Top 13 Most Popular Free Online Games EVER

Top Most Popular Free Online Games EVER

So, this is it: the ultimate, tear-it-all-down top 10 to destroy all top 10s. Until the next one. And besides the fact that it’s more than ten games. These are the 13 most popular free games in the world, or games that performed truly remarkably until recently, and you should be playing at least one of them right now. Popularity and profit usually go hand-in-hand, so you can imagine just how much cash these games are bringing in.

Let’s begin with our Top 13 Most Popular Free Online Games Ever! And by that, I really mean EVER! In no particular order:

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Warframe Fortuna update Profit Taker

Here’s a game that makes me smile as I speak these words, realizing that it deserves all the success that it gets. Digital Extremes had to persevere and endure the trials and tribulations of the initial years, but once it had a solid game with plenty of content, people started to take notice. Nearly 50 million players by March 2019, it seems.

Warframe is an action game that makes you feel like a real super hero. All those special powers, swift moves, and recently the open world areas all contribute to create an impressive, ambitious and one-of-a-kind game. It’s not a coincidence that some triple-A games with all the resources in the world are being unfavorably compared to Warframe. Isn’t that right, Anthem?


Counter-Strike: Global Offensive free-to-play Battle Royale

Counter-Strike: Global Offensive may feature on this list, but it kinda cheated its way in. After all, these are the top free games ever, and Counter-Strike was successful for like, ever, but not as a free-to-play game. It only turned free in December 2018, when it got another nice player boost and comfortably sits as the second most played game on Steam.

It still cheated its way into this top, though. But it makes for a nice change seeing an established, rock solid game switching to a free-to-play business model instead of the more common trend – garbage, dying games shouting out loud for the two guys that want to hear: “hey, I’m free now, please play me!”

There’s a nice lesson in there, guys!


Apex Legends new Legends

Come on, what were you expecting? When a game comes out of nowhere and unexpectedly threatens the dominance of the dominating title, it must be something special. Respawn’s Apex Legends may be your traditional Battle Royale in new clothing, but at least this isn’t a mere cash-in. It’s like they studied what makes Fortnite and Overwatch special and mixed it all up in a Titanfall setting.

But is it worthy of all the commotion that it is getting right now? The millions of players, the Twitch record-breaking and, I’m willing to bet, the ridiculous revenue figures? Well, it takes a simple exercise to discover it: if Apex Legends currently is your go-to game, then you have your answer. And this serves for millions of other players as well, so it must be doing something right. And Ninja promoted it for an alleged million dollars, so that surely helped a lot.

Which leads us to another game…


Fortnite Battle Royale phenomenon

While Paragon never managed to take off, Fortnite Battle Royale became an overnight sensation and the fact that it is free-to-play played a major role in the equation. Millions of players didn’t want to pay for Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds and decided to try this game. As some shady Facebook adverts usually say, “you won’t be able to stop playing this game”.

That is precisely what happened with Fortnite Battle Royale, with millions of players flocking to the game, its weird, heavily inspired by pop culture dances – to say the least – becoming a wearisome, slap-in-the-face-worthy phenomenon on its own. It attracted players of all ages, became the most streamed game on Twitch until Apex Legends showed up, and it’s the kind of game that anyone, even non-gamers, probably have heard about. Maybe you thought that the Minecraft craze was just too much, but nothing could have prepared us for the steamroller that is Fortnite Battle Royale.


Wargaming free to play multiplatform MMO

World of Tanks singlehandedly turned Wargaming into the powerhouse that it is today. The Belarusian studio had a lot of experience with tactical games, but it was the move to a free-to-play business model that made it rise to the top of the world.

Sometimes bad things happen for a reason: while they were pitching World of Tanks to other publishers and treated like crap, hearing things like “cheap, Asian stuff” and worse, self-publishing was the greatest thing that could have happened to them. World of Tanks is currently one of the most profitable PC games in the world, and for a few years already.

You know how the rest of the story goes. Wargaming grew exponentially, released a few other games that failed to achieve the same success but weren’t exactly fiascos, and is now publishing games from third-party studios as well as growing through the acquisition of other companies. Not bad for some “cheap, Asian stuff.”


Just as it happens with Crossfire, Dungeon Fighter Online’s longterm success is another one of those baffling situations. It was a decent game when it launched in 2005 in Korea, but no one would guess that it was going to remain as one of the world’s most profitable games in 2019!

Once again, it’s a case of China driving its success, since the Steam version shows a very low player base, proof that Dungeon Fighter Online isn’t capable of convincing new players. It almost feels like the massive Chinese gaming community adopted the game and won’t let go for nothing in the world.

