There are a lot of good MMO games out there but what we are looking for is the best free MMORPG of 2012. There are some upcoming f2p MMOs that look interesting but they cannot yet be included in this list until they are released. So here’s the list of the top free to play MMORPGs of 2012 of all the currently available titles.
Best Free MMORPG 2012 Games List
In no order, the following games are our top picks for the best free MMORPG games of 2012:
Forsaken World – a 3D fantasy MMORPG that has everything – fun gameplay, beautiful graphics and fantastic character customization. The nicest thing about FW is that playing it is exactly like playing a pay to play game because it has the same grandeur, sophistication and depth that you would expect from a top-of-the-line Triple A MMORPG. The virtual world setting is particularly gorgeous, with its majestic, vast cities with their towering strongholds. Plus, this is a very popular game with a large and active playerbase of more than 4 million registered users.
For more information and to play it for free now, visit the official Forsaken World website.
Aika Online – an epic 3D fantasy MMORPG with a twist: players starts off with their own pran (a pet whose personality develops through conversation). Each pran begins life as an inquisitive fairy no bigger than your hand, and over time evolves into a loyal battle companion with a personality shaped by her master’s actions. The game focuses on Realm vs Realm PvP like in Dark Age of Camelot or Warhammer Online except that unlike those two games, Aika Online is free to play. This is the f2p MMORPG of choice for players who love the nation vs nation type of MMO game.
Aika Online Features:
- Realm vs Realm PvP – In Aika Online players are thrust into an exciting world where five nations vie for control of Arcan in massive 1000 vs. 1000 castle sieges, relic thefts, and tower assaults, waging war on a scale never before seen in an MMO.
- Political system – Considerable treasures and blessings await the most powerful nation in Aika, with each nation ruled by a player Lord Marshal whose supreme power is supported by a guild regime. No Lord Marshall can rest easy on his throne, however, as nations may ally together to usurp the ruling kingdom and clans may conspire to overthrow the foremost guilds.
- Six Classes – Players can choose one of six classes (warrior, warlock, rifleman, paladin, cleric and duel gunner), each of which undergoes multiple evolutions.
- High-end Graphics – This MMORPG has fully 3D good quality graphics.
One reason why Aika Online is included in the list of the top 3 free MMORPG games 2012 is because of the constant stream of updates, events and giveaways in the game. The most recent expansion, Chapter II: Karena, increased the level cap to 80, expanded the scope of PvP Relic Wars and Traband Tower Wars, and added 3 skills for every class. Politics have taken a dramatic turn as well, as nations must join together in two new world events, Antalya Defense and Verus Castle Assault, to defeat massive enemy invasions.
To play this top MMORPG for free, visit the official Aika Online website today.
Allods Online – a Western big-budget 3D MMORPG that has amazing realistic graphics. It is one of the most popular free-to-play games online because of its polished game design. It has tons of content including nine playable classes and Archetypes, faction vs faction PvP, lovely music, beautiful graphics, a gorgeous and vast game world and many unique features such as the ability to build a flying ship. These ships can be used to explore “the Astral,” a magical space up in the sky full of treasure, Astral demons, floating islands and even enemy ships which you can then engage in combat with your ship crew.
Visit the official Allods Online website to play this game.
Top Free to Play MMORPG Games Online
Let’s talk about the criteria now. What did we consider when listing these top free MMOs?
The fact of the matter is, there’s really only one criteria we need and that’s fun gameplay. Everything else will fail if the gameplay sucks. The basics are these:
- intuitive and easy to understand user interface (UI)
- smooth gaming experience with very few bugs, annoying lag or long loading screens
- classes, races and professions that are flexible and have good skills for both PvE and PvP
- exciting combat with lots of mobs
- well-thought-out multiplayer content and lots of social interaction
The UI issue is pretty self-explanatory as well as the second point about no bugs in the game. The third criteria is something that most MMO games nowadays do their best to offer since no one likes a game with a really unbalanced distribution of classes where, for example, 70 percent are playing as a priest because that class overpowers all the other classes.
Likewise, exciting combat is essential. Most MMORPGs are built around killing mobs so players will be spending most of their time doing that and nothing is less fun than not having any good training grounds for your level or class.
Now the fifth point is what really differentiates an MMO from a single-player game. Yes, there are many who like to play solo but most players do want player interaction. This includes guild or clans as well as group activities like instanced dungeons, group PvP, cooperative quests, boss-killing, etc. The best 2012 free MMORPG will need to have tons of great multiplayer content.
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder so this criteria can be quite troublesome because there is no universal standard in which to judge whether or not the MMORPG’s graphics are any good. To illustrate, some people hate shiny, colorful “cartoony” graphics but others find them charming. Generally speaking, realistic high-definition graphics are more acceptable to Western gamers but anime or manga-style graphics have their fans, too.
Storyline and Setting
The thing about MMO players is that they are notorious for skipping any sort of text when they are playing. So the NPCs in the game will try to explain the reasons why they need a hero to kill the dread knight while the player is clicking on the accept button as fast as he can without reading the quest text. In other words, most MMO players will not particularly care about the story. That’s not to say that the best free MMORPG of 2012 doesn’t need to have amazing lore behind it. It does but frankly, most players won’t care about it.
Setting, on the other hand, is something that goes hand-in-hand with story but it is something that MMO players are really picky about. It would not be unusual for a gamer to start a thread in some gaming forums listing his particular desire such as “I want an MMORPG set in space” or “is there an MMO with giant robots?”
A virtual world setting that is imaginative and immersive will have many fans.
Crafting and/or Professions
MMO games evolved from the old school role-playing games where the player has to have not just combat skills but also some life skills. That’s why many players like to develop their crafting skills or pursue their professions such as fishing, mining, blacksmithing, alchemy, tailoring, and so forth. Not all MMOs have that but it is a goods thing to include in the criteria because many players want this type of content.
Player vs Player (PvP)
Not everyone likes PvP but this is definitely something that most developers include in their game to attract more players. If a game has great PvP then it will attract many hardcore PvP’ers who enjoy that type of thing.
What is good PvP? It should be something that is easy to understand but hard to master. In MMOs it tends to be very level-based, i.e. those who have played more and leveled up their characters will naturally have a very big advantage over lower-level characters. So this is generally something that mid-to-high level players will like more than the lower level ones.
Fairness and Customer Service
Lastly, there is that criteria that no game reviewer ever mentions but it is absolutely needed for a good gaming experience. That is, the moderators and admins in the game and forums should be fair-minded and helpful. Most of the time players will not encounter any problems but when they do it’s always nice to have help.
Sadly, a lot of free to play MMO games lack good customer service. In fact, there are a few that don’t even have telephone numbers that you can call if you need technical assistance with something. Note that although this is listed as one of the criteria, it’s really hard to measure or judge this.
Updated December 6, 2011. The list is not based on any statistics, surveys or studies. This is just our own favorite picks for the best free MMORPGs of 2012.