When it comes to MMORPGs, free to play has never been more prevalent in the genre. There’s dozens upon dozens of free entry MMO games that allows you to jump into the world and creep toward the end-game without spending too much. Of course, for most games, there’s always a catch. Things like additional content in DLCs, Expansions and of course micro-transaction exists. So in a way, there’s no completely free game out there. However, on a tight budget, there’s still some solid titles out there that will offer you tons of fun for the free entry. Here’s our picks for the best MMORPGs to play if you’re not keen on spending money.
1. Star Wars: The Old Republic
There was a period in time that SWTOR wasn’t actually considered free to play friendly at all. Most saw BioWare’s monetization of the game as greedy, and with a massive fan base like Star Wars, corporations would obviously want to cash in on that. Today, SWTOR has dialed back on some of its free to play restrictions, letting you play all the base game’s class stories for free up to level 50. If you need a quick Star Wars fix, these class stories are absolutely worth it, and you can even forget the later stuff. Nothing beats the vanilla experience anyway. Just keep in mind, this will mostly be a single player experience which is tragic for one of the biggest budget MMORPGs of the modern era.
2. Guild Wars 2
Guild Wars 2 started out has a buy to play MMORPG, and now has dropped its entry free entirely. You can in-fact, play the vanilla game all the way up until the still current level cap of 80. There’s almost no world-content restrictions, feel free to take part in a wide variety of activities. These include PvP, world boss events, fractals and of course, dungeons. The expansions so far offers new maps, the Living World Stories and elite class specializations, so you’ll have to pay for those if you want them. Otherwise, Guild Wars 2 offers probably the most solid amount of content for a free to play MMORPG on the market at the moment. You’ll still have restrictions like auction house limits and chat limitations, but if you can see pass that, it’s a great game to spend some time in.
3. Albion Online
For players looking for a more sandbox experience, Albion Online is perhaps your ideal choice. With inspiration drawn from games like RuneScape, Ultima and more, Albion Online let’s you play whatever you want to play, and be whoever you want to be, literally. The classless system allows you to build toward your favorite MMO fantasy archetype, and its world is true-sandbox – you’ll craft, build and kill other players to survive. If you die in a danger zone, you lose the gear that’s on you, so yes, full loot on death. It has an active Guild vs. Guild scene because territory warfare is a big deal in Albion. There is a premium subscription you can opt in for that awards bonus Fame which helps with crafting and skill progression, but for tight-budget players, who cares? You can still join a Guild, get help, and be competitive.
If Korean MMORPGs are what you’re after, the choices are almost endless. We settled on TERA, but as alternatives, there’s AION, Blade and Soul and dozens of others to check out. TERA gets the nod due to its combat system primarily. It’s an all action, addictive combat mechanic that feels alive right from the early game all the way to the end. The game lets you play everything for free, with no pay walls when it comes to content. There’s also sufficient fun to be had in all departments, from dungeons, to PvP and of course, monster grinding for XP if that’s your jam.
This one’s a little controversial, but Neverwinter makes the list for a few reasons. Based on the Dungeons and Dragons setting, Neverwinter launched in 2013, and is still going strong today. The game does a decent job at incorporating what’s new in the D&D universe into the MMORPG, be it new rulesets, races and campaigns. The combat system is pretty fun, as are the dungeons and other group content. It is free to play with no pay walls stopping you from getting to the level cap, or even to the new and latest expansions and content. However, it’s also home to one of the most heavy-handed cash shops in-game for a Western title. Expect to see dozens of different loot-box keys for the twice as many boxes you’ll pick up in-game. There will be times you’ll feel like you can’t compete in-game if you don’t spend the money (PvP), but PvE is perfectly playable for anyone on a tight budget.