9 Free-to-Play Video Games to Check Out While Stuck at Home
Thanks to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and various government responses, at all levels, there’s a good chance you’re reading this from home. And while nobody is going to pretend that the situation is ideal, there’s plenty of stuff out there to still enjoy life, even if your cash situation isn’t currently great. With that in mind, we’ve compiled a short list of free-to-play video games that you can jump into right now across a variety of platforms.
Now, those video games included here are only ones that were and will remain free to play. There are a ton of different games that have been made temporarily free, and while a number of them range from good to great, our recommendations here are focused entirely on those titles people can really sink their teeth into over months or years. As such, nearly all of them have a multiplayer component, but a couple can absolutely be played by yourself is that’s the path you choose.
Additionally, this list is by no means exhaustive, and there are plenty of titles out there beyond this is none of these are to your liking. Some common suggestions that I couldn’t bring to personally include were Gwent and Warframe, games I’ve heard are pretty dang good that I just have no significant experience with. Sorry to everyone that’s ever recommended Warframe to me, specifically; maybe this is the moment that I actually give the game a go.
Anything else you’d add here? Let us know in the comments, or hit me up directly on Twitter at @rollinbishop to talk all things gaming! But without further ado, here are nine free-to-play video games to check out while you’re stuck at home.
League of Legends
(Photo: Riot Games)
League of Legends is huge, huge, huge, but there’s also something of a steep learning curve that can be off-putting for folks just looking to dip into things. That said, there’s nothing but time at the moment for many folks, so why not take some of it to check out the extremely popular MOBA? Once you’ve really settled into things, and figured out how to actually kill minions appropriately, there’s a lot of fun to be had in League of Legends. That said, if you’re still struggling after a couple matches, what actually helped me was watching folks play the game on Twitch, but your mileage may vary.
Lord of the Rings Online / Dungeons & Dragons Online
(Photo: Standing Stone Games)
While neither of these free-to-play games are personal favorites, they are free and big, giant MMOs that folks can really sink their teeth into during this stressful time. The reason that both are included here, as a single entry, is that despite the fact that they don’t rank particularly highly for me, personally, they are maintained by the same developer, Standing Stone Games. The developer has made a bunch of paid DLC free for both games for folks to check out during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Either is worth giving a shot if you’re at all interested in the source material, and who knows? Maybe these will scratch an itch you didn’t know you had.
(Photo: Epic Games)
Of all the various free-to-play battle royale video games out there, Epic Games’ Fortnite still sits at top of the pack. The cartoon-y aesthetics and building during matches won’t be for everyone, but given that the video game is available on just about everything, and remains popular after many, many months, there’s sure to be those that find this to be their perfect cup of tea. Fair warning, however: out of all of these titles recommended here, Fortnite is the one where you’re most likely to get totally owned by a 10-year-old kid.
Magic: The Gathering Arena
(Photo: Wizards of the Coast)
Wizards of the Coast has dabbled with various online versions of its popular card game Magic: The Gathering for years now, but nothing’s ever really stuck the landing quite like the most recent iteration: Magic: The Gathering Arena. Arena is, of course, by no means a replacement for the paper product that still is quite popular, but it is by far the best version of the card game brought online yet. If you don’t go buying decks and cards, starting off can be a little difficult, but once you’ve cobbled together at least one passable deck, things snowball from there. Of all the free-to-play video games I regularly play, Arena is the one I can turn to just about whenever to have a good time.
Apex Legends might not get the same amount of headlines as Fortnite, but EA’s entry in the free-to-play battle royale arena brings a lot of quality-of-life improvements to the genre that basically every other developer should seriously consider implementing. In fact, several already have copied the game’s extremely useful ping system, for example. And while the game has its own unique problems, there’s a lot to love about Apex Legends‘ fast-paced matches, various character abilities, and world. If you’ve somehow avoided being drawn into Apex Legends until now, it’s available on consoles and PC and is just sitting there waiting for you.
Speaking of video games that don’t get their full due, Dragalia Lost, the first original IP Nintendo mobile game, is often overlooked by many folks in favor of stuff like Fire Emblem Heroes. But there’s actually a ton of fun characters in the game, and the story is a good time, but there’s a highly strategic underbelly if you just scratch the surface as well. If you’ve ever been interested by Granblue Fantasy, another incredibly popular free-to-play mobile game that’s just a little harder to play in English, this is by the same developer and available in mobile app stores. It’s the only phone game included here, and for good reason! It’s just that good.
Call of Duty: Warzone
It’s also worth nothing here that Activision recently released its own battle royale game in the form of Call of Duty: Warzone. The free-to-play mode brings the same frenetic Call of Duty gameplay to the genre, and will likely be incredibly popular over the next several months at least. Given the overall popularity of the franchise, it wouldn’t be surprised to see this stick around until a new iteration is eventually released, so now’s as good a time as any to join a crew and wreck fools.
Star Wars: The Old Republic
Maybe none of the previous stuff is your jam, but here’s one that should appeal to Star Wars fans: Star Wars: The Old Republic. BioWare’s MMO set in the world of Star Wars ages prior to the movies is still kicking, and it features some of the most engaging story content I’ve ever had the pleasure of playing through. The free-to-play shift wasn’t particularly kind to the game, in my opinion, but it’s still extremely playable if you can get past the mechanics of it all. If you’re at all interested in the Star Wars mythos, and have a decent PC, The Old Republic is a good time for relatively little investment.
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