Once expensive, now free – the best free-to-play games

Play for free on the PC with friends – where subscription fees used to be due, you can now play for free. We have selected the best free-to-play titles.

Free-to-play or Free-2-Play (F2P) is a relatively new form of distribution of PC games, but it has already achieved great popularity. Even former full-price games with subscription fees are now relying on the model.

First of all, free-to-play does not differ from freeware: It is 100% free. Optionally, however, you can buy benefits or virtual items – usually for small amounts. For real money. That can be a pretty hat with a feather for the character. But also a horse with which you can travel around faster. Usually, low single-digit euro or dollar amounts are incurred for this. Depending on the game, payment is made by credit card, PayPal or a prepaid method. The purchased items sometimes have no advantages (hat), sometimes greater advantages (horse). However, the advantage over other players who do not want to spend money must never be unfairly large. After all, game developers do not want to mess with potential customers or depopulate the virtual worlds because many are annoyed to unsubscribe.

The multiplayer shooter Quake Champions has also been a free-to-play game for some time. Quake Champions was presented for the first time at Quakecon 2016, and the arena shooter has been available since August 2017. The game combines elements from the first Quake (from 1996) with the multiplayer game modes of Quake III Arena. Then there are the so-called champions, each with unique properties and skills.

The purchase is always optional with free-to-play, you can also play the game without taking money into your hand. Some F2P games hardly let the player notice that he can also invest real money here. Others are annoying with often repetitive references to affordable content. The latter in particular are often decried as pay-to-win. Those who butter a lot of money into the game have unfair advantages over free gamers, so the allegation. Practice shows that most pay-to-win games are quickly avoided by many players after a brief period of euphoria. In general: the developers want to earn money with their game. This is of course legitimate, but it takes a certain instinct to encourage the players to pay, but not to scare them away.

In our download gallery you will find both very early representatives of the free-to-play era that have always been free – such as “Runes of Magic”. But you can also find candidates who switched from the old subscription model à la World of Warcraft to the free-to-play warehouse in the download gallery. Including big names like “Lord of the Rings Online” and “Star Trek Online”. The free-to-play model seems to work best in multiplayer games; most of the F2P titles are online games.

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