World of Warcraft is jumping on the free-to-play bandwagon

It's pretty common for smaller massively multiplayer online titles to offer up a portion of the game for free — or, in some cases, the whole thing. World of Warcraft, being the big game on campus, never had to, charging your standard monthly fee for admission. That just changed, as Blizzard is serving a taste of its title sans strings.

World of Warcraft Starter Edition is now free for all-comers, allowing you to play to your heart's content up until level 20. It should be stated that means 20 out of a possible 85, but it should also be said that the early game content is widely regarded as some of the best, and would still probably suck you in for longer than most other games these days. (Looks like the free-to-play bug is catching on with bigger titles, to boot, as Valve just announced its popular first-person shooter, Team Fortress 2, is also going to be free to pick-up and offer players micro-payment options inside.)

WoW, which is still 11.4 million subscribers strong after dipping down from its 12-million-subscriber milestone, recently remade itself with the release of World of Warcraft: Cataclysm, which tore the world players knew and loved asunder. This move to a free to play model — supported by premium content, paid services and a monthly fee for those who want to advance beyond level 20 — is most likely a play to bring players new and old back to the world to check it out.

Blizzard will also bundle the original title as well as one of its expansions, The Burning Crusade, in one package at $20, and is giving folks Burning Crusade for free for those who already own WoW but none of its many expansions. You can see a trailer for the upcoming Rage of the Firelands content patch down below.

Via G4

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