Since the eras of World of Warcraft, developers have researched continuously the best way to monetize multiplayer online role-playing games (MMORPGs) massively.
Some games, such as Final Fantasy XIV Online, stick to verified monthly subscriptions, while others, like The Elder Scrolls Online, charge a flat fee for each expansion. However, most MMORPGs are free to play games that are cashed in in-game purchases and content packages.
In this guide, we’ll break down the best free MMORPGs, paying particular attention to free and non-winning games. While all of our selections contain microtransactions in one form or another, MMORPGs are inevitable – you can nevertheless download and play a good chunk of any game without spending any money.
The Best Free MMORPGs in 2021
You must pay tribute to Trion Worlds for its commitment to the Defiance universe. The original MMO, released as a multiplayer game for Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and PC, was released with the accompanying program on SyFy.
He had several great ideas, including the use of traditional third-person shooters and dynamic encounters with bosses who would later find a home in Destiny. However, the program was later cancelled, and most players continued to play on the next-gen system.
Enter Defiance 2050. Instead of throwing away the work done on the original game, Trion Worlds invented it as a sort of semi-sequel, a half-renewed experience that built the heart of Defiance for free from the ground up.
The original game started as a premium title, and in the balancing and tuning systems for 2050, the character transfer wasn’t enough. However, some aspects of your original game account will still apply when Defiance 2050 starts on Xbox One, PlayStation 4, or PC.
Defiance 2050 also continues to update seasonal events and challenges to encourage regular play, including enemies and additional items, therefore charting on the best free MMORPG.
Guild Wars 2
With 90 on Metacritic and 90% on GameRankings, just behind World of Warcraft and its three expansions, Guild Wars 2 is one of the most critically acclaimed free MMORPG of all time.
While it will never beat gaming giant Blizzard in terms of popularity, Guild Wars 2 is far better than World of Warcraft and with no monthly fees.
Guild Wars’ ongoing combat system provides an excellent counterpart to the rigid role-based combat that Blizzard began with the Diablo series and which was based on World of Warcraft.
While it doesn’t have the kind of depth and difficulty that players must work within demanding raid environments, the Guild Wars 2 system encourages players to team up as they see fit; trying to fight for heavy PvE content in Guild Wars they necessarily need, for example, a vessel and a healer.
The in-game gem store further allows developer ArenaNet to continue using the game and creating new content while allowing new players to join for free. Seasonal special events and other content updates have added additional content, such as new carriers, story events, challenges, and weapons, a few years after the game’s initial release.
The Trion Worlds Rift in its base looks and plays like a carbon copy of World of Warcraft, but who says you have to invent the wheel to make an exceptional MMORPG?
The game was one of the firmest and complete MMOs when it launched in 2011, full of great environments, beautifully designed character models, and gameplay taken from some of the best aspects of similar titles.
Although the missions and story at the start of the game are dry, the game gets more interesting as the story wears off and you start to fill in sporadic dimensional gaps that unleash a rush of demonic beings through the vast landscapes of the game.
The best feature of the Rift is a flexible and immersive classroom system. Players start by selecting one of two opposing factions, either Guardians or Defiant, followed by one of six races and a standard build such as Wizard, Thief, Priest, or Warrior.
Additionally, players face three souls at once, which function as subclasses and develop their character through an elaborate skill tree.
This level of customization adds strategy to the game and makes the cooperative dungeons that come with it much more dynamic and intriguing. The learning curve is abrupt even after level 50, but the originality is there.
Rift became a free MMORPG in 2013, but a paid expansion called Starfall Prophecy was released in 2016, with additional content that free users won’t be able to see.
However, it was later renamed the Ahnket Prophecy and was free again. Since then, the game has advanced to receive additional updates, including special packages on the topic of crashes and combat passes.
Star Wars, Old Republic
One of the best Star Wars games has been a significant undertaking considering the legion of fans and die-hard fans who have an attachment to the material.
Providentially, BioWare’s Star Wars: The Old Republic is easily accessible and instantly recognizable. The writing and expressive dialogue are excellent, supported by class-specific narratives and a wealth of contextual context that any franchise fan will admire.
The visuals still hold up reasonably well, and users can easily adjust the graphics settings to suit a wide range of gaming platforms. The game mechanics are based on real-time combat based on hotkeys and feature hotkeys. Additional variations in the form of space rail combat and PvP war zones.