On the other hand, we can’t contain the excitement for the recently announced Dungeon Fighter Online’s sequel. Codenamed Project BBQ, this third-person brawler looks like the perfect evolution of the formula, so let’s cross our fingers and hope that it’s worthy of the name.


league of legends mmorpg

We couldn’t leave Riot Games’ best game… er… only game out of this list. This was the MOBA that made the genre famous and turned a niche genre into something that everyone wanted to play, leading to huge eSports tournaments and unescapable streaming madness.

Also, extremely toxic behavior.

League of Legends brought massive riches to Riot Games and steadily remains as one of the most played games worldwide, if not the most played game. It’s easy to see why its developers choose to focus on this MOBA, delivering new champions and regular updates instead of rushing into a second game, but the question is: for how long will League of Legends’ fortune go on? In our opinion, the game still has many years of success ahead, but a plan B is highly recommended.


CrossFire is a weird success story. This is a competitive shooter released in 2007, at a time when these games were a dime a dozen. Oddly enough, CrossFire wasn’t that different or better than most of the other first-person shooters and yet managed to become the big name in the genre in China. Up to this day it remains as one of the most profitable games in Asia, and was the culprit for Smilegate’s boom, something that we are thankful for. Why, you ask? Because it gave the Korean studio the resources to create the acclaimed Lost Ark.

There are countless better competitive shooters out there, a lot of them having disappeared in thin air without a chance to prove themselves. But if players keep showering CrossFire with their money, this game is bound to stay in the top 10 for several years.


Path of Exile PS4 launch

Path of Exile is the game that Diablo 3 should have been. But luckily, Blizzard is fixing that mistake with Diablo Immortal.

What? Do you guys not have phones?

I just love this meme, can’t get enough of it! Anyway, Path of Exile was born from a studio that had previously developed… er… nothing at all. Self-professed fans of Diablo, they went on to make their dream game and their perseverance paid off. From small curio to worldwide sensation, Path of Exile is the hack and slash game that everyone is talking about. With frequent and huge updates and one of the best examples of a true free-to-play business model, Path of Exile is that rare game that no one is capable of badmouthing.


Jungle Inferno update is live

Team Fortress 2 is another one of Valve’s forays into development hell and back. Once touted as a realistic warfare simulation, this game eventually took a turn into cartoon territory and never looked back. Thankfully, we might add, as it still looks the part today due to its timeless art design and instantly recognizable characters.

It doesn’t get much love from Valve nowadays – come on, they are surely busy working on the awesome and totally not god-awful card game Artifact –, but what there is is enough to keep you playing for years on end. This is the kind of game that could hook you and never let go, and deservedly so.


When someone like Blizzard announces a trading card game, the world stops and listens. And mocks and swears. But then you inadvertently try the game for a while “just so that I can talk crap about it”, and in an instant, you are hooked. You weren’t counting on that, were you?

Hearthstone looked like a rushed cash-grab designed to milk fans of the new trend, collectible card games. But it’s Blizzard, and so it was designed with utter care and addictive gameplay in mind, created with the goal of selling you tons of booster packs. It clearly worked, and Hearthstone turned into the undisputed number one digital card game in the world. However, players seem to be moving onto other things, as Hearthstone’s popularity is declining.


Clearly not happy and even jealous of League of Legends’ success, Valve was determined to eat a piece of the MOBA cake and for that it enlisted the help of IceFrog, lead designer on the acclaimed Warcraft 3 mod Defense of the Ancients. As history would tell you, Dota 2 became one of the biggest triumphs ever, digging its nails into League of Legends’ reign.

But in the end, it’s a MOBA, and it does what it says in the tin. If you choose to go with this one over League of Legends or any other similar games, be prepared for a steep learning curve and the usual toxic community. Persevere and you will discover a thrilling and addictive game, and many hours later you will eventually turn into one of those toxic scumbags that you despised so much in the early days. That’s MOBAs for you, anyway.


RuneScape action RPG

When it comes to listings discussing successful MMORPGs, it’s impossible not to mention RuneScape. Jagex’s game went on to become a worldwide hit and went through several releases during the 18 years that it is in service.

Oddly enough, Jagex never managed to follow up RuneScape with another successful game, despite trying some spin-offs such as DarkScape of Chronicle: RuneScape Legends, as well as other failed experiments such as Transformers Universe. It’s like a curse that the studio is trying to escape with its next game, an as-of-yet unannounced action RPG set in the RuneScape universe. I wouldn’t mind seeing Path of Exile getting some serious competition, but let’s wait and see.

And that’s our top 10… I mean, top 13. There are other games that became phenomenons, but we can’t list them all, otherwise this top would go on and on. But don’t forget to mention your favorites in the comments, and until next time.

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