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World of Warcraft goes free to Level 20

World of Warcraft goes free to Level 20

Blizzard has updated World of Warcraft, allowing access to the first 20 levels for free.

Activision Blizzard has opened MMO World of Warcraft for free up to Level 20, permanently, in a surprise announcement reported via PC Gamer.

New users can now set up trial accounts which only cap out at Level 20 and which have no limit placed on how many characters a user can have, or how long they can play for. Trial users are limited in other ways, however - check out the full list of restrictions below, according to Blizzard's FAQ.
  • A level cap of 20.
  • A maximum of 10 gold.
  • Trade skills are capped at 100 ranks.
  • Starter Edition accounts are not eligible for character transfers
  • Unable to trade via the Auction House, mailbox, or player-to-player.
  • Characters will be unable to create or join guilds.
  • 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.
  • RealID features are disabled on all Starter Edition Accounts
  • In-game access to public chat channels unavailable. Players are limited to communicating using only say, party, or whisper.
  • 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.

Trial users can then upgrade to the full game for $20 USD, getting World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade thrown in as well.

Existing subscribers who don't already own the Burning Crusade expansion have now had it added to their accounts, gratis.

Let us know your thoughts in the forums.

27 Comments

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Singularity 29th June 2011, 11:34 Quote
I've never played WoW, but these restrictions seem waaaaaay too limiting to actually entice me to try the game...
Seems like Blizzard is trying to jump on Valve's free2play tf2 bandwagon...

/goes back to his tf2
Mentai 29th June 2011, 11:39 Quote
This is pretty similar in restrictions to the old trial bar the removal of the time limit. But to be honest, the most enjoyable parts for me about WoW were trading, questing in parties, and using the auction house. Removing those aspects just leaves a lonely grind and a terrible trial.

The throwing in of that expansion for free is nice, although as it was the one expansion I actually bought, worthless to me.
Jamie 29th June 2011, 11:40 Quote
I think those limits are quite sensible. You will be able to do all the low level game content for free which is plenty to give you a feel for the game and whether you would want to subscribe. The only problem I see is that they can't create groups so they will need to rely on a paid player to do some of the 5 man instances.
Jake123456 29th June 2011, 11:42 Quote
I may have read it wrong, but after you cap it to level 20 can you buy the game then carry on with the same character?
Mentai 29th June 2011, 11:45 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jake123456
I may have read it wrong, but after you cap it to level 20 can you buy the game then carry on with the same character?

Yes.
Glix 29th June 2011, 11:51 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mentai
This is pretty similar in restrictions to the old trial bar the removal of the time limit. But to be honest, the most enjoyable parts for me about WoW were trading, questing in parties, and using the auction house. Removing those aspects just leaves a lonely grind and a terrible trial.

The throwing in of that expansion for free is nice, although as it was the one expansion I actually bought, worthless to me.

But it prevents botters ruining the low end economy of the game.

Imagine thousands of free account bots running around eating up all the mining and herbalist nodes to flood the auction house for cheap, for stolen account bots to buy then to sell on a higher mark up to then sell on the gold for money.

That is effectively what would happen if they lifted the limits.
nsymons 29th June 2011, 11:55 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Glix
But it prevents botters ruining the low end economy of the game.

+1

And the limits on chat channels are sensible too. I already report about half a dozen gold buying spammers a day in the trade channel.

This is about as good a free 2 play deal as you could have got without opening the game up to Chinese prison guard's scams.
DriftCarl 29th June 2011, 11:59 Quote
not long now until the free2play part gets microransactions, $1 per level increase ect
Glix 29th June 2011, 12:58 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by DriftCarl
not long now until the free2play part gets microransactions, $1 per level increase ect

No, just no...

Blizz sells mounts and pets as part of their micro transactions. They also sell account services.

However they have made it abundantly clear that they would not sell level increases or gear that gave an advantage over others.

All they have done here, is remove the time trial which used to be 10 days.
So I don't see how any of this equates to free to play, is it some kind of flavour of the month to throw this phrase around?
Aracos 29th June 2011, 12:58 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by DriftCarl
not long now until the free2play part gets microransactions, $1 per level increase ect

Seriously? $1 a level? You do know how ridiculous that sounds?
XXAOSICXX 29th June 2011, 13:25 Quote
Seems to me more like Blizzard and feeling the impact of the free2play MMOs (like Forsaken World) which were recently launched on Steam. FW is the *entire* game with no restrictions for free...microtransactions for are only for cosmetic improvements for the most part.

As a former WoW player (a couple of years ago) who has recently got back into MMOing (can you even say that?) I'm actually over the moon with FW which is WoW++ in reality, for nowt :)
Kiytan 29th June 2011, 14:25 Quote
basically the same as already existing trial accounts then...just without the time limit, still it's an interesting step
Odini 29th June 2011, 14:37 Quote
I think that lifting the party restriction would be the only difference I would make (except allowing higher levels) or perhaps make it so you can only create a party with other trial players. This would encourage groups of players starting out, e.g. my brother and I played WoW whilst I was unemployed and he was at college and we both started at roughly the same time. Would have been nice to create groups between us whilst seeing if we would enjoy the game long term.
Denis_iii 29th June 2011, 14:55 Quote
I've never played WOW but this has enticed me to try which I WON'T as I am not paying a monthly subscription for ONE game.
Will try Rune2 or whatever it is called for my first MMORPG experience when it is released.
freshsandwiches 29th June 2011, 16:29 Quote
Would have been nice if you could access the game with all the restrictions listed with a deactivated account and a lowbie character.
Taniniver 29th June 2011, 16:36 Quote
@Denis_iii

Try Guild Wars (or maybe just wait for Guild Wars 2) if you are looking for a free-to-play online RPG

I spent 3600+ hours in game, pretty much quit now since I did everything. Not bad value for about £70-80 total (I bought the 3 games + EOTN expansion, i.e. all of it).

