10 Free to Play MMORPGs to Start RIGHT NOW In 2020
So 2020 just started, and already I’ve been bombarded with messages on Twitter and in Youtube comments asking me what they should be playing.
With that in mind, I figured I’d go ahead and make a “top free to play MMORPG” list for those of you that are unaware of the best free MMOs right now. Or, at the very least what the very best free MMOs are in my subjective opinion.
You might disagree with one, two, or maybe every title in this list and you’re more than welcome to.
But if you take the time to list your own games, along with why you would choose those games, you might find some viewers browsing through the comments happening upon yours.
Not only does this in essence make you a contributor to this list, but it might also help hundreds, maybe even thousands of future MMO players find what they’re after.
And no, I won’t be listing MMOs like Phantasy Star Online 2 that have yet to release – rather, I’ll do a follow-up video later in the year after we get a better gauge of where every game is.
Guild Wars 2
I’ll start this off with what is arguably the best free-to-play MMORPG available currently. And while I say it’s free-to-play, I will note that expansion content requires a single-time purchase.
While it isn’t necessary to purchase the expansions to play the entire base-game, if you ever want access to additional content, you will have to buy those expansions. Thankfully they’re pretty cheap.
The reason I believe Guild Wars 2 is worthy of being called the best free-to-play MMO is because it’s an amalgamation of the best aspects of the genre combined to make a truly remarkable gaming experience.
The game looks beautiful. Your character, while not nearly as detailed as South Korean MMOs looks highly detailed, there’s a lot of fashion that makes for more than necessary amounts of customization and the world itself is filled with personality.
The game plays fantastically, as well. Not only is the game a very fluid MMO, but it also has very intuitive action combat, featuring a system that has you swap between various weapon types to maximize damage and allows for a little strategy when tackling encounters.
It has a highly active PvE scene and has one of the friendliest communities I’ve ever been a part of. Seriously, I cannot stress how helpful everyone is in this game.
People might say that communities in MMOs are toxic, but with the exception of Final Fantasy XIV I’ve never seen so many helpful individuals grouped together willing to take time out of their day to assist you in what you’re doing.
So Kritika was originally shut down earlier last year by En Masse. A lotta fans, myself included, were pretty disappointed by that news.
However, it relaunched back in November 2019 under the original developer, who opted to self-publish it in the West.
This was the right decision, as not only did they have access to content that En Masse didn’t, but they didn’t need a publisher making alterations to the game that they didn’t want.
As people noted, upon playing the game, XP rates were better, things moved faster and it was much less of a repetitious grind.
The game itself is actually one of the better hub-based action MMOs out there so knowing this makes it a much better experience to play through.
The game has beautiful graphics, albeit the instanced zones are a little uninspired at times. The combat is very fast and incredibly flashy, however, my main issue was that encounters early on were very easy.
While that isn’t a concern the further you get through the game, as it makes clearing early-game content much faster than it would be otherwise, I know some people are likely to judge the difficulty off of the introduction to the game.
The playerbase is steady right now having several thousand players online concurrently, which is pretty good considering it launched a few months ago and people who didn’t enjoy it have likely already abandoned ship.
Don’t let the graphical style of RuneScape dissuade you from trying it out.
While people may argue this or that MMO is better, there’s no denying that RuneScape and Old School RuneScape – yes, I’m kinda.. clumping the two together as one in this mention, total over a hundred thousand active players concurrently.
Yes, I know some of them are bots – people tell me that the majority of the active players are bots but I find that hard to believe.
Despite its population – which makes it the #1 most populated free-to-play MMORPG, just a little FYI, the game is one of older MMOs still around, having released back in Jaunary 2001.
Yup, RuneScape may very well be older than quite a few of you. Both RuneScape and Old School RuneScape have decades worth of content split between the two iterations of the game, providing more to do than you could ever begin to know what to do with.
Graphically, I can’t deny that both versions look very dated but we all know that good graphics don’t make for a good game. Both graphics and combat are just parts – cogs in the machine.
Combat is tab-target, well, kinda tab-target as you ironically can’t bind cycling to the tab key. Or couldn’t when I played it last.
Honestly, there are always so many players around, there’s such a large community and it’s just.. if you’re looking for a long-term MMO then RuneScape is the game for you.
’cause trust me, you’ll need to dedicate enough time if you want to see any reward for time invested.
