The 30 Most Addictive Free-to-Play Games

Free to play games are a dime a dozen these days, and for us gamers trying to wade our way through the numerous options, it can be a time consuming process of trial and error. I mean, everyone has their own unique likes and dislikes, so it’s no surprise that finding that one game that we absurdly enjoy is like finding a needle in a haystack. Finding the right game has often been a rigorous search of asking fellow gamers and merely researching the hell out of them.

My friends ask me all the time, which ones are worth playing. I finally decided to do something about it, to make a list of all the free to play games that I know of and that I personally tried at one point or another, the kind of titles that aren’t only worth playing, but are actually a worthwhile experience to gamers new and old.

Note: None of these are in any particular order, just the ones I remembered first while writing the article.

1. Planetside 2

What better way to start off my list than with a shooter. Planetside 2 is a titan in the world of the FPS genre, and it’s free to play to boot. That’s mainly because the game is set in an open world adventure where finding the next firefight could be a digital hill away.

To call this title, massive is an understatement when groups of fifty or more routinely Zerg around trying to capture strategic objectives to further the war effort. Teamwork is key in this game and milages will vary because of that, but for anyone looking for a semi-serious shooter that involves some strategy and tactics then this game is for you.

2.  Marvel Heroes

I know what you’re thinking, what is a horribly rated game doing this high on my list? Well, I do admit that it definitely started out horrible, but these days, Marvel Heroes is anything but. That’s because in such a short time it has gone further than some games go in their entire life.

The bottom line is that this ARPG (Action Role Playing Games) is the textbook example of mindless fun. It’s easy to lose yourself playing one of the iconic superheroes from the Marvel universe, throwing blasts of energy around like they were candy or smashing the pavement until the baddies are nothing but smears on the pavement. This game currently has over 28 + unique playable heroes and each functions like a class from Diablo, unique skills and play-styles that leave its players with an unending amount of things to do. While there is a degree of repetitiveness, the sheer number of playable characters and loot keep things fluid. This game is for those who value good old fun of the point and click variety, be warned though, it’s painfully addicting.

3. League Of Legends

The MOBA genre has undoubtedly garnered a large following since its inception and League Of Legends is one of the promising stars of the genre. In fact, LOL might just be ahead of the competition with its player base, with millions of people all over the world. This game is fast paced, combat oriented and you can fully expect to be knee deep in an environment where dog eats dog is the norm. Mastering it will take time, but with effort and a good team – it is definitely a top contender for anyone’s free time. Give it a try and it won’t be long before you are amongst the many that continually log in an attempt to climb the competitive ladder for glory and reward.

4. Team Fortress 2

Want a playful shooter with no commitment? Sure, it may be old, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t fun, actually, it’s more like the granddaddy of fun. Heck, a quick look at the steam stats will confirm that thousands of people still play it every day. Where else can someone find a collection of silly weapons and characters yet still be able to shoot the other team with a hail of fire..er, I mean bullets. Take it out for a spin, and discover why its numerous classes are so enjoyable to play with.

5. World Of Tanks

Another shooter here, but instead of controlling your run of the mill infantryman, this game gives you control of massive multi-ton fighting machines. These iron behemoths clash against each other in some of the gutsiest showdowns since the Battle Of Kursk. That may have to do because it’s a thinking man’s shooter, there’s a lot more to it than pointing and shooting. Cover, camouflage and wondering it that shell you just fired is going to penetrate or ping off that enemy armor like a puny tennis ball, are constantly on the players’ minds. If rushing in isn’t your thing and using the environment to create advantages is, then this game might just be for you.

6. Lord Of The Rings: Online

The first MMORPG on the list, but surely not the last, Lord of the Rings is one of those games that started with a subscription and turned their gaming model around and it has done wonders to their player base. There are a number of races and classes to play around with, just like any other MMO, but what makes this game truly shine is the fact that the premium currency (turbine points) can be earned as you play and can be used to buy just about everything a paying player can get. Customization is great and you can even buy your own house to live in. It’s easy to get lost in this game and it reminds me a lot of WOW, so it can undoubtedly keep anyone who loves the Tolkien-verse entertained for months.

7. Hearthstone

Hearthstone

Blizzard’s Hearthstone is a free-to-play card game that’s based on the lore of World Of Warcraft. The developers have taken the genre and breathed new life into it, managing to forge something utterly addicting to anyone who dares to give this beauty a try. Sure, it may just seem like cards at first, but that’s half the beauty of the game. It’s deceptive in its complexity, merely studying the cards for a little bit will create a dawning understanding that there are almost a limitless number of possibilities to play with. Learning the game is easy, understanding every aspect of it will take months or even years, and that’s not even considering the possibility of future expansions. This game is strategy and chance put together in a dazzling environment that will charm players out of hours of their free time.

