Still hanging on that Vanguard beta invite? Denied by D&D Online? Keelhauled by the Pirates of the Burning Sea beta crew?
Well, don't worry. I have a free MMO for you and it's not even an illegal WoW server.
It's a Korean MMO and it's absolutely free to try, while it's in open beta. The name of the game is Silk Road and I must say it's really a different experience from what I'm used to. While I don't think I will be playing it extensively, it is a lot of fun. And my philosophy is that there's something to learn from every MMO. You can register and then download the client here.
Of course, the price doesn't hurt. But, there is a catch. The English translations are absolutely terrible. Why a company would spend so much money to create a game and then refuse to hire a capable translator is beyond me. I must say, I give SOE credit. They apparently do a great job on localizing EQII for Asian audiences.
But back to Silk Road. To give you an idea of how mangled the English is, here's a quote from the site:
"Experience of various and mysterious fantasy world grounded on the historical facts.
The SilkRoad on-line, which the European western fantasy, the Chinese eastern fantasy and the new Islam fantasy based upon the abundant cultures and legends of China, Islam and Europe. The episode-pattern scenario is written in the background of mythologies and legends of a lot of countries including Xiyouji, Arabian Night's Entertainment and Greek mythology. The player often flies about with the magic carpet, see the Mediterranean evening sun or fight desperately with ghosts in crossing over Huang He River. On the basis of such a variety of scenarios, you can take pleasure in the inimitable quest each time with the feeling of seeing one-act play.
Beyond the general guild pattern community where familiar people come together, organizing the community with various objects is available. The organizations include the town community centering around the oasis, merchant group for the compensation trading, burglar guild that the burglar players are gathered and hunter guild to protect the justice. The confrontations among various communities elicit the exciting showdown composition."
Um, okay. The in-game English is far worse, I'm afraid. And it is very tough to get on to the server due to overcrowding. You will likely get denied server access a bunch of times, so this one is only for the patient.
But you know what? The graphics are sweet, the sound is great and I'm enjoying it, when I can log on. The character customization is a bit lacking. Combat is a point and click affair at first, but it does get more complex. There's also a pretty neat feature (which happened for the first time for me midway through level 3) where you can "power up" for a period of time to some kind of super powered form and kill stuff fast. I advise you to skip the quests at first and just kill stuff. I'm playing with a bow based character right now and loving it but you can master other weapons as well. Magic is involved as well. Ice magic, for example, can be used to slow enemies. It's important to keep up a good stock of health and mana potions. You gain levels and you also gain skill points to sink into whatever skills you desire.
There's probably a ton more going on in this game (I know there's stuff about trading and professions) but I haven't taken the time to puzzle that out yet.
Well, try it out if you're bored and enjoy. I'll keep trying to bring you free games from time to time.
If you have any specific strategy or gameplay questions, feel free to post them on the forums and I'll try to help. See you on the Silk Road.