For Albion Online, I’ll be the first to admit that I haven’t dedicated nearly enough time into the game as I would’ve liked to be able to really give any kind of official review on it.
Regardless, love it or hate it, you can’t deny the thousands of active players the game has concurrently playing make for a very popular game. It wasn’t really for me though as the game has a pretty large focus on not only PvP, but also crafting.
And while I do love competitive PvP in my games, I’ve never been all too big a fan of crafting, preferring to have people craft my gear and items for me while I just pay them for their services. Yes, I’m lazy. Graphically, Albion kinda.. resonated with me.
I’m a sucker for low poly graphical styles and having a world that looks as unique as this does was quite a treat. Combat was interestingly enough, tab-target.
When I played through it I had a lotta trouble as I didn’t really fully grasp the game, but honestly, if you pay attention and take a little time to, unlike what I did in 2018, then you shouldn’t have any issue.
I really need to do a follow-up on this game considering the last video I did was.. almost 2 years ago.
The playerbase is plenty active, but I know there are a lot of players that complain about certain guilds and alliances monopolizing territories, to the point where you’re unable to really farm higher tier resources without the threat of being ganked.
That’s where the whole PvP focused aspect of the game kinda.. killed my interest, but if you’re into open-world PvP in specific zones, then this’ll probably be right up your alley!
I always make an active effort to include Mabinogi in my lists of free-to-play MMORPGs.
Not because I’m a biased fan of the game, but because to date, this single game has provided one of the most unique experiences the genre has ever had. Thankfully, even though Nexon are a bag of.. douchepickles, they’ve opted to keep the game online.
Yes, it doesn’t have the population it once had, but nevertheless, if you haven’t played it then you’re missing out on an experience unlike any other.
This game is still one of the greatest Anime MMOs I have ever played, and I’ve been playing them for about 15 years. Mabinogi is generally referred to as the “social MMO,” or what a “real life simulator” would be.
It provides so much more than your ordinary MMO – and I honestly don’t know why it’s not still more popular than it is. Maybe if you’re an active player of Mabinogi you could let me know in the comments? That’d be cool.
Regardless, graphically, it’s one of the only MMOs that utilize the style that it does, and interestingly enough, its combat is kind of a mixture of tab-target and… a weird hybrid countering system.
It’s difficult to really put into words, it’s something that needs to be experienced. Since it’s a lower population MMO, it doesn’t have much in the way of a PvP or PvE scene, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t much to do.
There just aren’t all that many people to do it with.
Granado Espada is an MMO that I wish I would’ve gotten further through, but every time I tried, I found myself busy with the channel and having too large a workload to really pursue long-term.
Well, that and my addiction to World of Warcraft and Final Fantasy XIV always pull me back in with their damn content updates. Granado Espada though is probably one of the most beautiful MMOs I’ve ever seen.
It doesn’t have the best graphics, definitely, but it has such a unique style of graphics that I just.. I couldn’t take my eyes off of how gorgeous everything looked. The characters and their outfits as well!
This is a setting that is often overlooked in MMOs and I really find that disappointing. But I feel like I’m going on a tiny rant here.
The reason I listed Granado Espada in this isn’t because it’s stunning to look at, it’s because if you haven’t experienced its unique combat style, then I feel you really should take a few moments to download it and see just how unique this is.
You recruit various characters found around the world into your party – like you would a normal RPG. Then they follow you into battle and aid you, having several party members at any given time.
I know, this is something that happens all the time in traditional RPGs but it’s so rare to find in an MMO.
There’s both a North American and European version of the game so it’s difficult getting a gauge on exactly how popular the game is but when I played it a year ago I saw some players around low level zones.
Dungeon Fighter Online
Dungeon Fighter Online is a personal favorite of mine. I’ve poured quite a few hours into this game because it has a lot of aesthetic appeal to me.
Well, I mean it looks great and the action combat in it is probably the best I’ve ever seen in a side-scrolling MMO but that’s besides the point. The game looks ridiculously good.
It’s also one of, if not the highest grossing MMO in the entire world, with its playerbase being as high as.. several million concurrent players?
You wouldn’t think it looking at the Steamcharts though, with it only having a couple hundred players online at any given time.
The gross total of players takes into account the entire world, including China and South Korea where the game is more popular than Fortnite.
