The Best Free MMORPG
Before I start, I’d like to point out there really is no ‘Best’ Free MMORPG, as people have different opinions regarding which MMORPG is truly the best. So instead of trying to shove my own opinions regarding the best free MMORPGs down your throats, I’m simply going to talk about three must have features an MMORPG needs to be considered the ‘best’. The best free MMORPGs need to have:
This one shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone. If you look at the most successful video games the thing that they all share in common is simplicity. MMORPGs like Maplestory and World of Warcraft are largely straight forward and easy to understand. Games like Tetris and Super Mario became enormously popular because they were extremely easy to play and understand. Simplicity allows a game to target the widest possible audience, which results in a healthier and more vibrant community. I’d also like to point out that ‘simplicity’ doesn’t have to mean ‘dumbed down’ or ‘stupid’, but rather easy to learn. Games that have steep learning curves like Eve Online and Ultima Online can never be as successful as World of Warcraft, simply because people generally don’t enjoy spending hours simply learning how to play a game. I personally find ‘simple’ games to be more enjoyable than those that are enormously complicated. The Best free MMORPG has to be simple.
2. Moderate PvP.
Player Versus Player, or PVP for short, is a touchy subject in MMORPGs. Some people love it, others hate it, and so the only way to appeal to all players is to offer choices. World of Warcraft for example has both PvP enabled servers and standard servers with limited PvP interaction. Even the game’s PvP servers though are structured in a way that the ‘loser’ of a ‘duel’ or other PvP encounter doesn’t lose anything. Ultima Online on the other hand used to have a system where players could attack each other anywhere in the game world, and upon dying, a player could have all of his or her items looted. This ‘extreme’ PvP system was extremely rewarding for those skilled at killing other players, but made the game virtually unplayable for everyone else, which is why the game slowly died off, and today only has a handful of subscribers. After Ultima Online, comes EverQuest. A game with minimal PvP interaction that was released a year or so after Ultima Online. EverQuest focused its efforts more on expanding the game world and adding more content to the world while completely neglecting PvP. With minimal PvP interaction, the game’s initial popularity began to die down, and today only has a handful of subscribers. The best free MMORPG has to have a moderate amount of PvP without touching any extremes.
I can’t stress this one enough. Without a community, an MMORPG simply isn’t an MMORPG. Heck the words ‘massively multiplayer’ are the first two letters in the acronym! No matter how ‘good’ a game is, without a larger playerbase, it’s simply not an MMORPG. What’s the point of playing an MMORPG if you can’t show off your ‘leet gear’ to everyone else? In addition, most MMORPGs today place a strong emphasis on player cooperation, so finding groups or guilds to ‘instance’ or ‘raid’ with would be impossible with a community. An MMORPG’s economy isn’t much of an economy without a large playerbase either. Having an active economy in an MMORPG ensures that goods can quickly be sold and new items can be acquired at ease. The best free MMORPG would have to have a large enough community.
Obviously ‘The Best Free MMORPG of All Time’ requires a lot more than just the features outlined above, but without a doubt, the best MMORPG will include everything mentioned in this article. As it stands, I personally believe that the current ‘best free MMORPG’ is either Atlantica Online or Maplestory, as they both have a massive community. The best ‘pay to play’ MMORPG today is probably World of Warcraft with Warhammer Online a far distant second.
By, Omer Altay