5 of the Best Free Online Open World Games

Looking to play some of the best free online open world games around right now? Look no further!

It can be difficult to find a game that meets the criteria of being open world, free, and online – but here in our video game blog we have written about 5 great games you can get started with right away, without paying a penny.

It is worth noting, however, that some games may require micro-transactions to advance to the very top of the game, but for the most part, playing free does not diminish the gaming experience.

Related: 5 of the best games like Runescape for free

Guild Wars 2

For those who played the first installment of this franchise by AreaNet, it was known that Guild Wars 2 had some big boots to fill. And fill them they did.

guild wars 2 review

Set in the world of Tyria, this open world environment offers countless opportunities for adventure, spontaneity, and intrigue. The world is so vast that it allows each player to create a unique and personal gameplay experience, with each part of the map giving different quests and experiences.

Guild Wars 2 provides the typical MMO experience – with an overarching story, side quests, and reward-based missions – but has improved certain elements of the gameplay. In this open world game, your level scales to the level of the area you are located in, putting an end to the mundane, single hit kills on foes in low level areas.

The graphics for Guild Wars 2 could be described as sufficiently good. Yet, due to the diverse environments you can encounter, this free online open world game offers some truly impressive visuals. Be it within the city walls, swamps, icy cliffs, glades, or valleys, there is always a great screenshot to be captured.

Moving on to the actual gameplay. There is a real fluidity and cohesion to the game mechanics which enable the player to move smoothly around the open world terrain. The combat is similar to other MMOs – you can attack with hotkeys, and have skills assigned to a certain button, ready to wield in the moment of attack. Some skills are associated to your primary weapon, and a further set of skills offer supplementary and differing benefits.

Players can customize their character, choosing from one of 5 races – Asura, Sylvari, Human, Norn, and Charr. Moreover, there are 8 different classes – or professions – to choose from, each offering different perks and advantages. With its flexible class system, it also enables players to combine typical MMO roles (healer, ranger, tank, etc.), making combat with other players and/or computer enemies thoroughly enjoyable, and engagingly tactical.

As the game has been online for a while now, various patches have been implemented to iron out the inevitable launch phase glitches. This – coupled with the possibilities to explore a huge open world in Tyria – makes Guild Wars 2 a ‘must consider’ for those wanting one of the best free online open world games.

The Elder Scrolls Online: Tamriel Unlimited

The Elder Scrolls franchise is, perhaps, my favorite when it comes to open world gaming and, for me, Skyrim is an ever present in any list of favorite games of all time.

The Elder Scrolls Online offers a similar level of immersion and adventure that the other games in the series provide – only with this one you get to experience it online with around 3 million other players, and for free (and it hasn’t always been).

elder scrolls online review

There is a familiar feel to the previous The Elder Scrolls titles, with a central main story line supported by hundreds of nonlinear quests and vast free-roaming, open world exploration. The game is set in the massive open world continent of Tamriel, and takes place 800 years before the events of Oblivion and Morrowind, and a whole millennium before Skyrim. Without delving too much into the game’s story line (which is truly engaging and immersive), the player takes on the role of a soulless wanderer – or Vestige – who was killed by the minions of Daedric prince Molag.

One of the best features of The Elder Scrolls games is the extensive character customization that they offer. In this game, ten different races are available to be played: Nords, Redguards, Bretons, Imperials, Dunmer, Bosmer, Orsimer, Altmer, Argonians, and Khajiit. The player can choose from five different classes (Dragonknight, Sorcerer, Templar, Warden, and Nightblade), each offering different unique skills and perks.

The gameplay is similar to previous installments. The combat system does not rank among the best when compared to other open world games, but does enough to make it enjoyable and re-playable. Players are able to find, earn, and equip some powerful and elegant weapons and armor, and wield impressive wizardry by upgrading through the differing magic skill trees.

The most impressive aspect of the game is the expansive open world exploration – from the tree homes in Grahtwood to the jungle ruins of Khenarhit’s Roost, the visuals and diverse environments forgive the average combat system and occasionally repetitive questing, and allow the player to feel like a meaningful and necessary part of Tamriel’s glorious landscape.

I strongly recommend this to anyone looking for the best free online open world games. Perhaps, it’s a nostalgic nod of bias to the earlier games in the series I loved so much, but, in truth, The Elder Scrolls Online is a great game in its own right, and one that seems to get better and better the longer you play it.