8. Dota 2

Another MOBA game, but this one is the successor to what originally gave the genre life. There’s not much to say about this except that anyone who played with the original Warcraft 3 mod will see lots of familiar faces. Basically, its compact action and team work rolled into 20min to hour long games where skill is the deciding factor on who wins and loses. The game supports itself with micro transactions, where players can buy all kinds of aesthetic skins for their favorite heroes. It’s not hard to think of this game as the perfect starting point for anyone looking to dip their feet in the genre. You won’t only be able to learn, but with enough time, you’ll dominate the lanes.

9. Tribes: Ascend

While there isn’t a lot different about this shooter than any other, there is one glaring difference that’s easy for anyone to pick up. The fluidity, it’s a constant blitz of movement – whether it’s climbing a hill with the overpowered Jet pack or sliding down said hill like an Olympic skier the times when you’re standing still are practically zero. The classes and number of potential weapons are satisfying, and what’s more, you can unlock them without spending a single dime. It’s another one of those games where you say, just one round and find yourself on your computer five hours later.

10. War Thunder

Who knew combat in the skies could be so downright exhilarating. This title is simple enough; control a speedy airborne machine and destroy anyone in your way. It does a good job in showing us the kind of dog fights that haven’t been seen since world war 2, guns blazing as players try to angle for the perfect shot or do acrobatic displays that would be right at home in any movie. The controls are remarkably easy and it won’t even take half an hour to get used to maneuvering a fighter like an ace. It is kind of grindy to get better planes, but it never forces you to play – easy to pick up and easy to put down.

11. Warframe

Ninja’s in space! Whoever thought about this little brainchild deserves an award, because while it may sound like a joke, the amount of lore and back-story makes for a surprisingly well-founded universe. WarFrame is a coop game set in the third person, where players control an exoskeleton of their choice. They’re usually armed with everything from bows to things that can go boom, and while it’s particularly satisfying to catch an enemy npc with an arrow that’s merely the tip of the iceberg.

A lot of the fun of this game involves moment, acrobatic displays that would make death defying Parkour stunts, look more like a parlor trick. This game is full of action, especially for those who love getting up close and personal. It’s definitely one of my more unique picks, but that just makes it a cheap way to try something awesome.

12. Star Trek Online

Come on, an MMORPG based on one of the most beloved Science fiction television shows of all time? What’s not to love? This game is a complex blend of space-based adventures and ground based away missions. The combat is easy to get into and a lot of fun to look at, especially ship-to-ship combat. There’s nothing truly new in its questing system, do X, gather Y but it doesn’t subtract from the joy of getting to explore a universe that until a few years ago existed only on our television screens. While it does a good job of keeping people’s interest while leveling up and progressing towards the bigger ships, when a player starts getting into endgame it starts to dull down, still, it’s definitely good for a few months of addictive play.

13. Battlestar Gallatica Online

Another space adventure, but this time it’s set in the world of Gallactica and it’s a browser based game. It’s exactly what science fiction lovers would expect, start out in a tiny viper, and work your way up into larger more capable ships. The Space combat is easy to get into and hard to get away from, but mileage varies as it is a long climb to the top. Still, expect to see a lot of familiar faces from the television show as you explore the universe around you.

14. Age Of Empires: Online

Free to play real time strategy games are a rare commodity,  heck this is the only one on my list. That’s because it’s pretty difficult to get them going, but once it does it’s almost impossible to stop. It’s quite a sight seeing RTS and MMO-like elements together. It’s the good old, micro managing use the workers and command armies yet you always go back to the capital city, and each fight seems to help it grow. Sort of like finding items and leveling up to after a battle or two. The art style is kind of cartoonish, nothing like any other AOE game, yet the animations are still fluid all the same. There are some minor issues with path finding and whatnot, but those are pebbles amongst boulders.

15. Path Of Exile

Path of exile is the second action role playing game on my roster, it’s set in a fantasy world filled with monsters and magic. Sounds familiar right? Well, that’s where it stops because PoE has a massive passive skill system and an ability system that is only progressed with items. It’s something that really hasn’t been done in the genre before and the curiosity alone should be enough for some to try it out.

