So, what's the difference, then? Well, these free-to-play games generally feature real time, or synchronous, play styles and, in most cases, 3D visuals. (Think World of WarCraft, but without the subscription fee.) To help you navigate the vast waters that are browser MMOs, here are our top five that are worth checking out.
Starbuck lovers, this game is most certainly for you. Sure, it's laser-focused on one particular franchise that you may or may not be a fan of, but good sci-fi MMOs are the most difficult to come by. Developed by ArtPlant and published by BigPoint, Battlestar Galactica Online (BGO) allows players to make the ultimate decision: Humans or Cylons. Then, you'll be given your very own ship with the freedom to soar around the endless void of space ... and annihilate the enemy, of course. (Side note: Most browser MMOs require a downloaded plug-in for your computer to handle their 3D visuals. In this case, that's the infamous Unity Player.) Regardless of whether you're a fan of the series, BGO offers one of most slick space combat experiences you'll find for free.
Even if you're not in the loop, you might have heard of this one. Oh, it's only the largest browser MMO out there. Jagex has kept this classic fantasy MMO running for 10 long years. In RuneScape players assume the role of, well, anything they want, really. While the game generally surrounds combat involving warriors, archers and wizards, you can also become a crafter or even just a trader who peddles what he finds while mining or logging. The choice is up to you, really, and that's the beauty of RuneScape. The other beauty? It's based on Java, a software most computers have inherently, so there's a chance you won't have download anything at all. Oh, and then there's the millions of adventurers to play with.
Sony Online Entertainment's free-to-play MMO, Free Realms (Yes, it's finally back online), is even more open than RuneScape. Not to mention that it looks much better. The tradeoff is there is a required plug-in download and an installation, which could take awhile. Once you're in the game, you quite literally can do whatever you. Want to fight goblins? You got it. Wanna race some go-karts? All yours. Want to play a trading card game or some mini games? Yup, you can do that too. The possibilities are seemingly endless, and they all work to progress your character. When SOE titled this game "Free Realms," it wasn't kidding: You're free to do quite literally anything you want in this realm.
If you were a Cartoon Network fan as a kid (like myself) or your kids are fans today, FusionFall will make your jaw drop with the amount of references it makes to both classic and current Cartoon Network programs. This MMO is more of a platformer (think Super Mario) than anything, with each zone featuring several obstacles to overcome vertically. (Again, you'll need Unity Player for this one.) That said, the game requires a good amount of strategy and skill, which might come as a refreshment for those who are tired of clicking everything. Throughout the game, you'll befriend characters from nearly every Cartoon Network series. So, consider FusionFall an action-packed walk down memory lane.
This Flash-based MMO is strikingly similar to RuneScape, but works within a 2D plane, much like the wildly popular MapleStory. Adventure Quest Worlds by Artix does all of us a favor and remembers, "Hey, I'm a Flash game." In other words, the game has a knack for comedy, and isn't afraid to laugh at itself or the fantasy genre. It's a refreshing and smoothly animated take on fantasy games that generally believe they're the next Lord of the Rings. AQW knows it's not even close and has fun with it.
Have you tried any of these games yet? What do you look for in a free-to-play game? What free-to-play MMOs do you recommend? Share with us in the comments. Add Comment.