'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
Hipster hate is everywhere - but is there a little bit of them in all of us?
Jennifer Lawrence nude pictures leaked: Reddit removes 'The Fappening' board dedicated to sharing naked pictures of celebrities
There is literally not a single woman in this iPhone 6 queue
A bottle of wine a day is not bad for you and abstaining is worse than drinking, scientist claims
iOS 8: how to free up memory on your iPhone or iPad to install the update
Daniele Watts: Django Unchained actress detained by Los Angeles police after being mistaken for a prostitute
Scottish independence referendum: A nation divided against itself
Scottish independence: David Cameron is becoming the 'George Bush of Britain'
Russia freezes Ukraine into submission: Kiev admits country doesn't have enough fuel for winter
Scottish independence: The Queen breaks silence on referendum debate – as think tank warns of £14bn black hole if Scotland votes Yes
Archbishop of Canterbury admits doubts about existence of God
- 1 Mario Balotelli: Staff at arson-hit Manchester Dogs' Home convinced Liverpool striker is behind five-figure donation
- 2 Scottish independence live: Scotland gives a clear 'No' in historic referendum - as it happened
- 3 iOS 8 is full of shiny new features - but it's terrible news for app developers
- 4 Friends 20th anniversary: Six things we wouldn't have without influential comedy series
- 5 Scottish independence: Tory revolt against 'devo max' grows as Rail Minister Claire Perry joins
iJobs Gadgets & Tech
£24000 - £30000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Graduate BI Consultant (B...
£40000 - £55000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Service Delivery Manager (Product Ma...
£50000 - £70000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Cloud Product and Solutions Marketin...
£18000 per annum: Ashdown Group: An established and growing IT Consultancy fir...