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We’re all going to be stuck indoors for a while, so this is a great opportunity to play one of the MMOs that you have always been meaning to try, but never had the time.

Free to Play MMOs

Some of the best MMOs on the market are free to play right now. Many of them are supported with in-game purchases like cosmetics and experience boosts, but they can be downloaded and played from front to back without spending money. These are a great option if you want to dive in, but don’t have the money to throw down for a new video game right now.

Star Wars: The Old Republic

Star Wars is, obviously, a very big deal right now. The Old Republic is an MMO that has been around for a while (it released in 2011), but it still receives updates and has an active community (nearly 200,000 users a day). The story takes place long before the movies and explores one of the cooler parts of the Star Wars timeline. If you or your kids are big into Star Wars, then this is going to be a good choice.

Star Trek: Online

Star Trek Online has about 100,000 monthly active players and has been around since 2010. This MMO gives you the chance to become your own Star Fleet captain with your own ship to command. There are quests that explore all of the major Star Trek storylines from the shows and the movies and lots of original content, too. Trekkies shouldn’t sleep on this one.

Guild Wars 2

GW2 has a very active user base with almost 350,000 daily users. It has a very immersive story that responds to player choice. It is a fun, high fantasy game with cool interesting races to choose from. You play as a member of a guild of adventurers who are gathering to hold off a group of ancient dragons from destroying the world.

Old School RuneScape

“Old School Runescape” was released in 2013 and has been receiving continuous support since it launched. It started as just being a relaunch of the 2007 version of the game, but its wild success has led to graphics overhauls, and new quality of life improvements. This version of Runescape is even bigger than the original with more than 2 million daily users.

Free (For Now)

Dungeons and Dragons Online

Dungeons and Dragons Online is exactly what the title says it is: an MMO build using the Dungeons and Dragons races, classes, and themes. This is a free to start game that is supported with DLC content packs that includes raids, challenges and dungeons. The developer has announced that, as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic, they are making the game and its content completely free for a limited period of time. The details are listed below:

  • All dungeons and raids, including those in expansion packs, are open to everyone through April 30.
  • The Buddy Bonus 5% XP will be active from March 20 through March 29. This will be in addition to the weekend events.
  • Mimic event will be active starting March 26 through April 6.
  • The anniversary event will be active starting March 26 through April 30.

Lord of the Rings Online

Lord of the Rings Online is an MMO that was originally released in 2007. It is a very lore heavy dive into the world of Lord of the Rings and is a great story to play through if you are a fan of the movies OR the books. It is a free to start game that is supported by DLC packs that include raids, quests, and “skirmishes.” The developer has announced that, as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic, they are making the game and its content completely free for a limited period of time. The details are listed below:

  • All quests, instances, and skirmishes, including those in expansion packs, are open to everyone through April 30.
  • The Curator will be returning starting March 26 through April 30.
  • There will be a 10% virtue XP boost starting on March 26 through April 6.
  • The Baggins’ Birthday event will be available March 26 through April 6.

Exceptions to the Rule

There are a few options out there that are worth mentioning in spite of the fact that they aren’t free.

World of Warcraft

How can I make a list of MMOs without mentioning World of Warcraft? It’s true that WoW has a monthly subscription, but it does have a fun demo. You can play up to level 20 as just about any race and class. This is a great option if you or someone in your family just needs a game to play for a short period of time and has no real intention of continuing the game beyond that.

Final Fantasy XIV

Final Fantasy XIV has become massively popular and is available on PC and PS4. The full version of FFXIV does require a purchase and a monthly subscription, but there is a free trial. The limitations on the trial are:

  • Free Trial Players can create only eight (8) playable characters, restricted to one (1) playable character per world.
  • Free Trial account characters have their level capped at level thirty five (35).
  • Free Trial account characters can obtain only a capped amount of in game currency (GIL).

