Top Free to Play Games

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Top Free to Play Games

Top Free to Play Games
Top Free to Play Games.

Last Updated: July 2015

Free to Play games, also known as F2P, have been around for a number of years but have become increasingly popular over the past five years or so using the freemium model. Free to play games that use this freemium model or payment system are a little different from the free games you may be used to. They typically allow players to install the full version of a game free of charge, but limit certain aspects of gameplay or premium content to those willing to pay a microtransaction to access. Not all free to play games use this strategy with some even limiting the "premium" or pay content to be non-essential content to the overall gameplay and balance of the game.

While there are free to play games that cross all genre of video games, most of the latest and most popular freemium games can be lumped into one of three different genre. They include: massively multiplayer online roleplaying games, multiplayer shooters, and multiplayer online battle arena games. The list of top free to play games that follows includes some of the most popular PC games that are classified as free to play. Games are listed by both a combination of the quality of the game and how "free" the game actually is.

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1. Dota 2

Dota 2
Dota 2. © Valve

Release Date: July 9, 2013
Genre: Multiplayer Online Battle Arena
Theme: Fantasy
Game Modes: Multiplayer
Game Series: Dota

Dota 2 is a multiplayer online battle arena game that matches two teams of five players each in a battle to destroy the opposing team's base structure known as the "Ancient". To do so they must first fight through and destroy defensive towers, creeps, and barracks in order to reach the opposing team's Ancient.

Dota 2 is available exclusively through Valve's Steam platform and is arguably one of the most popular free to play games currently on the market. With hundreds of thousands of players online at any given moment, it is also one of the most free "freemium" games available. The premium features available for purchase in Dota 2 through micro-transactions are limited to various heros and item appearance customizations and boosts to the rate at which players earn experience for their Dota 2 profile level. All of these purchases have no impact on gameplay which means Dota 2 players need not spend a single penny to get full enjoyment/functionality from the game.

More: Dota 2 Game Page | Dota 2 Heroes | Dota 2 Cheats

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2. Path of Exile

Path of Exile Free to Play Game
Path of Exile Free to Play Game. © Grinding Gear Games

Release Date: Oct 23, 2013
Genre: Action RPG
Theme: Fantasy
Game Modes: Multiplayer

Path of Exile is an online action roleplaying game that has been extremely popular since it's open beta release in Jan 2013 and has a subscriber based of more than 2 million players. In it players control a character from the top down or bird's eye view (similar to Diablo 3) as they explore various environments including caves, dungeons, forests and other large outdoor areas. There are six different classes to choose from along with a wide variety of skill trees and items you'd expect from an RPG.

Path of Exile is completely free to play but does have some microtransaction cosmetic based content that is available at a cost, but they have no impact on the game. The New Zealand-based developer Grinding Gear Games has stayed true to their word in saying that Path to Exile would never become a "pay to win" game.

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7. League of Legends

League of Legends
League of Legends. © Riot Games

Release Date: Oct 27, 2009
Genre: Multiplayer Online Battle Arena
Theme: Fantasy
Game Modes: Multiplayer

League of Legends is a multiplayer online battle arena game that was inspired by the Warcraft III mod Dota. It has also grown in popularity so much that it has surpassed the popularity of Dota and Dota 2 and become the most played MOBA game with popular worldwide competitions and tournaments.

In it, players control one of 118 different champions as they fight against an opposing team's champions, minions, and base/lane defenses. League of Legends, has been extremely popular and dominate ​games in the MOBA genre since its release in 2009 with the number of players reaching into the millions at peak times of the day.

Similar to many other free to play games, League of Legends offers premium content that offers convenience and champion customization that has no impact on overall gameplay.

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3. Heroes of the Storm

Heroes of the Storm
Heroes of the Storm is a multiplayer online battle arena game from Blizzard Entertainment. © Blizzard Entertainment

Release Date: June 2, 2015
Genre: Multiplayer Online Battle Arena
Theme: Sci-Fi, Fantasy
Game Modes: Multiplayer
Game Series: Blizzard

Heroes of the Storm is a multiplayer online battle arena game (MOBA) that has been described as an online team brawler by developer Blizzard. In it two teams of 5 players each battle against each other to complete various objectives based on the game map being played. The players take control of heroes which are drawn from Blizzard's universe of games including the popular WarCraft, StarCraft, and Diablo games.

The game adds a few gameplay twists and variations compared to other MOBA games such as Dota 2 and League of Legends. It is freely available and players do not have to spend any money to take full advantage of the fun. There is an option to pay real money for player skins and to unlock additional heroes rather than waiting until they are earned.

