Blizzard has announced that World of Warcraft will now get a free-to-play version. Hot on the heels of Valve’s announcement that Team Fortress 2 is now free to play, Blizzard has followed up by enabling players to experience the first 20 levels of World of Warcraft for no fee.
Both the fee to purchase the game and play online have been waived in the WoW Starter Edition, which you can download for free from worldofwarcraft.com. Players can create characters of any race in the original game or the Blood Elves or Draenei from the Burning Crusade expansion pack.
Players who reach the level 20 cap can continue playing by purchasing the full version of World of Warcraft with the bundled Burning Crusade expansion for $20.
However you are not allowed unlimited fun for free during your trial. Blizzard has posted restrictions that will apply to Starter Edition characters, which include being barred from trading in the auction house or accessing the public text or voice chat channels. The full list of restrictions is posted below.
This addition is just one of many introduced with the 4.2 patch, titled Rage in the Fireland. Among the new content added is “a new raid, a legendary questline, all-new raid tier and PvP armor sets, the most diverse daily questing experience to date, major story developments, PvP Season 10, user interface enhancements, and much more.”
Previously World of Warcraft offered a free 14-day trial. With this new expanded trial Blizzard hopes to gain more subscribers, after a recent announcement that their player base had dropped slightly.
Restrsctions to Starter Edition Accounts
- A level cap of 20.
- A maximum of 10 gold.
- Trade skills are capped at 100 ranks.
- Unable to trade via the Auction House, mailbox, or player-to-player.
- In-game access to public chat channels unavailable. Players are limited to communicating using only say, party, or whisper.
- Characters will be unable to create or join guilds.
- Characters are not able to send whispers to other characters unless they have been added to the characters’ friends lists or have received a whisper from a character first.
- Characters will not be able to invite other players into a party.
- Characters will not be able to join parties with other characters above level 20.
- Voice chat disabled on Starter Edition accounts.
- Realms experiencing login queues will prioritize players who have full, paid accounts.
- Starter Edition accounts are not eligible for character transfers
- RealID features are disabled on all Starter Edition Accounts.