Free MMORPG & Free MMOs

Archive for January 2010

Free to play games have taken off in the past few years and have given us such top notch titles such as Perfect World and Alliance of Valiant Arms (or A.V.A for short.) There are now over a hundred free online PC games available with even more scheduled to be released in 2010.

Many free MMORPGs and MMOs are scheduled for release including Kung Foo! and Allods Online but I still find myself playing many older titles that have been around for years.

Hero Online is old Asian MMORPG by Netgame that’s been around for a while now but is still one of the more popular games on the Netgame portal. Last Chaos and Shaiya are two other games that can’t be described as ‘new’ but still offer great traditional fantasy MMORPG experiences. The latter also has a great PvP system which keeps it interesting for a long time.

MMOFPS games are some of my favorite mainly because they are easy to learn and quick to jump into. Just install and you’re good to go. No grinding required before players can access most of the content. Besides the aforementioned AVA, KOS Secret Operations has been a recent obsession of mine. Nexon’s Combat Arms is still the most popular free FPS as far as I can tell but there are plenty of options available today for gamer sof all tastes. Fancy the third person perspective? Than just download S4 League or GunZ: The Duel!

The past year has seen more than just the release of a larger quantity of free games, it has also heralded the opening of more genres to the f2p model. The Warcraft 3 custom map Defense of the Ancients (or DotA for short) is widely popular across the world but always required players to have the retail WC3 client installed. Fans of the game may be surprized to hear that a free to play sequel is now available and is even designed by many of the people associated with the original such as Guinsoo and Pendragon! The game goes by the name League of Legends and is similarly an AoS (Aion of Strife) where two teams of up to 5 players each battle to destroy the opposing base.

A classic PC gaming genre has also received new life in the free to play market. RTS is one of the most quintessentially PC gaming genres, even after repeated attempts consoles just haven’t gotten the formula of commanding dozens of troops right. Luckily EA’s BattleForge is available as a free download and mixes classic strategy gameplay with a trading card game element to craft a truly unique experience that can be enjoyed for free or with the aid of micro payments for additonal content.

I don’t know about you but I’m excited to see what new innovations 2010 will bring. Will we see even more publishers move into the free MMO space? Let’s wait and see!

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It seems like every new World of Warcraft clone is getting closer and closer to the real things. The first WoW clone I remember playing is Talisman Online. Even though the graphics were quite poor the game’s skill icons were copied and pasted directly from Blizzard’s game. Of course, things got better. Gates of Andaron was the next big WoW clone. The graphics and interface were very similar to World of Warcraft, except a tad bit worse. Next comes Runes of Magic, the ultimate WoW clone. Both in terms of gameplay and graphics Runes of Magic did a phenomenal job copying World of Warcraft. I would say its safe to call Runes of Magic a free to play version of WoW. The only real difference is that WoW has a lot more content than Runes of Magic, but I’m sure Frogster, Runes of Magic’s developer, will be releasing more content in due time. It’s really not too surprising that all of these games have copied World of Warcraft. The game is after all the most popular pay to play MMORPG of all time.

World of Warcraft isn’t the only MMORPG spawning clones. MapleStory, which basically pioneered the free to play MMORPG genre, has quite a handful of clones as well. The game does boast over 100 million accounts world – so even a small piece of that 100 million user pie is pretty big. Right now there are three big MapleStory clones and they are Wind Slayer, LaTale and WonderKing. Out of these three MapleStory clones, WonderKing is definitely the best, as it actually has many unique features that MapleStory doesn’t. Don’t get me wrong, it’s still a MapleStory clone as the game both looks and plays almost exactly like MapleStory.

Imitation is the ultimate form of flattery. So long as there are successful games there will be clones. I don’t think this is necessarily a bad thing though. Runes of Magic is an extremely high quality game and it brought the high quality ‘pay to play’ feel of World of Warcraft  to the free to play world. WonderKing took a popular game and enhanced it by adding new features. All of these  clones also give gamers additional choice. Anyone who liked MapleStory but became burnt out of it should definitely enjoy playing WonderKing, as it’s a bit different. All of these ‘clones’ will also force the original game developers to keep updating their games and releasing new features. If MapleStory wants to keep retain their players, they’ll need to start competing with all of these new ’similar’ games. All of this may be trouble for game developers, but it’s a great thing for gamers.