Updated Thu, Jul 07, 2011 by DarkFact
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World of Warcraft has been around for 4 years now, and is currently enjoying over 10 million subscribers. Whether you're a new player still working out what you want to do, or someone who's just taken an interest in this incredible MMORPG recently, there's going to be a lot of options for you to test whether this game is for you or not, especially with the upcoming expansion looming.
This is where this guide steps in - we're here to help you out and show you which products you could buy and why you should, or shouldn't, spend more on expansions or subscription options.
The World of Warcraft Collector's Edition is the best pick for those who want the most complete experience
There are many ways to have your first contact with World of Warcraft. You may be invited by a friend and hence given a free trial for a determined amount of days, you may have found the free trial offered in several sites and decided to take a look, or you may have simply bought World of Warcraft's first retail box.
Option #1 - Trial
You may access Blizzard's official free trial page by clicking here
The World of Warcraft Trial introduces you to the World of Azeroth for the very first time, and will allow you to create a character in the realm of your choosing. Keep in mind that since this is a free account, it won't allow you access to several features such as the use of your mailbox until you purchase the game.
Other than that, you're free to look around and level your character - you will likely run out of time before long, so you will need to purchase a subscription and the game if you want to continue.
Option #2 - Buying the Game
Some of us may have decided to begin playing because our friends are playing and we finally grew interested in what they're doing daily, so a trial isn't necessary. For you, there's still plenty of options to buy the game and start playing.
- Digital Purchase / Vanilla World of Warcraft ($19.99) - Blizzard's Store
- Digital Purchase / Burning Crusade Expansion ($29.99) - Blizzard's Store
- Digital Purchase / World of Warcraft Battlechest (Vanilla WoW + Expansion, $39.99) - Blizzard's Store
- Local Purchase (All of the above, prices may vary) - any major PC game retailer.
You will need the Expansion bought to unlock Blood Elves and Draenei
After you've downloaded your game, or have installed it and patched completely, you may begin playing and leveling up your character right away. You may be wondering if you will ever need to buy The Burning Crusade, or if you should even bother getting hyped for Wrath of the Lich King as a low level.
Let's go over the differences and why you would want either of these at any given time.
The Burning Crusade Expansion added the ability for both factions to visit Outland - it is here that many players with both Original and Expansion set their new characters's hearthstones at, simply because Shattrath City provides portals to every single city of your faction with a small walk to the center, effectively giving you a 1-hour travel to any city item.
Not only that, if you're hoping to play as a Blood Elf or a Draenei, you will need to purchase the Burning Crusade as well, since you can't select these races if you don't have your account flagged for The Burning Crusade.
If you only have normal WoW, you won't be allowed to enter into any zone the Burning Crusade added, such as Silvermoon City and its surroundings, Exodar and its surroundings, or Outland. While it's not imperative for you to be able to visit them, some nifty rewards and scenery await in the new "level up" zones the Expansion introduced.
As far as Wrath of the Lich King goes, if you don't have a level 55 character, and haven't ever been to Outland, you may still hold on to your money a little bit more just so you decide if prolonging your experiences is worth your money. The only change Wrath brings to the low levels is the fact you may play as a Death Knight should you reach level 55 or above, so as a new player, you don't need to concern yourself with this. If you're looking to play as a Death Knight at any given point in time, however, you will need to buy Wrath of the Lich King.
Once you're up and going you may have noticed you're given the option of either paying per month or buying a "Game Card" sold either by Blizzard themselves or at any major computer/game retailers such as Best Buy and Gamestop. If you believe you can always remember to buy new time cards, you can always go for the prepaid timecard option, since it won't tie into your credit card / debit card monthly.
Payment options are as follows,
- Credit Card Option (Account Management): Billed monthly automatically, good for those with their own Credit/Debit Card.
- Prepaid Card Option: Bought in stores, offered in 30, 90, 180 day variants, good for those who prefer not having their billing information online.
- Paid through Paypal: For those who want to use Paypal to buy their gametime, this has been an option for a little while now.
- Phone Bill: Blizzard has some select options for you to pay for WoW through your phone bill (Only some areas and providers)
If you've been curious about World of Warcraft and want to check it out, I recommend hopping in as soon as possible. While the newest patch and expansion will add a lot of things for those who already have characters, you can still experience a lot of the game for relatively cheap, not to mention the current server economies will be a lot friendlier to new players since everyone's trying to collect gold for Wrath of the Lich King.
There's still a lot to do and a lot of people leveling their alts / new mains throughout these days, so if you've been waiting for a time to hop in, no better time than the present!
Hope to see you in Azeroth!
Disclaimer: The opinions, beliefs and viewpoints expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions, beliefs and viewpoints of the Ten Ton Hammer network or staff.