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.

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