World of Warcraft to offer unlimited trial version

More and more MMO games are either launching out of the box with a free-to-play business model or switching after launch to offer a free-to-play option to play the game. Now the biggest MMO game that still has an exclusive monthly subscription is giving new players a way to play the full base game for free ... up to a point. Blizzard has announced today that it will be letting new players play the original version of its fantasy MMO World of Warcraft for free for as long as they want. The catch is that characters created in this new trial version will only be able to go up to level 20.

This new way to try out the game is being called World of Warcraft Starter Edition by Blizzard. It replaces Blizzard's earlier 10-day and 14-day trial versions. Indeed anyone who has played the game via those trial versions should be able to jump in with their previously created characters and start playing in the new unlimited World of Warcraft trial version. The new Starter Version was announced via an email from Blizzard's PR reps to the media but at the moment the trial is not yet available on the official World of Warcraft web site. This new move to bring in new players to the game comes as Blizzard admitted back in May that its subscriber base for World of Warcraft has actually decreased from its worldwide high of 12 million users down to "just" 11.4 million subscribers.

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Sidebar - Previous Trial accounts for World of Warcraft (expired or not) have been upgraded to Sarter Edition accounts, putting me in the weird position of having two Starter Edition accounts. (I noticed this in a quick peek via BattleNet.) If you have a WoW trial account, you can simply use it; if the software its installed, itwill auto-update wth the next logon; otherwise, simply logon to the BattleNet Web portal for your region and re-download/install the client.

I can see this being a good move for the company. People don't like the idea of being "limited" or "controlled" (the 10 day and 14 day trials were a time limitation, obviously). This new method Blizzard is using will allow the player to move and explore on his or her own time instead of being rushed.

Doubledog95 said,
I can see this being a good move for the company. People don't like the idea of being "limited" or "controlled" (the 10 day and 14 day trials were a time limitation, obviously). This new method Blizzard is using will allow the player to move and explore on his or her own time instead of being rushed.

Precisely!
Further, with all the other time-demands out there (and especially the growing F2P/casual-gaming market), fixed-period trials simply don't work. That is, in fact, the reason there are far fewer *traditional* MMOs even being developed - there are simply not enough hours to devote. (I personally have had my WoW trial lapse *twice* due to lack of time - and never broke level five, let alone level twenty.)

the "noobs" won't really be getting in the way of the big players so there is no reason for anyone to freak out. this just creates a good place for the big guilds to recruit new players who are potentially interested in the subscription based service.