We all know how much of a time-sink many MMOs can be, so finding one that respects your time and money is important. In recent years, some great free MMOs have been released, but that doesn’t mean they’re all worth playing. How can you tell which one is right for you? Here are our picks for the best free MMOs that you should try.
The best free MMOs – our top ten picks
The good news is that you can find a great MMORPG to play regardless of what platform you want to play on. While the PC is home to many of the biggest games in the genre, mobile devices are now powerful enough to deliver the gameplay you’re looking for while you’re on the go. Whichever platform you play on, these games will give you the best value for your money.
EVE Online has been one of the biggest names in MMOs for years now. Everyone knows how deep and involved the economy in this game can be, but it is important to note that the overall mechanics in EVE Online continue to be refined and improved with regular updates. Finding the right guild and starting your own merchant or pirate fleet is still just as satisfying as it was all those years ago.
Guild Wars 2
The storyline in Guild Wars 2 is good enough to make it one of the best free MMOs you can play. The world of Tyria changes and reacts to the choices you and other players make, making this feel like the most alive MMO setting out there. Combine that with the solid crafting and combat system and a truly unique leveling system, and Guild Wars 2 is definitely worth trying out to see if it is right for you.
Lord of the Rings Online
Playing around in the world created by Tolkien is the dream of every MMO developer, so it is good to see that Lord of the Rings Online doesn’t squander that opportunity. It takes place during the same period as the books, letting players get involved with the epic War for the Ring by helping the Fellowship of the Ring from behind the scenes. Rather than merely retelling the story of the books, this free MMO feels like a wonderful extension of a story many fantasy fans are already keenly familiar with.
One of the biggest MMOs from the past few years is Lost Ark, which gives a huge amount of story content without charging you anything. There are dozens of hours of missions and side stories to play through, each one bringing another part of the world to life. Plus, every class has a different feel, making it tempting to play through the story multiple times to find the one that fits your style best. Lost Ark never feels like you’re at a disadvantage if you choose not to purchase any of the in-game items, which is a remarkable balancing act for the developers.
If you’ve got a craving for a Dungeons and Dragons game but can’t find a group to gather around the table, then Neverwinter could help scratch that itch. Set in the Forgotten Realms setting, players form parties of up to five to dive into the different dungeons in the game. It doesn’t perfectly replicate the feel of a tabletop game, but it is the closest any MMO has ever gotten. Neverwinter started as a subscription-based game but switched to free-to-play back in 2011.
Secret World Legends
While the original Secret World game failed to win people over to its subscription service, its free-to-play sequel managed to find an audience. The best part of Secret World Legends is the setting, which delivers on the original’s urban fantasy vibe with multiple factions trying to either control or stop the encroaching supernatural threats. The base game is completely free, though you’ll need to pay for each of the expansion packs that have been released since the game launched in 2017.
Star Trek Online
Engage with one of the most famous sci-fi settings ever in this huge MMO. While you will eventually have to pay for the endgame content, you can play up until level 65 for free. There are huge star systems to explore and new threats to encounter. If Star Trek is your jam, this is probably the best game set in that universe that’s ever been released.
Star Wars: The Old Republic
Another setting that players love to run around in is Star Wars, so it isn’t a huge surprise that The Old Republic is still going strong more than a decade after it launched. Set in one of the most fascinating periods in Star Wars history, players can choose to follow the way of the Jedi or the Sith, each with their own advantages and disadvantages. While players who pay for a subscription to the game will have a much easier time, it is perfectly possible not to spend any money on the game and still have lots to do.
Tower of Fantasy
Taking the anime aesthetic that helped make Genshin Impact so successful and adding it to an MMO was always going to be a winning formula. However, the crafting and cooking mechanics of Tower of Fantasy are what make it one of the best free MMOs you can find. Combined with the epic boss fights and engaging combat system, this is one of the most well-rounded and accessible games on this list.
There is something deeply satisfying about the planet-hopping aspects of Warframe. Jump from one world to the next for each mission in a highly upgradable shell known as a Warframe, outfitting them for the mission you’re about to undertake. You can join up with friends or take on missions solo, but the best part of this game is the number of potential load-outs you can try. Warframe is a customization geek’s dream.