WoW’s Trial Now A Free “Starter Edition”

By Jim Rossignol on June 29th, 2011 at 8:56 am.

Is it hot in here, or am I an anthropomorphic wolf creature?
Yesterday I was wondering out loud about whether World of Warcraft was being significantly worried by the free-to-play revolution, and now they’re expanding the trial to have no time limit on the first twenty levels (which was my favourite bit of the game.) They’re calling it the World Of Warcraft Starter Edition, and it’s still limited by other trial aspects, such as not being able to use the auction house, and suffers a few other caps such as a limit of 10 gold. If trialees get to level 20 and want to open up their game and keep playing then it’s possible to to purchase the Burning Crusade for $20 and subscribe for the normal amount. The Burning Crusade has also now been unlocked for free for anyone who owned the original game.

There’s a detailed FAQ about the Starter Edition here.

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45 Comments »

  1. Jubaal says:

    Very interesting. Looks like they have taken the same model which Age of Conan introduced.

  2. DSR says:

    This will allow you to ERP in Goldshire.
    Forever. For free.
    Call right now!

  3. Dawngreeter says:

    Those shoulderplates look weird.

  4. MonkeyMonster says:

    that’s likely going to net them quite a few more users…

  5. max pain says:

    What’s he doing with those heads?

  6. mod the world says:

    Is this US only?

  7. Hoaxfish says:

    What exactly is “10 gold”? What could I buy with it?

    • Valvarexart says:

      A hat.

    • Telke says:

      given that the trial also blocks you using the auction house, I’m not sure how easy it’d be to get all the way to 10g, but…it’s plenty for a level 20. the mount costs 5g, then you’d live pretty comfortably on the rest.

      of course, at higher levels 10g is nothing, but it’s a nice sum for a level 20.

  8. Tei says:

    This need “Cool Wolfs Don’t Look At Explosions” tag.

    • FakeAssName says:

      that, or a “should have known better than to drink the water in Mexico!” tag.

    • BitLooter says:

      The “Did I leave the oven on?” tag.

  9. Jumwa says:

    It was just last year, right before Cataclysm hit, that “Ghostcrawler”, the lead developer, was gloating to John Funk of the Escapist in an interview how he didn’t think WoW would ever have to toy with the free-to-play model like other, lesser MMOs, at least not for a very, very long time.

    But then he also thought that the 12 million WoW players would all be happy with a system that caters to only the more serious players, so what’s he know?

    • Rii says:

      The entire remaking of the world was for ‘non-serious’ players. Blizzard probably could pump out enough raid content to satisfy the hardcore if that’s all they were interested in doing. Hell, most hardcore players have nothing but complaints about expansions: “Noo, all my epix replaced by scrub greens.”

    • Jumwa says:

      Except the new leveling was just a method to get new players, not to satisfy current more casual players. 80-85 could be done in a few days of play time by even the most casual of players.

      Regardless, the developers insistence that the new rise in dungeon difficulty was just something casual players would have to get used to and suck it up that they couldn’t do them anymore, more than makes my point.

    • Rii says:

      “Except the new leveling was just a method to get new players, not to satisfy current more casual players.”

      Because it’s not like you can roll another character.

      “Regardless, the developers insistence that the new rise in dungeon difficulty was just something casual players would have to get used to and suck it up that they couldn’t do them anymore, more than makes my point.”

      Devs made the right call. WOTLK’s one-button AOE spam was a joke.

    • Jumwa says:

      “Because it’s not like you can roll another character.”

      A side effect, not the cause.

      “Devs made the right call. WOTLK’s one-button AOE spam was a joke.”

      Great, glad you think so. And I’m glad that they’re losing subscribers because the developers agreed with you.

      Go do some heroic mode raids if you want challenge. That’s why they were there. But then, I’ve never met anyone complaining about Wrath being easy toting around Heroic raid achievements.

      Heck, strip off your gear if you want more challenge in a heroic. The fact that people were complaining about things being too easy when there were plenty of solutions to it just points to the fact that it was an empty argument by people who wished for casual players to be excluded from all group content.

    • Rii says:

      The fact that WOTLK dungeons were too easy was only tangentially related to the real problem: they were mind-numbing.

      I’ve disagreed with an awful lot of the design decisions made regarding WoW’s direction over the years, and I called this one right on the nose. Back when the shift towards class homogeneity and everyone having an AOE-button to push began, I said that this was a mistake because if everyone had an AOE then having everyone mash that AOE (and for most classes/specs that’s one button) would become the solution to all life’s problems with the result that dungeons would become very boring, very quickly. The devs didn’t listen and an awful lot of dungeon design work went down the toilet as a result. Cue Cataclysm and some due chagrin on their part.

