Free PC games used to be the realm of quirky flash games or weird indie projects, but the free-to-play phenomenon has really taken off in the last couple of years. Now, the $ 60 AAA games that once ruled the roost are getting some real competition from games that offer hundreds of hours of gameplay for free.
There are innumerable free-to-play games available for the PC, and with that comes both good and bad. The large selection means that there is something to fit just about any taste, but the signal-to-noise ratio is truly atrocious. Instead of trudging through dozens of clones and half-hearted cash grabs, let me separate the wheat from the chaff for you. Today, I’m highlighting twenty of the very best free games on the PC to help you find something you’ll really love. There’s a lot to cover, so follow along, and something here is bound to strike your fancy.
Based on the popular Warcraft III mod called Defense of the Ancients (DotA for short), Valve’s Dota 2 is a model free-to-play game. Without spending one red cent, you get access to the entire gameplay experience. Of course, Valve makes a tidy profit from selling cosmetic and ancillary items. The Bellevue company is well-versed in the realm of free-to-play games, so don’t be surprised if you find yourself buying new loot for this “free” game once you’re hooked.
League of Legends
Just like Dota 2, League of Legends is a MOBA (multiplayer online batter arena) derived from the same Warcraft III mod. However, the folks at Riot Games have a very different pricing model than Valve’s. You can play a select number of characters for free, but access to additional characters is going to cost you. Regardless of the value proposition compared to other MOBAs, this game remains insanely popular across the globe.
Heroes of the Storm
As if there wasn’t enough competition in the MOBA space, Blizzard is getting in on the action as well. Heroes of the Storm takes elements from all of Blizzard’s various franchises, and melds them all together in a single DotA-like. This particular iteration of the MOBA concept has been lauded as more approachable than others in the genre, but it’s still in beta testing. If you want to play it, you’ll need to apply for access. Of course, Blizzard is more than happy to take your money for heroes and skins regardless. Most purchases range between $ 4 and $ 20, but there are a few outliers here and there. Anything could change, though, so buy carefully. A nerf is always around the corner.
Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft
Based on the artwork and setting of Blizzard’s incredibly popular Warcraft franchise, Hearthstone is a phenomenon in and of itself. This turn-based collectable card game is hugely successful on PC and mobile, and the low barrier to entry is the reason why. All you need is a free Battle.net account, and you can join in on the fun. As it stands, there are two single player campaigns that cost $ 25 each, and you can spend anywhere from $ 3 to $ 70 at a shot on booster packs. But if you just buckle down and play the game on a regular basis, you’ll soon earn enough good cards that you won’t really need to buy boosters to stay competitive.
If you’ve ever played a game like Cookie Clicker or Candy Box, you’ll be very familiar with the way this game works. When broken down into its component parts, you do little more than click buttons and watch numbers grow higher, but there’s something so viscerally satisfying about this style of game. AdVenture Capitalist, fundamentally, is a dopamine machine. You can download it for free on Steam, and you can spend anywhere from $ 2 to $ 100 at a shot for currency that will essentially speed up your progress. The problem is… the progress is all this game has to offer. What is even the point of clicking these damned buttons if you don’t enjoy the slow progress of it all? It’s hard to explain the appeal, but since it’s free, you can simply go see for yourself.
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