Free MMORPG & Free MMOs

Archive for May 2010

Every single major pay to play MMORPG from World of Warcraft to the more obscure Nexus: Kingdom of the Winds has an MMORPG free trial. Gamers today can practically play ANY MMORPG for free, including the pay to play ones, even if its just for a short while. Heck, I tried out both Pirates of the Burning Sea and Poxnora the other day. I didn’t really like either, but after trying those games I wanted to give NCSoft’s newest title Aion a try, but to my surprise they don’t offer a free trial. NCSoft offers a free trial for their other games including Guild Wars and City of Heroes, but they don’t offer a free trial for Aion. That’s absolutely nuts. There’s no way I’m going to fork over $30+ to purchase Aion without at least trying the game first.

I’ve actually paid for numerous MMORPGs in the past. I’ve held a subscription for Ultima Online and Dark Age of Camelot for years. Same with World of Warcraft. I got into both of these MMORPGs through free trials. World of Warcraft, Ultima Online and Dark Age of Camelot all offer 14 day free trials which let gamers get a good feel for the game. I honestly think NCSoft is losing out on some serious cash as well as players by not offering a free trial. I’ve seen so many awesome HD trailers for Aion, but I’ll never give the game a chance because it doesn’t have a free trial.

Seriously though, what on earth is NCSoft thinking? Even obscure pay to play MMORPGs like Alganon, Age of Conan: Hyborian Adventures and Star Wars Galaxies offer free trials. NCSoft needs to wake up and step it up. Come to think of it, Star Trek Online doesn’t have a free trial either. How dumb is that? That’s another game I wanted to try, but I can’t. There’s no way i’ll buy a game without trying it so, Atari is also screwing themselves over.

Even with my 25 MB/s Verizon Fios internet connection, I’ve found that I lag in a select few MMORPGs and MMO Games. After some investigating, I’ve learned that I only experience lag when I play games that are hosted outside of the United States. Games like S4 League and Land of Chaos Online from Alaplaya for example are hosted in Europe. These games are AVAILABLE in the United States and in other parts of the world, but the game servers themselves are hosted in Europe. This means that players outside of Europe will experience some lag. Not all games hosted in Europe or outside of North America lag for me though. Games like Priston Tale 2 and Emil Chronicle Online for example are both hosted outside of North America, but I don’t have any lag with them. Priston Tale 2 is by GamerKraft in Europe and Emil Chronicle Online is hosted in Singapore by Gravity (Yes, they’re the same company who develops Ragnarok Online).

So Why do some games lag and others don’t? Well i’ve concluded that I never lag in games hosted within North America. So I’ve concluded that games hosted outside of the U.S. And have bad servers are most likely to lag. I actually don’t mind lag too much in MMORPGs, but lag in MMOFPS games like S4 League and Soldier Front are the worst. Lagging in an FPS is a really quick way to get yourself killed. I was playing Battle of Destiny the other day from Cubizone and I really didn’t mind the game’s slight lag. I mean, I noticed it, as the game is hosted in Malaysia, but lag doesn’t really adversely effect the game too much if its barely noticeable and it happens in a non-pvp heavy MMORPG. I remember I used to play Perfect World on the Cubizone servers before the international version came out as I hated the lag. Luckily the international version is hosted by the developer – Perfect World Entertainment, meaning new updates are implemented right away.

Anyway guys. If you see yourself lagging in a game, check to see where the servers are located before you start getting angry at your computer or your ISP!

Come to think of it, with all the fantasy MMORPGs, MMOFPS and Strategy MMORPGs on the market, there really aren’t that many sports MMOs. I mean, there are some with the popular ones being FreeStyle Street Basketball and MLB Dugout Heroes. Plus there are a bunch of random fighting MMOs which can be classified as sports – games like Lost Saga and Rumble Fighter for example. My problem with the genre is that there aren’t enough unique sports MMOs. I mean, as of this writing there aren’t any swimming MMOs, American Football MMOs or Hockey MMOs (though Hockey Dash is in development from OG Planet). In fact there are countless sports out there that have no MMOs!

