So, you’re itching for something good to play this year, and you want it to be free-to-play? Well, you just came to the right place as we have a bunch of recommendations of great new games for this year. This top 10 strictly covers free online games which have been released in 2016, and we’re talking about betas too. You may also spot a couple of games that are yet to be released later this year, if everything goes according to plan.
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10 – HEROWARZ
HeroWarz was quite successful in Korea and this is something telling, as many games usually launch to shut down or be completely forgotten in a year or so. This new anime action RPG deserves some respect because it’s actually a very fun game, if fighting and looting in an isometric, Diablo style point of view is your idea of fun. The characters, while some of them are obvious stereotypes, are actually designed in a cool way and offer plenty of crazy abilities to use. There’s the loli, of course, as well as a bunch of overly sexualized girls, but if you’re not into eye candy, you’ll still get to pick from some decent ones.
Scheduled to enter beta late October, GWENT: The Witcher Card Game is probably the one of many CCGs that we wait for with the higher level of excitement. Why? Do you even have to ask? It’s CD Projekt, dude! The Polish studio is known for releasing only top-quality games that are worth every penny and more, while at the same time treating players in a way that very few studios do – respecting their feedback, offering plenty of downloadable content for free, flipping the finger at DRM protection and just being creative, independent and totally awesome. So, while GWENT expands on the surprisingly popular card game found on The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, it includes three rows, a single player adventure, cross-platform between PC and Xbox One and hopefully the most reasonable card purchasing option ever seen in a CCG. In another note, CD Projekt’s Cyberpunk 2077 will surely kick so much ass!
8 – TREE OF SAVIOR
Sometimes you have the habit of going “duh, why don’t they release the game already?”. Well, Tree of Savior, that’s why. In other words, the developers need their time to create a great game and a lot of that time has to be spent on things such as polish, testing and going through a lot of crazy bug hunts. Then there’s the not always predictable server ability to handle all those players and that’s why Tree of Savior even stopped accepting new players for a few weeks. Anyway, we should cut some slack on Tree of Savior, as this is one hell of a game which is marred down by some technical issues that will – hopefully – end with time. It’s not a game for casuals, so you should actually read a bit about how to approach it before playing, how to unlock some new classes, how to go about it. Then you’ll be able to explore the impressive backgrounds, battle the ingenious bosses and spend countless hours in a game that has a lot to offer, but also a lot of rough edges. A diamond in the rough, if there was one.
7 – MASTER X MASTER
One of two new MOBAs from NCSoft, Master X Master was the chosen one to come to the west, leaving Hyper Universe in the Eastern market. We can’t say it was a bad decision, as Master X Master is way more than a mere MOBA, it’s a great action RPG with plenty of PvE content and some masters taken from popular NCSoft franchises, including Guild Wars 2, Aion, Blade & Soul, Lineage and Wildstar, among others. It’s fun, fast-paced, it looks pretty good in a day and age where most MOBAs look bland or cloned, and it is bound to please a lot of players. Probably one of the sleeper hits of the end of this year.
6 – PARAGON
A surprise announcement late last year, Paragon is the third free-to-play game from Epic Games, with Fortnite and Unreal Tournament being the other two. Clearly a studio that believes in its work and takes the time that it needs before releasing them to gamers everywhere, Paragon is one of the very few third-person MOBAs and offers all heroes for free, so everyone is on an even playing field right from the start. With new heroes promised every three weeks and a roster that is becoming both large and diverse, there should be plenty to choose from by the end of this year. It also helps that it’s one of the most stunning games that you’ll see, thanks to the Unreal Engine 4 but also to the mastery of the team regarding its own engine. While Paragon may be slower paced when compared to other popular MOBAs and still needs some tweaks to make it the big hit that it deserves to be, it’s one of the big names of this year, even if you’re not the greatest fan of the genre.
