If you’re looking to delve into the MMO world without paying upfront, there is no better time than now. Check out our choices for the best free MMORPGs on the market, so you can hack, slash, and shoot your way through the next six months of your life.
Note: Most free-to-play games have additional components and unlockables that are only accessible through premium subscriptions and microtransactions, but the free versions still offer a healthy taste of gameplay sans a hefty economical commitment. Also, we’ve only included MMOs that continue to receive updates and support from their developers.
With a 90 on Metacritic and a 90.02 percent rating on GameRankings.com — second only to World of Warcraft and three of its expansions — Guild Wars 2 is one of the most critically acclaimed massively multiplayer games of all time. Though it will never unseat Blizzard’s gaming goliath in terms of sheer popularity (or cultural cache), Guild Wars 2 does many things better than World of Warcraft, and without charging a monthly fee.
Guild Wars‘ fluid combat system provides an excellent counterpart to the rigid, role-based combat that Blizzard began with the Diablo series and built upon with World of Warcraft. Though it lacks the kind of depth and difficulty that forces players to work together in demanding raid environments, the system in Guild Wars 2 encourages players to team up however they see fit — trying to plow through some difficult PvE content in Guild Wars doesn’t necessarily require a dedicated tank and healer, for instance.
The in-game gem store also allows developer ArenaNet to continue profiting from the game and create new content, while simultaneously allowing for new players to jump in at no cost. Special seasonal events and other content updates have added additional content, as well, such as new mounts, story events, challenges, and weapons, several years after the game originally launched.