Blizzard have announced that World of Warcraft is now free to play "“ well, until level 20 and with plenty of restrictions in place. With the new Starter Kit Edition, players can play until level 20 and make as many characters as they like.
However, once level 20 is attained, characters stop gaining experience and the only way to progress further is to upgrade to a paid account. In addition, there are a number of restrictions put in place to prevent crazy fools from exploiting the system:
- 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.
Those who already had a World of Warcraft account, but did not have Burning Crusade are treated to the expansion for free, which lifts the level caps to 70 and gives players access to the Blood Elf and Draenei races.
Source: PC Gamer