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Best Free to Play MMORPG 2016

Updated on November 9, 2015

The way free-to-play MMORPG work is that you can download the client and play them without spending a cent. They usually finance things by having a shop where you can buy items, for real money, that can help your character in the game. In addition usually some of the races and classes cannot be played, for free. If you look at how much you get and are able to do, without having to pay, you can understand why so many PC gamers love this model.

I use free to play MMORPGs because I like the idea that you can play them for a while. Then stop and pick it right back up, whenever you feel like doing so. There is no monthly fee that ties you to the game. Not that I mind spending some money on a game, that I really enjoy.

I did quite a bit of research on free to play MMORPGs and I narrowed it down to 3 that I really wanted to try. I played all of them for a couple of weeks, but I found that only one, really stood out for me; Dungeons and Dragons Online.

If you ever played Dungeons and Dragons or one of the games based on it ( Neverwinter Nights, Baldur's Gate or Dragon Age ) you will be very comfortable with DDO's race, class and combat system.

The strongest feature of DDO is the dungeons. There are many of them and they are quite varied. There are dungeons that lean more towards puzzle solving and then there are those that have a lot of hack and slash. There are zones designed for solo players, but mostly the quests are intended for balanced parties. If you are going to tackle a tricky quest, with a party, you will need a rogue ( to diffuse traps and open locks ), a healer (cleric or favored soul) to keep you alive, a tank to take damage ( warrior or paladin) and a couple of damage dealers ( barbarian, monk, sorcerer, wizard ). To help organize parties DDO has a social menu. You open the menu by clicking "o". You can look at a screen capture of the menu below.

If you look at the first column, you can see the party leader's name, the second one has the quest that he or she is doing, the third one shows the classes the party needs and the fourth column shows you the level range of the party. You can also use the menu to talk to the leader and request to join the party.

Social popup menu
Social popup menu
Enter area menu
Enter area menu

The game quests are instance based. That means you go to the quest giver, you get the quest and then the game spawns a fresh new dungeon for you to experience. When you enter the quest area the game gives you options as to the difficulty. They are: Casual, Normal, Hard, Elite and Epic. Epic is only for maximum level characters. The screen also gives you an idea of the difficulty and length of the quest. You can see an example of the area menu to the right. It's not the best screen capture, the menu looks better in the game.

The equipment drops in the quests are in chests. Each member of the party spawns their own equipment and only they can loot it. So there are no arguments about who gets what. After you complete the quest, you get the experience for the quest and you can collect an item from the quest giver. If you fail the quest you get very little experience. The harder the quest the better the experience and the loot.

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As a software developer myself I can really appreciate the amount of work that went into DDO and just how polished and bug free the software is.

The one thing that DDO doesn't do well is PVP (This is when you fight human players). You can do some PVP, but it's mostly for show. Dungeons and Dragons Online is all about running dungeons, preferably with your friends and that's what it does well. What many of the MMORPGs do is to have one PVP server and the rest non PVP. The problem is that the way zones spawn in DDO isn't conducive to PVP, which is probably why they don't have a PVP server. If PVP is very important to you I recommend giving DDO a pass.

I hope you enjoyed reading best free to play MMORPG 2016 and I am sure that after you give it a try, you will agree with me that DDO is the best free MMORPG of 2016.

Barbarian with 2 handed axe looting a chest
Barbarian with 2 handed axe looting a chest


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    • jGaunt profile image

      jGaunt 6 years ago from London

      DDO's code or platform has nothing to do with Dragon Age. I was just comparing it to help those who have never played a MMOG before, understand what it is like. I consider DDO to be a good game for people like that who would like to try a MMORPG, for the first time.

    • JohnGreasyGamer profile image

      John Roberts 6 years ago from South Yorkshire, England

      This game is pretty good for DDO fans and casual MMO gamers alike, however it's from the producers of LOTRO - a game filled with Turbine Points advertisements, and that's very offputting to the gamer who has already turned off public chat channels.

      I'm really enjoying this game mainly for the dungeons (hence the game's title - if you can't get that right, that's the ratings reduced by 50% or more), and quests have reasons to send you into them.

      I'll play this and WoW because monthly fees pay for maintenance, customer service, account security, spam-filtering, etc. But free is nice for players new to MMORPGs and are looking for something along the lines of RuneScape (one of the best MMOs of all time hands down).

      Nice review, but could include more content about questing, more on the roles and the lore of the game. And was Neverwinter Nights and Dragon Age really related to DDO's universe? I never knew.