While massively multiplayer online (MMO) games have often been umbilically tied to subscription models and microtransactions, resulting in huge fees for even casual players, over the last decade they have tended towards free to play.
This is excellent news for gamers in 2022, as it means we all have hundreds of hours of online exploration, socialization, and fun to be had without needing to spend a penny.
Here are some of our favorite MMOs you can start playing today, totally free.
Getting Up To Speed
Before naming our favorite titles, it’s worth appreciating the fact that if you start any of these MMOs today, chances are you’re going to feel quite far behind the crowd.
With most MMO titles having long life spans, all the titles we will mention have dedicated communities that have poured countless hours into the titles. Seeing plenty of people already at the top of the game.
Thus, in order for you to get a head start and avoid the low-level grind, it’s worth considering a boost. El Dorado can provide exactly that boost. Giving you access to additional funds, such as Lost Ark Gold, high-level items, boosting, and even top-tier accounts. El Dorado can provide these services for ALL of the games on this list.
1. Guild Wars 2
Whether you’re a legacy MMO gamer from the 2000s, or simply someone just picking up the genre, chances are you’ve heard of Guild Wars. Lorded for its strong development team focused on building an inclusive, community-focused ecosystem.
Guild Wars 2 is a natural evolution of earlier MMO formats, popularised by games like World of Warcraft, honing the formula of active gameplay and doubling down on the MASSIVE inherent to the MMO genre by having battles and raids take place with hundreds of active players participating.
What’s more, with 5 races and plenty of classes, Guild Wars 2 gives you the opportunity to truly find both a playstyle to suit you and, perhaps more importantly, an aesthetic that you love.
2. The Elder Scrolls Online
The Elder Scrolls series needs no introduction. If you haven’t heard of Skyrim, it’s fair to say you’re probably not a gamer.
The Elder Scrolls Online takes the series’ formula and pushes it into the MMO setting. Although originally subscription-based where you could have gotten it for a cheaper price from game deals, the game went free to play not long after release. A move that helped grow the player base and bring in plenty of new accounts.
It’s worth noting that ESO is far more MMO than it is Skyrim, at least when it comes to gameplay. A fact that may leave some players simply wanting “Skyrim Online” feeling a little hard done by. But once you get over this hurdle, it’s easy to love ESO. Especially as it has one of the most vibrant, and well voice acted, narratives in the entirety of the MMO space.
3. EVE Online
Speaking of MMO “space”, EVE Online is a legendary title that has become perhaps the sci-fi MMO.
While not for the faint of heart, EVE has retained one of the most dedicated fan bases in gaming for almost 20 years. Over this time the game has seen radical upgrades and expansions.
In EVE, players can participate in a variety of profession-specific activities from mining and manufacturing to trading and exploration to, what we’re all here for, piracy and deep space combat.
While EVE can get complex real fast, especially for casual players, the game is a must-play for sci-fi fanatics looking to immerse themselves in perhaps the most complete space exploration game ever made.
If you like sci-fi, but aren’t into the existential dread of deep space, Warframe might be for you. Different from most other games on this list in its approach, Warframe is a third-person RPG shooter with a bustling ecosystem of players. But despite its strong player counts, you’ll be finding yourself playing in smaller lobbies against beefy AI.
Although often regarded as grindy, it’s hard to avoid the pleasure of Warframe’s fluid, speedy combat which is easy to learn but tough to master. A fact turned up to eleven given the variety of characters (or “frames), each with their own unique play style.
Warframe is available on all major platforms. Totally free to play.
5. Genshin Impact
The youngest game on this list (by quite a margin) Genshin Impact exploded onto the gaming scene in 2020. Blending anime styling and a fantastic combat system with a fair amount of influence from everyone’s favorite game—Breath of the Wild.
Coupling with the fact that Genshin Impact was free to play from day one, this made the game an immediate hit. And thanks to constant updates, introducing new characters, areas, and more, it hasn’t lost its charm nearly two years on.
Like Warframe, Genshin Impact’s online connectivity is more restricted. Allowing for jolly co-operation on a smaller scale than truly explosive MMOs like Guild Wars. Nonetheless, the game’s charming blend of single-player and MMO components makes it a must-play. Especially when you don’t need to spend a penny to give it a go.
Oh, and did I mention this one is on Android and iOS, alongside PC, PlayStation 4/5, and even the Nintendo Switch!