World of Warcraft is now partially free-to-play
A number of massively multiplayer games have made the transition to free-to-play as a business model. Recently both Age of Conan and City of Heroes announced they’ll be taking the free road later this year.
However, World of Warcraft is so hugely successful if Blizzard announced it was going free, everyone would fall off their high-level flying mounts in shock. Of course it isn’t about to go free-to-play, but Blizzard is taking a step in this direction.
Now players can get a free World of Warcraft Starter account which isn’t just a limited trial for a couple of weeks, it never expires. However, it has a large amount of restrictions on it in order to persuade folks to upgrade to a subscription.
Starter players won’t be allowed past level 20 – they can keep playing, but won’t level up any further. They also won’t be able to accumulate more than 10 gold, or use public chat channels, the auction house or mailboxes.
Furthermore, they can’t join guilds, invite other players into a group or use voice chat, so there are quite a number of restrictions. But the price is free, of course, and the time to experiment with a number of low level characters will doubtless be welcome for those deciding on whether Warcraft’s world is for them.
You can download the starter edition from the main WoW site. Warcraft has had three expansions released for it, the latest being Cataclysm released at the end of last year, which brought forth a disastrous event that reshaped the lands.
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