The Daily Grind: What’s the best MMO to play if you’re totally broke?

    
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A while back I saw an interesting thread on the Guild Wars 2 Reddit, in which the player was asking whether he was missing out by being a free player – that is, not buying anything in the game. The comments were illuminating; the general consensus was that you’re not missing out on much if you’re just exploring the world and leveling up, but that come level 80, you’d probably be wanting the expansion content, mounts, and living world access too much to pass it up.

I agree with that consensus, mind you, and while I think mounts are a huge advantage for leveling up, the truth is we all got by without them just fine for years, and if you’re really broke, there’s an absurd amount of content on offer for free. Just don’t look at the cash shop!

Still, GW2 isn’t the only game like that. What would you say is the best MMO to play if you’re totally broke?

Every morning, the Massively Overpowered writers team up with mascot Mo to ask MMORPG players pointed questions about the massively multiplayer online roleplaying genre. Grab a mug of your preferred beverage and take a stab at answering the question posed in today’s Daily Grind!
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Zero_1_Zerum

When ESO releases a new expansion, they’ll often have a pre-order offer that includes all previous expansion content.
That’s a pretty good deal.

But, if you don’t have any money at all, I guess STO would be the way to go. You can play most, if not all, of the story without any money.

Random MMO fan
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Random MMO fan

EVE Online. You can convert in-game currency to subscription time by buying PLEX (PLEX is being sold by players who buy them using real life currency) so you can basically play for free with access to all skills and all zones and all items as long as you can farm a lot of in-game currency.

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Sorenthaz

Warframe if you count it as an MMO.

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Utakata

Currently TERA. That is, because I got their B2P founders pack before they went F2P, which lets me play literally for free if I where paying a sub for it. And I haven’t used their cash shop since getting that installed…

…this may not help those looking for break currently, though. :(

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Hikari Kenzaki

By the same standard of “You’re fine leveling up and exploring until…” SWTOR and STO both fit that mark.

SWTOR’s F2P model is probably the best it has ever been. All the vanilla content and some of the expansions are totally free and that’s days, weeks, or months of content. At some point, if you have $5 to spend, that opens up a world of possibilities.

STO for all that people complain about Cryptic literally nothing content related is gated behind a paywall. Sure, you might not have the fanciest ships and gearing up for the ultra-highend endgame might be harder, but 10 years of content is free.

On the same “if you come across $5” token, Black Desert Online is probably the best $5-10 you could spend. And Black Desert Mobile is free and arguably a better game in some respects than the original.

DDO and Neverwinter are both games we’ve been playing every Thursday for several months on MOP’s Twitch channel and most of us in the group are totally free players.

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Arktouros

I mean if you’re dead ass broke can’t spend anything and you don’t have any prior purchases made (IE: expansion content in B2P titles etc) then probably player run servers at your best go to if you need a MMO fix.

Many games offer B2P models that offer tons of content as well if you can afford a modest box price. Guild Wars 2 is a great example here especially since you can earn in game currency and trade it for premium currency and get purchases but I wouldn’t want to play without the expansions. There’s also a lot of B2P “games as a service” games that operate under this model and rarely have oppressive, mechanic blocking cash shops.

Generally speaking I like to avoid recommending any game that locks game mechanics behind a paywall. So like ESO is out because I think the game is impossible to play without the crafting bag which is subscription only. I love Path of Exile but there’s literally no way I would play or recommend it without a bit of cash for storage tabs because a currency or map tab is literally game changing. Really I could list many other games in this category, but that’s kinda the state of the online game genre at the moment.

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starbuck1771

Lord of the rings online. It’s free to play plus you can earn points to unlock expansions via completing achievements.

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Oleg Chebeneev

Ya, gl collecting enough to unlock expansions. lol

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losludvig

Playing LotRO or DDO without ever spending any money sounds like a really, really bad idea unless frustrations are a turn-on for you

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Castagere Shaikura

Agree and I really hate how people try to push those two games on people. They are the worse right now.

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Ben Stone

I mean, not ‘right now’ since all content in both games is fully unlocked for another month for free. But yes, in the standard non-COVID model they both have really high barriers to entry, but once you are past them you basically don’t have to spend anything.

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Vincent Clark

Sweet Jesus, no.

Random MMO fan
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Random MMO fan

LOTRO has one of the most awful grind systems I have ever experienced, and that was back when it was a sub fee only, where you had to grind all those mobs for deeds.

William_Hououin
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William_Hououin

Keep in mind it’s a text based game, but Agonialands is totally free, no cash shop, no subscription, playable directly in your browser, and the community is great too :)

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Oleg Chebeneev

Lost Ark has tons of content that isnt hidden behind paywall. Besides it is new and a true AAA MMORPG.

I could also recommend Age of Conan and Secret World Legends

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losludvig

PSO2 seems like a decent pick. While the subscription is nice no content is behind a paywall and most of the paid options can be aquired in either limited or grindy fashion by just playing the game.