Although online, SWTOR is a great solo experience. Players choose between one of two factions, Republic or Empire, and choose between one of four different character classes specific to each side of the force.
If you select the Republic, you’ll have access to a Smuggler, Soldier, Jedi Knight, and Jedi Consul. At the same time, Empire offers the option to be a Bounty Hunter, Sith Warrior, Imperial Agent, and Inquisitor. Sith.
Story-Based Flashes, SWTOR’s equivalent of co-op dungeons, offer some of the most profitable and challenging game modes in the entire Star Wars universe, propelling players into Republican warships around the world. Stroll and stray from Imperial prisons as you fight alongside others to achieve goals set in exchange for valuable loot.
Although SWTOR has been available for over five years, BioWare continues to produce new content and releases the Knights of the Eternal Throne expansion at the end of 2016.
An increase called Assault launched in 2019, adding an original story that Puts the Galactic Republic at odds with the Sith Empire, like and the world of Onderon, Flashpoint’s unique activity, and Operation with Friends.
TERA has one of the most dynamic and enjoyable combat systems in MMORPG history. Like its TERA counterparts, the game offers a wide variety of characters and classes, from the giant Amani race to the likeable Popori, each accompanied by a standard set of classes available to all races.
The surroundings are dazzling and bright, with lush views and spacious plains, and the character models are a joy to see regardless of your machine’s graphics settings.
While the general way of researching and crafting in the early hours of TERA is standard, the combat mechanics mentioned above are noticeably different from the stand-by combat that designates most MMORPGs.
The game needs the player to engage in a variety of quick manoeuvres while avoiding and hitting their opponents. The result looks more like a third-person shooter than an affair with WoW-style keyboards. Hunting and eradicating “giant monsters” with a group of companions is thrilling, as is group dungeons.
Still, the events and missions are loosely tied together by a story arc that hardly qualifies as terrain. However, additional components like in-game choices and open-world PvP add enough individual flair to make TERA their world.
The 2014 massive update increased the level cap from 60 to 65 and added several new areas, all for free. Two new game classes have also been added, while minor updates continue to be released regularly, including new dungeons, battlegrounds and abilities for each of the 11 game classes.
The level cap was additionally increased to 70 in 2019, and an update called “Unmasked” arrived in October 2019. This latest update added a new dungeon-driven story called Red Shelter, additional Guardian Legion missions, guild vs guild, remodelled battleground in grill and new dashboards.
TERA is a free MMORPG currently accessible on PS4, PC, and Xbox One.
Lord of the Rings Online
Like SWTOR, the world around J.R.R. Tolkien’s Middle-earth has solidified mainly in popular culture thanks to Peter Jackson’s feature films. Fortunately, Lord of the Rings Online entails a wealth of Tolkien’s works, things Jackson’s films never touched upon, and his cartoons colour the rich environment of Middle-earth.
The locations you’ll visit are just as diverse and eclectic as those in various books, from snow-capped peaks to rolling hills, and the creative tools allow players to tackle the story like a hobbit, man, dwarf or an elf. The classes are just as diverse, from Thief and Hunter to Guard and Bodyguard, but the selection is specific to your race.
Along with several exterior expansions, the game has undergone significant changes since its initial release in 2007, but the basic mechanics and gameplay remain pretty much the same.
The latest development, Minas Morgul, just arrived in late 2019 and added a new race, Ax Stout Dwarves, two new regions, a recent attack, increased hat levels, the Black Book of Mordor, new crafting perks and new adventures to encourage tradition.
The story remains epic, moving players through familiar spaces filled with recognizable characters from books and movies, and the overall narrative gives otherwise undescribed missions significant contextual weight.
Character progression & PvP combat are limited, but more elements like the Achievement and Monster Play, which nearly let you take on the role of one of Sauron’s penitents, add an even more in-depth and seemingly immediate approach to the game.
LOTRO is often referred to as the World of Warcraft scam, and it can be in many ways, but it’s a difficult argument to make when much of this latest MMORPG is likely stimulated by the immersive world of the first.
Developer Cryptic Studios combined the simplicity and combat-oriented gameplay of Diablo with more traditional fantasy settings to create Neverwinter, based on knowledge of the Dungeons & Dragons universe.
The combat system uses a computer version of D&D Fourth Edition by rolling imaginary dice to determine hits, misses, and damage. The game, initially published in 2013 for PC, but also available on PS4 and Xbox One, offers powerful PvE and PvP experiences.