5 – MU LEGEND
MU Legend is the long awaited follow-up to the classic MMORPG MU Online and while it definitely took its time, this is shaping up to be one of the best Diablo-inspired hack and slash games, maybe even capable of becoming a nice alternative to the free-to-play reference of the genre, Path of Exile. Featuring four classes at launch and a decidedly more diverse game world than what the somewhat bleak and gloomy teasers may lead you to believe, MU Legend is clearly a game that has a lot going for it. It’s fast, not as much of a grind as other games in the genre – at least judging by the Korean beta – and if you like wings, then you can get wings too. If you’re into that sort of thing. MU Legend’s global beta begins fall 2016, so it shouldn’t be long now.
4 – RIDERS OF ICARUS
Riders of Icarus is already out there, getting regular expansions and giving fans more mounts to capture and places to explore. This one is the game that Dragon’s Prophet should have been and while it may all sound a bit familiar, it’s a really polished game and occasionally a real looker. If you like your MMOs with a touch of Pokémon fever, only in this case it’s mounts, then Riders of Icarus could be the game for you. The solid aerial combat is what rounds up the experience and makes it a good game.
Unreal Tournament is coming back and is in fact already playable, as Epic Games is taking a remarkable approach to development, opening it up to players who want to contribute with their feedback and help in other ways, including designing weapons and maps. It looks more than capable of capturing the thrills of the original shooter with the tech of today, and even the business model could mean a revolution to free-to-play – there’s the usual shop, but players get to create their content and earn a share of what their mods make. It’s not entirely new (Second Life, for example, does it), but why it isn’t used more often, we just don’t know. A classic shooter coming back and with the possibility of making money? What’s not to like?
SMITE has made Hi-Rez Studios a filthy amount of money, or so we think. It was totally deserved, as they had the guts to try and make a third-person MOBA when everyone and their mom was trying to copy League of Legends. Hi-Rez also took its time to improve SMITE and make it big and they’re clearly doing the same with Paladins: Champions of the Realm, thankfully. Patch after patch after patch brings more improvements, changes, new characters and a refined gameplay that may look like a poor man’s Overwatch, but it’s way more than that. Let’s face it – there are only a handful of studios in the world with the resources and talent that Blizzard possesses, and still, Paladins has a lot going for it. It’s fun, colourful, fast-paced, free, and fairly different from all the other shooters out there. This one is going to be big.
It may seem too soon to give the top position to Revelation Online, seeing that it will only enter closed beta during the fall, but based on what we’ve played from the original Chinese version we’re able to say that it deserves your attention. It’s not like Revelation is a… well, a revolution, but it’s a damn fine MMORPG in the same line of Blade & Soul, if you like your martial arts MMOs. It looks good, even great sometimes, and combat offers three different options so that everyone will be able to pick their favorite – although we don’t know why nowadays someone would prefer tab-target instead of non-target action combat. Don’t go into this game expecting something groundbreaking and you’ll probably enjoy it more – it’s the big free-to-play MMORPG of this end of the year and hopefully it will become even better when it officially launches in 2017.
That’s it, but that’s not all. We scratched our heads quite a bit considering some other games and we just have to leave these as suggestions here. We’ll start with the cool vehicle combat game Crossout, which is definitely one to play; then we have AdventureQuest 3D, the lighthearted and fun sequel to AdventureQuest Worlds; Twin Saga, the new anime MMORPG from the makers of Aura Kingdom and Dragomon Hunter; Evolve: Stage 2 is also a great shooter, but we didn’t include it here because it’s not really from 2016, although this is the year it went free-to-play; Gloria Victis, for fans of The Elder Scrolls series but with a focus on low-fantasy, no dragons too be seen; Dreadnought and Fractured Space are two awesome sci-fi MOBAs with top production values; finally, to keep with the sci-fi theme, the classic EVE Online is getting a free-to-play mode this November which should open the game to even more players.
We could suggest you even more games, but if you’ve been following our website and YouTube channel, you should know about a couple more that suit your taste. Any other big names that were released this year, in your opinion? Let us know in the comments and until next time.