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Blizzard Launches WoW ''Starter Edition''

Tuesday evening Blizzard revealed that it converted the previous 10- and 14-day demos of World of Warcraft into a pseudo free-to-play MMORPG, throwing the time restrictions out the door and letting new players roam about indefinitely. The news arrives after Blizzard's CEO Mike Morhaime revealed that 600,000 subscribers jumped ship shortly after the release of Cataclysm, possibly due to the "quick consumption" of the expansion.

Previous comments from Blizzard indicated that the studio had no plans to go free-to-play with World of Warcraft anytime soon. And with the just-launched World of Warcraft Starter Edition, that's still somewhat the case. Interested gamers can now play the base game for free up to a maximum character level of 20. The Starter Edition even includes some of the content found in the first expansion pack, The Burning Crusade, including draenei and blood elf characters.

Tuesday Blizzard said that players who previously signed on for 10- or 14-day trials will be able to jump back into the Starter Edition right where they left off. But once characters reach level 20, they’re required to purchase the $20 digital "World of Warcraft Battle Chest" and sign up for a subscription. Thus, the Starter Edition isn't exactly a F2P game, but rather an unlimited demo. Still, this could serve as a springboard to launch a F2P service in the near future.

In addition to the Starter Edition launch, Blizzard also said that the second content update for Cataclysm, Rage of the Firelands (patch 4.2), is "erupting" across Azeroth. "With a new raid, a legendary DPS staff quest line, the most diverse daily questing experience to date, PvP Season 10, user-interface enhancements such as the Dungeon Journal, and much more, Rage of the Firelands brings a little something for everyone," Blizzard said.

The studio added that anyone who owns the original World of Warcraft, regardless of when they purchased the game, will automatically be able to access all of the content and features from The Burning Crusade expansion at no additional cost.

  • clonazepam
    I didn't need more than 1 day of the 14 day free trial to figure out this game isn't for me.
    Reply
  • dimar
    I love Warcraft Universe and lore and books and comics, and RTS games... But really dislike WoW games. Tried to play it about 4 times now, and everytime just quit after playing less than an hour. Does Blizzard have a solution for people like me??
    Reply
  • RazberyBandit
    The studio added that anyone who owns the original World of Warcraft, regardless of when they purchased the game, will automatically be able to access all of the content and features from The Burning Crusade expansion at no additional cost.
    If you quit prior to BC (6 years ago), you can play the expansion that came out 5 years ago for free! Oh wait! That's only if you resub, though! LMAO. Pathetic...
    Reply
  • neiroatopelcc
    It won't matter.
    Everything in the game feels so used, and every new thing they implement just seems like something that should've been there all along, and thus is never appreaciated. The game is over. Really. They can keep adding content to keep a few million players happy, but most casual players will be bored by it anyway.
    Reply
  • dco
    This is a nice little benefit for new players but pretty stupid as this does nothing to sway long term players from quitting.
    Reply
  • NuclearShadow
    It's clear that WoW had hit its peak long ago when it came to subscribers and once that happens there really is only one way to go and that down. In no way am I saying WoW is dead but its going to gradually lose players over time eventually coming down to the most hardcore and dedicated players. Servers will merge until there is one per region and soon after that it will shutdown for good. I've seen it happen before and even WoW isn't immune to such.

    This is of course assuming they don't go free to play eventually. Which will expand its life but even then nothing lasts forever. Whether you love or hate WoW you have to admit it will be quite a event to see when the giant gets laid to rest.
    Reply
  • neiroatopelcc
    Yes and roughly 2 months after it's shut down, people will wish they could still play :p
    Reply
  • beayn
    The Burning Crusade expansion isn't good enough to convince people who quit pre-BC to come back. That xpac was pretty boring compared to the others.
    Reply
  • elbert
    The first timer has to buy the battle chest, Wraith of the lich king, Cataclysm, and one month play time totaling $108 or a game card totaling $122. This is no way to get new customers and will confuse customers on what they much buy. The latest expansion plus monthly cost should be the only things required for play.
    Reply
  • reggieray
    Ah, World of Warcrack, no thanks Activision.
    Reply