Free MMOs: RPGs and other massively multiplayer greats

Here are the best free MMORPG games and massive multiplayer experiences you're free to lose yourself in without ever being forced to open your wallet.

Best free MMOs: Nahida, otherwise known as the Dendro Archon, who features in Genshin Impact, one of the best MMOs currently available to play.

It can be surprisingly difficult to find the best free MMOs to suit your gaming taste. There’s been an explosion of free-to-play options in recent years, especially in the massively multiplayer online space. From sprawling warzones to story-driven RPGs, there’s something for everyone out there.

Even if your bank account is best friends with the number zero, our list of the best free MMOs currently available on PC promises endless hours of gameplay at absolutely no cost. So without further ado, let’s take a look at some of the best free PC games that are available to play without breaking the bank.

The best free MMOs are:

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Raid: Shadow Legends

Raid: Shadow Legends offers a more strategic, management-focused take on the genre, as its gameplay largely revolves around collecting heroes and optimising your squad. The turn-based combat encourages clever and calculated play, which will test the skills of both newcomers and more experienced players.

Raid also allows for online battles too. You can team up with other players and take on challenging missions or fight against a rival player’s AI-controlled squad. Both of which lead to high-quality rewards that can be used to further develop and improve your team. Raid is cross platform, so if you sign up on Android or iOS, then you can share your progress on PC too.

Play Raid Shadow Legends for free.

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War Thunder

Planes, tanks, and ships battling it out for ever and ever and ever. That is the ultimate goal of War Thunder. It is a F2P title that specialises in vehicular warfare, with three similar but largely separate games under its title: Ground Forces, Aviation, and Naval Battles.

War Thunder’s frankly ridiculous number of vehicles all manage to stay unique thanks to the game’s realistic damage model, which simulates almost every single aspect of ballistics, from shell type and speed to the thickness and angle of the armour it is hitting. Every single shot is calculated, meaning that real-life tactics like staying hull down or angling your armour to deflect shells are essential skills to master in War Thunder. That realism means it can be a little tricky to get started, so be sure to read our pilot’s manual, AKA the War Thunder beginner’s guide.

Play War Thunder for free.

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Crossout

As varied as it is satisfying, Crossout is a post-apocalyptic MMO action game that gives you the chance to scavenge and craft the materials to build more fearsome vehicles of battle beyond the imagination of any ten-year-old. What more could you possibly want from your online multiplayer games?

In what is essentially a free-to-play Mad Max: The Game, you customise a unique and wide range of vehicles with dozens of bespoke parts and use them to destroy your enemies in high-octane, action-packed skirmishes. You can play in both PvE and PvP modes, even fighting against player-created bosses.

You also have plenty of weapons at your disposal: rocket launchers and machine guns favour the most offensive and in-your-face players, whilst stealth generators and drones give you a greater choice in your approach. All your explosive efforts go toward your choice of five factions, too, earning you new blueprints, missions, parts and, storage space. Shooting and building things has never been so lucrative. It can be a little tricky at first, so make sure you read our Crossout beginner’s guide.

Play Crossout for free.

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Enlisted

Storm the beaches of Normandy and battle across Europe in this free-to-play WWII shooter. Enlisted offers players the chance to fight and strategise as they take on a number of key campaigns from the conflict, where each new location offers unique weapons, vehicles, and aircraft to aid you in your battle. 

You’ll build and improve your AI squad to incorporate a variety of specialists, from flame troopers to tankers, and with the ability to switch between each soldier under your command, every avenue of combat from tank to aerial support is open to explore.

This MMO is designed to please even the pickiest history buff with its impressive level of detail, particularly the fact that you’re limited to the equipment that was historically available for each specific campaign in order to get the job done.

Play Enlisted for free.

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World of Tanks

There are over 800 tanks in World of Tanks, and if you revisit this page in the next hour that number will likely have grown. Essentially, if you are a fan of military hardware, you are a fan of World of Tanks. Unlike War Thunder however, World of Tanks does not ask you to pour hours of research into learning the armour ratings and layout of every vehicle in the game; instead, World of Tanks takes a more arcade approach.

