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Free Online Games You Should Be Playing

Updated on September 8, 2014

Best of the Best

There are a lot of free-to-play online games out there on the internet, but which ones will hold your attention? I know the anticipation, looking for a free game that seems promising. Once found you patiently wait, watching as those many megabytes download to your hard drive. The splash screen appears and it's always so beautiful, but as you hit that start button your slow descent into boredom begins. Can't expect too much from a free game right? Well, that's where you're wrong.

This has happened to me plenty of times and each time I ask, "Is there at least one fun, free, multiplayer game I can play online with my friends? " I'm constantly looking for high quality, free online games that can be played cooperatively. There aren't many and the good ones are tough to find sometimes. However, there are fun free games worth your time and my never ending search has lead to this: A list of free online games you should be playing (if you aren't already).

1. League of Legends (LoL) - MOBA (Multiplayer Online Battle Arena)

League of Legends in-game screenshot
League of Legends in-game screenshot

Play now for free: League of Legends

I've been playing this game for about three years now and I have to say it's probably the best free multiplayer online game there is. When I say free, I mean you get every feature in the game and there isn't a single game-play affecting item you can't buy with in-game currency. This is usually the first thing I look for in a free game. I downloaded the game for a reason, it said free. I don't want to use real world money on it if it isn't worth my time. But League of Legends is worth my time and yours too.

League of Legends is a(n) MOBA (Multiplayer Online Battle Arena) in which two teams of three or five players duke it out for victory. It's a lot like the Warcraft 3 mod, Defense of the Ancients, and I think a few of the collaborators who worked on DotA founded the company, Riot Games, that made League of Legends. I'm not sure about all the politics, however what I am sure of is this. There are over one-hundred characters called champions to choose from and three game modes with the recently added ARAM mode. Every character (and map) has a unique play style and they're pumping out new champions every couple of weeks. Slight tweaks to champions can be made through LoL's rune and mastery systems, allowing players to accommodate their own play styles, adding a sense of customization.

The top notch interface in League of Legends makes it easy to navigate. Finding friends and inviting them to game lobbies is a snap, plus the game automatically pits you against players at your own skill level. The graphics are beautifully designed and each champion has a different feel and look to them. Champions can be given skins to change their appearance, but those cost real world money and I don't worry about them too much. Animations are smooth and use vibrant colors to visually charm players as their champions romp around the battlefields.

In a game like this, the only negative is the steep learning curve for players who have never played a MOBA before. But don't let this be off putting, League of Legends is a highly addictive free online game that you'll enjoy and one you'll probably invite your friends to enjoy with you.

Play now for free: League of Legends

2. Path of Exile (PoE) - Action RPG (Role-Playing Game)

Path of Exile in-game screenshot
Path of Exile in-game screenshot

Play now for free: Path of Exile

I've followed Path of Exile since the Grinding Gears team (they make the game) opened the beta to the public. PoE is a great game like the Diablo series once was before they watered down the skill/stat system and made your character rely solely on items you could never find. The key differences in PoE however, are what make the game so great.

Path does away with allocating points into your main stats and instead gives you a massive stat tree with 1000+ nodes attached to it. Each of the six classes (all of which are pretty standard) start at a different location on the stat tree. From there you're given a point for every level you gain (also pretty standard), which you can then use to start a path on the stat tree. Every path has some quirky nodes on it that spice up game-play and might set your health to 1 hp to give you an advantage somewhere else, or do away with one stat to boost another. The basic nodes simply give you +10 to intelligence, or an increase to your attack speed, but these are good too. It's fun to play around with different paths, customizing your characters to your play style.

Another key difference in PoE is the skill system. Instead of dropping point after point into a skill tree designed for your specific character, PoE gives you skill gems. These skill gems give your character exactly what you think they would, a skill. As you use these skills, they gain experience and you're then able to level these skills up, based on your current stats. This like the stat tree adds to the customization of your character, allowing for unique builds.

Yet another major difference in Path of Exile is it's economy. Grinding Gears has reversed it's, well, gears and replaced the typical monetary gold/diamond/dollar system with bartering. Certain socket-able items can be used to purchase other socket-able items, or pretty much everything else like armor, scrolls, anything. It's a nice change of pace and there aren't any auction houses yet to mess things up.

Path of Exile is a fun, free online game. It's easy to find friends in-game and start questing right away. If you're looking for something like Diablo 3, without the Diablo price tag (or any for that matter) go download Path of Exile now, for free!

Play now for free: Path of Exile

3. Tribes: Ascend - FPS (First-Person Shooter)

3. Tribes: Ascend

Play now for free: Tribes: Ascend

I haven't played this for a while, but it's a fun and unique free FPS. The challenge is learning and mastering the ski mechanic the game is known for. This is where your character ski's around the map at high speeds as you try to skill shot enemies you pass by. It's tough, but rewarding once you get it down.