While Neverwinter has a linear approach, smooth Darksiders-style combat feels fresh, especially for the PS4 and Xbox One, where the game’s aversion to social interactions and traditional RPG elements is less oppressive.
While game performance may be reduced if you find yourself in high-end areas on a low-end console or computer, the game has excellent magical effects and sound design – two underrated aspects of fantastic games, which may be crucial for your immersion in the experience.
Although some of the gaming systems, such as the lack of communication channels and the incredibly expensive gaming stores, appear to be poorly executed.
However, even with these shortcomings, Neverwinter is a fast-paced game that offers a different feel to most of the free MMORPG on our list.
MapleStory 2 is another excellent MMORPG that differs from other games in this genre with its unique, low-polish graphics and colourful design.
As with the other MMORPGs, MapleStory 2 also enables players to step into a vast open-world with their custom characters and interact with other players around the world.
Additionally, the game also offers players a ton of different mini-games, some of which are developed by other players using a game editor, which sets it apart from other games on this list.
And while the game may seem like a cartoonish one, MapleStory 2 has a rather exciting story that will take you on an epic adventure filled with epic boss battles, various side quests, and a crafting mode that plays a crucial role in progress general.
If space research is your thing, then you should try Star Conflict, a free-to-play MMORPG that places players in the position of an elite space pilot seeking to find and recover alien treasures scattered across his vast universe.
In Star Conflict, your main objective is to collect a variety of spaceships, from fast fighters to giant floating satellites.
The game’s PvE line takes you on a series of different missions and raids, where you have to face off against alien squads or space pirates, while PvP remains a constant threat as you float your spaceship in a substantial empty outside space.
The game also features several different customizations which are organized in the tech tree and includes various types of weapons or ship mods that you can use to upgrade the spaceship.
Another advantage of Star Conflict is that it supports Oculus Rift, allowing players to experience the game in virtual reality.
DC Universe Online
DC space fans should check out DC Universe Online, a free-to-play MMORPG that lets you create your superhero with custom abilities and play alongside other legendary DC space heroes, like Wonder Woman, Superman and Batman.
The game features a unique combat targeting system that sets it apart from other games on this list and plays an essential role in making the game more user-friendly.
Additionally, DC Universe Online has a very compelling storyline, cool collectables, and levelling options that give players the freedom to pick how they want to progress in the game.
Blade & Soul
Blade & Soul sets itself apart from other games on this list with its unique martial mechanics.
Access to martial arts in the game makes it more difficult than any other game on this list, forcing players to stand all the time, blocking, resisting, and performing combination chains to take out enemies.
The game offers players four unique races and ten classes to choose from, allowing you to customize your character to suit your playstyle fully.
Blade & Soul also features a variety of PvE dungeons that require you to team up with other players to defeat bosses, and there are even PvP Skirmishes where you can test your fighting skills against other players.
Try Blade & Soul for a unique MMORPG experience you won’t find anywhere else.
Eve Online is another great MMORPG that will be of interest to those who enjoy space exploration headlines.
The game is based on a futuristic space-age setting, allowing players to choose from four different races and design their characters from scratch, using a deep character creator to shape the head and body.
However, it should be noted that Eve Online is a plodding game that will require you to spend a lot of time at the start to move into intense action in the later stages. This could turn off gamers used to games that offer instant gratification.
Mining and in-game crafting is a slow process, so if you’re not ready to spend a lot of time on a single game, I suggest you stay away. If you manage to stay, the game will reward you with epic space battles that are worth the wait.
Dungeons and Dragons Online
Dungeons and Dragons are also available as a free-to-play MMORPG called Dungeons and Dragons Online, based on the revised rules insanity introduced by Dungeons and Dragons 3.5.
Unlike the desktop version of the game, which is based on a rotary combat system, D&D Online features a much more unique real-time combat system.
D&D Online’s progress is pretty similar to other MMORPGs on this list and requires players to go on missions to level up and develop their custom characters.
However, what sets D&D Online apart from other MMOs are its healing mechanics which require players to visit specific locations to heal their characters, rather than having their characters automatically healed over time.
A common theme you’ll find in all of the MMORPGs on this list is that they aren’t very pleasing to the eye, and Skyforge is a welcome exception.
