Don't worry, because I've taken the time to compile and test 25 MMOs that will work wonderfully on your new toy! Yes, there are real MMOs out there that are not dependent on the latest graphics card or six gigs of ram. These are fully realized worlds, complete with chat windows and socializing. I will make a note if the game might have some difficulty on the oldest of hardware -- or the least powerful -- so keep an eye out for that. Otherwise, download away!
For the record, this is my new toy. I got it for work, but you know the first thing I had to do was try out gaming on it. Click past the cut to see the list! Tibia: This 10-year-old cutie is actually quite detailed and complex. If you like Ultima Online, you might be fond of this one. Ten years of updates means that there is always something to do. It will run on any machine.
2) RuneScape: I just wrote about RuneScape, so click here for a look. This game will run on pretty much any machine and will provide more depth and adventure than many multi-million dollar modern creations. Do yourself a favor: Take your time with this one. If you feel a grind coming on, go find another activity. After all, there are hundreds.
3) Linkrealms: While this one is still in testing (apply on the forums), you will be more than happy if you get in. Think Ultima Online with a twist plus amazing animations and spell effects. It's well worth the time it takes to apply.
4) Poptropica: This Flash-based kids game might be great for all ages, but the puzzles it provides will be fun for everyone. You can try out the game all you want, but you must register in order to save your character. This should run on anything.
5) Domain of Heroes: DoH takes classic text-based gaming and puts a twist on it. Your character can be set to explore a dungeon and can be checked up on later. The stories and quests are a lot of fun, and it will run on anything with a browser. The community is also top-notch.
6) Might and Magic: Heroes Kingdoms: If you have a browser, you can play Might and Magic. A piece of advice: Join a clan and you'll have much more fun. You only need to check in a few minutes a day, making this a perfect game for sneaky work-time playing!
MilMo: Check out this game for a full, 3-D world in your browser, thanks to the wonderful Unity engine.
8) Mabinogi: You might have some issues running this on certain netbooks that do not provide the minimum resolution, but if you get a chance, download it. Now. Mabinogi provides more "things to do" than most any MMO out there, save for social games or worlds like Second Life. Weather systems impact gameplay, crafting is fun and in-depth, and the cash shop is brilliant (but a little pricey at times). This is a must-have for notebook owners.
9) Puzzle Pirates: You know how players have always dreamed about piloting a ship with their guildmates? Well, Puzzle Pirates really did it first. The game is centered around your performing puzzles to do everything from crafting to fighting. It sounds silly, but trust me -- the game is brilliant. Many of the group activity puzzles like sailing and fighting should be implemented in other MMOs. It will run on netbooks and notebooks.
10) Wizard101: If card battles are your thing, then Wizard101 is for you. Also, the developers specifically started with the intention of making a game that could run on any device, and they achieved it. Don't let the cartoony look of the game fool you; there is strategy here for all ages. It does have linear gameplay and a pricey cash shop, however.
12) TalesWeaver: I looked at TalesWeaver recently, so check that out. Essentially the game is based around NPC interaction and conversation choices as well as combo-based, intense combat. If old-school NES games are your thing, check this one out. It should run decently on a netbook, as long as the resolution is met.
13) Golemizer: If crafting, steampunk and 8-bit is your style, go with this one. As far as I know, it's a one-man operation but boasts thousands of players. I haven't tested it on anything but a notebook, but I have a feeling it will be OK on just about any setup.
15) Canaan Online: Flash-based games have come a long way, and Canaan Online is proof of that. Inside this browser-based cutie you will find turn-based combat, a fully fitted world to explore, and plenty of quests.
16) Shadowtale: I love this action game! You can literally block and dodge attacks, and you swing your sword when you hit a button. If you started with Vindictus and took out the "adult" look of the game, turned it into a 2-D world, and gave it some housing options, you just might end up with this.
17) Code of Everand: I had no idea, but this game was created to teach children about traffic safety by making them "battle" through differently colored areas of the world. Still, it doesn't come off as preachy or silly, and it actually feels sort of epic. If you are familiar with the look and feel of Dofus, you'll feel at home in this one. I also love the intro trailer.
18) Darkwind: What an odd duck this one is! If you are at all familiar with car-based paper RPGs or boardgames, you will know what to expect from this. Essentially, you race your vehicle through different scenarios using a turn-based system of combat and movement. No, it works -- I promise.
19) Glitch: Ah, I have such a crush on Glitch! While it is still in an alpha phase, once you're in you can expect to see gameplay like you haven't in any side-scroller before. Or in any game, period. Watch the trailer and be mesmerized.
20) AdventureQuest Worlds: Can you name a game that is as frequently updated as this Flash-based freebie? The community is massive, and the game should run on just about anything. Some netbooks might cut off the screen a bit, though.
21) Faunasphere: Your goal in this game is to defeat pieces of pollution using your pet's abilities. You can also customize your own housing area and participate in community events. It might lag a bit on netbooks, but otherwise this is a great choice!
23) MapleStory: The is one of the largest games in the world, and you can easily see why. It's fun, stylish, easy to run and addictive. Use the same Nexon account that you used for Mabinogi for this one.
24) Dofus: While not truly a browser-based game, this Flash-based, turn-based cutie will run on anything. Be aware that, at first, there will not be many players around -- but soon enough the world opens up in many ways.
25) Fragoria: I have just started playing this game, but it already looks very promising. There is a large community and a lot to do, and the game looks great, as well. Check this one out for sure.
For the sake of my editor, I will stop here. Be aware that browser-based and Flash games are really just now starting to become what they always should have been. New technologies like Unity are allowing the creation of beautiful MMOs that offer the same choices as any downloadable, 10-gig monster. Try all of these out if you can -- you just might find a new love.
Each week, Free for All brings you ideas, news, and reviews from the world of free-to-play, indie, and import games -- a world that is often overlooked by gamers. Leave it to Beau Hindman to talk about the games you didn't know you wanted! Have an idea for a subject or a killer new game that no one has heard of? Send it to firstname.lastname@example.org!