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The Free MMO Explosion
Free online MMOs have undergone a revolution. The subscription model has long dominated MMO development, but it appears that it may now be outdated. A large number of new free online MMOs are now available which have quality similar to MMOs you'd have to pay for at retail. So, without further delay, let's look at some of the best free MMOs! If you don't like my choices, take a look at the Top Free MMO RPGs list elsewhere on Bright Hub.
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Dungeons and Dragons Online: Eberron Unlimited
Originally a paid game, Dungeons and Dragons Online struggled early in its life. As is often the case with MMOs, this early struggle gave the game too small of a player base to attract much attention after the game was fixed up. To solve this problem, Dungeons and Dragons was converted to a free online MMO, and it has taken off.
Dungeons and Dragons Online's roots in the pen-and-paper game aren't fanatically true, but you can definitely see the game's origins while playing. While most MMOs have large worlds which the player explores, D&D Online has a very small world. You'll spend most of your time in, around, or under Stormreach, a major city in the larger world of Eberron. This tighter focus exists because the real reason to play D&D Online is to fight through the game's elaborate dungeons, which are certainly the best dungeons in any MMO available today. D&D Online also encourages player cooperation, although solo play is possible.
Because D&D Online was originally developed as a normal subscription-based MMO the overall quality of the game is extremely good. This is a very polished MMO, and the graphics are impressive for a free-to-play game. Players who enjoy large worlds will probably not like D&D Online, but those who enjoy intense dungeon combat will find this to be the perfect game.
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Allods Online is a relatively new free online MMO which takes place in an interesting sci-fi/fantasy world. The of the game - Allods - is also the name the game gives to floating islands which are the one landmasses. The world of Allods Online includes not only fantasy elements like magic but also science fiction elements like starships which travel between Allods.
Allods Online is a shameless World of Warcraft clone, right down to the interface. If you've played World of Warcraft but have decided you'd like to save money and play a free online MMO instead you'll be very comfortable here. Of course, imitation is a form of flattery. The interface of Allods Online isn't exactly revolutionary, but it does function well and feels polished. Unlike many free MMOs, Allods feels just like a game you'd buy from a retail store.
While the interface isn't original, the world of Allods Online is unique and a lot of fun to experience. The graphics are bright and colorful, as with World of Warcraft, but the style of Allods Online is so vivid that the game looks somewhat like a cartoon. The game also has a storyline which is central to the game's experience. It isn't Shakespeare, but it is much better than what you'll usually find in a free MMO. If you like World of Warcraft but want something different, Allods Online is a free MMO which you must check out.
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Battle of the Immortals
Another new free on line MMO game, Battle of the Immortals plays from a isometric perspective. The game is produced by Perfect World Entertainment, which also purchased the developer of Torchlight. This purchase seems natural when you play Battle of the Immortals, because it is a isometric-view MMO which at first glance looks so similar to Torchlight that you might think the same developers were involved.
The gameplay in Battle of the Immortals is a cross between a traditional MMO and a dungeon-crawler like Diablo 2 or Torchlight. There are a lot of monsters in the game world and players usually find themselves out-numbered. Combat is very fluid and lacks the clumsy feeling which is often associated with third-person MMOs. While the combat isn't perfect, it is better than what you'll find in any other free MMO, with the possible exception of Dungeons and Dragons Online. Even then, the different styles of gameplay means some players will prefer Battle of the Immortals.
Battle of the Immortals also keeps players entertained with an in-depth pet system. All players have the chance to obtain pets by slaying monsters in the game world. These pets have their own states and levels which will raise as they gain experience along with the player. Pets are a valuable resource which must be nurtured. There is a limited number of pet slots, which can be frustrating, but the need to choose between pets give the game a strategic element.
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The oldest free MMO in the world, Runescape has a long history of providing great gameplay and a huge amount of content. Runescape once was the only sensible choice when it came to free MMOs. Competition has increased recently, but Runescape is still a great choice, and one which millions of players indulge in across the globe.
The combat of Runescape is probably the least entertaining part of Runescape. That isn't to say that it is poor, but it certainly isn't as rewarding as what you'll find in a game like Dungeons and Dragons Online. However, Runescape has a far more elaborate character progression system involving classes and sub-classes and a huge number of levels. The sky is the limit in Runescape, and you'll find that if you have the time you can be come absurdly powerful.
Runescape also has an enchanting social element outside of combat. There is a huge number of quests for players to participate in, either by themselves or in parties with other players. There is also a vibrant economy in the game, which encourages social interaction. Players often spend time hanging out in a market area trading items and speaking with other players. Runescape isn't the most engaging game you can play if you like to go solo, but if you enjoy the social interaction in MMOs you'll find that Runescape is the perfect game for you.