In the world of gaming, Triple A or AAA titles are those high-quality, big budget games that are produced by a well-known developer. They are expected to be blockbuster titles or bestsellers in their genre. When we talk about MMO games in 2012, there are quite a few Western AAA MMORPGs that made the switch from pay to play to free to play.
What are the most successful Western f2p games so far in 2012?
Lord of the Rings Online
Lord of the Rings Online is a 3D MMORPG based on J.R.R Tolkien’s classic fantasy novels. It was officially released in 2007 and was moderately successful as a subscription game but it really hit its stride with the conversion to free to play in 2010 when LOTRO became the third most played massively multiplayer role-playing game that year, according to market research company NPD Group. Since the transformation to f2p, LOTRO game developer Turbine has proudly announced that their revenues have tripled and subscriber numbers have been growing.
LOTRO has won numerous awards such as the GameSpy MMO of the Year Award, Best MMORPG 1Up’s Reader Choice Award, Golden Joystick PC Game of the Year, and PC Gamer’s MMO of the Year Award.
Reviewers cite its rewarding and immersive story-driven quests, friendly and enthusiastic community, massive free content and updates, and its innovative “Monster Play” concept as the top reasons to play Lord of the Rings online. Monster play is a unique gameplay mechanic which allows players to create a monster that’s already at the max level (50) and PvP with it. Hero characters level 40 and above can also fight against these monsters. Thus, even relative newcomers to LOTRO can experience high-level raid content and PvP.
Western AAA Titles That Are Now Free to Play
Dungeons & Dragons Online
For Western gamers and fans of classic role-playing games, Dungeons & Dragons is one of the most popular game franchise that continues to produce fun RPGs. Originally released as the pay to play “Dungeons & Dragons Online: Stormreach,” the current D&D MMO has now converted to free to play and changed it name to “Dungeons & Dragons Online: Eberron Unlimited.”
In Dungeons & Dragons Online players can expect lots of dungeons (obviously!) filled with puzzles, traps, boss monsters and loot. The virtual world is somewhat similar to Guild Wars where all areas outside towns are instanced for each individual player or party. The towns are where players can socialize with each other. Although not everyone likes this type of MMO, many have noted that mechanism actually enhances gameplay because it really helps players feel that they are unique. For example, for a quest where the player must find a hidden cave, instanced areas allow the player the feeling of being the first to uncover the secret location, unlike in other MMORPGs where they might be dozens of other players already there camping the spawns when you arrive.
The best features of D&D Online are its deep storyline and quests, detailed character customization, cooperative and solo gameplay, exciting real-time combat, quality 3D graphics, dungeon crawling and the old school feel of an authentic D&D role-playing adventure. It’s a must-try for role-playing fans.
These two games are our top picks for the current best free to play Western MMORPGs.
One of the bestselling pay to play MMORPGs, Rift, now has a free to play version. To clarify, Rift Lite can be played by new and returning players for free from level 1-20.
Rift has won numerous awards such as Gamasutra’s Top 5 PC Games (2011), IGN’s Best PC Persistent World/MMO Game Award for 2011 and MMORPG.com’s Game of the Year.
“Rift offers a great amount of freedom in how players can develop their characters, thanks to the ability to mix and match up to three different classes or “souls” at a time. Rift also feeds the desire to explore a new world better than any game has yet with myriad secret treasure troves and devilish puzzles in hard-to-reach locations.” Source: IGN
It has gorgeous 3D graphics and all the features Western gamers have come to expect of MMORPG games: guilds, dungeons, raids, auctions, crafting, a vibrant economy, Player vs. Player combat, and more. The game is very immersive because of its dynamic nature. Players explore a virtual world that’s constantly changing, where the balance of power between monsters and players can shift at any moment – when rifts appear, an army of monsters will be released into a zone and players will need to conquer the threat solo or in a team.
Rift Anniversary Events and Giveaways
Now is a great time to start playing Rift because to celebrate its first anniversary, Rift will be holding the most extravagant World Event yet. Players have never been treated to a party like this, with hours of new solo, group, raid, PvP, crafting gameplay, piñatas, and more event quests than ever before. Plus, there are many in-game giveaways like an Anniversary tabard, carnival prizes, etc.
New players will enjoy the festive air as the people of Telara have arranged a festival to honor their immortal protectors. Giant floats mock the dragons as parades prepare to set forth across the great roads. Carnival boats sail for Fortune’s Shore to host and oversee the games and booths going up around the bay, promising a joyful riot of laughter and light.
Link: Rift Lite
Thank you for reading this list of some of the best Western MMO games of 2012, please leave a comment if you have any feedback.