to play games seem to be
the predestined gaming model of the future. New titles galore have popped
up throughout the last year, proudly announcing their free to play
status. Players flock to these games in droves,
ecstatic at the chance to get gaming enjoyment without the typical
monthly fee.


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words "Free to Play" when it comes to the Starter Edition of the game
can be misleading.

World of Warcraft is one of the
few remaining games that have yet to capitulate to the free to play
model. Even with subscription numbers falling, a fully free to play
game is no where in sight for the giant of MMOs. In fact Blizzard has
released several statements firmly standing behind its pay to play

Instead of following the path
of free to play like many of its rivals, Blizzard has instead decided
to throw a number of appealing perks to those players who choose to
continue to pay for WoW. These perks include an automatic invite to
future betas, a totally cool mount, and a free copy of the much
anticipated Diablo III. All one needs to do to obtain these awesome
prizes is promise to pay your monthly subscription fee for a year.

While it has yet to be seen if
this will entice players to keep on paying (I know I for one promised
my soul for a year to WoW), even if it doesn’t work the
likelihood of a free WoW anytime in the near future is slim. Even
losing subscriptions, World of Warcraft is still top dog on the MMO
market. Until it loses that lofty position there is really no reason
for the company to even consider taking the free to play route.

However, despite the fact that
none of us will be playing a entirely free WoW in the near future,
there is a free to play option of sorts available. For those players
wishing to try out a trial version they will find themselves presented
with a free WoW of sorts. Be that as it may, like most things in life,
a free version of WoW is not nearly as good as the version you pay for.

Free to Play WoW - Starter

While the various ads out there
and even I myself have called the trial version of WoW free to play,
you must first understand that the trial version is just
that…a trial and nothing more. With a list of restrictions a
mile long this version, otherwise known as a Starter Edition, is but a
taste of delicious water for the parched.

Free to Play Restrictions

As mentioned above, the free to
play trial has quite a few restrictions, limiting how players using
this “free WoW’ can enjoy the game. The
restrictions levied on the trial version are as follows:

  • A level cap of 20.
  • A maximum of 10 Gold.
  • Trade skills are capped at
    100 ranks.
  • Unable to trade via the
    Auction House, mailbox, or player-to-player.
  • In-game access to public
    chat channels unavailable. Players may only communicate using say,
    party, or whisper.
  • Characters will be unable to
    create or join guilds.
  • Characters are not able to
    send whispers to other characters unless they have been added to the
    characters’ friends’ list or have received a
    whisper from a character first.
  • Characters will not be able
    to invite other players into a party.
  • Characters will be unable to
    disable experience gains.
  • No access to Voice chat.
  • Realms experiencing log in
    queues will prioritize players who have paid accounts.
  • Starter Edition accounts
    cannot transfer characters.
  • RealID friends are disabled.
Free to Play
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Burning Crusade features are avaiable to Starter Edition users,
including the Blood Elf and Draenei races.

Thanks to the limitations on
the free to play version of WoW, players will find themselves severely
limited in their dealings in the game. While you can certainly get a
general feel for the game, you will find your character essentially
blocked off from the most important aspect of game play in an MMO; the
community. With access to the Auction House, various chats, and even
groups almost unobtainable, players will find their free WoW experience
to be extremely limited and perhaps even a bit frustrating.

Hope for an excellent free WoW
experience remains, as those lucky enough to have friends who already
play the game can garner more of a community experience than those
without. However, for the most part players will find that the free to
play version of WoW is nothing more than a glorified demo, with many of
the important features of the game locked…unless you are
willing to shell out the cash of course. So what is the purpose of this
free Starter Edition of WoW

Free to Play Purpose

Browsing forums you will find
many a player outraged by the limitations on the free to play WoW. Many
offer suggestions and demand that more features be open to them. Yet
the fact of the matter is, despite their free to play promotion, the
Starter Edition of the game was never meant to be more than a trial.
Even though the time limited of 14 days has been extended nothing more
about the free version of WoW has changed.

There is indeed a grand purpose
to this free trial though, it gets players in the game and gives them a
taste of what they could have. Like a spoonful of ice cream on a
sweltering hot day, the free WoW trial is meant to give just enough to
leave players desperate for more. For this the limited Starter Edition
of World of Warcraft is perfect for. It gives just enough to let
players get their first real experience in game without giving all its
secrets away at once.

We could rant and rave and get
angry that we cannot experience the full version of the game in this
free to play WoW, but how can we complain about something that
doesn’t cost us a time? Not to mention that with more than
enough players willing to pay to play the game, creating a trial
version that allows full access to the game seems silly indeed and
seems counterproductive in . As the old saying goes why buy the cow
when you can get the milk for free.

Will a totally free WoW ever
come to pass? While it may be something we see in the future, the giant
that is World of Warcraft will first have to be totally toppled. For
now, Blizzard has more than enough subscribers to validate leaving the
subscription fee in place. While a totally free WoW may be something we
see happening in the future, for now those of us wanting to play the
game will have to resign ourselves to shelling out a monthly fee or
settling for the Starter Edition of the game.

Do you think there will ever be
a totally free WoW? How do you feel about the free-to-play trial
package? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!

To read the latest guides, news, and features you can visit our World of Warcraft Game Page.

Last Updated: Mar 29, 2016

About The Author

Amunet, also fondly known as Memtron, is an organic life form best known for its ongoing obsession with Blizzard Entertainment's numerous properties. To that end, Amu has authored hundreds (thousands?) of the most popular World of Warcraft guides, editorials, and Top 10 lists on the planet. When not gaming and writing, Amu is busy chasing after her three children in a perpetual loop of ongoing disaster.