The game is based on a sci-fi fantasy planet called Aelion which looks pretty impressive, especially since it’s completely free to play. But that’s not all Skyforge has to offer.
Unlike the other free-to-play MMORPGs on this list, which have varied but rigid gameplay, Skyforge is a bit smoother.
The game doesn’t lock players into a particular class, allowing them to instantly jump from one level to another and open up all the different fighting styles that promote experimentation and mastery.
So while you might have to create a whole new character to try out Second Class in most other games, on Skyforge, you can do it on the go.
Star Trek Online
Based on the popular movie and TV franchise, Star Trek Online is a good MMORPG for beginners thanks to its unique and diverse gameplay.
Unlike the other MMORPGs on this list, Star Trek Online has some elements that you’ll find more frequently in third-person shooter games and space exploration simulators, which adds to the incredible experience.
The game even contains several familiar elements from the TV and movie franchise, which are sure to attract fans. Plus, the game gets new content quite often, which means you’ll always have something new to watch in the game.
Star Trek Online is a must-have for all gamers who want an MMO experience that isn’t just limited to games principles of the genre.
The list is rounded out with Runescape, an evergreen MMORPG that is one of the newest and most popular games on the planet. With over 250 million accounts, Runescape offers gamers the ability to enjoy all aspects of the RPG, with a few subtle differences that set it apart.
For example, Runescape takes a very open approach to the traditional search model adopted by other MMORPGs, which means that the game instead of a linear story gives players the freedom to choose their path to progress through the game.
Also, Runescape allows players to specialize in skills, which means that everyone has the opportunity to choose something they like and play based on the progression of their abilities.
Developed by Korean programmer Jake Song, ArcheAge is one of the best fantasy Sandbox MMORPGs. And if you want to take part in an epic battle shrouded in a compelling story, you may be a great candidate.
As for the game, it has a zone-free world with both first and third-person views. In addition to some traditional combat scenarios, the game also includes a naval battle where players can take part in heart-wrenching battles between land and sea or on safe trade routes.
As a player, you’ve got the task of building massive ships and fully equipping them with advanced weapons. Depending on your preferences, you can fight other players or sea monsters.
Since players are free to attack their opponents, you need to be extra careful and pursue a killer strategy. Plus, never stop enjoying the revolutionary “Bloodlust” mode in an instant.
What sets Aion apart from other MMORPGs is the unique combination of PvP and PvE that NCSOFT calls PvPE.
Probably the fascinating part of this RPG is the imaginative setting. The PvE game revolves around the battles of the Abyss and Balaurea (also known as PvP areas).
In these areas, there are mighty fortresses that you can manage by showing your worth. Aion has six subclasses and eleven main classes. To get ignited, you need to choose one of the main classes, such as Explorer, Priest, Musa, Wizard, Warrior, and Tech.
Also, the game offers three types of missions: regular missions, campaign missions and work orders. In the usual missions, you will have to complete a specific task to get rewards.
While Campaign Missions are story-driven and play a vital role in player advancement, Job Tickets are essential for upgrading skills in your chosen profession. Depending on your performance, the game will place you at the top of the list.
Considering the intense competition, you will have to do your best to win first place. To strengthen your power, you can purchase the desired items such as high-end armour and powerful weapons.
Secret World Legends
If you have a penchant for revealing a legend’s secret, look no further than “Secrets of a World Legend”.
With tons of unique missions and tasks, you’ve covered the MMORPG to connect in a series of mysteries as you move to fight supernatural forces aimed at destroying the world as well as the existence of humanity.
To help you wage a secret supernatural war in any style you choose, the game features an impressive collection of weapons that let you wreak havoc on rival fields in the blink of an eye.
And not only that, but Secret World Legends also gives you superhuman abilities so that you can fight fire with fire in an extended mission to eliminate sinister evil.
One of my top picks in this epic MMORPG is the dramatic storytelling which hasn’t let me get the most out of it so far. And with top-notch acting, you’ll never love the sight of deadly battles.
Apart from enjoying brutal fighting, the game also gives you the chance to travel to many places like Seoul, New York and London to explore amazing things, which can light up your fantasy in the globetrotter.
Try these free MMORPGs today!
Now that you have a brilliant idea of an MMORPG that you can play for free, which one do you wish to try out first? I would recommend going with World of Warcraft, which while not completely free, is one of the best MMORPGs out there.