You can’t talk about the best free online open world games without mentioning RuneScape. It is still up there with the best. RuneScape is an MMORPG set in the medieval fantasy realm of Gielinor. It is recognized as the world’s largest MMORPGs available, and is a classic in the genre that I’m sure many readers will have tried already.

runescape review

RuneScape has a certain charm that so many other games lack, with an active community, modest graphics, and one of the best quest systems in the genre. Players can travel through the world of Gielinor via foot, ships, or magic spells, and the vast world is made up of different kingdoms, regions, and cities.

The game was originally developed as a Java plugin by developer Jagex, but has since become a free downloadable client. The game is known in its third iteration, known as RuneScape 3, but the older version is still available to play as Old School RuneScape – this version is also scheduled to be released on mobile platforms in 2018.

Players progress through the game by fighting non-player character (NPC) enemies and interacting and trading with other players to upgrade their customizable characters in order to complete quests and increase their experience.

RuneScape is, for me, one of the best games out there in this genre and has a charming subtlety to its gameplay, reinforced by its vibrant community and curious, vast world ready for exploration. Definitely a game worth checking out.

If you’re enjoying reading about the best free online open world games, you may like our article about the best VR open world games


In all honesty, when I first played Warframe, the game did nothing for me, and it wasn’t long before I brushed it aside and put it to the back of my mental gaming shelf. The game has, however, come on leaps and bounds since its first introduction in 2013 by game developer, Digital Extremes. Moreover, with the introduction of the expansion pack, Plains of Eidolon, this free online game now offers an open world element to its gameplay.

warframe review

In Warframe, the player takes on the role of Tenno, an ancient warrior belonging to a species that have reemerged on the solar system to combat the presence other enemy species that are arising throughout the worlds. Tenno has an interesting array of weapons and suits that give the game a breath of personality, and a stylish sense of uniqueness.

The combat in Warframe is fairly simple. The ninja-like player fights against various foes using a melee weapon and two primary weapons. Tenno’s suit can also be upgraded to give the player certain perks and abilities such as ‘dash and slash’, and a radius targeted stun attack. Progressing and acquiring the new suits, though, can be a long process in the free to play version of Warframe, but the abilities you attain make it seem worthwhile.

The missions can be ran with up to three other online players, but it is also possible to fly solo in through the earlier, easier missions. Teaming up, though, is a wise choice as you advance through the game, as you are able to coordinate your attacks and skills with your teammates to produce devastating attacks.

Warframe is definitely a game to consider if you are looking for the best free online open world games. Though, if the open world aspect is your main reason for stumbling upon this article, it would be better to choose any other game from this list, as only the Plains of Eidolon expansion allow for that within the game.


UPDATE! WildStar is no longer available to play 🙁

WildStar is little known within the free online open world game genre, and this is truly baffling as it is one of the greatest games out there of its kind.

This game is a sci-fi fantasy MMORPG developed by Carbine Studios. It takes place on Nexus, a planet that has seen the disappearance of a powerful and mystical race, the Eldan. This race have left behind an abundance of advanced technology and secrets, that are available for the player to explore.

wildstar review

It is aesthetically busy, with shining lights and vibrant beams of color encompassing the whole world, captivating the players attention. At times, it can feel like an overdone, ostentatious mess, but for the most part, WildStar has a bewitching beauty that can leave the player in awe of its glamour.

The game is not short on missions for the user to trawl through, and it can feel a bit like a slog at times. Yet, as you progress through the overarching story – involving the game’s two opposing factions, the Dominion and the Exiles – it is easy to get engrossed into Nexus life and feel a sense of meaning to the quests. The player can customize their character to choose a certain race and profession that will influence how you interact with the game.

The gameplay is fluid and has many similarities to other games in the genre. Players fight foes and enemies (with the all-too-familiar hotkey bashing system) to earn experience and upgrade their skills. As you progress, you are also able to choose different means of transport to traverse the planet of Nexus, ranging from hover boards to ugly claw-wielding creatures. The game incorporates PvE and PvP, with the latter perhaps being the more frantic of the too, requiring an element of concentration to make sense of the colorful jumble of shapes that ensues.

Watch the gameplay footage below to see why many consider this one of the best free online open world games

This game is something of a hidden gem, and one that should certainly be considered if you’re looking for the best free online open world games. Because of this, the community is relatively small. I would say that WildStar is definitely worth checking out, as it may not be there for too much longer if the number of users doesn’t increase.

Get in touch

Did you agree with our list of the best free online open world games? Perhaps you think some other games should have been included? Let us know in the comments section below! If you have any enquiries, contact me at richard@blogofgames.com.

We’re always on the lookout for some more of the best free online open world games, if you know more about this topic would like to write about it, or any other gaming genre, get in touch to discuss.

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