Like any other ARPG, combat is the name of the game. Wading through hordes of vile abominations is the norm, along with finding piles of loot after dispatching them, often as violently as possible. There’s no great need to look for company while playing, but when the urge strikes, it’s not difficult to find and if that’s not your cup of tea, trying your mettle against other players via PVP is almost always a blast.

16. Star Conflict

Star Conflict is a shooter that takes place in the vastness of space, with players being able to choose from a number of types of specialized spacecraft. This game often reminds of the old arcade-style shooters of yesteryear more than anything else, that because the third person camera view combined with sustained bursts of controlled speed convey a sense of nostalgia in me. I’m not sure I’m alone in that regard, but why don’t you guys give it a try and let me know? In combat, rival teams will chuck everything from lasers to missiles at each other until the other side win’s whatever the round’s objective happens to be. This game has plenty of tech-trees and unlockables, enough for a dedicated player to play for months and not have everything. Fair warning, takes a lot of time to progress to higher tiers.

17.  Hawken

Fast paced combat where giant robots seem more like blurs than the bulky constructs that we’re used to. Sure, it’s a shooter, but the speed at which a firefight takes place makes this game stand out amongst the crowd. It’s a fun action driven game that will keep players on the edge of their seats and craning their heads as they try to evade the next series of bullets or explosives being sent in their general direction. If that wasn’t enough the sheer options of possible weapon loud outs and gadgets that can be obtained can give a gamer a lot to think about. In short, this game has player progression nailed down and has enough content for players to aim for.

18. DC Universe Online

This game helped me discover my childhood once again. I mean ever since I was young, I always wanted to discover what it was like to have super powers, and it’s as awesome as I thought it would be. I mean, cleaning up the streets of my favorite DC locales while teaming up with Batman and the rest of the Justice league is sort of a dream come true. As I progressed through the game, I found myself leveling up and gaining more and more abilities – just like every other MMO I’ve played before. It’s not all that fresh, but it’s still enjoyable. For comic book fans on the other hand, this game is a heaven waiting to be explored.

19. Might And Magic: Duel Of champions

MMDoC

My second and final card game on the list, this game gets top marks for being easily one of the purest free-to-play games that I know of. Simply put, it’s possible to get everything in this game without putting a single cent, sure, it takes time, but that’s half the fun. The battle system is familiar to anyone who’s tried playing any trading card games before, but while things seem the same, there’s plenty of features that are unique to this title.

It’s easy to learn, but hard to master, strategy is the name and game but sometimes luck trumps strategy. This game already has a number of expansions out, and with every new one that comes along – it manages to reforge the meta of the game, keeping everything fresh. That said, this game isn’t for everyone, but for the few who love combining chance and skill will find themselves addicted.

20. Candy Crush

I know, I know, what am I thinking? A casual game and a Facebook game at that? Truthfully, it’s kind of hard not to include this game when there was a time everyone and their mother was playing for hours on end, in fact people still do. It’s hard to blame them really, since it is an awfully good puzzler and is the right kind of game to play if someone is just looking to past the time. It’s challenging and it always seems to bring out new features to keep everything looking new, there’s always that new mechanic waiting to stump us and drive us bonkers trying to figure out how to pass it, at least in my personal experience. As far as games go, it’s simple but sometimes simple is best.

21. Age Of Conan

This MMORPG has gone a long way since launch. Its main appeal though is that it has a different way to use combat, instead of the tried and true click and auto attack, we get a more fluid mechanic. Where pushing buttons will swing your weapon a certain way and blocking with a shield is based on a direction. Besides that though, expect the same old stuff except set in the universe of Conan: questing, artisan skills, and plenty of exploring. There’s also open PVP worlds out there, for anyone looking to shed some blood.

22. Dragon Nest

Don’t let the graphics fool you, this game lets the gameplay speak for itself. While it does look like something that was made a decade ago, what we do see is cute and eye catching, combine that with the well-written and witty dialogue and we have a recipe for a winner. Combat is action based and can involve a lot button pressing, with plenty of moves turning into combos. Don’t be too surprised that after a few hours, your hands start to look for some rest. There are also some encounters that have some interesting mechanics and can leave players looking for strategies. All in all, this is a nice game if anyone wants to take a swing at it.

