World of Warcraft now free until level 20

Blizzard doing away with 14-day free window in favor of unlimited, but level-capped, sampler; Rage of the Firelands patch now live with new raid, quests, UI updates.

Blizzard Entertainment's massively multiplayer online role-playing game World of Warcraft has not adopted a free-to-play model like high-profile games Lord of the Rings Online, EverQuest II, Team Fortress 2, and others. However, Blizzard has extended WoW's try-before-you-buy experience today, making the game free to play until level 20.

World of Warcraft's new Starter Edition makes the game free to play until level 20.

Blizzard has announced that it has done away with its 14-day trial period offer in favor of a new beginner system called the World of Warcraft Starter Edition. Now, gamers who try out WoW through its online store will be able to progress their character to level 20--taking as much time as they need--before they must begin to pay a subscription fee.

There are some fairly significant restrictions for the Starter Edition, however. In addition to the aforementioned level cap of 20, players will be able to amass just 10 gold, have their trade skills capped at 100, and will be unable to trade via the Auction House, mailbox, or player to player.

Further, Starter Edition players will not be able to access public chat channels, join a guild, invite players to a party, join parties with characters above level 20, use voice chat, transfer characters, or use Real ID features. Lastly, Blizzard will give preferential treatment to paying WoW subscribers when realms have queues. For the full list of restrictions placed on Starter Edition accounts, check out Blizzard's support page.

Additionally, Blizzard announced today that it has combined the original WoW with the game's first expansion, The Burning Crusade, into a single $20 package. Those who have previously purchased the original WoW will be granted a free copy of The Burning Crusade.

In addition to announcing the new trial period offer for WoW, Blizzard today set live patch 4.2, also known as Rage of the Firelands. First outed in late April, the new patch brings a host of changes and some new content to the Warcraft universe. Chief among the updates is the addition of a new raid, new quests, the beginning of a new player-versus-player season, some user interface tweaks, and other general class updates.

For more on WoW's Rage of the Firelands expansion, check out the full patch notes on the World of Warcraft website and a video for the content, embedded below.

Written By

Eddie Makuch is a news editor at GameSpot, and would like to see the Whalers return to Hartford.

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156 comments
jorgeurantia
jorgeurantia

i think this was a great idea, to make wow free to play until lvl 20...u cna play as long as you want and reroll different characters and diffrentes classes and races..imagine all the combinations possible!! 

after that, consider the locations and how you can level up in different   territories1! more combinations and everyreroll will be differenet , apart from delete a charcter and reroll it ina new server, this is wonderful, the best news and yeah free toplay! wow will just grow stronger!! 


MKID232
MKID232

Oh noes! Now the 14 day free trial is no longer restricted to 14 days! It's just a free trial, like those demo things! The world as we know it has ended...

heroesfan261
heroesfan261

I'll only come back to wow if it goes fully F2P. getting to level 20 takes what now? a week?

runstalker
runstalker

It's really amusing how many forums posts - at other MMO forums - I see claiming, "WoW is now free to play!!!" Even Blizzard's web ads are clever, emphasizing in all caps "NOW FREE TO PLAY" so all those low attention span freaks can go post on other forums. Let's just be honest and call a spade a spade: It's a free trial good until character level 20. That's it, folks. The entire game you know as World of Warcraft has not become free-to-play. Get it right, or don't bother.

Fooljeff
Fooljeff

Blizzard isn't worried about anything. They have ridiculous amounts of money now. Even if The Old Republic takes some of the user base, It will be completely crushed by any new MMO blizzard decides to put out.

Eveco
Eveco

i get bored of my characters before level 20 anyway

KhanhAgE
KhanhAgE

The only way WoW will ever go free-to-play is if their subscription base dwindle to below 1 million users. They have 10 million paying subscribers; that's a lot of money coming in each month. They'd be crazy to drop the monthly payment model.

BlackPhoenixBG
BlackPhoenixBG

and i still dont care about WoW. Maybe if they ever make it f2p i may check it out..

sataricon
sataricon

alot of people think that SWTOR has something fishy going on. I mean look to the amount of media that gets released for GW2 and you will understand that TOR developers may not be that proud.

smookert010
smookert010

EXECUTES YOU HAVE WOKEN ME TOO SOOOON! This was fun 6 years ago.. wel fun.. killing thousands of npc's to fight this guy and HOPE your damn pants drops

Mega_Skrull
Mega_Skrull

Lol, "Rage of the Ireland" Blame the picture, not me!

alex33x
alex33x

I dont think it's Rift that has Blizzard worried, but the upcoming release of Star Wars The Old Republic.

tachsniper
tachsniper

Methinks Rift made a certain Blizzard worried

Zerabp
Zerabp

@ Keech Look up "Skinner Box". Again in the end you are right it is their responsibility I said that I meant it the buck stops at the individual. That doesn't mean that the games makers aren't being irresponsible and it doesn't mean that they aren't using methods of game design to try to encourage such irresponsible behavior. They have intentionally designed the game to where it's very easy to let it take over your life. Again that final decision to let it do so is the players responsibility to avoid. However that does not mean the makers of said game are blameless.

polterdice
polterdice

@TheProphecies05 lol, I AM playing diablo 2 instead of wow...

DarthPlush
DarthPlush

@OmegaBob Please don't comment on what you don't know. SWTOR is not a solo experience, some of us here do actually want to play with friends and smash up some PvP, and I'd much rather prefer 8 x KOTOR3s than a single one.

Malbidion
Malbidion

I would imagine this change is more directed toward gold farmers than it is for bringing new players into the fold. If you read all the new limitations, its pretty obvious.

sidzero
sidzero

You know, I could care less about WoW, but I saw the little icon on the GS news page saying "Rage of the Ireland" and I laughed.

