit that it does look stylized like WoW (albeit even prettier), and there are certainly other similarities, but those are superficial. If you scratch below the surface, you’ll find that Allods Online isn’t WoW (in fact, its PvP might be more fairly compared to Warhammer Online), and it offers a lot of fun gameplay for the (un)cost of free.

So, what’s an allod? It’s an island floating in a magical space called the Astral. And you fight against your opposing faction (League or Empire) for control of the allods in cool Astral ships that look like schooners. The game has multiplayer ship-to-ship combat (ships can be manned by multiple players), and awesome things like astral demons for you to battle. Of course, there are also plenty of things happening on terra firma, too.

You may have heard some early wailing and gnashing of teeth over cash shop prices in Allods, and a controversial system that required players to purchase a cash shop item to avoid a death penalty. Those insidious little pocket-drainers were removed recently, making way for smoother (Astral) sailing. To top things off, Allods Online gets a major update later this month.

DC Universe Online

DC Universe Online


While players didn’t seem willing to pay a monthly fee for DC Universe Online, they have definitely gravitated toward the free-to-play model since SOE converted the game. And with City of Heroes singing its swan song in November, fans of the superhero genre could find that DCUO provides a familiar-feeling gameplay experience, with the added bonus of beloved (or maligned) DC Comics NPCs to engage with.

DCUO’s recent update, The Witching Hour, brings some Halloween events to the game, plus an improved tutorial and mail UI, and updates to weapon trees.

RaiderZ

RaiderZ


Okay, we’re cheating a bit here--RaiderZ is still in beta. But fortunately this monster mashing gem heads to open beta October 24th. Not only is RaiderZ visually impressive (another MMO with a stylized art style), but it’s all about beating up really big monsters before they do the same to you. In this game, monsters won’t just stand there and take a beating--if you’re not careful about evading their attacks, they’ll pick you up and snap you like a twig.

Another interesting feature in RaiderZ is that the game lets you shift roles depending on which weapons you decide to use (shades of Guild Wars 2.) And Conquest Crafting lets you create powerful weapons with...spare monster parts. How cool is that?

Vanguard

Vanguard: Saga of Heroes


This one is bound to be controversial, but we’re gonna go out on a limb and say that Vanguard, the game you love to hate if you were ever a fan before its abysmal launch, is worth a second look now that it’s free. Now, don’t get us wrong--when last we played it, Vanguard was still Vanguard, irritating little bugs and all. But at least now your system will most likely run it.

Vanguard always had a lot of great things going for it that its launch tragically decimated: it had an enormous open world, a variety of interesting races, and a sort of EverQuest-y old school feel. To add to the appeal, there are a couple of advantages to Vanguard’s free-to-play conversion, besides the fact that it’s free: it now has more than just a skeleton of a dev team (EQ2 players might be interested to hear that Steve “Moorgard” Danuser recently replaced Salim “Silius” Grant as Creative Director); and there’s been an infusion of new (or returning) players to hang out with.

Don’t get us wrong--Vanguard will likely feel dated to the sophisticated gamer, and just how much effort its reenergized dev team will put into updates and improvements remains unseen for the moment, but if you long for a little old school fun it’s worth downloading and exploring one more time.

About the Author

Karen is H.D.i.C. (Head Druid in Charge) at EQHammer. She likes chocolate chip pancakes, warm hugs, gaming so late that it's early, and rooting things and covering them with bees. Don't read her Ten Ton Hammer column every Tuesday. Or the EQHammer one every Thursday, either.
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