You know what this makes me think though? Drug dealers. First hit is free. Roll of World of Warcrack.
HourBeforeDawn 29th June 2011, 18:43 Quote
when will people learn that there are way better MMO that are already free to play then WoW ~_~
DriftCarl 29th June 2011, 18:46 Quote
paying money per level is not an advantage over other players though. as long as they cant level higher than subscription based players.

$1 a level isnt stupid either, people pay $20 for a mount that does exactly the same thing as 50 others that they can get ingame very easily. and they pay $15 for a pet that does nothing other than make annoying sounds.

$1 a level from 20 to 85 is $65 dollars. how much does wotlk and cata cost together?

Also i dont mean you pay $1 and get a free level, i mean your level cap increases, you still have to do the work to get to that level, you it means you are not limited to 20 :p
LeMaltor 29th June 2011, 23:44 Quote
You can't $ for levels unless you get rid of the subscription, or has the sub gone? I've not followed WoW since I went back for a bit at xmas :X
metarinka 30th June 2011, 02:44 Quote
All the restrictions are most likely to protect against all sorts of bot farming schemes where you would make a bunch of free accounts have some bot do the first x quests then sell everything it owns and give the gold to a master account
Glix 30th June 2011, 02:50 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by DriftCarl
paying money per level is not an advantage over other players though. as long as they cant level higher than subscription based players.

$1 a level isnt stupid either, people pay $20 for a mount that does exactly the same thing as 50 others that they can get ingame very easily. and they pay $15 for a pet that does nothing other than make annoying sounds.

$1 a level from 20 to 85 is $65 dollars. how much does wotlk and cata cost together?

Also i dont mean you pay $1 and get a free level, i mean your level cap increases, you still have to do the work to get to that level, you it means you are not limited to 20 :p

That wouldn't work... are you forgetting this is a grinding game?
If you're suggesting people pay to play each level, then they will quit before getting to the cap, due to the lack of carrot + stick + investment.
Also you are suggesting buying levels, simply handing money over in return for full level characters, (Guild Wars is that way), then you would see some serious rage from the MMO community. Playing with players who didn't understand what to do even after explaining what they needed to know was not a fun experience for me so I don't play anymore (some of them were most likely bought accounts).

I'll explain what I mean by that, you've put a price on a level. Guess who's going to be grinding out accounts to sell that are levelled, price matched to boot.

The expansions seem to be $30 for USA, so that's base game + bc at ~ $10 to $20 and wotlk + cata = ~$70. Activision would object. :p

However, they haven't mentioned anything about project titan was it?
Who knows, they might reinvent the wheel...
Glix 30th June 2011, 02:51 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by LeMaltor
You can't $ for levels unless you get rid of the subscription, or has the sub gone? I've not followed WoW since I went back for a bit at xmas :X

Nothing has changed, subscription still there in all it's glory, not going down in price. :<
Redbeaver 30th June 2011, 06:19 Quote
tryin to jump to LOTRO's succesfull bandwagon i see....

too much restriction tho.

but im sure all MMO will be F2P with micro transaction eventually.
Xir 30th June 2011, 10:27 Quote
Never played it, just might give it a shot, just to see what the fuzz was (is) about :D
Sloth 30th June 2011, 20:41 Quote
I have to laugh at the free to play comments. Blizzard isn't using a free to play scheme and this isn't a step towards one.

-Competitors such as Warhammer Online offer similar trials. WAR in specific offers players the ability to play until level 10 with no time limit. 10 is a quarter of the max, similarly 20 is roughly a quarter of WoW's max.
-The game is getting old and the population won't be able to keep up forever. Blizzard will likely continue to increase the incentives for new players as time goes on.
-Trying to start WoW before this update was quite the investment. With this change a player can get all the way to level 70 for just $20. Someone who was really playing the system would get to level 20 before paying, then get a free month through buying the game and use that free time to get as close to 70 as possible.

None of that hints at a F2P scheme. It's entirely designed to work with a subscription scheme, lower the initial startup costs and you've got more potential people subsribing, where the real money is. The micro-transactions that do currently exist are targetted towards people who are already fans and are willing to pay even more for a more "fulfilling" game experience, not new players.
Glix 1st July 2011, 10:57 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sloth
I have to laugh at the free to play comments. Blizzard isn't using a free to play scheme and this isn't a step towards one.

-Competitors such as Warhammer Online offer similar trials. WAR in specific offers players the ability to play until level 10 with no time limit. 10 is a quarter of the max, similarly 20 is roughly a quarter of WoW's max.
-The game is getting old and the population won't be able to keep up forever. Blizzard will likely continue to increase the incentives for new players as time goes on.
-Trying to start WoW before this update was quite the investment. With this change a player can get all the way to level 70 for just $20. Someone who was really playing the system would get to level 20 before paying, then get a free month through buying the game and use that free time to get as close to 70 as possible.

None of that hints at a F2P scheme. It's entirely designed to work with a subscription scheme, lower the initial startup costs and you've got more potential people subsribing, where the real money is. The micro-transactions that do currently exist are targetted towards people who are already fans and are willing to pay even more for a more "fulfilling" game experience, not new players.

Finally someone who gets it.

Can't understand why everyone thinks oh free to play, it's not, it's an enticing demo.
samantha89 4th July 2011, 15:45 Quote
Yeah, getting to level 20 takes like ... 3 -4 hours tops.

It is far from free to play. Or maybe for the lvl 19 freak twinks it is good :)


It was a good move by Blizzard to lure in more new players tough.
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