Don’t forget to check out the minimum system requirements before downloading and getting disappointed. All of the games listed are free to download and play, though don’t be surprised when you’re asked to pay for additional in-game content (they’ve got to fill up the coffers somehow, after all).
Originally based on a Warcraft III: Frozen Throne map called Defense of the Ancients, League of Legends is a session-based 5 on 5 multiplayer battle. Each team starts at opposite ends of the map, next to their “Nexus”, which they must defend. The winner is the team who destroys the enemy’s Nexus, simple as that.
At the start of the game each player chooses a champion (of which there are currently 76 in total), though your choice will be limited based on your progress, or willingness to pay to unlock further characters. There are two game modes, Normal and Ranked, with Ranked introducing tougher restrictions and a Level 30 requirement to play.
Getting started is as easy as registering a free account, downloading the client and logging in. Before jumping into battle and failing miserably you’ll be walked through a tutorial, and given a basic introduction to controls, items and spells. Then you’re free to take on the world for guts, gold and glory.
Do you enjoy shooting things? How about driving and flying whilst shooting things? Then the case is clear – you need to play Battlefield. Dating back to September 2002 when Battlefield 1942 was originally released, the Battlefield franchise has gone from strength to strength over the years and this free offering might stave off the hunger before Battlefield 3 lands.
Incorporating heavily team-based capture and attack/defend game modes along with vehicle-driven warfare, your average match can be explosive to say the least. With tanks, planes, air strikes and fully destructible buildings there’s plenty of eye candy and action to keep even the most seasoned players happy.
Certainly one to revisit if you remember the frantic, laggy yet golden days of BF1942 and Road to Rome.
Vindictus is a massively multiplayer online role playing game (MMORPG) with some brutal hack-n-slash gameplay. Running on Valve’s fantastic Source engine, the game is visually pleasing even by today’s standards. The in-game objects can be interacted with, destroyed and picked up to be wielded as weapons.
There are currently 3 classes to choose from (though 5 are planned) and regardless of class, teamwork is essential if you’re to advance the game and beat Vindictus’ 6 story-based episodes.
Taking its cues from classics like Counter-Strike and the Call of Duty franchise, Combat Arms is a jam-packed free first person shooter from South Korean developer Doobic Studios. The game features a levelling system, with the player earning Gamer Points to spend on additional weapons and customization.
There are ato enjoy, including capture the flag, co-op play and various objective based game modes. Of course there’s always the option of flashing your cash, and this will allow you to buy unlocks with NX (the publisher’s credit system, which requires real money).
Combat Arms also features an integrated clan system and gaming leagues, making it quite a competitive corner of the web.
The final game on our list isn’t quite as meaty as the previous two, but may suit younger and casual online gamers. MapleStory is a side-scrolling MMORPG with simple controls and plenty of bright colours.
The game follows the typical RPG setup, with your character venturing into dungeons to defeat monsters, meeting fellow warriors, levelling up abilities and collecting in-game currency known as “Mesos”.
In addition to developing the ultimate warrior, players can also form guilds, get married and even form families. Unsurprisingly, MapleStory is huge in South Korea where it was initially developed.
Honorary Mention: Duty Calls
War. War never changes. Oops, it just did! Not strictly a multiplayer game (well, it’s not strictly a game at all) Duty Calls is a Call of Duty parody released alongside the recent Bulletstorm as a marketing ploy. If you’ve played Modern Warfare (or any Call of Duty game since) then you’ll be giggling like a school girl for the most part.
Hopefully there’s enough multiplayer carnage here to at least whet a few appetites. The fact that these games are free to play at least gives you the ability to fully evaluate them before deciding to splash out on some upgrades. Then again, you might never feel the need to pay a penny and enjoy some quality games for the sweetest price of all.
Do any of these free online multiplayer games tickle your fancy? Have you got any other suggestions for us? We love to hear what you think, give us the low-down in the comments below.
Intro image: Shutterstock