    • Zelius says:

      Rii, there’s a solution for that: AOE rotations. As far as I can tell (and I’m not sure, because I haven’t played in a few months) Elemental shaman now have a rotation when they want to AOE, consisting of five spells. They should extend this to other classes as well.

    • Strife212 says:

      ““Devs made the right call. WOTLK’s one-button AOE spam was a joke.”
      Great, glad you think so. And I’m glad that they’re losing subscribers because the developers agreed with you.”

      Did you really just defend pressing one button again and again as a good gameplay mechanic? The real reason the game is losing subscribers is because it has become progressively worse and worse.

    • Jumwa says:

      “Did you really just defend pressing one button again and again as a good gameplay mechanic?”

      No, since that was a gross exaggeration at best.

      Some class and spec combinations did little more than press one button on certain trash mobs. Notice all the qualifiers in that statement. Other class and spec combinations had a lot of abilities to work through on certain AOE necessary trash mobs, such as enhancement-shamans or fire-mages. Most lay in between.

      And that’s only talking about certain AOE-friendly trash fights in dungeons. Not all trash fights were AOE, and not all of a dungeon was made up of trash fights (thank god). The other persons comment was hyperbole, and I didn’t bother giving it a full and serious rebuttal.

  10. Gundrea says:

    Pfft. I haven’t touched WoW since they went all casual with those hardcore raids.

  11. rareh says:

    WOW goes free-to-play.

    Was only a matter of time.

  12. Rush Ton says:

    Might pop back to see how its changed since cataclysm though that could be very dangerous..

  13. Rii says:

    Good move. And I’ve been thinking about revisiting the game too. And then I think about the enormous time investment and even luck involved in getting to the bits of the game that are attracting me to it – the feeling of helping others – and the ratio of want to not-want and … nah.

    The community, the game design, my own familiarity with the game: in all these ways the game I played and loved those years back no longer exists. Pity.

    Still, GW2 and TOR should hurry up. I’m getting itchy feet here.

  14. Temple says:

    I am so screwed.
    I’m trying to get a better job! And read books! And go to boardgame nights! (this Sunday in London if you are interested -pop on to the forums to check it out)
    BUT ITS FREE!!!!

  15. abigbat says:

    It’s still a brilliant game. I’m glad they’ve made this move, the more new players who get to experience the world Blizzard created the better. I’ve played since launch, and I think the game is in a better state than it has ever been.

  16. Eagle0600 says:

    Once had a free share of some-one else’s account. I don’t think I played for more than a day or two before giving up on it as the most dreadful bore I’ve ever played. Keep your game, Bliz; I really don’t want it.

  17. Tei says:

    WoW need a anime-ske race of cat people. That race could be good at rogue arts, and as tank. Nothing say Tank, like a Lion in Full Plate.

    A Wolf in Full Plate is not the same thing, at all. I think I don’t need to detail the irony of a licantrope in full plate … silver plate.

    • Antsy says:

      I think that the way forward for WoW is to open up the vast catalogue of races to player characters. I’d give it another go if I could be a Gnoll :P

  18. Sidorovich says:

    God this is bloody tempting. Stuck with WoW for 3 months playing a undead warrior, but hated the role of tank attracting aggro and all that bollocks. Always wanted to try a ranged spellcasters class, this just might be my ticket. Somethings gotta tide me over now that the AoE Online beta is about to close….

    • Rii says:

      Warriors haven’t been pigeon-holed into the role of tank for a long time now. =)

  19. Mozai says:

    So I bought the “original” game before Burning Crusade… does this mean for me the game is F2P all the way up to level 70?

  20. DSDan says:

    Ok, I guess this means I have to try it. Question for RPS readers: Assuming I know absolutely nothing about WoW, what’s an good race/class combo to start with to get a decent feel for the basics of the game?

    • Rii says:

      Human Hunter. Or Paladin if you’re interested in exploring tanking/healing roles also. =)

  21. nimnio says:

    From the Starter Edition FAQ: “Characters will not be able to invite other players into a party.”

    This might be a huge mistake. Consider this scenario: “Hey guys, WoW has gone F2P for the first 20 levels, let’s check it out. Oh, wait, we can’t quest together. Nevermind.”

    I suppose you could persuade paid players to make parties for you. And in the game.

  22. heartlessgamer says:

    Still not on Steam so I still don’t care.

  23. DarkNoghri says:

    Possibly a coincidence, but did anyone else get an email about requesting a password reset on their WoW account? Apparently I had one from signing up for the trial once.

  24. Daryl says:

    Meh, I tried playing again but it just did absolutely nothing for me. Made a NE Rogue and I could only take it for about 45 minutes before I uninstalled. It’s just the same old, same old. Too bad since I have a free 10-day Cataclysm trial (but it doesn’t let me go past level 80). I guess it’s just time for me to move on.