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World of Warcraft took its first steps to becoming completely free to play yesterday, adding a “Starter Edition” that allows players to play for free up to level 20. The news came alongside Blizzard merging the original game and its first expansion, "The Burning Crusade," into a singular package. This means that its two exclusive races, Draenei and Blood Elf, are available to Starter Edition players as well. A list of limitations for these free players was released shortly after the news as well:
Free-to-play has been a huge trend that has been culminating in the past months and has begun to be adopted by many large companies and games that exist today. Blizzard is simply adding themselves to that ever-lengthening list. With the beginnings of the free-to-play structure seeping into the most popular MMORPG in existence today, are we at the doorstep of a new era where you only pay for advanced features in video games? Or will traditional games still exist into the decade? One can only wonder at this point, and fervently hope, one way or the other.