The Search For the Best Free MMO Begins
Today the search for the best free MMOs available begins. Every week a new article will be posted reviewing a free MMOG (massively multiplayer online game). It is understood that when you're talking about MMOs you can't really experience all that it has to offer in just a week, however, since these are free MMOs they will be judged on a different standard, not only do they need to be able to keep you interested, but they also need to be able to get you interested in the first place. With pay games it's easy, there's an investment made; nobody is going to shell out $40, and then $15 for a subscription fee just to play for an hour and decide they don't like it. When the game is free to play, there is no investment, if the game can't grab the player in that hour (more realistically within a few minutes), then that game won't convert that player into a subscriber.
In other words, a review that reviews only the end game of an MMO, or allows the endgame to be a justification for a poor new player experience isn't doing the person reading the review any favors, since they will then decide to play the game, and not have any fun at all because the new player experience is cruddy. Each MMO will be given a review of up to 12 hours of play time, the end game will be considered as well, but first impressions will be weighted heavily in the review scores.
Games already due for review include Dungeons and Dragons Online, Lord of the Rings Online, Mabinogi, Maple Story, R.O.S.E. Online, Everquest 2, Karos Online, Entropia Universe, Istaria, Loong, and Wizard 101.
Any other suggestions for free MMOs that need to be included on this list to be reviewed should be posted as comments. MMOs receiving a high score in this initial review will later be reviewed in a more in-depth fashion. The ultimate winner will be announced in the final article of this series, and will be a game that offers (with absolutely no monetary investment from the player) a good new player experience, and deep end game content. Scores will be dinged (heavily) if end game content needs to be purchased, or you can't participate for some reason or another without spending money, but games will not take a hit merely for having the option of microtransactions. (they have to make their money somewhere, but it shouldn't be by dangling better gameplay in front of you)