'World of Warcraft' goes free-to-play
Wednesday 29 June 2011
That impenetrable fortress of online gaming,
World of Warcraft, has made a concession to the free-to-play hordes that gather in an effort to chip away at the empire:
WoW's new Starter Edition is itself free.
Replacing a more customary 14-day trial and scrubbing its time limit, the Starter Edition nonetheless carries over the trial's restrictions.
In place of a time limit is instead a cap that halts character progression at level 20 out of a possible 85.
Coincidentally, it takes about two weeks playing a couple of hours each day to reach level 20, but on the other hand, those with the Starter Edition can grind out as many sub-20 characters as they like.
So what can't they do? Well, the social experience is significantly diminished: there's no voice or public chat, no guilds, no item trading (a key part of WoW's internal economy), and Starter users are prevented from creating or joining parties that contain members over the level 20 threshold.
Oh, and there's a wealth limit of 10 gold - but that's actually a decent amount in WoW terms.
For now at least, WoW remains steadfastly focused on converting new players into paid subscribers, bundling in the Burning Crusade expansion for those that pony up.
Other massively multiplayer games that become free-to-play - Lord of the Rings Online, Champions Online, and (soon) LEGO Universe and City of Heroes - make money by means of an in-game shop that offers extra items and quests, with optional premium memberships taking the place of a subscription tier.
Some, like Allods Online and Vindictus, launch as free-to-play from the off; Guild Wars 2 will require a one-time retail purchase only; and then there are the brave few, such as RIFT, that pursue a fully fledged subscription model in an effort to beat the 12-million subscriber WoW at its own game.
Life & Style blogs
Penis size study: what's 'normal' anyway?
This restaurant has misunderstood the concept of 'cheese and biscuits'
What happens to your body when you give up sugar?
My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin: How I outwitted the Gestapo
Drinking three to five cups of a coffee a day could reduce risk of heart attacks, study finds
New theory could prove how life began and disprove God
'Jihadi John': CAGE representative storms off Sky News accusing Kay Burley of Islamophobia
This is what it's like to be dead, according to a guy who died for a bit
Durham Free School: 'Creationism taught at' free school facing closure
Ukip would cut billions from Scottish budget to fund English tax cuts
Nearly 100,000 of Britain's poorest children go hungry after parents' benefits are cut
- 1 What happens to your body when you give up sugar?
- 2 This is what the photographer has to say about the picture of a weasel riding a woodpecker
- 3 Delhi bus rapist blames dead victim for attack because 'girls are responsible for rape'
- 4 Have sex with your iPad thanks to the new sex toy no-one asked for
- 5 Average penis size revealed: Scientists attempt to find what is 'normal' to reassure concerned men
iJobs Gadgets & Tech
£35000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Infrastructure Architect is ...
£28000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An exciting opportunity has ari...
£18000 - £21000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company is a customer focu...
£16000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Business Development Executiv...