Thankfully, with how popular it is worldwide it gets a plethora of updates, looks incredibly polished and plays like a AAA side-scrolling brawler. It is instanced, but not in the same way most hub-based MMOs are.
Where most hub-based MMOs take place in a specific city, Dungeon Fighter Online has you move between various areas depending on where you are in the story and I think showcasing more of the world is always a good step in the right direction.
As I mentioned, though, the combat is the best in a side-scrolling MMO. Not only does it look flashy, but it’s also impactful and there are just so damn many classes to choose between.
Secret World Legends
Secret World Legends.. man this was such a missed opportunity. I loved this game so much. It has some of the best voice acting in an MMO, which is probably the first I’ve talked about the voice acting in a title thus far, actually.
It also has one of the coolest storylines I’ve ever played through.
Well, I mean it has 3 varying storylines, or 3 different paths you can take with the storyline, which is something you don’t really see done in MMOs. Normally because it’s very difficult to script, having different players in different instances of the same world.
The game itself, though, takes place in the real world – no fantasy setting. Due to that, it doesn’t necessarily look as visually stunning as other MMOs – I mean there’s only so much you can do with.. normal buildings and such.
But the graphics aren’t necessarily where the game shines. Not only does it have a very compelling story and amazing voice acting, but it also has some pretty awesome tab-target combat. Or, more of a free-aim tab-target combat system, but it’s tab-target.
The main drawback to me is the lack of players these days. When the game went free-to-play it had such a strong playerbase, but people quickly grew tired of it.
I’m not sure why, as I’ve always enjoyed my time spent within it but everyone has their own tastes I guess.
Ah, Vindictus. The Black Desert.. before Black Desert was a thing. If Black Desert was a hub-based instanced MMO. Yes, that’s what Vindictus is.. but that doesn’t stop it from being a damn good game. Graphically, Vindictus looks absolutely stunning.
It has realistic environments, and incredibly beautiful characters. Even if it does have have three times more female characters than males. Well.. I say three times, but honestly that’s being a little generous.
If you’re a fan of Black Desert Online, then Vindictus is essentially what Black Desert could be if it implemented dungeons and raids into the game.
It’s stunning, and to date people still argue that Vindictus has a much better combat system than any other MMO out there. You can grapple things, people, monsters, you have interactable environments.. it’s an MMO you haven’t really seen before.
Its story is a little overwhelming in terms of exactly how much text there is, I honestly often found myself skipping it because it just didn’t seem like it had much of a purpose, but I haven’t found many South Korean MMOs that really do narratives very well.
That isn’t to say it isn’t possible, just that I don’t really see it. Thankfully the game still has thousands of active players so if this is something you’re interested in trying, then now’s a great time to jump in.
Do note though that since this is a Nexon game, they do have IP Blocks in place, much to the misfortune of many players trying to play their games outside of North America.
Tree of Savior
I do expect a to see a few people complaining about this one, but I’ve played quite a lot of Tree of Savior recently, making it to over level 100 thus far, and as a fan of Isometric MMOs.. I’m pretty hooked.
Not only did I love Ragnarok Online, which Tree of Savior is supposedly referred to as the successor to, but I love the art style that the game utilizes. Seriously, this game is one of the most aesthetically stunning games I’ve ever played through.
It’s like.. playing on a living canvas. I cannot express how damn cool this game looks, but it plays just as good. The game utilizes complete action combat. I played as a Mage and I can tell you first hand, the sheer destructive force I have is unreal.
There are only a handful of MMOs with combat as good as Tree of Savior. While the game still has some optimization issues, and the story is a little basic, the gameplay and visuals more than make up for it.
Truly, if you haven’t played this game but you’re a fan of isometric MMOs then I urge you to give this a shot. Granted its playerbase is a little on the lower side right now, if that’s an issue for you.
I know a lot of you guys have your own thoughts, your own selection of games that you deem should be included in this list. I do. There are so many good games out there and different games appeal to different audiences.
It’s a blessing that I was given a platform with which I can communicate with all of you and see what you all have to say about various different games because there’s plenty I’m missing, not having experienced a large amount of games through until endgame.
And that’s part of why I love this community so much – you’re all just as big a part of this as I am and your voices are equally as important. So make sure you let me know which games you feel should be in this list if you have any that weren’t mentioned.