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The Best Free-To-Play Games Of 2011: Our Favorite Ways To Waste Time, Not Money

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Posted December 29, 2011 - By Leah Jackson


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The Best Free-To-Play Games Of 2011: Our Favorite Ways To Waste Time, Not Money

There's no denying that free-to-play games on the PC have taken over the gaming industry over the past few years. While there are hundreds upon hundreds for you to play, get addicted to, and potentially spend a lot of money on through microtransactions, we wanted to point out a few of our favorites from 2011 that if you're not playing, you should definitely try. They are free after all! If these types of games aren't quite your style, be sure to check out our favorite casual Facebook and Google + games too.

The Best Free To Play Games Of 2011: Our Favorite Ways To Waste Time, Not Money

Sudden Attack

Sudden Attack, from Nexon, is the pioneer of free-to-play first-person shooters. For an FTP game it packs an awful lot of punch. There are ten different game modes, ranging from deathmatch to objective-based planting and detonating bombs, all the way to vampire mode, where random players are chosen to be the Host Vampire while the rest of the players have to hunt them down. While you can earn points in Sudden Attack to buy guns, the game follows a microtransaction model where players can purchase cash for boosts. Think Counter-Strike, but free!

The Best Free To Play Games Of 2011: Our Favorite Ways To Waste Time, Not Money

League of Legends

League of Legends, from Riot Games, has taken the free-to-play world by absolute storm. The game was inspired by the ever popular Warcraft 3 map mod Dota All Stars, and since its release in 2009,  the game has garnered over 10 million players. While the intricate details behind League of Legends would take quite a while to explain, the basic gist is that there are two teams trying to destroy one another's base, either in a three versus three or five versus five matchup. Right now there are over 80 champions, or characters, to play as, each with a variety of abilities.

What makes this game one of our favorites of 2011 is the recently introduced Dominion mode, an innovative fast-paced capture point mode that has reinvigorated the LoL player base. Again, LoL follows the microtransaction model, allowing players to purchase new champions, items, and skins for their characters. Dominion mode isn't the best reason to play League of Legends, but it defintiely is one of the more fun ways to experience the game, and the entire mobile online battle arena genre, in a new light.

The Best Free To Play Games Of 2011: Our Favorite Ways To Waste Time, Not Money

Minecraft Classic

If you've never heard of Minecraft then you've probably been living under a pixelated block for the past year. Nevertheless, Minecraft is the indie story of the century, a game that brings your creativity and imagination to life. With Minecraft Classic, you get all of the features from the game's creative mode, meaning you can build and destroy anything that you want, either alone or with friends, and there are no creatures that will damage you. Even though this is technically an older version of a game that was released this year, we still deem it as one of this year's best time-sinks, and at the glorious price of free, there's nothing stopping you from building the world of your dreams.


Lord Of The Rings Online Launches Update 5: The Prince of Rohan

Lord of the Rings Online

What started out as a pay-to-play MMORPG, Lord of the Rings Online from Turbine, has become one of the best FTP MMOs out there. Set in Middle Earth, the fantasy world created by J.R.R. Tolkien, LotRO lets players explore, adventure and fight the forces of Sauron all the way up to level 50 for free as either a Man, Elf, Dwarf, or Hobbit.

Featuring hundreds of hours of gameplay, quests, expansions, and fantastic developer support, this MMO is polished and absolutely worth a try if you're a Lord of the Rings fan.



Team Fortress 2

Team Fortress 2 from Valve only went free-to-play this year, and since it did, it has become one of the most played games on Steam, Valve's digital distribution service. TF2 is part comedic brilliance, part balanced gameplay, and part hats, all mixed to the perfect blend to create one hell of a unique shooter. In TF2 there are several game modes, like capture the flag, team deathmatch, and the more popular control point or payload maps where players must escort a mine cart to the other team's base in a certain amount of time. There are tons of classes, items, and achievements to unlock within TF2, and now that the game is free-to-play, there are tons of new items to purchase to get the ultimate experience out of the game. Plus, did I mention there are silly hats? Oh, I did? Well that's because I enjoy hats.

While these are some of the shining free-to-play games of this year, there are a few that are coming out in 2012 that we already have our eyes on. With the success that many games have seen via the ftp model this year, we expect that many companies will be vying for this model in the future, much to the delight of gamers everywhere. Here are a few that we're looking forward to:

End of Nations

End of Nations

End of Nations from Trion Worlds is a game that mixes elements of both massively multiplayer online games with real time strategy games. Across a persistent world, there are elements of progression for the player, who gets to choose a general to level up and use for objective-based missions. We haven't seen too much of EoN yet, but it's exciting to see these two genres meshed in to one, so we'll just have to see how this innovative title pans out.

Tribes: Ascend Will Be A PC Exclusive For Now

Tribes: Ascend

Tribes: Ascend is a free-to-play first person shooter from Hi-Rez studios. It's an updated version of the original Tribes from 2001 and features staples from the series like jetpacks and the ability to move around the map extremely quickly via "skiing" up and down the slopes of the map to get from one end of the map to another. Tribes: Ascend's gameplay revolves around a class-based system, so each class gets their own loadout of different weapons and items. Luckily for fans thirsting for something new, these aren't your traditional FPS classes, and they all have their own strengths and weaknesses so anyone can find the style that suits them best when it comes to this game.

firefall

Firefall


Firefall might be the game that I'm most looking forward to next year. It's currently classified as a massively multiplayer online shooter, taking elements from games like Team Fortress 2 and Borderlands to enhance its style. Firefall is a class-based shooter that looks great and plays brilliantly. It features both single-player and squad-based co-op missions, but rather than simply running around questing, you're going to playing objective based maps that will test your skills.

Now that you've seen the list of some of our favorite free-to-play games, let us know which ones you've spent all your time, not money, playing in the comments section.

Have something to share? Sitting on a news tip? E-mail me. You can also follow me on Twitter! 

The Best Free-To-Play Games Of 2011: Our Favorite Ways To Waste Time, Not Money
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