It sucks that there are TWO golf MMOs, Shot Online and Pangya (Which is from Ntreev), but not a single client based American Football MMO. American Football is MUCH bigger than Golf – so why on earth are there two golfing MMOs and no football ones? No idea. Heck these golfing games have been around for years now. MLB Dugout Heroes, the baseball themed MMO by GamesCampus released late 2009. I can’t believe it took so long for a baseball themed game to release. Baseball is only one of the most popular sports in the world. I’m not sure which is more popular though – Baseball of Football. I just know they’re both big industries.

Know what sport would make an awesome MMO? Wrestling! Even boxing would be interesting. The current fighting games aren’t at all realistic, so I’m discounting them. None of them even focus on boxing / wrestling anyway. I think a boxing MMO could do really well though. Provided it was well developed. Another interesting sports MMO would be a track and field game. I know gPotato has Tales Runner, but that’s more of a racing MMO than anything else. A track and field game would have multiple ‘events’ in it aside from just track racing.

Anyone else interested in new sports MMOs or is it just me?

Kingdom Heroes is a new 3D MMORPG by Aeria Games with a fantasy theme. It is set during the period of the Three Kingdoms, which for some reason, is an extremely popular theme amongst Chinese MMORPGs. Games like Heroes of Three Kingdoms, Three Kingdoms: The Battle Begins and Warriors of the Three Kingdoms for example are all set during the exact same time period. The names can get confusing, I know. The game is currently in closed beta, but for some reason I was able to log in to the game without a beta key, so maybe you don’t even need one?

After a few days or playing, or maybe I should say not playing, I’m level 50. I say ‘not playing’, because Kingdom Heroes is one of those games you can leave on and the game will sort of play for you. No, it’s not exactly like Godswar Online or Battle of the Immortals, but the game has this soldier system, where soldiers (your pets) can be set to attack nearby enemies automatically. The way to gain experience easily is to set your soldiers to attack nearby enemies (weak ones, so your soldiers never die) and then go do something else while leaving the game running. I found leaving the game on over night to be the most effective way to level up.

You could say this ruins the game, but I find it to be interesting as no one really plays Kingdom Heroes for it’s PvE elements. Kingdom Heroes is a PvP MMORPG, meaning the PvP is really the game’s main attraction. So the whole easy AFK leveling system sort of works well. Though it makes me question the reason behind it. Why put up the charade? Why not let players start at max level automatically so they can jump right into the PvP rather than leaving their PCs on leveling their characters for a week. I can tell though, even though I’m still playing Kingdom Heroes, I expect to quit it within a week. The whole auto leveling will make the game boring in the end. After all, I’m spending more time NOT playing Kingdom Heroes than actually playing it.

I guess I should stick with the best fantasy MMORPGs instead of playing random ones. The reason I’m even playing Kingdom Heroes is that I recently quit Allods Online from gPotato and got bored of playing Trickster Online from Ntreev. So I have a lot of free time.

There are a few upcoming MMORPGs that look good. I’m not talking about games like Maestia and Vindictus that are still upwards of a year away from release. I’m talking about free MMORPGs that are currently in closed beta and should release within the next few months. One of these games is Camon Hero from Uforia. The game mixes fantasy MMORPG and trading card game elements to create a unique strategy experience. Plus, the game’s brightly colored anime inspired graphics look great. Another neat little aspect of the game is that its supposed to be an action MMORPG like GhostX – meaning it’s not another boring point and click game.

Maestia Screenshot

Two other upcoming MMORPGs that look good are Blade Wars and Kingdom Heroes. Both are pretty generic in terms of setting, as they’re both fantasy MMORPGs. Blade Wars is 2D though while Kingdom Heroes is 3D. Blade Wars actually looks a lot like Dragon Oath, but that isn’t surprising, as both games are published by the same developer – ChangYou. Kingdom Heroes on the other hands looks awesome because of its heavy emphasis on PvP. I like to think of Kingdom Heroes as a competitor to Aika Online. I generally enjoy PvP MMORPGs, so Kingdom Heroes is a game I plan to check out as soon as it releases into open beta.

I’m also looking forward to Need for Speed World from Electronic Arts. I can’t say I’ve been a big fan of Electronic Arts regarding their console games, but they’ve been doing a splendid job releasing high quality free to play MMOs. Their first free to play title was Battlefield Heroes which was top notch. Then they released Battleforge and Lord of Ultima – both great games. I’d love to see more free to play titles from EA. They’ve already proven to me that they can make great games.