That is not to say there is a lack of sophistication, but rather that the core of the game has always been its fast-paced, arcade action. Like Call of Duty, World of Tanks is easy to learn, but impossible to master. Clashes are won by fine margins and lightning-quick reflexes, while a compelling XP system and tech tree keep players coming back for more. Perhaps it’s not very realistic, but its speed and intensity make it one of the best tank games to play.

Play World of Tanks for free.

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World of Warships

World of Warships switches out the twitch shooter elements of World of Tanks for a slowed-down and much more tactical style of play. Warships are leviathans: they crawl and creep across the map, and each one possesses enough power in a single barrage to wipe out anything else.

The change of pace makes for action that is more calculated and nerve-wracking. It can take a long time for shots to meet their targets, which means that every moment is spent trying to avoid incoming fire or anticipating where your foe will have moved to. World of Warships is also more cinematic than its on-tracks sibling thanks to the sheer scale its warfare is conducted on. Oh, and it has got some lovely sunsets too, if that is what you want from a free-to-play war game.

With regular updates adding everything from Halloween cosmetics to Pan-Asian Destroyers to World of Warships, it’s not an MMO that will get stale any time soon.

Play World of Warships for free.

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Neverwinter

The name and setting of Neverwinter has a long and storied history online, beginning in 1991 with the first graphical MMORPG, before revolutionising the realm of player-made modules under the stewardship of BioWare with Neverwinter Nights. The rather more modern Neverwinter pulls from both – setting groups of D&D characters loose in the famous city, while allowing players to write their own stories, with additions like Ravenloft characters being added to the game. There are some inventive community adventures on offer if you’re willing to dig.

Not that you will have to reach for those if you do not want to – expansions have taken Neverwinter players to some of the most beloved corners of the Forgotten Realms, including the Underdark and Icewind Dale. Plus, there’s also Baldur’s Gate 3  if you’re looking to explore more of this glorious world.

Play Neverwinter for free.

Romans: Age of Caesar

If you enjoy grand strategy games, then you’ll really like this MMO. In Romans: Age of Caesar, you and thousands of other players are working together to rebuild the Roman Empire, and you’ll be responsible for helping to develop and maintain a city with up to 16 different players.

Together, you’ll work to defend your community from attacking barbarians, while gathering resources that will allow you to further expand your city. You’ll eventually start carving out trade routes and building relationships with the cities run by other groups of players – ultimately it feels very much like you’re part of a very real virtual empire.

Play Romans: Age of Caesar for free.

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Star Trek Online

Character creation tools in MMOs let you shape everything from your avatar’s jawline and eyelash length to the exact density of their chest hair, but even they have got nothing on the options available in Star Trek Online. Tired of playing as a human? Great, here you can be a Gorn, Rigellian, Romulan, Klingon, or any other of the 30 race variations available.

Questing and progressing in Star Trek Online plays out like episodes from the TV series: one moment you are wandering through space, the next you are having to do deals with, or shoot lasers at, one of the many franchise belligerents. Be it in spaceship battles or on the ground where gameplay takes the form of a third-person shooter, Star Trek Online does a brilliant job of bringing the storylines and tone of the TV shows into an F2P MMO. It even gets updated regularly like a TV show, with expansions like Victory is Life adding the crew from Deep Space Nine to the game.

Play Star Trek Online for free.

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Genshin Impact

Genshin Impact offers a lot of everything. An open-world RPG with some of the least intrusive free-to-play mechanics going. After you’ve chomped through the main story, you’re ready to get into the real game, which is exploring the vast, pristine world of Teyvat. Wherever you go there’s more to do, rewards to earn, and puzzles to solve.

While there’s no multiplayer PvP in Genshin Impact, you can play through the enormous open world with up to three friends in co-op, whether you just want to relax and unwind by a lake, or slay your way through a few dungeons. There’s cross-play, too, so it doesn’t matter if your friends aren’t playing on PC.

