Yes, Mabinogi is one of our all time favorite free to play MMOs. This is probably obvious by now, but we're fans of the game. The design of Mabinogi really stands out when compared to all of the other free to play MMOs because it's so open. You can take up day jobs, gossip with townsfolk, make NPC friends, engage in a wide variety of crafting, go exploring for monuments, and even terraform the land to find buried treasures. And I haven't even mentioned combat once!
It's this wealth of options that makes Mabinogi a gem for the free to play market. Certainly there is an amount of grind to the game, but the grind is not focused in just one area. This is a game where you will find yourself doing a wide variety of activities if you should choose. It's not all about going out and beating on the nearest snow wolf so you can gain access to the next dungeon (though you can if you want to.) If you don't want to do it, Mabinogi doesn't force you to do it. That's the beauty of it.
Our downside to Mabinogi? The spam. Gold farmers like to infest this game for some reason, and it just gets to the point over overwhelming your chat box at times. We love the game, we're just not that keen about the farmers.
#2 - Runes of Magic
It's a game that steals all the best aspects of every other game! And if you think I'm kidding, I'm totally not!
No, really, Runes of Magic has gone around and pulled the best of the best and smashed it into a form of their original game. While this sounds kind of offensive at first, it actually comes out pretty nicely, especially as the game is free to play.
RoM features very polished features similar to World of Warcraft. The game plays through completing questlines and killing monsters as you level up from 1 to 50. But, the game also features player housing, a dual-class system so you can have two classes instead of one, some awesome choices for character and weapon customization, and Warhammer-esque public quests.
If you're looking for something to take the edge off of your WoW addiction for cheap, then you certainly want to check out Runes of Magic.
#1 -- Free Realms
If you didn't see this coming, then you need to drive your browser to the Free Realms site right now. Yeah, sure, it's targeted at kids. Yeah, sure, it's a little overly cartoony. But if you want a game that's going to hold your attention and provide more than an endless grind all for the low price of free, then this is the one.
It has kart racing, mini-games, silly quests, and an enjoyable atmosphere. You can grab a variety of professions from brawler to cook and find quests for all of them. Yet, most of all, it's an enjoyable game. You don't have to worry about racing to endgame or drilling for the best items or trying to find someplace to have some fun. In Free Realms, you literally trip over fun at every corner.
Inventive gameplay, a wide variety of fun activities, great graphics that run well on most machines, and it's free. You just can't argue with that.
Colin Brennan is the weekly writer of Anti-Aliased who doesn't want money to get in the way of good games. When he's not writing here for Massively, he's rambling on his personal blog, The Experience Curve. If you want to message him, send him an e-mail at colin.brennan AT weblogsinc DOT com. You can also follow him on Twitter through Massively, or through his personal feed.