Update: We've updated this list with two very popular, top-of-the-line experiences that'll allow gamers to keep playing for hours on end without even paying a single cent (unless they want to, of course).
With the inclusion of brand new titles over the previous year, the game market gets bigger and better every year. Simply put, there’s just more titles to choose from, and among these titles are free multiplayer games. Players who demand more from their games are not let down, as even older titles are updated to keep up with the newcomers, and that in itself is a boon for gamers who are already playing them.
In addition, no matter what kind of game you like, there’s probably a great free game just waiting for you. This isn’t a very specialized list in terms of genre, but if you feel the multiplayer itch and are looking for a great game to share with friends, keep this in mind.
While there are many to choose from, we had to narrow down our selection for our best free multiplayer games of 2014.
Based on the epic Dungeons & Dragons IP, Neverwinter is astounding in its beauty. Few MMOs have ever achieved the level of gorgeous detail packed into every facet of the game. And it's not just pretty to look at either, the combat is immensely satisfying. Its level and character customization also harken back to what made D&D so fun in the first place: writing your own adventures. As both an action adventure RPG and an MMO, Neverwinter excels.
11. Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Phantoms
Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Phantoms takes the tactical gameplay of its single-player Ghost Recon counterpart and injects it into an online multiplayer experience. Players step into the boots of a Ghost and use cutting-edge weapons and technology to link up to their squad to dominate enemies on tomorrow’s battlefield.
10. War Thunder
War Thunder is described as a ‘next-gen’ MMO combat game dedicated to World War II-themed military aviation, armored vehicles, and fleets. Players take part in all of the historical combat battles, fighting against real players all over the globe. Offering a detailed and personalized aviation experience, players have access to hundreds of airplanes with detailed cockpits, and upgrades.
9. World of Tanks
The folks over at Wargaming.net have absolutely mastered their craft. The full roster of historically accurate machines is nothing short of impressive, as is their steady march into Warplane and Warship territory. The full family of games provide a rich experience over mobile, Xbox 360, and browser, all tied to a single user's account so they can track and manage their armies from a unified profile. And above all its among the most highly rated online strategy games in the past three years.
Playable for free on both the PC and PlayStation 4, Warframe is a cooperative third-person shooter in which four players team up to work together on a randomly generated mission, eliminating enemies or capturing data from mission terminals. You level up as you shoot your way through each cooperative mission, and earn rewards to deck your character out with new abilities, weapons, and gear. Paying for items in the game is just an added way to distinguish yourself from the rest of your team.
7. Planetside 2
Planetside 2 is a massively multiplayer free to play FPS, wherein a multitude of players participate in gigantic land battles for the conquest of territory. Taking place over the face of the planet Auraxis, where three distinct groups battle for territorial dominance. They have at their disposal numerous vehicles and weapons to allow for a futuristic experience of war that's not unlike Battlefield 2142 and the original Planetside. In addition to being free to play on the PC, the game is coming soon to the PS4.
6. Star Wars: The Old Republic
Star Wars: The Old Republic is the continuation of the Knights of the Old Republic series of role-playing games by BioWare. SWTOR features multiple independent storylines based on the character class you choose to play as. Very much like the singleplayer games, you get to choose your dialogue options and even recruit NPC allies to support you in battle. However, unlike its singleplayer counterparts, each character class fits in with MMORPG mechanics of healing/DPS/tank and the game must be played cooperatively if you wish to get the most out of it. SWTOR is free to play and its story can be experienced to completion without you having to pay a single cent, although you'll want to pay to get more out of the experience.
5. Team Fortress 2
Team Fortress 2 features the age old war of red versus blue, pitting two teams of players against each other in a battle to capture the most flags or destroy the enemy base with the detonation of a bomb-in-a-minecart, among other modes. Players choose from one of many classes, such as Sniper, Soldier, or Engineer, and contribute to the battle as best they can. Their contributions are made more diverse with the inclusion of character customization in the form of weapons and gear, which allows players to very slightly modify how they deal damage or perform in battle. You'll want to pay for the game if you want to further customize your character's looks.
4. Path of Exile
Path of Exile is like a free-to-play version of Diablo 3—an action RPG. Players choose from several different classes, each of which comes with a wide array of skills, which happens to be so vast that looking at it might even give you a headache because there's just too much to choose from. With that much freedom in the offering, it comes as little surprise that players are able to come up with diverse character builds with which to play the game.
3. League of Legends
Like DOTA 2, which is up next on this list, League of Legends is a MOBA, or multiplayer online battle arena, where players choose their heroes to do battle on a field where two sides compete for dominance. Impressively, League of Legends is the most popular online game right now due to its low barrier for entry and the fact that it's free to play. Players can purchase aesthetics to customize their favorite heroes to show off in battle.
2. DOTA 2
DOTA 2 originates from a Warcraft 3 mod called Defense of the Ancients, and sees players take on the roles of various heroes and villains on a field of battle where two sides, the Ancients and the Scourge, fight a perpetual war against each other. Each hero comes with its own set of skills and serves a specific utility in the game. With dozens of heroes to choose from, DOTA 2 can be a daunting experience to attempt to master, although it's very easy to get into.
Hearthstone isn't Blizzard's first foray into the world of trading cards, but it's certainly its most successful. Confined to computers (and soon to be seen on mobile devices), Hearthstone pits players against each other as the heroes of Warcraft, each with a unique deck of cards to their name. Heroes can fling spells at each other and summon all manner of beasts to take the field. Playing much like its physical counterpart, the Warcraft TCG, and Magic: The Gathering, Hearthstone has a really low entry barrier (it's free!) and an easy learning curve, making it the perfect game for both casuals and hardcore gamers alike.