World of Warcraft now free until level 20, some restrictions apply

Because 11 million subscriptions barely pays the bills anymore, Blizzard has announced new World of Warcraft incentives aimed at convincing even more players to take up residence in Azeroth. Starting now, all new subscribers will be able to play for free up until level 20, and all current WoW members who haven't yet purchased the Burning Crusades expansion will receive the add-on for free. Prepare yourselves veterans, for the newb invasion cometh.

Dubbed the World of Warcraft Starter Edition Account, the free trial program grants new players the opportunity to earn experience points up until level 20, after which they can pay US$20 plus monthly membership fees to continuegrowing while enjoying the full game plus the Burning Crusades expansion.

Those that choose not to become paying citizens will still be allowed to wander the lands as perma-level-20 character, or restart their free trial as many times as they wish. However, the Starter Edition does include some limitations, including a cap on Trade Skills, gold, and multiplayer perks; as well asfull-out restrictions on trading, guild membership and communication with paying players. Blizzard has detailed exactly what free trial members can or cannot do at theStarter Edition Account FAQ.

It can't be a coincidence that Blizzard's big push for new subscribers comes months before the arrival of BioWare's Star Wars: The Old RepublicMMO. It will be interesting to see if veteran WoW members take issue with Blizzard's focus on newbies; especially those who have paid good money to play WoW over the years only to now watch as the new subscribers get all the deals. That said, Blizzard isn't exactly new to theMMO game itself, and our bet is it has a few more plans to keep WoW players new and old from defecting to the dark side.

Jun 28, 2011


Matt Bradford wrote news and features here at GamesRadar+ until 2016. Since then he's gone on to work with the Guinness World Records, acting as writer and researcher for the annual Gamer's Edition series of books, and has worked as an editor, technical writer, and voice actor. Matt is now a freelance journalist and editor, generating copy across a multitude of industries.