Jun 29, 2011

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World of Warcraft Goes Free-to-Play up to Level 20

World of Warcraft Goes Free-to-Play up to Level 20

World of Warcraft can now be played for free but only until level 20. The most popular MMORPG is taking it’s first step into the free-to-play universe but this new “Starter Edition” as it’s being called is very similar to the 14-day free trails previously offered to players and features some of the same restrictions.

Replacing the trial mode is what will now be called World of Warcraft Starter Edition. Rather than set a set period for players to play the game, you can now play WOW up to level 20 without any time restrictions, which is really nice. Even pervious subscribers with dormant accounts and reactive their account to create new characters from all races including races from The Burning Crusade. While I don’t believe Blizzard would ever let WOW become completely free-to-play, if the response is great enough they might have to rethink their subscription model, much like many MMO’s have done already. Then again if a large enough percent purchase a subscription after they hit the level cap than I don’t think we will see any changes towards this model.

There are some resitrictions that come with this free-to-play model and those who used to play WOW might wonder how anyone could have fun in this game with all these restrictions. Here’s the restriction list:

  • 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.

If you haven’t played WOW before this is a great chance to check out what all the hype is about. In case you were wondering, once you hit the level 20 cap you can keep playing and exploring the World of Warcraft but you won’t level up or earn XP. Additionally you can create other characters and level those up to level 20. It’s been far too long since I played this game but I don’t remember having that much fun until I got to higher level raids and instances. Oh well I’ll still curse Blizzard for making me want to go back and play WOW even if it is only to level 20.

[Source: Blizzard Support]