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World of Warcraft goes free to play … sorta

Just in case there was still anyone even remotely in World of Warcraft‘s demographic who hadn’t tried it yet, the game’s maker Blizzard is removing one of the last few remaining obstacles. The online roleplaying game is now free to play for the first 20 character levels. The hugely successful time-vacuum (since whatever else you want to say about the game, all descriptions must include “successful”) already has over 11 million player accounts worldwide. But since Blizzard isn’t a company to do anything only halfway, they’re out for even more. That or they’re making a grab for the market-share of the many MMORPGs that have found a niche in the free-to-play realm, such as Lord of the Rings Online, Dungeons & Dragons Online and several others.

Players can download the newly released “World of Warcraft Starter Edition” which lets them join the battle between the Horde and Alliance, visit the world of Azeroth and experience many of its wondrous offerings. There are some drawbacks to the experience however. These free accounts have ceilings on the amount of gold and tradeskills they can acquire. Their interactions with other players are also limited, which could be a very good thing given the mentality of many WoW-players. (Full disclosure time, I was a slave to/played WoW for over four years, from the closed beta until just after the second expansion came out, logging thousands and thousands of hours in-game before throwing off the digital shackles a few years ago.) There’s an F.A.Q. describing the exact limitations and if that doesn’t scare you off, you can sign up here to give it a whirl. Just don’t say I didn’t warn you…

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