The strategy genre is a much appreciated part of the free-to-play segment. There are literally hundreds of strategy games, some good, some bad, some shameless clones and finally some that are rushed with the sole purpose of getting a few bucks from distracted players. Here are some quality games that you should at least try, since they have some undeniable qualities. However, this is personal opinion only, as usual, since this is a really difficult top to put together.
Here is our Top 10 Free to Play Strategy MMO games:
10-Ministry of War (Terra Militaris)
Ministry of War is a very polished strategy MMO, offering some great visuals to go with a clean interface and familiar – possibly too familiar – gameplay. It can suck time away with its resource gathering and city-building mix, along with combats that can be solved automatically or in real-time in the battlefield. It will only become repetitive later, when players who don’t buy items have to wait long hours to get anything done, but it’s definitely worth a look.
Play Now Free: Ministry of War
9-Iron Grip Marauders
A free strategy game with a truly original setting, Iron Grip Marauders mostly focuses on the turn based combat and the skills that go with it. RTS fans will appreciate it the most and will probably fondly remember the times when they were counting action points in classics such as Fallout or X-Com.
Play Now Free: Iron Grip Marauders
The makers of Business Tycoon Online are back with another free browser-based simulation MMO, RichState. The main selling point is the ability to customize vehicles and race in different competitions in PvE and PvP modes. It’s a nice addition to the usual business management gameplay and something that proves entertaining.
Play Now Free: Richstate
Castle Empire – also known as The Settlers Online in Europe – is based on the popular series The Settlers from Ubisoft. It can be compared to Age of Empires Online, although the cartoon visuals aren’t so pronounced. There’s a great zoom function to check a larger part of the map and the territory expansion gameplay is as addictive as it ever was, when Blue Byte launched the first chapter of The Settlers in 1993.
Play Now Free: Castle Empire
Ikariam is a strategy MMO based on a Greek theme, being something of a precursor to similar themed games such as Caesary. It’s also a game that mixes elements from other F2P MMOs such as Evony and Travian, while even drawing some comparisons to classic Civilization. But this is a game that can stand on its own thanks to the focus on player cooperation and a balanced gameplay.
Play Now Free: Ikariam
Grepolis is a 2D browser game set in ancient Greece and another game that manages to stand the test of time thanks to the solid yet simple gameplay foundations. There’s a nice variety of units and a focus on the strategy aspect, so players looking mostly for this kind of gameplay are likely to enjoy the game.
Play Now Free: Grepolis
Tribal Wars is one from the Travian school of browser-based games and succeeds at adding the right mix of resource gathering, combat and city-building. Combat isn’t very exciting, since it’s all text-based, but there’s a sense of accomplishment from defeating other human players – and there are many, a huge playerbase. Other highlights include the hero system and the social interaction that the gameplay actually encourages.
Play Now Free: Tribal Wars
What can be said about Evony that still hasn’t been said? There was quite some controversy surrounding this game, thanks to the ads showing some pretty scantily clad ladies and asking you, their lord, to come and play. But Evony does offer some clean visuals, lots of quests and a playerbase that any other game would love to have. It manages to be a rewarding experience somewhat let down by the fact that paying players will receive some severe advantages, thus creating some serious balance issues.
Play Now Free: Evony
Travian was released in 2004 and it is the kind of addictive game where players tend to overlook the simple visuals (mostly text with some pictures) and get really devoted to the task at hand. The latest version made it look more up to date and the resource management and battle gameplay is based on a tried and tested formula. Some players may leave it for other more technically accomplished free strategy MMOs, but those who enjoy it will become hooked for months.
Play Now Free: Travian
1-Age of Empires Online
The controversial return of the classic strategy series from Microsoft, Age of Empires Online is a different take on the established formula, but a fun one. Players will definitely enjoy the great cartoon visuals and the tried and tested city-building and resource management gameplay. Quests are usually fun and the tech tree leads the player through three different paths, but this is one of those games that are only partially free-to-play – Premium content makes a big difference in this game.
Play Now Free: Age of Empires Online
Remember to express your opinion in the comments, if there are other games that deserve to feature here. This top will be regularly updated with the best free to play strategy MMO games, so check back often!
Top 10 Free to Play Strategy MMO Games 2011-2012