Free To Play MMORPGs

This table compares the Free-to-Play offerings and implementations of a range of mainstream big-budget MMORPGs.

Updated 1st November 2012 to update SWTOR’s F2P details.

GameSWTORLotROD&D OnlineEQ2DC Universe OnlineAge of ConanStar Trek OnlineChampions OnlineCity of Heroes
CompanyBioware/EATurbineTurbineSOESOEFuncomPerfect WorldPerfect WorldNCSoft
Premium Level (1)YYYYYNNNY
Vanity Microtransactions (2)YYYYYYYYY
Functional Microtransactions (3)YYYYYYYYY
Subscriber Stipend? (4)YYYYYYYYY
Restricts racesYNYYN/AYNN/A
Restricts classesNYYYN/AYNYY
Limited slotsYYYYYYYYY
Restricts questsNYYNNNY
Restricts zonesNNYNYNNY
Restricts levelNNNNNNN
Restricts character abilitiesNYYY
Restricts equipmentYNY
Restricts instancesYYYYY
Restricts raidsYYYNY
Restricts PvPYYYNN
Restricts inventory/bankYYYYYYY
Restricts cashYYYYYYY
Restricts sales/tradeYYYYYYY
Restricts chat/VoIPYYYYYYYY
Restricts travelYYY
Restricts mailYYYYYYYY
Restricts guild creationYYYYYY
Restricts cosmetic optionsYYYY
Restricts customer support and/or forum accessYYYYYY
Other restrictionsRestricted space missions, UI, crafting, emotes, Restricted rest XP, limited crafting optionsShorter AFK logout, restricted buyback historyRestricted quest journal slotsRestricted DLCRestricted alternative advancement, mounts, veteran rewardsRestricted mission creation, respecs, veteran rewardsRestricted veteran rewardsRestricted guild access, server transfers, mission creation, veteran rewards

The listed restrictions are in comparison to a full subscription account. If a subscriber doesn’t get the feature for free, I haven’t listed its lack for F2P accounts as a restriction.

  1. “Premium” options generally apply to players who’ve spent money on the game in the past but who don’t have an active subscription.
  2. Vanity microtransactions are wardrobe items, non-combat minipets, titles and other non-functional cosmetic items.
  3. Functional microtransactions are items that have a gameworld effect (eg “experience potions”, equipment, etc) or an effect on your account (eg extra character slots, access to new content, etc.)
  4. Games with a cash shop for microtransactions almost always offer subscribers a monthly stipend of store currency.

It’s also worth noting that almost all F2P MMOs promise “priority login!” for subscribers, which is pretty much a non-event as login queues are very unusual in almost every game, so I didn’t bother listing it as a real limitation.

City of Heroes is no longer in operation; I’m leaving its details here for now for comparison’s sake.