Exploring the realm of Free to Play – Written by Sean “Blazek” Emes, Edited by Jordan “Doomhammer” Kahn
If you’re like me, you’re the type of gamer who will wear out a loved game like a favorite pair of shoes. Eventually you’ll squeeze every last ounce of fun out the title (or just get fed up with the developers)
and decide to move onto greener pastures. When this happens, I inevitably find myself looking for a new big title to get hyped up on, or wasting time on small titles. If you are the second type of gamer you
know it’s not always worth spending money on something you are not sure will be worthwhile. In the last few weeks I ventured into the realm of Free to Play MMO games to see if I could find anything to
satisfy my gaming experience without spending my hard earned cash. Here’s a pair of titles that might be worth looking into if you don’t have anything larger to grab your attention.
First up we have Dragon’s Nest, an Action-MMO hosted by Nexon. The game is currently in an open beta, which for free games generally means cash shop is open but the full game isn’t quite ready. While the level cap will eventually be 50, or possibly higher, the current cap is around 24. This allows you to explore quite a bit and even advance to your second job class, which is where the game takes on a whole new level of fun. The game still has drawbacks at this stage, though. For example, the game is heavily instanced so you will only really see other players inside the towns unless you join a party. However, speaking of parties, a great way to fully enjoy this game is grouping up and taking on abyss-level difficulty, which can cause regular gameplay to challenge players even with a full group at the recommended level.
Dragon’s Nest also has a fairly strong PvP mode, which plays a lot like you would expect from battlegrounds in a PvP MMO. You are able to choose a party size from one group up to three, and the community in the game can tend to get pretty entertaining even though there’s no new or innovative gameplay involved. All in all, Dragon’s Nest is a fairly solid title that plays a lot like Vindictus, so for gamers looking forward to games such as TERA, Dragon’s Nest is a great place to have some fun for the time being.
Next up, try checking out Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning, or WAR for short. This was a game that had high hopes at launch and a powerful community going out the game. It ran into trouble when slow response times for community feedback from the developers caused to bleed away at an incredible rate. To those who stuck it out past the first year the game eventually made enough patches and changes to fix most of the glaring issues with PvP combat. Now, 2-3 years into its life, the game is down to four decently populated servers, but has made enough changes to keep players sticking with the game. There is currently a free to play model in the game, allowing players to play free indefinitely from level 1-10, which allows for Tier 1 Realm v Realm combat (RvR).
While I was reluctant to download and play at first, after jumping back into the fray for some 4+ hours of constant Warband vs Warband action I remembered why I used to enjoy this game so much. While I am uncertain as to whether or not the game is worth subscribing to again, there is a lot of quick and enjoyable PvP to be had in the free model alone. In a recent developer blog it was hinted at the fact that Mythic wanted to open the game up more for new players, allowing for more access to the games content. Meaning the free to play model may expand into Tier 2 and give everyone a taste at some keep sieging. Here’s hoping they do!
PvP and enjoyment seem to be a hard thing to buy these days, so finding free gems is even better. While I won’t stick with either of these games for too long, these are just a couple of titles that can provide
an MMO fix if you need something to hold you over or if you are limited on time and want something to jump in and enjoy. There are more and more free titles out every day, and the market has really blown up in the last few years. Now many premier games, such as Lord of the Rings Online and Age of Conan, have switched to either a hybrid or completely free to play model and it has kept them alive. Try out some of them and see which one holds your interest the longest while you wait for your next blockbuster. Who knows, maybe it will inspire you enough to spend a few dollars on them. After all, they aren’t doing this for free, you know!
*Article reproduced with permission from the author and vVv Gaming.