This is a game that has changed a lot and only a little over the years that it has been out. It was actually created 19 years ago and has evolved into a free-to-play game. It was once a pay-to-play (that’s when I got it!) and has since become free-to-play as of 2018. There is a more battle royale feel to this in the Danger Zone, but you can still just go play with bots if you wish.
You start the match as either Terrorist or Counter-Terrorist and after so many rounds, you switch sides. The idea is for the Terrorist team to win by setting off the bomb, or the Counter-Terrorist team to stop them from doing this to win. I spent many hours with my friends practicing and playing this because my significant other needed to practice a lot for the super-insane group of people he played this with. There is no pay-to-win here as you can only purchase cosmetics with real money.
This is a third person co-op game that has always been free-to-play, to my knowledge anyway. You are located in space and you can choose different characters to play, some of which are free, some of which you find parts to get, and others that you can buy. You go and do missions on different planets to get upgrades to your armor, pets, weapons, abilities, etc. In the past year they added a more open-world planet (possibly more than one) to go get items on as well instead of just the missions. I can say I didn’t play this much, but I did enjoy the few times that I did. You could say this game has a few pay-to-win advantages as you can buy upgrades and characters to play.
3. Path of Exile
This is an MMORPG game that has a bit of a learning curve. You have to go through the story and zones to level up, get better armor and weapons, as well as learn more skills. You can customize your character a hell of a lot in this game, but it can be overwhelming for some as the gameplay can be difficult at times. A bonus to this customization is you can choose the same type of character as your friends and still have completely different spells and play styles. I hear this is much easier (and more fun) with your friends, but can definitely be played alone. I never made it very far in this game (it updates a lot and I have shitty internet), but I know a few people who really enjoy it. Also, it is never pay-to-win as you can’t purchase advantages with real money.
To me, Smite seems like a very complicated game. I did try to play this a few times, but never really got into it. This is a battleground game that now has over 100 gods that you can choose from to play. You can be Zeus, or Loki, or even the Monkey King. There are multiple types of competition that you can play such as competitive mode and conquest. This is a hugely popular game that people like to brag about where they are on the leaderboard and I would say they have good reason as I found it a bit difficult. Also, no pay-to-win here that I know of, unless you consider being able to open up all Gods with the Ultimate God Pack an advantage.
5. Team Fortress 2
This is another game that was not originally free-to-play, but has become so recently. I have not played this game, but it seems to be another battleground battle. It has a lot of maps and nine different classes that you can play as. They advertise it as constantly being updated with new game modes, maps, equipment, and hats (which they say is most important! Lol). You can collect, craft, buy and trade hats and weapons in this game so that you can truly customize your character and therefore your gameplay. As that is about all you can buy.. this is not a pay-to-win game either!
6. War Thunder
This is a military game that has aircraft, naval, and ground vehicles from the 1930s all the way up into the 2000s for you to command… in the same match! They advertise it as the most comprehensive free-to-play, cross-platform, MMO military game for Windows, Linux, Mac, and PS4. It basically lets you have a full on war with all of the vehicles you would want. And who doesn’t love a game that is cross-platform?! I’ve never played it, but my significant other has and says that it is a great time if you like free military games. There is both PvE and PvP content so that everyone can enjoy it. And definitely not a pay-to-win game.
7. DOTA 2
This is another battleground game – I think I’m seeing a pattern! – that you can play that is constantly evolving. They boast that all of their heroes are free and can fill multiple roles in the game allowing people to change things up in every battle. They want you to play how you want and find your favorite play style, but also be able to change it if the need arises. You can play co-op versus bots or you can go play PvP. I have never played this game, so I have no personal experience with it, but it is definitely not pay-to-win!
This is one of the first battle royales that I can remember playing and came out just months after Overwatch did. This is more of a fantasy shooter where you can have guns or magic and customize your abilities to play the way you like. When I played this it was 5 v 5 battles, but I’m not sure if that has changed at all. There are a lot of cool skins that you can get for the characters and the battles can sometimes be really intense. They have done a few updates since it came out and currently Future’s End is the game going on. They have a new champion, Atlas, and as the others are he is free. Anything that affects gameplay is unlocked just by playing, so this is not a pay-to-win game. Although you could call it a pay-to-look good game (lol).
9. Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Links
So, if you don’t know, Yu-Gi-Oh! was originally a Japanese Manga series about gaming that was written and illustrated by Kazuki Takahashi. Over the years this has morphed into animes, novels, films, and games. This game is based upon trading cards for Yu-Gi-Oh! and is basically that, but online. It allows you to do duels, and PvP, as well as create your own deck with the cards you get in-game. They have voices from the anime in-game and great 3D animations. I have not personally played it, but it looks like fun if you are into trading cards. I am not sure if any of the in-app purchases make this pay-to-win.
10. World of Warships
Another battle game! (I told you – pattern!) As you can gather by the name, this is naval combat at its finest. You can choose from Japanese, American, German, British, French, Russian, Pan Asia, Italy, Commonwealth, and Poland. Not to mention, the premium ships that can be from nations not in those tech trees. Within these tech trees you can choose from Destroyers, Cruisers, Battleships, and aircraft carriers. You will always start in a cruiser, but from there you can work your way up to tier 10 ships via the different branches as you choose. You can play PvP in this game – the fastest way to level up – or you can choose to level up by playing PvE. My significant other plays this game heavily and really enjoys it (if you want to try it, I can get you an invite link that will give you free stuff! Just send me a message on our Discord!).
You can purchase ships for real money, but I’m not really considering that pay-to-win as when you play matches the ships on the other side are the same ships on your side of the battle. A fun fact about Wargaming is that they choose to use some of their proceeds to benefit real ships that are still out there. Earlier this year I actually went to the U.S.S Texas for free thanks to Wargaming. They had a scavenger hunt to give away prizes, they gave away ships in the game, and they gave away some nice take-home prizes (a gaming console and some leaves made from metal from the ship!). It was a great time and a great way for them to give back! From my knowledge they do this every year at the Texas.
That’s all for this list! But keep an eye out for many more Top Tens right here on Real Women of Gaming!