It feels like barely a day passes without another key MMO dropping subscriptions in favour of the free-to-play model, and now the biggest MMO of them all is getting in on the act.
Yes, Blizzard's earth-conquering World of Warcraft is now free-to-play. Sort of.
An alteration to WoW's trial account system means users can now download and play the game for as long as they like until their character (or characters – multiple creations are permitted) reaches level 20.
There are some other restrictions too. Gold is maxed out at 10 and trade skills at 100. Auction House, mailbox and player-to-player trading is also blocked, as is public and voice chat. More importantly free players won't be able to create or join guilds.
If after that a user wishes to take the full plunge, they will be able to buy both the game and the Burning Crusade expansion pack for a discounted price. In the US the pair will be available for $20.
Furthermore, any existing WoW players who haven't purchased Burning Crusade will from today find that it has been suddenly added to their account.