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World of Warcraft is the reigning champion of the MMO world as it has enough players to start its own small nation and it looks like it's going to be receiving a wave of new users as Blizzard has announced the game will be completely free to play up until a character reaches level 20.
Before the change, Blizzard was giving 48 hour free trials to new players, but this "free to play until level 20" model will make the game much more accessible, especially for players who want to take their time exploring Azeroth without any time restrictions. Blizzard is also allowing players to create as many characters as they'd like for free, but will probably place some restrictions in order to stop spammers.
If players decide they want to continue their adventure past level 20, they can purchase the core game as well as World of Warcraft's first expansion, the Burning Crusade, which opens the Outlands, increases the level cap to 70, and unlocks the Blood Elf and Draenei races, all for just $20. Additionally, if you already own World of Warcraft, but never picked up the Burning Crusade expansion pack, it will now be made available in your account for free.
Blizzard also released an FAQ on what restrictions players can expect in the "free to play until level 20" model:
- 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 are limited to communicating using only 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 lists or have received a whisper from a character first.
- Characters will not be able to invite other players into a party.
- Characters will not be able to join parties with other characters above level 20.
- Voice chat disabled on Starter Edition accounts.
- Realms experiencing login queues will prioritize players who have full, paid accounts.
- Starter Edition accounts are not eligible for character transfers
- RealID features are disabled on all Starter Edition Accounts.
[Source: PC Gamer]