Six down, countless more to go!
If you are like me, you like playing MMOs (Massively Multiplayer Online game), and if you are not, you must have a life and don't belong here in the first place. So, ever since I heard the concept of MMORPG I have loved them and the very first one I tried was of course the fabled Ultima Online, which is still going strong against all odds. After UO there has been several others to fill the void, and fill my free time at the same time.
But ever since I got bored with WoW I have set my eyes on the market of free MMOs, as strange as the concept sounds there is literally thousands of free MMOs out there. Now they HAVE been around for quite some time now and against all logic many of them are even expanding. Now where free games are not nothing new, it has been done in one form or another for decades, but making a game with massive amount of content (even if it is all generic) and running costs completely free is beyond my realm of imagination. And taking count the fact that there must be at least few hundred players willing to pay for their product but they still offer it free of charge.
Majority of these MMOs come from Asia, but there are probably few Western ones out there too. And my experience shows that quality is not high on anyones list while making these, and frankly I understand. Anything free should cost, well, nothing to make. But still there are some MMOs that come to market as commercial games, example Archlord and RF Online, but later due to low acceptance rates they turn free to reel in the gamers. But where is the point in that? To my understanding, it's not like "oh well, the game didn't sell, better give it to them free of charge" there is still the matter of running costs, servers and bandwidth cost money. But through black arts and virgin suicides these games run without any income.
There are six games I have tried in the past few months, Archlord, Knight Online, Dungeon Runners, Tales of Pirates Online, Fly for Fun and Rappelz. There might be others but their impact must have been so small that I really can't recall them. What I found is that even if all these games are in fact MMOs and had a sufficient amount of players in them, the gaming experience was not as good as it was in some paid ones. The gameplay is reduced to nothing more than grinding mobs and if there were any quests, they were, yeah, grinding x amount of mobs. I can understand that creating the minimal amount of unique content lowers the cost of development, but since there seems to be a new arms race of free MMOs why not differentiate your product from the masses someway? I could easily imagine a world with one free MMO with few different skins and players wouldn't even notice the difference. And what is it anyway? Are all these companies not losing money fast enough so they have to come up with creative solutions for moneysinks?
If you truely love the Massively Multiplayer experience, I suggest that you pay for your game, these free ones are almost like single-player games with minimal amount of player interaction because everyone is competing with each other to kill the same mob. Free MMOs are truly an example of content over quality.