World of Warcraft is one of the most popular MMOs in the world, but can it be played for free? The answer is sometimes, maybe, kinda…
World of Warcraft is one of the most popular MMOs in the world, with hundreds of thousands of players, and dozens of expansions worth of content, including the latest, Dragonflight. But can you play WoW for free? We're here to give you all the information on playing Blizzard's premier online game without paying a cent!
Is WoW free?
Initially, yes, WoW is free. World of Warcraft is completely free to play up to level 20. However, you'll have to pay a subscription for the vast majority of WoW's content. WoW: Classic and Retail are subscription-based, and you'll need to buy the latest expansion. Playing the game beyond level 20 and the most recent versions will require a subscription.
Will World of Warcraft ever go FTP?
While many games released before and after World of Warcraft now use a free-to-play model, it's highly unlikely WoW will follow suit. The game is constantly updating with new content, and despite having lots of cash shop items and in-game purchases available, still uses subscriptions as its primary way of earning money. As a result, there's little chance Blizzard makes WoW free-to-play in the near future.
That said, there are *ahem* “methods” of playing WoW for free…
Ways to play WoW for free in 2023
In theory, there are ways to play World of Warcraft for free in 2023. As mentioned, WoW is free for characters up to level 20. So when you first play WoW, it'll be for free. Characters in the free version of WoW are capped at level 20 and you'll not be able to play the latest content.
Next, the most obvious way is with WoW Tokens. WoW Tokens are in-game items that can be sold on the auction house for gold. They can then be redeemed for 30 days of game time. So in theory, if you had enough gold, and could earn enough in 30 days, you could hypothetically play World of Warcraft for free. However, the extreme price of the WoW Token on most auction houses makes this incredibly difficult.
Finally, there are unofficial private servers. Private servers are, for the most part, legal. But, players do risk a ban on their Blizzard account, as they are against the terms of service. Additionally, as unofficial servers, private servers can sometimes expose you to hackers, malware, and other unscrupulous behavior. If you choose to play WoW this way, you do so at your own risk.
Ultimately, if you're looking to play WoW for free, there are ways of doing it. However, all of them come with drawbacks, so it's up to you to decide whether to stay FTP or take the plunge for a subscription!