Free MMORPGs are a dime a dozen these days, with what seems like a questionable new title launching on Steam every few weeks. Still, there are some fantastic free-to-play MMORPGs for PC, consoles, and mobile with a wide variety of gameplay styles and settings.
Read also: The best free-to-play games on any platform
Even big names in the genre like World of Warcraft and Final Fantasy XIV have implemented “free” versions, but not all free games are created equal. These two games (and a few others) have been excluded from the list because they’re “free-to-start” rather than free-to-play, with significant limitations to gameplay or progression caps. With that out of the way, here are the best free MMORPGs for all platforms, from gaming PCs to consoles and smartphones!
The best free MMORPGs:
If you are the type of person who wants to spend countless hours on a single game, look no further than the free sandbox MMORPG ArcheAge. Unlike most of its peers, it has a freeform class system with hundreds of interchangeable classes, allowing you to create a truly unique character.
Read also: Best PC games: Top picks from every genre
Although it offers an expansive world and a variety of methods to explore it (including awesome buildable pirate ships), ArcheAge has been criticized for pay-to-win mechanics tied to a paid subscription. In response, developers created a spinoff title called ArcheAge: Unchained. It features the same content and gameplay but removes the subscription fee in favor of a one-time payment. While ArcheAge is a truly free MMORPG, ArcheAge: Unchained is worth the purchase if you plan on playing long term.
2. Black Desert Mobile
Platforms: Android, iOS
While the PC version of Black Desert Online is available as a one-time purchase, the free mobile version of the popular Korean MMORPG qualifies for our list. Released in late 2019, Black Desert Mobile offers the full experience on a smaller screen so you can play on the go.
Read also: 15 best and biggest MMORPGs for Android!
It does feature some controversial auto-play mechanics that most mobile MMORPGs rely on, and free-to-play players likely won’t be able to compete in high-level PvP. Other similar free mobile MMORPG options are Lineage 2: Revolution and Perfect World Mobile.
3. EVE Online
Platforms: Windows, Mac, Linux
EVE Online is a longstanding space sandbox MMORPG that recently changed to a free-to-play model. It’s one of the most unique MMOs on the market, with a truly massive universe (literally) and an entirely player-controlled economy. This level of freedom has led to enormous server-crashing space battles, billion-dollar corporate espionage, and so, so many spreadsheets.
There is a subscription available for EVE Online, but it isn’t necessary to play the full game, plus it can be purchased for in-game money. A mobile version of the game, EVE Echoes, is also available and it’s a very faithful adaptation of the best hardcore MMORPG of all time.
4. Guild Wars 2
Platforms: Windows, Mac
Guild Wars 2 nearly enters the same “free-to-start” category mentioned at the start, but the free version offers more than enough content to soak up countless hours. That said, if you do decide to dive into end-game content like raids, you will need to open up your wallet.
Still, Guild Wars 2 is easily one of the best free MMORPGs, offering traditional but polished gameplay for the genre. Developer ArenaNet has actively added new content, so the game and community are still thriving nearly eight years after it was first released. And if you’re wondering, no, you don’t need to know anything about the first Guild Wars to enjoy it.
Platforms: Windows, Xbox One, PlayStation 4
Neverwinter is the first true multi-platform game on our list of the best free MMORPGs, and it’s perfect for fans of the iconic tabletop RPG Dungeons & Dragons. Initially, both the world and gameplay were based on the 4th edition ruleset, with a major 2019 update bringing both the narrative and gameplay up to 5th edition. This update also overhauled classes and game balancing, so returning players will find a lot has changed.
While Neverwinter is available on both PC and consoles, it’s worth noting that there is no crossplay available. Typically consoles lag behind PC updates by a few months, and the playerbase on PC is much larger.
6. Path of Exile
Platforms: PC, Xbox One, PlayStation 4
Path of Exile throws you in the dark fantasy world of Wraeclast. You will find yourself constantly trying to improve your character by looting and finding better equipment. This world is full of terrifying monsters and beasts to take on. It’s not a traditional MMORPG experience, either. It’s an action RPG along the lines of Diablo.
The title is most known for its deep and complex character customization, not to mention a great PvP feature to put your character against other players. Path of Exile is also completely free to play and can be played on three of the most popular platforms around.
Platforms: Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, iOS, browsers
RuneScape is not only one of the best free MMORPGs you can play, but it’s also the easiest to access on a wide variety of devices. The game has been around in some form for nearly two decades, but now there are two versions to choose from, both of which are completely free and available on desktop and mobile devices.
The first, called RuneScape 3 or simply RuneScape, is a modern MMORPG with ability cooldowns that’s more friendly to new players. The other, called OldSchool RuneScape or OSRS, is based on a version of the game from 2007. It features blocky graphics, point-and-click turn-based combat, and a much steeper difficulty curve.
Still, it has a certain charm and still boasts an impressive playerbase. If you just can’t get enough old-school MMORPG action, check out Albion Online, which is also available on a variety of platforms.
8. Star Wars: The Old Republic
If you love Star Wars and are looking for a great free MMORPG to play, stop reading this list and go download Star Wars: The Old Republic. It takes place during a brief peace between the newly refounded Sith Empire and the Galactic Republic. For lore fans, SWTOR offers an incredible amount of high-quality narrative content, as you’d expect from a game developed by Bioware.
The free version is restricted to level 60, but that’s still more than enough content to fill months of gameplay. Plus, if you subscribe for a single month you permanently unlock certain features. Fans of the other popular epic space adventure, Star Trek, aren’t left completely in the space dust, with the competent MMORPG Star Trek Online also available for free on several platforms.
Platforms: Windows, PlayStation 4, Xbox One
The Exiled Realm of Arborea, commonly known as TERA, is a free action MMORPG from South Korea’s Bluehole Studios of PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds fame. It has the same questing, crafting, and grinding elements as other popular MMOs, but what makes it one of the best free MMORPGs today is its action-oriented combat. Instead of locking onto an enemy and starting to auto-attack, you have to manually combo attacks together with good timing and actively dodge enemy abilities.
This system of combat is a lot of fun to play, and it lends itself particularly well to playing with a controller. TERA itself is gorgeous but doesn’t have as large a playerbase as other MMORPGs or as much end-game content. If that’s what you’re looking for, Black Desert Online is a great option, although it’s not free-to-play. Blade & Soul also uses a similar combat system and visual style, but it might be better to wait for more news on Blade & Soul 2 before devoting too much time to it.
10. The Lord of the Rings Online
Platforms: Windows, Mac
Just like Star Wars: The Old Republic and Star Trek Online, The Lord of the Rings Online is the best free MMORPG for megafans of Tolkien’s iconic fantasy series. In it, players play through the famous events of Middle-earth, from Frodo leaving the Shire to the destruction of the One Ring and beyond.
While the game looks (and perhaps plays) a bit old, it’s still work picking up as a new player just to play through the storyline. It still boasts a modest playerbase, with the most recent expansion coming out in 2019. Another expansion is set for release in Fall 2021, focusing on the orc stronghold of Mount Gundabad.