23. Everquest II

Everquest has been around for a long time, and it’s easy to see why. It invented a lot of the formulas that we take for granted today, heck we can see it in a lot of other MMORPGS. Does that mean it’ll play like everything else you tried? Mostly but it comes with years and years of content and there are a lot worse options to choose. Yet if you’re looking for one glaring reason to choose Everquest 2? I have two, since it’s been out for so long, that makes the game so ridiculously huge with multiple paths and place to explore. Then there’s the crafting system, one of, if not the best that I’ve ever seen, it probably has to do with all the mini-games associated with it.

24. Rift

At first, this game is going to feel like another run of the mill WOW clone, and I honestly believed that at first. That feeling only lasted until I encountered my first rift-born invasion. Think of them as events starting up as portals of sorts that disturb the melancholy that comes with the seemingly endless repetition of quests and gathering. There’s a lot of variations to the invasions we see, kill a boss, defend a location and so on. The beauty of it though is that it often takes groups of players to succeed, making a friend along the way is not unheard of. Another thing, I loved about Rift is the Soul System, which allows players to differ their playstyles no matter what class they happen to choose.

25. Star Wars: The Old Republic

This is Bioware’s MMORPG, but don’t let the massive numbers of players fool you for a moment, it still plays and feels like a single player adventure. There must be dozens of hours of audio recordings on this game, and truthfully, I’ve never seen a story unfold so beautifully in an MMO. From the starting zone all the way to endgame, the characters will keep you immersed in the world of the Old Republic, telling their personal stories that can even keep the players hell-bent on power leveling distracted. PVP is also one of the major highlights of this game and whenever I played it was a fun and refreshing experience, mainly because it looked at PVP from a different angle, it brought new meaning to capture the flag and scoring. Lastly, as far as free to play goes, there are a number of restrictions, but if you’re looking for a story driven game, then this might be worth a shot.

26. TERA

A breathtaking world just waiting to be discovered, Terra is an MMORPG that stands out with its different combat system. That’s because it feels much more like a hack and slash than a typical MMO’s auto attack, swinging that huge sword or spear and rolling out the way are just the way this game rolls. Fair warning though, the beasties here are awfully large and aren’t meant for any single player to tackle, not a lot of mileage for lone wolves here.

27. Marvel Puzzle Quest: Dark Reign

I really felt I needed to include this game, I know it’s another puzzler, but it’s a puzzler that I’ve played for days. Namely because it takes a new spin on a well established genre, instead of simply matching shapes and colors you’re actually combating super villains and thugs. Destroying bricks will damage the opposing character and get some points to use as skills. Like 10 red bricks will allow you to unleash iron man’s repulsor blasts dealing enough damage to put the thugs to sleep. There’s also a progression system, leveling up heroes and their skills will allow you to rely less on skill and more on brute force, overall a fun way to past the time.

28. Mechwarrior Online

Ranging from massive behemoths that can obliterate anything at will to lithe machines that can juke and move like professional athletes, this game has plenty of roles to choose from. It’s another one of those thinking shooters, where every move needs to be considered and rushing will often lead to death and destruction. It has a wide array of customization options, from weapons to added armor and of course paint jobs. Still, controlling these armored beasts is no easy task and it takes a while to actually get used to the controls, but once a player does there are some adrenaline filled moments to be found.

29. Moonbase Alpha

It’s one of the oddballs on my list… I mean, how many games get developed by NASA? Still, despite the overwhelming amount of technical expertise available to the company, this game isn’t too complicated. It only takes a couple minutes to get used to the controls, and the User interface. Despite its ease of use, it’s not for everyone. It’s basically a realistic simulation of people living on a lunar base. That may sound horribly boring, but being able to control space rovers just may entice a few of you into trying it out. It isn’t as fun as I expected it to be, but I did learn a few things – so a win in my book.

30. Dungeons And Dragons: Neverwinter

This is the latest game that I got to try out, and while not the best it’s certainly worth the time to get knee deep in it. That’s because unlike every other MMORPG on the list, this one lets its players do something unique. It really hits the soul of D&D with player created dungeons and quests, ever wanted to be the Dungeon Master? Well here’s your chance. Combat is solid as well, but that’s the only great talking points about this game. It isn’t all sunshine and daisies the visuals aren’t anything to write home about and nor are the number of classes.

I know that there are some games that have been left out, but with all honesty, I haven’t tried those yet. So please feel free to point me in the right direction and give me something fun to play with. Comment, like, or just tell me how much I suck, thanks for reading.

Hearthstone – The Card Game You Didn’t Know You Wanted

Recently Hearthstone opened its servers to begin Open Beta. For those of you who don’t know, it’s an online collectable card game – but it isn’t like your typical free to play game. In a world where there are dozens of options to choose from, this particular title towers above its competition like a raging Kaiju ready to tear what little leisure time we have into tiny misshapen pieces that will leave us wondering where all the time disappeared to.