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4. Planetside 2

Planetside 2 Free to Play Game
Planetside 2 Free to Play Game. © Daybreak Game Company

Release Date: Nov 20, 2012
Genre: Massively Multiplayer First Person Shooter
Theme: Sci-Fi
Game Modes: Multiplayer

Planetside 2 is a massively multiplayer first person shooter that features large-scale first-person shooter battles with support for up to 2000 players. Set on the planet of Auraxis, battles are primary for territory control of the planet's continents and features three factions and six different character classes to choose from, with each class having its own unique weapons and abilities. The game features vehicle (land and air) combat along with traditional foot soldier combat.

Planetside 2 offers a cash shop and subscription-based model that allows players to earn experience, certification points and resources more quickly which can then be used to acquire in-game items. The benefit of these items, however, is more for convenience and cosmetic appearances rather than making players who pay more powerful than players who choose not to pay. That being said, players who do pay will be able to obtain a larger number of powerful items quicker, which may provide a slight advantage over less skilled players.

More: Planetside 2 Review

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5. Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft

Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft
Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft. © Blizzard

Release Date: Mar 11, 2014
Genre: Digital Collectible Card Game
Theme: Fantasy, Warcraft
Game Modes: Multiplayer

Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft is a free to play digital collectible card game set in the Warcraft universe. In it, players pick a character class and create a deck similar to Magic The Gathering. They will then battle against an opposing character's deck using spells, weapons, and creatures to try and defeat the opposing player.

Players will start out with basic cards, earning more powerful and different cards based which are unique for some character classes. The game is completely free to play and players can eventually unlock all of the available cards, however, those willing to pay can unlock unique/special cards more quickly.

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6. Star Wars The Old Republic

Star Wars The Old Republic
Star Wars The Old Republic. © Electronic Arts

Release Date: Dec 20, 2011
Theme: Sci-Fi, Star Wars
Game Modes: Multiplayer

Star Wars The Old Republic is a massively multiplayer online role-playing game set in the Star Wars universe. In it, players take on the role of a character in one of two factions the Galactic Republic or the Sith Empire. There are four main character classes to choose from for each faction, each class has two advanced classes that can be chosen as player levels up, resulting in a total of eight classes per faction.

SWTOR was initially launched using a subscription based game model with players purchasing one, two, three or six-month blocks. Due to dwindling subscriber based, Electronic Arts released the game under the free to play model in November 2012, offering most game-play/functionality for free but does limit the number of credits that can be earned and has slower character leveling for non-paying players.

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SMITE. © Hi-Rez Studios

Release Date: Mar 25, 2014
Genre: Multiplayer Online Battle Arena
Theme: Fantasy
Game Modes: Multiplayer

SMITE is one of the new games on this list and like a few others, it is a multiplayer online battle arena, in which players take on the role of a mythological god. Like other MOBA games, there are two teams battling against each other as they try to destroy the opposing team's base. In this case, players will control one of 54 different gods from seven different pantheons: Chinese, Egyptian, Greek, Hindu, Roman, Mayan, and Norse.

SMITE contains a few different game modes from Dota or League of Legends including Conquest which is a 3v3 player game, Arena which is a 5v5 player objective-based game, joust which 3v3 model that contains only one lane and tower, Assault which is teams must destroy the teams 2 towers, phoenix and titan and Siege which contains two lanes and includes special minions.

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9. Team Fortress 2

Team Fortress 2
Team Fortress 2. © Valve Corporation

Release Date: Oct 9, 2007
Genre: Multiplayer First Person Shooter
Theme: Modern Military
Game Modes: Multiplayer

Team Fortress 2 is a multiplayer team-based first-person shooter that was released back in 2007 as part of the Half Life 2 combo pack, The Orange Box. Players choose one of nine character classes from two opposing "construction" teams; Reliable Excavation & Demolition and Builders League United. It includes standard multiplayer first person shooter game models such as capture the flag, control point, territorial control just to name a few.

Team Fortress 2 was initially released The Orange Box and remained a retail game until June 2011 when Value converted it to the free to play model. The base game is available for free, while some equipment and character skins are available through small micro-transaction payments. Players can get full gameplay without having to spend any money.

