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To MMO Or Not To MMO?
Some people like to argue over what classifies a first-person shooter to fit within the MMO category, but given the vast amount of action games emerging from the shadow of Combat Arms and being classified as a “free-to-play MMO”, there’s no really denying that MMOFPS generally means a Combat Arms-clone. This list consists of first-person shooter games within the free-to-play realm, so titles like Fallen Earth and PlanetSide won’t be appearing on the list. The games that have made the cut are either in open-beta or closed beta, so titles like Genesis A.D. or Another Day won’t be appearing in this article either. For a complete listing of all the MMOFPS games out on the market or coming soon to the market, be sure to check out the complete MMOFPS Action Game Directory.
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No. 5: Wolf Team
This isn’t one of the most talked about MMO first-person shooters out there but it’s easily one of the most respected among reviewers, and with good reason. Wolf Team pits third-person werewolf melee tactics against fully armed, military first-person shooter mechanics and the result is an intense mixture of brawn versus bullets. There’s a nice selection of game modes, too, including classic deathmatch, CTF and even wolf versus soldiers mode. What makes the gameplay so unique is that the wolves can run on walls and utilize special powers while soldiers have to make do with high-tech weaponry and items. Wolf Team also represents a very balanced overall shooter so people who aren’t keen on the whole wolf thing can still find an enjoyable FPS in Wolf Team.
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No. 4: Karma: Operation Barbarossa
This game is still undergoing some testing before becoming widely available (as of the writing of this article) but this game was just too good to pass up on this list considering that there are no other shooter games out on the market like this across any platform. Karma: Operation Barbarossa is an alternative reality of World War II…imagined as if the Allied forces were put into the impossible predicament of not only fighting off the Axis but also having to take on zombies! Yes, this game was described in the hands-on preview as Brothers in Arms meets Left 4 Dead and it fits the bill perfectly, because it’s one of the first ever PvP vs PvE first-person shooters. This means that the game sports players-versus-zombies-versus-players modes and maps. This mechanic works like an intense charm, especially considering that all the weapons are from the WWII era and aren’t the most accurate, which creates an almost perpetual feeling of paranoia when the zombies start flooding in from all sides. This is the free-to-play shooter any fan of Left 4 Dead or Medal of Honor fan should definitely keep their eye. The game is scheduled to head into open beta this upcoming August.
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No. 3: Mercenary Wars
Originally this spot was reserved for Cross Fire. I mean, let’s be honest here: Cross Fire is one of the most well-balanced shooter games available right now and it’s that same balance that makes it appealing to casual shooter fans and hardcore twitchy-fingered head-shooters alike. Now, here’s the head-shocker: Mercenary Wars is about as balanced as Cross Fire but with added options and offers slightly better team-tactics. And while the game doesn’t quite force players to use their entire cache of weapons in the same way as Karma: Operation Barbarossa, it does allow for various types of weapons to be employed under varying circumstances, such as the free-for-all modes or when taking on the bots. And yes, the one thing that makes Mercenary Wars so cool is that players can mix-and-match gameplay modes and include AI controlled opponents into the mix, which definitely increases the replay factors for the game.
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No. 2: Operation 7
This spot had once been reserved for Alliance of Valiant Arms or War Rock. However, after further consideration the problem with War Rock and A.V.A. is that neither game sported the weapons featured in Operation 7 and neither game offered the kind of tactical playgrounds available in NetGame’s Operation 7. Park ESM really went over and beyond on the game’s true highlight, though, and that’s the proprietary weapon modification system, in which each and every player is encouraged to build their very own gun, ranging from SMGs, shotguns, assault rifles and sniper rifles, to everything else in between. What’s more is that each stage is large enough to allow for close-quarter combat and long-range sniping battles, so no one is left out. This was a huge drawback in Alliance of Valiant Arms given that the deathmatch stages were way too small and the escort missions favored campers. Now, one of the other upsides to Operation 7 is that there are plenty of accessories available to customize a character, and many of the items available for purchase actually play a recognizable and effective role in the gameplay, making Operation 7 that much more fun. The only drawback is that the game lacks zombies, but I get the feeling that’s on the table for a future update.
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No. 1: Combat Arms
All right, let your fanboy yells out now because many of you will probably hate seeing Nexon’s Combat Arms taking this spot, but it does so with very good reasons. While the game does have its occasional hackers, it’s somewhat inevitable given the popularity and absolutely large community of gamers who play Combat Arms. But let’s not talk about what many MMO gamers already know about Combat Arms, let’s talk about what a lot of people don’t talk about, namely the cooperative mission modes present with varying difficulty settings that fans of Ghost Recon would find really enjoyable. There’s light weapon modification systems in place, although not quite as detailed as Operation 7. Combat Arms also features classic game modes like deathmatch and CTF, as well as original modes such as Quarantine that sees players trying to avoid being infected, and a Spy Hunt mode, which is as frantic as it is fun. One of the real highlights of the game is the 8-player Cabin Fever mode where it’s up to players to defend a cabin while it’s being over-run by zombies. This mode enforces players to use every weapon they have equipped and rely heavily on teamwork. Combine all this with moderate character customization and plenty of balanced maps and there’s a reason why Combat Arms is the king of free-to-play MMOFPS games.