Weapons in Tribes are probably not what you're used to in a regular FPS because most of them have slow moving projectiles. These weapons are kind of hard to master and you'll probably be frustrated getting used to them, but they're fun to use. Sniping someone with a slow moving projectile while going 150 mph is a feat, it makes you feel good and accomplished for what it is.

The currency in Tribes takes awhile to accrue and you may end up buying a weapon you don't really like. All the weapons in the game however, are balanced enough for this not to affect you too much, although it does get boring having the same weapon after a while. I did finally break down in Tribes and pay the $10 for the starter pack which gives you an infinite xp boost and basic classes, but this isn't necessary to enjoy the game. Like I said it's free in ever aspect and once again, just like the first two games, you don't need to pay for a full experience, although you may end up doing so.

Play now for free: Tribes: Ascend

4. World of Tanks - FPS (First-Person Shooter), RTS (Real-Time Strategy), Simulator

This is the newly updated physics system and game-play footage video for World of Tanks.

4. World of Tanks

Play now for free: World of Tanks

It's been a while since I've played World of Tanks, but this is definitely one to consider when it comes to free online games.

World of Tanks is a(n) FPS, Strategy, MMO, Simulation game in which, you guessed it, pilot a tank. It's fun; It's free and it's probably something you haven't played before.

As you start the game you're in a weak, light armored clunker from one of the six nations in the game. As you play more matches and earn money, you can buy new tanks and outfit them with different upgrades. Although, the upgrade paths are fairly linear, they allow you to build into a better tank with a more powerful cannon (most of the time), a faster engine, more armor and so on.

Don't expect to build your funds quickly though. Past the first win of the day bonus, you'll slowly gain experience to spend on new upgrades and slowly earn cash to purchase new tanks. Don't let this get you down though because once you do upgrade your first tank, you can really feel the power.

Where this game really shines is in the game-play. With the fast paced feel of games these days, it's not often that you feel slow or have to plan out your paths carefully, but in World of Tanks you really do. Depend on the class of tank you pick you may be slower or faster. Faster tanks are able to zip around slower tanks, but generally have weaker cannons. Slower tanks are forced to position carefully, but have the ability to rip through armor more consistently. Sometimes your turret wont spin fast enough and you find yourself a sitting duck as the faster tanks drive circles around you slowly taking you out. On the other hand, as a fast tank you'll be taken out by a well placed artillery round before you can make it down the battlefield. This is the best part of WoT.

One huge drawback to World of Tanks is the match making. The game likes to put you against tanks that are sometimes 4 tiers above you. This can be frustrating because you'll find yourself being ripped apart before you can fire your first shot and those who have played longer, or payed for their tanks generally rule the battlefield.

When the game does match you to players in your own tier however, battles can be fun and adrenaline pumping. The good matches are what keep you playing.

It's easy to find friends and quickly start playing. So find a friend and download now!

Play now for free: World of Tanks

Thanks for any and all feedback you leave, it's much appreciated.

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    • northernwriter profile image

      northernwriter 

      4 years ago

      Understood, Aaron, but Dota2 and LoL are 2 sides of the same coin - I think it really depends which one you spent the time on, first. Both games have enough depth that investing the time in one usually means you'll stay with that one.

    • ChrisGibson profile image

      ChrisGibson 

      4 years ago from Anchorage, Alaska

      Not that it matters because Infinite Crisis takes the cake ;)

    • aaronward profile imageAUTHOR

      aaronward 

      4 years ago

      @northernwriter: Yeah, I wrote this article before, or right as Dota 2 came out and I hadn't played it yet. But I did play Dota 2 a little bit and I prefer League of Legends much more.

    • northernwriter profile image

      northernwriter 

      4 years ago

      League of Legends is on here, but not Dota2? *gasp*

    • aaronward profile imageAUTHOR

      aaronward 

      4 years ago

      @ChrisGibson Yeah, they're all great games. I'm sorry I could not give you some new recommendations though!

    • ChrisGibson profile image

      ChrisGibson 

      4 years ago from Anchorage, Alaska

      Well, I have to say, since I play all those games, that every single one of them is awesome. Freaking awesome. Good job.

    • profile image

      Snakesmum 

      5 years ago

      Interesting choice of games there - I don't play, but this is useful for those who do.

    • aaronward profile imageAUTHOR

      aaronward 

      5 years ago

      @WriterJanis2: Thank you!

    • WriterJanis2 profile image

      WriterJanis2 

      5 years ago

      Pinning this for cool choices.

    • jen becht profile image

      jen becht 

      5 years ago

      Very good lens! Very good looking games also!

    • Arod17 profile image

      Arod17 

      5 years ago

      This is awesome I will have to check out these games

    • aaronward profile imageAUTHOR

      aaronward 

      5 years ago

      @knit1tat2: If it's for free, it's for me. Definitely a good motto. Thanks for the comment!

    • knit1tat2 profile image

      knit1tat2 

      5 years ago

      well, I'm not a gamer, but the help in finding free games is always a welcome thing for anyone who is! Well done!

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