Battlefield Heroes Screenshot

Are there any other really interesting new MMORPGs on the horizon that are close to being released that I missed? If so, let me know in the comments.

There are so many MMOs out there, it’s hard to pick one to play. I’m a big fan of MMOFPS games, but I also like to try other things as well, so I decided to throw up a short list of free to play non-MMOFPS games that are worth checking out. This list will largely focus on obscure MMOs that most people have never heard of or played. It’s amazing how many awesome games are that aren’t MMOFPSs and many people don’t play.

Anyway. The first game on my list is Lost Saga by OGPlanet. The game to me feels like a successor the popular Rumble Fighter, as the game just offers so much more than Rumble Fighter. It has 20+ playable characters, enormous variety and simple yet fun gameplay. Plus players can mix and match equipment from all characters to create a truly unique fighter. The game is definitely under rated and deserves a much higher playerbase. As is, it’s definitely my favorite free to play MMO fighting game, with Mini Fighter Online a distant second.

Next up is Ace Online from SubaGames. Ace Online online is a fast paced MMO where players control futuristic fighter jets called ‘Gears’. Think of it as Star Fox, but an MMO. Sounds awesome, right? It is. I’ve been a fan of Star Fox, so I fell in love with Ace Online right away. The game has some awesome faction vs faction battles with have hundreds of players fighting it out at once while look absolutely incredible. If you’re a fan of Star Fox games, Ace Online is well worth checking out.

Two other games I wanted to mention are Carom3D and Valkyrie Sky. Carom3D is a billiards MMO and Valkyrie Sky is a horizontal shooter with MMO elements. I’ve never played billiards in real life, but I’m a big fan of Carom3D, as it’s an unusually fun game. It’s simple to learn, but extremely competitive. Valkyrie Sky is fun because it feels like a classical arcade game, but with cooperative gameplay. It’s also pretty difficult, so just completing a stage late in the game feels very rewarding.

Before I wrap up, I want to mention two more awesome MMOs which deserve more attention. The first is FreeStyle Street basketball by GameKiss and the second is League of Legends from Riot Games. FreeStyle: Street Basketball is enormously popular in Korea, but the game has such a low playerbase in North America. It deserves so much more. I personally don’t even follow basketball or care much for it, but FreeStyle is so simple and fun. It’s without a doubt my favorite sports MMO. Seriously, do yourself a favor and try it. League of Legends on the other hand, is a bit more popular, but it still deserves to be more popular. It’s an incredible free to play ‘DotA’ like game with 50+ unique heroes and silk smooth gameplay. It’s easily one of my favorite MMOs of all times.

Anyway guys, that’s it for my short list of awesome MMOs worth checking out. Let me know what you think in the comments.

Anyone wondering why there are so many free to play dancing MMOs out there? You know, games like Dance Online and Audition Online. It seems like there are a decent amount of these games. I think its a bit silly because all of these games play essentially the same. Seriously, if you’ve played Dance Online you might as well have played audition. They’re basically the same game with a different interface. Both titles borrow heavily from the enormously popular Dance-Dance-Revolution game as well as Stepmania for the PC.

One of the only interesting dancing games in my opinion is 5Street from Snail Games. Snail Games also publishes Age of Armor and Heroes of Gaia and that’s it. It’s funny though both of those other games aren’t really that unique but 5Street is. Basically 5Street offers the same exact dancing gameplay that Audition and Dance Online do, except with a great social experience built it. 5Street is also a virtual world, so players can walk around, explore, talk and socialize. In fact, the game promotes this by offering so many different emoticons, player housing and much more. I’m not saying 5Street is a great game either, as the game has some terrible translations, but in my opinion its the best dancing MMO.

Aside from these games there are a few other rhythm based games. Osu! Is the only other I can think of. It’s fun and free to play which makes it win in my book. I don’t think there are any other social MMORPGs with dancing other than 5Street though, which is a shame as the social components in 5Street are pretty fun. I guess it’s no surprise that all of these games are extremely similar, as free to play developers love copying each other. After all, look how many WoW clones there are out there. Free to play ones like Runes of Magic and Allods Online are actually pretty popular as well. So if copying works, why bother trying to make anything new?

If I missed any Dancing MMOs, do let me know if the comments below, but I think I got them all.