Play Genshin Impact for free.

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Star Conflict

Star Conflict dumps players in the role of an elite space pilot on a quest to track down and fight for alien treasures scattered throughout its expansive sandbox. Essentially, the game’s progression is all about acquiring a bigger and bigger collection of ships, from agile fighters to floating behemoths, before finally handing you control of your own fleet.

PvE quests and raids see you and your friends facing off against squadrons of aliens or space pirates, while PvP is a looming threat wherever you venture. An impressive tech tree and catalogue of ships means there’s always reason to keep playing, as you’re never far off a new weapon type or ship module. Thanks to Star Conflict Oculus Rift support, this is also one of the only free MMOs you can play in VR.

Play Star Conflict for free.

Wizard101

These days, you can find tons of free MMOs online, but Wizard101 is one that originated back in 2008 and has remained popular over the years since then. In it, you play as a student of the Ravenwood School for Magical Arts and have to decide whether you want to enrol in the school of Fire, Ice, Storm, Myth, Life, Death, or Balance. Each school sets your character on a different path that will see them developing different sets of magical abilities, all of which will have an effect on how you battle enemies.

It’s also a game that has a surprisingly deep and nuanced storyline. You’ll find yourself coming up against the forces of former necromancy teacher, Malistaire. While at first he may appear to be the ‘evil wizard’ archetype, you’ll soon find that his motivations are much more interesting, with more and more of the story revealed as you explore and discover new areas.

Play Wizard101 for free.

Final Fantasy XIV

Making an MMO out of the beloved Final Fantasy series was never going to be easy. As if to prove that point, Square Enix made a royal mess of Final Fantasy XIV the first time around and had to take another swing at it, eventually turning one of their worst games into one of the best MMOs on PC.

Unlike other MMOs, Final Fantasy XIV doesn’t force players down the route of having to grind endlessly with multiple characters in order to see which combat class they want to play as. Instead you just need to make it to level ten and the ability to switch between the game’s eight combat classes is magically unlocked. It is also one of very few cross-play MMOs, which means you can inhabit the same world as PlayStation users. You lucky thing.

Supremacy 1914

There aren’t many strategy games that match the scope of Supremacy 1914, which sees you taking control of one of the nations who were involved in the First World War. A game can have as many as 500 people in it and will take a very long time to play out – and don’t worry, it won’t be too predictable, because you don’t necessarily have to follow the path of established history.

Every country plays a little differently (with different resources available, giving them all different strengths and weaknesses) and so you might want to try lots of different games playing as the different countries, or you might want to take your time becoming a master of your favourite one. Either way, it’s very easy to get sucked into Suprmacy 1914’s deep intricacies.

Play Supremacy 1914 for free.

Call of War: World War II

Much like Supremacy 1914, Call of War: World War II puts you and an enormous selection of other players on the world stage where you navigate your way through a global conflict – although while that game was focused on the First World War, this one, as you have already probably gathered, is about the second.

Do you want to follow the path laid out for you by history, or do you want to do things differently? Do you want to focus on growing your country’s economy and forging healthy alliances with your neighbours, or do you want to be a conqueror? There are many options available to you, and you’ll find yourself becoming very deeply invested in the games which will span huge periods of time (in the real world) – but don’t worry, you don’t have to do it in one sitting. Games can last for days and days, with the longest going on for 411 days.

Play Call of War: World War II for free.

Conflict of Nations: World War III

If you’re somebody who liked the sound of Supremacy 1914 and Call of War: World War II, but prefers games based around modern warfare, then this is one MMO you’re gonna love. Conflict of Nations: World War III is set in a hypothetical future where the global tensions of our time have escalated to such an extent that the world is in a state of all-out war, with each nation vying to become the biggest international super power.

There’s an enormous list of countries to choose from and there are various options for how you want to help them navigate this dystopian world. Obviously, you might want to focus on your military and the territories which you could soon bring under your control, or maybe you’d instead prefer to focus on boosting the economy, or advancing technological developments? Either way, it’s your chance to test your mettle on the global stage.

