Ahh Free to Play - this always conjures up an image in my mind of micro-transactions that are inevitably needed to win the game, and sometimes even costing more in the end that some major AAA titles out there. EA is a huge culprit in this area, with the new mobile version of one of my favourite classics, Dungeon Keeper.
I haven't played it, and I don't intend on playing it. Apparently the cost of moving things along is just beyond ridiculous, but quite frankly, I didn't expect anything less from EA.
Luckily, their dumbass decisions have caused many awesome games to sprung up that are so-called Free to Play, and NOT Pay to Win. This is a really awesome way of actually going at the whole free to play model. You have this really awesome game that anyone can play in full, and actually complete the game without paying a cent (or be worried that you'll be up against other people who are way more powerful than you just because they have huge wads of unwanted money lying around).
This list will be my current top 3 Free to Play and NOT Pay to Win games.
1. Path of Exile
I have so far read only good things about this, so I decided to give it a shot as well. It's a online Action RPG game, available for free on Steam.
If you were, as I was, a bit disappointed in Diablo 3, then this might just be the hack 'n slash action you're looking for. One thing that really caught my attention was the unique game mechanics it has, as well as an enormous passive skill tree, I mean, look at this thing - go ahead, click on it!:
Here's also a link to a very cool version of it showing you what kind of buffs and stuff comes from where: http://i.imgur.com/rV2dlAG.jpg
Anyway, the only real money you can spend on Path of Exile is for vanity items that make you character stand out a bit more. There's no buying cool gear or buffs that will help you perform better in the game at all. Awesome!
The other cool mechanic these guys have come up with is instead of having set skill trees for each character class, you can pretty much decide which direction you want to take. Skills come in the form of skill gems (which also level up as you play, by the way) and you then socket these gems into your gear. You can swap them out at any time, and the three types you get are green, red and blue. Green is dexterity based, red strength based and blue is of course magic based. Don't worry, there are plenty of skills to ensure you have a unique build!
It is very possible for your tanking warrior to have some blue gems in his arsenal as well, or even that your powerful sorcerer shoots with a bow.
All of the character classes share the passive skill tree above, but they start at different locations of it, but you can steer your character in any direction you want.
Another feature that I really like is that they ditched gold or credits as a currency. In Wraeclast, which is where the game takes place (it's kind of like a purgatory place you get exiled to, hence the name of the game I guess). Instead, you use in game items like identify scroll, town portal scrolls, and various others to do the trading and crafting with. It's a very refreshing way of doing it, and it's one of my favourite features in the game.
I've now leveled up a character to about level 25, and I'm really enjoying it. It also does a coop game very nicely (although I've only played with one other person at a time).
The general ratings of about 8-8.5/10 is spot on. This is an excellent ARPG, and the value is unbeatable! Feel free to ditch Diablo 3 for this one, you won't be disappointed!
I'll be posting my other two games shortly, so be sure to check back soon!
Click here for Part 2 - Infinity Wars and here for Part 3 - Loadout