...Up to level 20 at least. Blizzard announced today that they're completely revamping their trial account system . Instead of limiting the amount of time you can spend playing, trial accounts will allow you to play as much as you want all the way up to level 20 on as many characters as you can create (similar to Warhammer Online's endless trial system). There will likely be some restrictions on the accounts to prevent spammers from abusing them, but those details have not been outlined yet.
Players that like what they see can purchase the game and the Burning Crusade expansion (which increases the level cap to 70, opens Outlands, and unlocks the Blood Elf and Draenei races) for only 20 bucks. In addition, anyone that currently owns the original game, but did not have the Burning Crusade expansion, now has that expansion automatically added to their accounts for free.
What do you think? Will you play around in the new endless trial mode? Is this the Blizzard's first step in making WoW free-to-play? And is that a change you want Blizzard to make for WoW?
Update: Blizzard has released a full FAQ on the new system, which details (among other things) the restrictions on the trial accounts. It looks like our pie-in-the-sky dreams of building a guild full of level 19 PvP twinks on free trial accounts might be out of our reach...for now.
The full restrictions are:
- 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.