Play Conflict of Nations: World War III for free.

Free MMOs: image shows a group of character looking in fear at an electrical device that looks fit to burst.

Tower of Fantasy

Following in the footsteps of Genshin Impact, this anime style open-world action MMORPG is taking the internet by storm. This is one of those free games where you can see the developer really pushed the boat out, and exploring the world of Aida soon gets very addictive.

What helps Tower of Fantasy stand out from the crowd is that its multiplayer elements have been very carefully designed with cooperation in mind. There’s nothing quite like venturing out into Aida with your friends, discovering new things, and taking on new foes. What’s more is that this game is still in its early days, and it’s already pretty amazing, so we’re excited to see where it goes in future.

Best free MMOs: EVE Online. Image shows a spaceship firing a laser in space.

EVE Online

Not many games boast battles so costly and sprawling that books have been written about them. Eve Online is a free MMO and galactic conquest simulator like nothing else in games, where corporations made up of thousands of players duke it out across an entire solar system. You can start your own venture in this hostile galaxy, but the main draw is petitioning a corporation to hire you and throwing yourself into the life of a space age peon.

Best free MMOs: Albion Online. Image shows a magic alter with various magic users around it.

Albion Online

Albion Online is an MMO without the constraints of character classes. It’s unusual, but welcome to not get bogged down in creating a class and feeling obligated to stick to it, especially after sinking hours into your build, which in Albion Online, is very easy to do. Instead you build a character from the ground up, and your role in combat can be changed to compliment your team and the situation at hand.

The player-driven economy and risky nature of losing all your loot in a poorly calculated move against your opponents or from an unprecedented enemy ambush is the main draw in Albion, a game that pushes tactics and decision making to the forefront of the genre.

Best free MMOs: Smite. Image shows a character with a sword looking up at an ominous structure.

Smite

What makes Smite different? Switching out the favoured top-down view of most MOBAs for a third-person, over the shoulder view that brings players closer to the action. It is a small tweak, but it is one that adds a lot to the flavour and pace. The result is that Smite feels more like an action game, but all the MOBA fundamentals are in place: roles, creeps, towers, lanes, and – of course – the best Smite gods.

Like Dota 2 and League of Legends, Smite’s main mode features two teams of five gods engaging in a gladiatorial-themed bout for dominance of the arena. Unlike those MOBA behemoths, Smite boasts a glut of other game mode variants like Joust, which reduces the number of lanes to just one, and Assault, which randomly allocates a god to every player. So if you are not chasing the esports prize pools, there is enough gameplay variety to keep players coming back for more.

Free MMOs: Runescape. Image shows a tree creature.

Runescape

At over 20 years of age, Runescape isn’t far off being able to buy itself a drink at the bar – you don’t get to that age in that industry without being one of the best PC games. By gaming standards it should be abandoned and decrepit, but with a still thriving community, one of the best free-to-play models around and updates so regular it’s nearly impossible to keep track of, Runescape still feels as young and fresh as it did in the early 2000s. Quests, new characters, festive events and entirely new features have come and gone in their hundreds.

Runescape is also one of the friendliest MMOs around, with a community of veterans who are always willing to lend a hand to a noob in need – alternatively, you can use our Runescape beginner’s guide. Even after some graphical upgrades, it’s not the easiest MMO on the eyes, but that does at least mean you can run it on a potato.

Best free MMOs: Paladins. Image shows a lady jumping with knives in her hands.

Paladins

A first-person shooter game with cartoon visuals and champions: Paladins might have a lot in common with Blizzard’s Overwatch, but it is worth seeking out for more than the fact that it is free. Developed by Hi-Rez Studios, who made the massively popular MOBA Smite, Paladins is built upon a simple class system that categorises its champions by their main strategy on the battlefield.