While it’s true that this game can become a serious time sink, that’s mainly because the developers Blizzard Entertainment (Yes, That Blizzard, Creators of Starcraft and Diablo) have used their years of experience to push the boundaries of the genre. They have created a landscape that pushes new and innovative ways for players to enjoy card games, which keeps gamers like myself coming back for more. If that wasn’t enough, it also uses the rich lore of the Warcraft franchise to add comical filler and enjoyable audio flavor (triggered whenever a card is played) to drive players deeper into the epic fictional universe.

Battle1

If you’re new to the genre, the game is remarkably easy to understand – being good at it is an entirely different ball game though. A round consists of two heroes facing off with their 30 card decks, each taking turns to use their cards and ever-growing resource pool to summon minions and cast spells, amongst other things.

Sounds simple enough, right?

Well, not quite…

Why You Should Want It

Whilst most card games divide what cards can and can’t be used in factions, like faction A only being able to use A cards, faction B only being able to use B cards and so on, Hearthstone uses something a little different.

Classes

Namely, the well-known non-heroic classes from World of Warcraft, of which there are nine. Each end every class is represented by a heroic figure in the franchise’s history. Now, I know nine may not seem like a large number, but when you combine the fact that each of those classes will have their own unique skill and a variety of class-specific cards plus common cards, it’s a powder keg of creativity in the making. Deck building is the spice of life in a card game after all.

Cards
Cards2

In the simplest terms, the game has a huge amount of depth. It feels like there’s a seemingly endless number of card combinations and play-styles designed to keep everyone on their toes. I mean, if you’re playing you’ll always be wondering what kind of cards and tactics the other guy is using, and it’s when you start to expect one thing only to find something completely different do things go downhill.

Tactics, strategy and luck are all major factors of any card game and Hearthstone does it well. I personally love thinking about it, like a MMO player thinking about their next gear upgrade or a FPS player looking at their next unlock.

Do I build a deck designed to counter a Shaman, but leave myself open to other classes? Do I hold my cards or play them in the hopes that the other guy doesn’t have anything to counter it with? It’s an ever evolving game of checks and counter balance, with players trying to make the best out of their thirty card deck and it is a thrilling experience.

Pack

If thinking about all the possibilities isn’t enough to reel you in, then maybe the fact that it’s free-to-play will. The game has no subscription costs and it’s entirely possible to get a number of packs on a weekly basis, and all you need to do is complete some ingame daily quests. As far as FTP games are concerned, that isn’t too much of a grind. Not to mention that there’s also a crafting system that’ll help people grab the cards they’re looking for, it might just take a little effort.

While it’s expected that people will be putting money in, that’s far from paying to win – the good thing about booster packs is that even if someone buys a ton of them, it’s never assured that the guy will get exactly what he’s looking for.

The Arena

Menu

If that still isn’t enough, development is still underway and I’m sure with enough time Blizz will develop some extraordinary game modes. So far, there’s only one additional game mode and it’s called the arena.

Arena2

This game adds even more depth to a game that’s swimming in it. That’s because the deck you’re going to end up using in the arena gets constructed randomly through a number of sometimes painful choices; I’ve lost count where I was forced to pick between two cards that I desperately wanted.

Basically, the game gives the player sets of cards to choose from, with the player only choosing 1 card for every 3 until the deck is completed; then of course battles other players until they’ve won or lost a certain number of times. Of course, people don’t just do this for the fun factor – prizes are given away after the run and can range from breathtaking to abysmal; it all depends on the number of wins.

Battle2

While I’m a big fan of card games, It’s not something I get addicted to, at least not when I’m online. There’s just something different about the physical feeling of cards in your hands. That said, though Hearthstone may be the exception to that rule. It is definitely one of the best, if not the best online CCG I’ve experienced to date. I highly recommend trying it out as soon as you can, because testing it for yourself is the only way you’ll understand how immersive it can become. If you have any tips or tricks for a Hearthstone newbie let me know in the comments, I could use all the help I can get.

Summary

Let’s face it, card games aren’t for everyone – that is until Blizzard came out with Hearthstone. It’s almost impossible not see what all the fuss is about, and boy it turns out what people have been saying is true. It’s a card game that even the uninterested will give a chance. Addictive, complex and loads of fun – the only card game you’ll ever want.