Maxmus050
Maxmus050

Almost everybody already played world of warcraft, and this thing will not make players get back into it ( the early lvling zones are dead as hell since everybody is already lvl 85 ) The only way they will get players back if they make it for free, private servers like molten wow > original wow atm and that is strange ..

OmegaBob
OmegaBob

I said Star Wars films, not novels, comics or other fluff. Granted, this is a video game I am talking about, so maybe I shouldn't be nit-picky That said, since most of EA's Star Wars MMO can be solo'd, why pay a monthly fee for what is essentially a single player game? I'd rather have KOTOR 3 please.

blakeney
blakeney

Nice, now people dont have to pay to bounce around org/sw chatting mush all day lol!!

illness2006
illness2006

wow is like a mother we run away from her sometimes when we get bored,we meet new people,we check new things & then we comeback saying: I miss you mam & she always say welcome back honey i know you are coming.

Dasim64
Dasim64

I smell desperation.

weedman1985
weedman1985

I remember during the time of the second expansion (TBC) when I was on trial for 14 days, I was capped at level 20 anyway. Assuming that hasn't changed in the past few years (and I'm pretty sure it hasn't), all they did here was publically announce it.

StanleyL
StanleyL

@waza000 You still have to buy a copy of the game. The original + expansion #1 are combined into one $20 package, then expansions #2 and #3 are sold separately. Arguably, you don't need to buy expansions #2 and #3 until you hit level 70.

mdboomer
mdboomer

MMO addiction one level at a time. :)

nugXL
nugXL

@GhostHero333 As much as I do not like WoW anymore, I think what they are doing is not "shuttering" at Star Wars. The free until 20 is a great idea. In my opinion, SW:OR is not in my radar. I'm going to restate something that I have been seeing that I think is brilliant. We should hope that WoW lives on, so while we go play our SW:OR's and GW2's there won't be the idiots who play WoW infecting the game worlds.

waza000
waza000

what we need to know is, once i hit lvl 20 ... do i have to buy WoW and 3 (or 4 ... w/e) expansion packs ... will they ask me to buy about 100$ worth of game + a 15$ month subscription .... or can i get it directly for 15$ a month

eyeball2452
eyeball2452

@OmegaBob I agree that TOR isn't going to be revolutionary. However, I'm not sure why you chose to bash how healers are being implemented. There are some clear examples of healing in the movies and I'm sure if you read the comics or books, there are even more examples. As for WoW, I think TBC was probably the last step in the right direction. Since then, Blizzard has been setting an awful precedent for the MMO genre. The most basic of problems is that WoW and many subsequent MMOs have nerfed content to the lowest common denominator rather than teaching players to become better at the game. I hate time sinks that gate content, but I have no problem with a high level of difficulty. It may be good business, but it's bad game design.

OmegaBob
OmegaBob

EA's Star Wars MMO is the same as any other MMO except it has vocal dialogue sequences that cannot be skipped & a Star Wars skin. Also, where in the Star Wars movies were there mages in healers? Maybe you can get away with (if you REALLY tried) to say a Jedi/Sith is a magic user, but what about the healing? Do they have Nurse Droids pushing Bacta tanks around in the groups. Not very innovative at all.

megakick
megakick

SW: OR is not going to be much better WOW with SW LORE maybe slightly... GW2 is the most promising.

huevito
huevito

i left WoW, because now is so easy for new players, and population is going down. I am bored of WoW . i am waiting for DotA 2, Diablo 3, Elder Scrolls, Halo and StarWars Old republic...

GhostHero333
GhostHero333

World of Warcraft is just a scared wand-waving game that shutters at the sound of someone talking about Star Wars the Old Republic so now they are scrammbling for ideas. And waiting for SWtOR to announce its release date so they can release their next expansion pack a week or two before then.

AceCometh
AceCometh

As a long time WoW player, I rather like the idea of this. Especially that they can't join guilds. It will majorly cut down on toons in guilds that have been abandoned.

Raghall
Raghall

@djsifer01 Right. Keep telling yourself that. I mean who says Denial is just a river in Egypt?

djsifer01
djsifer01

WOW is old news and this wont get them any new players. RIFT is a far better game and stealing players daily. With other MMOs on the horizon as well, WOW will be a distant memory soon.

holtrocks
holtrocks

Thats really smart probably getting worried about SWTOR trying to get ppl hooked

ZICO11
ZICO11

i find it useless to pay fees for games

vito303
vito303

I think this would be great for getting new players... But what about us that already bought the first 2 games? They should just make it so that you have to buy the games still and after that its all free to play, how it should be anyways.

artic1982
artic1982

So Blizzard is trying to get a few subscribers before GW2 and SWTOR launch, good move but wow is way dated, was AMAZING back in t he vanilla days, really fun till TBC, then it went downhill with WOTLK... IMHO

gp3tron
gp3tron

LOL, If you cant win them, unite with them...Blizzard couldnt cope with the rush of Free to Play options out there, and had to implement one themselves...

lonewolf1044
lonewolf1044

Blizzard held out for the longest, but it was inevitable that they had to do something with two MMOs that are coming out soon. However, there are too many restrictions to me that make this move not so great for beginners. I already own all the EPs and have not played in a long while. WOW is still good but like every great game one still can get burned out if you play it day and night.

bobeyuno
bobeyuno

Also on this topic players who didn't have burning crusade get it for free (applied very recently)

BloodMist
BloodMist

Hey that's great, if you can't get into the game by level 20, then you never will, so you'll know for sure before paying a thing.Excellent news on BC basically becoming free, as well.