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The Best Games You Don’t Need Money to Buy

Sometimes the best games in life are free...
This article is over 11 years old and may contain outdated information

Sometimes a game can be worth every penny, but there are some games that flip the formula on its head and give you the cow for free and charge for the milk. It can be hard to try and keep up with which games might be worth your time (and money), and which ones aren’t. Hopefully this guide will help you find a few new ones!

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Starting out

There are tons of free games out there, but I tried to keep it limited to ones I have played, or at least ones that I think are worth playing. I am sure to have missed a few so if I missed a game you like please leave a comment and let everyone else know! 

I won’t get too in depth on any of the games, but if you are interested in specifics I’ll link to the websites for all the games in their titles. Remember all the games are free so there is nothing to lose!


After the success of World of Warcraft a lot of developers knew that the only way to gain an audience would be to make their games free to play. Here are two of my favorites!

  • Star Wars The Old Republic– This game had so much going for it that it really hurt to see it fail. The Knights of the Old Republic games were insanely good, and putting you into a world with other players seemed simple enough, but after quarter after quarter of losses the game went free to play. I played the game when it was payed, and I have played the game now that it’s free and I think the game is better for it. You get a lot if you pay, but the abundance of voice actors and story driven quests is still there for someone who doesn’t put a penny into the game. If you like Star Wars this game is a no brainer, and even if you have a passing interest, you might want to give this game a try. (PC only)
  • Lord of the Rings Online– This game is starting to show its age, but don’t let that scare you off! It is a lot of fun, the abundance of races and the lore behind the game let you start off with a solid game, but when you add some good quests and abilities the game really shines. The game didn’t have much staying power for me, but I’m sure if I gathered some friends to play with me I could really enjoy this title. (PC and Mac)


It’s easy to see why people love shooters so much. They are fast paced, easy to play, and eternally gratifying. So its no wonder there are an abundance of them out right now. But what is really great is that some of the best titles are also completely free! Here are some of the best that I’ve played.

  • Team Fortress 2– If you have never played this game before then you need to close this article and get to work (and by work I mean go play TF2). It stands tall as “America’s #1 war-themed hat simulator”and is far and away one of, if not the best class based first person shooter ever. I have dumped hundreds of hours into this game and could write thousands of words about why I love it, but why bother, when you can just download it for yourself and find out! Come for the shooting, stay for the hats. (PC and Mac)
  • Planetside 2– I almost put this game into the MMO category but it feels more at home here. This game takes the best of Battlefield and puts it into a perpetual world where players can take over territories and battle for control of the world. It has tanks, aircraft, and power suits, what’s not to love? The game is really well done and has all the polish and shine of a $60 game, and is worth it just to see the epic battles that ensue night after night. (PC)
  • Hawken– Mech games are usually insanely complex and slow paced, so when the developers of Hawken announced that they were making a fast paced arena shooter with Mechs, you can imagine my skepticism. But then after playing the game during it’s Beta phase, I was ready to shell out some cash for the joy of watching metal boxes on legs blow each other up. But much to my joy the developer announced that it was going to be free to play. Definitely worth playing! (PC)
  • Tribes: Ascend– A friend described this game to me as “Jetpacks with guns” and I Can’t think of a better way to describe it. This is a tough game to get into because of it’s difficulty, but if you have the time and the determination, it can be tons of fun! (PC)


MOBAs are a notoriously tough genre, with a steep learning curve (I have a beginners guide here) but one of the best parts is that they all are built around the free to play model. Everyone else is already playing, what are you waiting for!?

  • League of Legends– This is the biggest name in the game right now, and for good reason. It was one of the first full games and is complex without being overly difficult. There is a steady stream of updates and the developers are devoted to their fans. It also is amazingly easy to just watch other people play high level matches so that you can learn more complex ways to play. You should just download this now to avoid having to wait for it later. (PC and Mac)
  • DOTA 2– Another step up in terms of difficulty but not so difficult that you shouldn’t play. But also a step up in terms of polish and gameplay. It’s still in beta, and invite only, but there is no shortage of invites available so if you are interested, check it out! (PC, Mac soon-ish)
  • Heros of Newerth– The most difficult of the genre right now, and also the largest roster. This game doesn’t change the genre too much, but is so finely tuned that it’s hard to ignore. If LoL and DotA are too easy for you, check this game out!


There are tons of other free games but here are some that I couldn’t fit into one of the other categories. 

  • The Banner Saga: Factions- I reviewed this game a little bit back and loved it, since then, the developer has updated some of the features, and it’s even better now. With some amazing artwork, and music, this turn based strategy game is on par to be on some top ten lists this year, and for the price you couldn’t ask for more. (PC and Mac)
  • World of Tanks– The name of this game says it all. It’s a game about tanks, a whole world of them in fact… and much like the World of Warcraft its a massive multiplayer game where you will wage battle across maps, upgrading gear and outfitting yourself in the rarest items in the land, only instead of a elf or tauren, you play as a Panzer or Sherman. (PC)
  • Need for Speed: World – I’m not a big fan of racing games so I can’t say too much about this game. But I know a few people who love the game so if you enjoy racing games, and were looking for a free one to play this may be right up your alley! (PC)

    Wrap up!

    Thats it for now, but feel free to tell me about any games I might have missed! Hopefully you found out about a new game or two, and if you play them and have anything to say let me know! Thanks and keep gaming!

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Image of LeviHaag
My name is Levi Haag. I am a father of two amazing kids, husband, a writer, and most people tell me I’m a pretty good guy. It can be tough to find good games and take care of kids, so I decided to try and help other dads out by reviewing games that I can play with my kids or while they are asleep.