Damage, Support, Flank and Front Line are the champion types players can choose from, which makes deciphering their strengths and weaknesses dead easy. Still confused? Just check out our best Paladin’s champions guide. Playing as a Flank champion like Skye will mean you are best suited to attacking key objectives from behind enemy lines, whereas a Front Line champion excels at holding the line and stopping enemies from getting through. Ultimate meters for each hero also mean that the action never results in a stalemate by ensuring every player has an ace up their sleeve that can potentially turn the tide of the match.

Combine these core elements with constant updates that bring additions such as the Paladins battle royale mode, and you have a shooter that will keep you entertained for years.

Guild Wars 2

Guild Wars 2

With a storyline that reacts to the player’s actions, Guild Wars 2’s narrative is unique by MMORPG standards. Instead of traditional quests, players encounter dynamic events that pop up around the game world. Likewise, there are multiple paths to completion for each of these encounters, and intentional or not, your actions in Guild Wars 2 will have consequences.

For example, defending a town from a group of rampaging ogres might cause them to return with deadlier weapons or seek out refuge in a nearby cave – you will have to deal with the fallout of these events, whether that means repelling a stronger attack or hunting down and killing the remaining ogres. The result is a free MMO with the questing diversity of one of the best RPGs of all time: what’s not to love?

Best free MMOs: Path of Exile. Image shows dark, arcane magic in progress.

Path of Exile

An action-RPG cut from the same cloth as the Diablo games, Path of Exile combines grim fantasy, compelling combat, and an extensive selection of gear, abilities and upgrades to keep players grinding away for hours on end. Better still, you won’t just be retreading the same old ground every time you log in either, because every area is randomly generated across all servers – so the dungeon you and your friends are battling through will be different every time you tackle it.

It’s also an MMO that receives a massive content update and competitive shake-up every three months, with its most recent expansion, Expedition, adding heaps of new items and challenges to the game. Better yet, we can look forward to the upcoming Path of Exile 2 release date, which began as an update but developed into a fully fledged sequel.

Path of Exile also manages to shed some positive light on that most loathed of all monetisation strategies: microtransactions. The games developers are so staunchly against pay-to-win business models that they’ve included only “ethical microtransactions” in their game, by which they mean they add no gameplay advantages to the customer whatsoever.

Best free MMOs: Lord of the Rings Online. Image shows a procession of people on horses riding down a river.

Lord of the Rings Online

Wouldn’t it be nice to enter an MMO without having to plunge multiple hours wrapping your head around its lore? Chances are you will already know the basics of Tolkien’s Middle-earth before heading into Lord of the Rings Online – so that is half the battle. If Middle-earth: Shadow of War didn’t scratch that Tolkien itch then perhaps this free MMO will.

The other half is avoiding all the quests, NPCs and PvP encounters so you can get on with what you’re really there to do: explore all the most famous locations from the franchise – locations like Rohan, Moria, and the Shire. In fact, pretty much every setting in the lore has made it into the game in some form. You can even waltz right through the gates of Mordor contrary to the classic meme, although in typical MMO fashion you will have to do a whole lot of farming in order to meet the level requirements of some areas.

Best free MMOs: Star Wars: The Old Republic. Image shows a group of Jedi preparing for battle.

Star Wars: The Old Republic

When you are starting out Star Wars: The Old Republic it will not strike you as a unique MMO. You get some story, pick a faction and a class, and do some typically grindy missions for a while. Surprisingly though, that story soon gets better – a lot better – and you quickly find yourself pouring hours into the game just to get to the next cutscene.

While it began life as a subscription-based MMO, SWTOR is now also completely playable for free, although you should expect levelling up to take a little bit longer. If you fancy playing as a slave-turned Sith or an Imperial Agent, though, it is a worthwhile grind. SWTOR isn’t just an MMO with a Star Wars lick of paint, it’s one of the best Star Wars games around.

There you have it, the best free MMOs currently active and available to play. While PC gaming may have a reputation for being rather expensive, our list proves that you can have a fantastic time without needing to shell out for a single game. In fact, many of these free options appear on our list of the best MMOs of all time. So what are you waiting for? It’s time to dive into a new world (or two).