What do you think? Are you or your kids going to play any of these games? Sound off in the comments and let us know your thoughts!

Make sure to keep your eyes on Engaged Family Gaming for all of the latest news and reviews you need to Get Your Family Game On!

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Blizzard Entertainment has announced that Battle for Azeroth, the newest expansion for the hit MMO World of Warcraft, will launch this summer. Further, Blizzard went on to explain that the expansion to the hit MMO will be available for pre-purchase on the World of Warcraft website.

[embedyt] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jSJr3dXZfcg[/embedyt]

Battle for Azeroth will bring an entirely new dimension to the battle between the Horde and the Alliance. The expansion will include a new continent to explore for each faction as well as brand-new game play features including allied races for each faction, new randomized island expansions,  and large-scale encounters called Warfronts.

One of the key features among those listed above is the inclusion of Allied Races. These are factions that existed as part of the game previously, but were limited to NPC roles. You’ve been able to do battle with Dark Iron Dwarves in the past.  In fact, they were the main enemies in some areas in the game. In the new expansion, however, they are able to join the Alliance and help them fight against their enemies. The same is true of the Zandalari trolls and their ability to join the Horde.

Players who choose to level up new characters and the expansion will be able to take advantage of newly revamped zones that will take them from level 1 to 100. Questing experience has been changed entirely. This new experience is built upon the popular feature that was introduced on the Broken Isles in the most recent expansion Legion. Zones across Azeroth, Outland, and Draenor  will now scale to a wide range of character levels. This makes it so that players can enjoy the quests stories and other content that they find there at their own pace.

The days of having to leave a quest line half finished because it’s no longer providing you experience are now over. You will be able to continue to earn all the experience that you need while completing quests that you are interested in. This is an interesting and exciting new addition to people that are interested in playing World of Warcraft as a role-playing game instead of racing through the original parts of the game just to see their way to the end as quickly as possible.

Standard and Deluxe Digital Edition

World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth is available for pre-purchase digitally in a Standard Edition that costs $49.99 and a Digital Deluxe Edition the cost $69.99 in addition to the expansion the Digital Deluxe Edition also includes a cache of in-game bonuses that allow you to proudly proclaim it your allegiance to the Horde or the Alliance in a variety of Blizzard games. These digital goods include the following:

  • World of Warcraft – “Charge into battle astride the Seabraid Stallion (Alliance) and Gilded Ravasaur (Horde) mounts, and explore new frontiers with Tottle, the baby Tortollan pet, at your side.”
  • Hearthstone – “After a rough day on the front, rest up at the tavern and play a few hands of Hearthstone with your hot new Azeroth Is Burning card back.”
  • StarCraft II –  “Make your mark on distant worlds with Horde- and Alliance-themed sprays.”
  • Heroes of the Storm – “Roar onto the Battlegrounds of the Nexus riding your Primal Flamesaber, a fiery new mount with three variants.”
  • Overwatch – “Champion your faction on the battlefields of tomorrow with Horde and Alliance voice lines for Torbjörn and emotes for Tracer; sprays featuring Anduin, Sylvanas, Jaina, and Varok Saurfang; and player icons representing Kul Tiras and Zandalar.”

Complete Feature List

[embedyt] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QsZ9xkVQ_Vs[/embedyt]

The full list of features in the expansion is as follows:

  • Explore Two Fabled Kingdoms – “As a champion of the Horde, travel to the empire of Zandalar to persuade the trolls to lend their naval might. As a defender of the Alliance, venture to the seafaring kingdom of Kul Tiras, home of Jaina Proudmoore, and rally its inhabitants to fight for your cause.”
  • Recruit Allied Races – “Take a new form for your adventures as several new playable Allied Races, each with unique racial abilities. Earn the favor of the Highmountain tauren, Void elves, Dark Iron dwarves, and others to create a new character of that race and add their strength to your faction.”
  • Plunder the Islands of the Great Sea – “Set out on Island Expeditions and conquer an ever-changing array of enemies, environments, and objectives. Battle in groups of three as you race against cunning rival intruders—or enemy players—to collect each island’s resources and fuel the war effort.”
  • Charge Into a Warfront –  “Fight on the battlefields of a large-scale, 20-player cooperative Warfront to claim a key strategic location. Capture resources to build your faction’s forces, lead the charge as your troops lay siege to objectives, and fight the enemy commander to claim victory in this new PvE mode inspired by classic Warcraft real-time strategy-game battles.”
  • Infuse Your Armor With Titanic Might – “Seek out Azerite, an invaluable new resource that has emerged in the Burning Legion’s wake. Imbue the Heart of Azeroth—a legendary neck piece entrusted to each hero by Magni Bronzebeard—with Azerite to customize your armor with new powers and traits.”
  • Battle to Level 120 – “Trace the corruption of the Blood God to the Underrot, unearth the secrets of a lost titan vault, escape from the Drust Realm of the Dead, and more as you quest through 10 new levels—then continue to grow in power through new World Quests, raids, dungeons, and more.”

What do you think? Sound off in the comments and let us know your thoughts!

Make sure to keep your eyes on Engaged Family Gaming for all of the latest news and reviews you need to Get Your Family Game On!

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By: Stephen Duetzmann, Editor and chief

Funcom released a trailer for a new MMO based about LEGO properties called “LEGO Minifigures Online.”

We are short on real details, but the trailer they posted on YouTube today shows off a very ambitious product. There are a TON of different LEGO worlds included here. The timing for this can’t be much better considering there is a LEGO Movie coming out next year.

Take a look at the trailer and sound off in the comments. What do you think?

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I was lucky enough to receive an invite to the Playstation 3 beta for Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn over the holiday weekend. I have been a lifetime Final Fantasy fan, so it was like Christmas in July. I spent about a dozen hours playing through the beta on various characters over the weekend and I wanted to share some important information.

#1: Playing an MMO with a controller is hard

There are a lot of people who will say that playing MMOs in general is hard. But, it took a lot of adjustment to be able to make basic combat commands work. The keyboard and mouse functions are far more intuitive because they involve clicking on a guy and pushing a number key. The bottom line is that unless your child can easily handle using the trigger buttons on the PS3 controller then it might be best to stick with the PC release.

#2: The game is stunning

I know we come to expect that games produced for current generation consoles are beautiful, but MMOs are a unique case. They often have to give up a lot when it comes to visuals in order to make the game run smoothly. Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn bucks that trend. The animations are smooth. The textures are incredible. Even the spell animations were neat to look at.

#3: The Lalafell race may just be the cutest thing in the history of video games

Look. Some people like to pretend to be big strong superheroes when they play video games. I was one of them. But, then I realized that I could create a digital person that both looks like my four year old son AND can manipulate the elements. I was instantly converted.

I see this as something that might have a lot of appeal for younger kids. I know my youngest got a lot of enjoyment from watching himself run around on the screen.

 

#4: The introduction and tutorial is LONG

I’ll admit that I might be looking back on my previous MMO experiences with rose colored glasses, but the introduction was very long and pretty dry. I am afraid that some kids will have difficulty sticking with it. The good news it that they don’t have to share every single experience that the game has to offer so many of us can just slog through the opening on our own after they head to bed.

 

#5: For all its beauty, it is still an online game

There is no way around it. Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn is still on online role playing game. As a result, there was still no shortage of borderline inappropriate names and obnoxious chatter over the chat channels. These are the kinds of problems are baked into online play. You just can’t separate yourself from them. They are less of an issue for kids who can’t read, but you are in a different world once those symbols on the screen start to hold meaning.

There is another round of beta testing beginning this weekend. I’ll post again if anything significant changes.

Have you or someone you know been in the beta? What were your thoughts? Post them in the comments! I’d love to hear them!

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