When the game first launched, my two oldest daughters and I played religiously. It was an easy way for us to interact and play together when I was away, and they spent a sizable chunk of their allowances on pets, mounts, and housing items over the years.
So I've decided to honor Free Realms with this article detailing a few things you can do in the game before it's gone forever.
Free Realms is a game that was launched with some amazing hype back in 2009 (2011 on the PlayStation) that included a Guinness World Record, TV commercials, and a reported 10 million players by its first anniversary. It provided an almost overwhelming amount of content for a free-to-play game and was targeted for all ages, although the pre-teen/teen demographic soon found its niche.
But being everything to a limited demographic wasn't enough, and Sony Online Entertainment announced that it will be shut down on March 31st, 2014.
As the game waits out its death sentence, players are gathering for one last hoorah to celebrate the fun they've had over the last five years. Here's a small list to help you celebrate the game, especially if you never had a chance to take a look before.
Hang out at the beach
The beach at Seaside is where all the cool kids hang out, fersure. If you're ever wandering through the game, curious about where the other players are, this is it. Granted, a large percentage of those players are there to buy and sell items, but it's still one of the last remaining social hotspots.
The trampolines... er, sorry, launch pads... are marked by wood-framed yellow-and-orange targets planted around the map. You can warp to some, but others you'll need to discover. The idea is to jump on one and let it carry you high up into the sky and onto the next one for a continuous jump. It's surprisingly fun and lets you admire the beauty of this game with a bird's eye view.
Play a harvesting minigame
Before there was Candy Crush Saga, the Free Realms harvest minigame was the most addictive way to match three or more tiles in a row over and over again. Whether you're mining for iron, digging for artifacts, or harvesting Snowberry, the harvesting minigame is a lot of fun.
Try out all 16 jobs
Jobs let you explore various aspects of the game from racing to cooking to fishing to fighting and more. The Adventurer, Brawler, Card Duelist, Chef, Demo Derby Driver, Kart Driver, Miner, Ninja, and Postman are all available for free, but the rest require a membership to get past level 5. Several jobs are unlocked only with other jobs, such as the Ninja, which is available when you reach level 20 Archer, and the Wizard, which can be unlocked with a level 20 Medic. But all jobs are available to all players up to level 5, with one exception: If you're a veteran player looking for the Pet Trainer class, it has been removed for new players.
Decorate your house
SOE is no stranger to quality player housing, and Free Realms is no exception. Each house is instanced, but you can invite friends over to play, too. Objects can be placed almost anywhere, and all of your pets are available at your home.
With only a radar minimap to guide you, the Briarwood Maze is fun for kids to learn exploration and problem-solving skills. There are also a couple dungeons to explore inside the maze, so make sure to bring your best sword!
Play the built-in trading card game
If you're a fan of TCGs, you'll love the one in Free Realms. In fact, the Card Duelist is an entire free job dedicated to the embedded TCG. With it, you'll find cards laying around to collect, or you can purchase some from the Station shop. Collecting cards also opens up special rewards in the game such as costumes, pet accessories, and more.
Plant a garden
Farming is a fairly new addition to Free Realms, but it adds that always addictive metagame of watching plants grow. Much like housing, the farms are instanced and require constant maintenance. You'll need to remove rocks and trees with special tools before expanding your farm, but the crops can be used for the Chef job.
Play tower defense
Everyone likes a good tower defense game, and the ones included in Free Realms certainly stand up to the rest. Each game is themed to its zone and range from easy to medium to hard. These minigames are yet another example of how Free Realms provides a little something for everyone.
Visit all warpstones
Warpstones allow you to reach another part of the map quickly, but each stone has to be unlocked by physically travelling to it first. There are currently 14 of these stones around the game world. See if you can find them all!
I hope you've enjoyed this list, and I hope you and your family can take one last look at Free Realms this month before it's gone forever.