Blizzard has announced that from today, March 9th, through Sunday, March 12th, if you are a lapsed WoW subscriber you can log in and play the Dragonflight expansion for free.
The specific statement is:
Grab your favorite character and we’ll grab you a Dragon! This is your chance to soar through the magnificent Dragon Isles and experience Warcraft at its nostalgic best. All players with an inactive WoW account will receive trial access to Dragonflight*. And if you don’t have a level 60, check the battle.net launcher app – there may just be a gift for you!
If the gift isn’t a level boost, then they have done something very wrong.
Actually, it looks like you get to create a level 60 Dracthyr, the new race that launched with the expansion, if you want to try that out.
Blizzard would, of course, very much like you to buy a copy of Dragonflight, pretty please, because they don’t have much else going on in Q1 and it is March already and it would be great if their numbers didn’t completely tank for this quarter.
In order entice you further, all versions of the Dragonflight expansion have been discounted 20% through March 15th, in the hopes that the free trial will convince you to buy.
The catch, such that it is, is that you will not be able to level up past level 60 until you purchase the expansion. Any experience you earn will be “banked” and held for you, to be awarded once you make the purchase.
I was curious to see who actually would be given free access to the expansion. The emphasis in the announcement felt aimed at those not currently subscribed. But the odd cases… people who own the expansion but who are not subscribed as well as people like me, who are subscribed but not playing Dragonflight… appear to be covered. I can go play the new expansion this weekend if I want.
However, they do make clear that this free period gets you access to retail WoW only. You cannot use this grace period to slip into WoW Classic and see what is going on there.
- Blizzard – Official announcement
- Blizzard – blue post in the forums
- MMO Champion – Blue post and links
I’d check that out, but the problem with a free return weekend from WoW is that it takes more that a weekend to figure out wtf is going on with any of my characters, given that I can’t remember what all their abilities do, and that they’ve probably all been ripped apart and rebuilt by the new expansion anyway..
If I recall an MAU is not necessarily someone who pays but plays, so that technically this can cost them $$$ but be easy spun into a shareholder note. A curious Venn diagram all the same with regards to who this is targeting.
If I went back I’d start from scratch with a new player as I haven’t played Retail in 9 years. That’s a bit of a handicap for a trial run, especially since I’d only be interested in playing a Mage. So, thanks but no thanks.
I got the email for this last night and I did consider it for a moment. I am curious to see Dragonflight, which sounds like it might have addressed a number of the major problems that were driving people away from Retail WoW with Shadowlands.
I’m still not comfortable with giving Blizzard succour of any kind, though, and as Asmiroth points out, merely playing WoW, even for free, contributes to their success in an infinitesemal way. I’ll keep on waiting until the Microsoft deal either goes through or doesn’t.
Anyway, even if I was willing to jump on board, the timing is terrible for me. I’m working all weekend. That means the hassle of re-installing WoW for what would be no more than an hour or two just wouldn’t be worth it, even if the ethical issues weren’t in play.