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10. War Thunder

War Thunder Free to Play Game
War Thunder Free to Play Game. © Gaijin Entertainment

Release Date: Nov 1, 2012 (Open beta release)
Genre: Multiplayer Online Combat Game
Theme: World War II
Game Modes: Single player, multiplayer

War Thunder is a free to play multiplayer combat game which is focused on military vehicular combat. It includes battles on land, sea, and air using World War II and the Korean War era vehicles. The game features a number of different battle types including Arcade Battles which pits teams of up to 16 players against each other; Realistic Battles and Simulator Battles which are modes that take a more realistic approach to the gameplay and Unrealistic Battles. The game includes five nations that players can choose to represent which are all of the Axis & Allies from World War II including the USA, Germany, Soviet Union, Great Britain and Japan.

In addition to competitive mulitplayer games, War Thunder also includes PvE gameplay which includes campaign missions which can be played solo or cooperatively.

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11. World of Tanks

World of Tanks
World of Tanks. © Wargaming

Release Date: Apr 12, 2011
Genre: Action, Massively Multiplayer Online Game
Theme: Tank Combat
Game Modes: Multiplayer

World of Tanks is a massively multiplayer tank combat game in which two teams of up to 15 randomly chosen players battle each other in tank combat. Each player will pilot a single tank of their choosing (within a given tier) in one of six different types of battles; random, training, team, tank company, historical and clan battles.

While World of Tanks is completely free to play and full functionality is available, it can take those players who opt not to pay for a premium account quite a long time to earn gold and experience that is required to purchase premium/elite tanks and level up the different tiers. Those opting to purchase a premium account will see an increased rate of earning experience, crew experience, and gold in each battle.

More: World of Tanks Game Page

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12. Marvel Heroes 2015

Marvel Heroes 2015
Marvel Heroes 2015. &$169; Microsoft

Release Date: June 4, 2013
Genre: Massively Multiplayer Online Action Role Playing Game
Theme: Super Hero, Sci-Fi
Game Modes: Multiplayer
Game Series: Marvel

Marvel Heroes 2015 is a free to play MMORPG game where players take roles of famous Marvel superheroes. Originally released as Marvel Heroes as a commercial/retail game, it has since been released under the free to play model. Players need not spend any money to access the full game but micro transactions can be made to enhance character appearance and unlock heroes. The relaunch as Marvel Heroes 2015 centers around the battle against the villain Surtur and his minions. There are more than 100 characters from Marvel Universe with more than 40 being playable by characters as of June 2015. This includes popular characters such as Ant-Man, Captain America, Iron Man, Wolverine and more.

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13. TERA

TERA Free to Play Game
TERA Free to Play Game. © En Masse Entertainment

Release Date: May 1, 2012
Theme: Fantasy
Game Modes: Multiplayer

TERA is a fantasy-themed massively multiplayer online role-playing game that featured tactical combat featuring 10 character classes for players to choose from. The gameplay features the standard quest-based missions and player vs player combat that is included in many MMO games. In combat, players target enemies from a third-person perspective. In addition to the ten character classes, TERA also features seven races including draconian humanoids, giants, and humans to name a few. The game was initially released in South Korea and Japan back in 2011 and then May 2012 for Europe and North America after beta testing was completed.

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14. Neverwinter

Neverwinter. ArcGames

Release Date: Jun 20, 2013
Theme: Fantasy, Dungeons & Dragons
Game Modes: Multiplayer

Neverwinter is a free to play multiplayer online roleplaying game set in the Dungeons & Dragons Forgotten Realms campaign setting. It allows players to choose one of six character classes and form adventuring parties of up to five players. The gameplay itself is based on a modified version of 4 Edition Dungeons & Dragons which includes daily healing powers and action points that allow for special abilities in combat.

The full game of Neverwinter and all its locations are available for free, players can purchase armor and weapons using real money microtransactions but in-game content is not based on any pay based system. The game's in game development tool called the Foundry toolset also allows for user generated content.

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15. Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Phantoms

Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Phantoms
Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Phantoms. © Ubisoft

Release Date: Apr 10, 2014
Genre: Multiplayer Tactical Shooter
Theme: Sci-Fi Military Shooter
Game Modes: Multiplayer
Game Series: Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon

Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Phantoms is a free to play third-person shooter where players take the role of a future soldier and battle in competitive multiplayer matches. The game includes three soldier classes: Assault, Recon, and Support as well as three game modes: Conquest, Onslaught and Holdout and for other multiplayer match types of Private, Matchmaking, Death Match and Clan Match. The game is completely free to play but does include options to pay money for items and other DLC to enhance gameplay. Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Phantoms is available for free download through Steam digital distribution service

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