In my time, I’ve played a lot of MMOs. In the 2000s, free internet games really flourished, and so any teen with a half decent computer and an email address could play a game like Aeria Games Shaiya. But many of these games don’t exist anymore, and even if they do, no one in their right mind should still be playing them. Here’s a list of MMORPGs I would recommend though, starting from completely free, to a hundred dollar investment. Please keep in mind these are sorted by price to play, not my level of enjoyment with them.
Tera- This is a game from En Masse Entertainment, with zero required payment. The game has a number of features behind the pay wall, such as more character slots, larger bank, vanity items like weapon skins and costumes, mounts, pets, and the usual, but the game is entirely playable for free, and doesn’t feel like they’ve stripped anything down when they went free-to-play in 2013. The game boasts an attractive character creator with very elfish species, tactical dodging mechanics, unobtrusive UI and a pretty world full of vibrant color.
Guild Wars 2- This game, once a buy to play game, is developed by ArenaNet, and of all the free to play MMOs I’ve played and enjoyed, this one I’ve had the most fun with. Though you can feel the affects of things being removed from the game and being put behind a pay wall, the game is still very enjoyable. An expansive world, full of interesting quests and a rich story, not to mention cooperative boss battles that are not instanced with raiders like most MMOs but appear in the world and are battled by whoever shows up to fight it. It’s beautiful, unique, and worth at least trying even if you find you don’t like it.
Black Desert Online- This one is definitely one of my favorites! Developed in South Korea by Pearl Abyss, its required for people to purchase the game to play it, but the cost of the game hardly feels like it wasn’t worth it. It comes in three packages, the first of which gives only the game and some guest passes, for $10, but the second for $30 and the third for $50 give much more premium content. Now the game is rather beautiful on it’s own, and the characters can be made incredibly detailed, but unfortunately the most beautiful features of the game– such as special armors, dyes, pets, and saddles– remain behind a pretty hefty pay wall. But with intricate entrepreneur mechanics, house and horse ownership, and strong movement based combat that makes this pretty Korean game stand out from the crowd.
Destiny- Sadly, considering how much I enjoy this game, Destiny was terribly expensive to play. With a price tag of $60 for the original game, $20 for each smaller DLC, and $40 for the expansions, the game racked up in price extensively over it’s three year life span. But as the kinks in the game were worked out and the final game took form, Destiny became a blast to play. The character creator was simplistic, knowing players would rarely see their own face, the classes were simple and unique but left room for unique play styles with subclasses and talent selection. Instanced patrols and quests gave room for making friends, while instanced raids forced players to already have friends in the game. And when content was not pushing players forward, the PVP Crucible and the quest for higher Light was. The quest for sweet legendaries and holy grail exotics continued, and hopefully Destiny 2 will be true to it’s predecessor.
World of Warcraft- I’ve had a love hate relationship with this game for almost a decade now. World of Warcraft, affectionately shortened to WoW and developed by Blizzard Entertainment, is the successor to the popular series Warcraft, as most people know. It’s been around so long it set the standard for dozens if not hundreds of MMORPGs since it’s first release. For people who have been playing the game since the beginning, it’s a sadly expensive tale. The base game and every expansion has cost right around $60, meaning if you’ve played loyally since 2004 it’s cost you about $360 just to own the game, let alone play it. But the subscription fee adds to that cost even more– $15 a month. If you’ve paid that every month since launch, that’s $2,340. And honestly, I’m not sure if it would be worth that much. I’ve played the game– played in Cataclysm and in Mists of Pandaria, and though I do find the game to be fun, I just couldn’t keep with it. The plot goes over my head, the starter quests are boring, and the fighting mechanics are… well, a little limited. But it’s a strong game, and there’s a reason why it has served as the inspiration of other MMOs and why the term “WoW Killer” has become so common.