Ryan Wilson

World of Warcraft Enters the Free-to-Play Realm

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In other news, pigs sprout wings.

In a move that truthfully none of us saw coming, the MMO juggernaut has decided to embrace (somewhat) the free-to-play model that they themselves played a big part in creating. While previously many touted “WoW-killers” would find themselves quickly in a trash heap, lately they’ve found new life (and some serious cash flow) in adopting a microtransaction-based free-to-play system.

While World of Warcraft will not start tacking on microtransactions (though the recent controversial subscription program they’re implementing in Call of Duty makes us think it’s inevitable), World of Warcraft: Starter Edition will feature more of an “unlimited trial” approach”. New players will be able to play through the original title and limited parts of Burning Crusade up to level 20. All races from both titles will be playable, so freeloaders can roll Draenei or Blood Elf characters if they so choose. Those wishing to progress past level 20 must purchase the game and sign up for a subscription.

Those who decided to stop playing before the first expansion have also been given incentive to return as all owners of the original title will automatically receive all the content from Burning Crusade at no charge to them. Even new players who score a copy of the original game cheap will be boosted with the additional content. A new digital Battle Chest will also be available for those wishing to not leave the house for 20 bucks.

Wrath of the Lich King and Cataclysm will still need to be purchased separately.

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