World of Warcraft Starter Edition is a digital download replacement for the 10-day Free Trial. The Starter Edition allows anyone to play for free up to level 20 without the time restrictions placed on trial accounts -- all you need is a Battle.net account and moderately fast internet connection.
As of mid-July 2011, all existing trial accounts, including expired ones, have been reactivated.
Recruit-a-Friend program has been upgraded as a result of the changes introduced with the Starter Edition.
New features over the old trial:
- Players with the Starter Edition can create draenei and blood elf characters, which were previously unavailable with trial accounts. As of Mists of Pandaria, the worgen, goblin and pandaren are available, the monk class remains locked.
- The two starting zones associated with draenei/blood elf races are also available to people wishing to try out the game.
- The gold limit has been raised to 10 gold, allowing Starter Edition players to purchase mounts when they reach the appropriate level.
Most limitations are shown in the FAQ.
- At level 20 you will stop gaining experience until you activate a paid account, but you can play and explore or even start a new character.
- Gold capped at 10.
- Professions are capped at 100 ranks.
- Unable to trade via the Auction House, mailbox, or player-to-player.
- In-game access to public chat channels unavailable. Players are limited to communicating using only
/whisper. Player cannot yell.
- Characters will be unable to create or join guilds.
- Characters are not able to send whispers to other characters unless they have been added to the characters' friends lists or have received a whisper from a character first.
- Characters will not be able to invite other players into a party.
- Characters will be unable to disable experience gains.
Characters will not be able to join parties with other characters above level 20.
- Voice chat disabled on Starter Edition accounts.
- Realms experiencing login queues will prioritize players who have full, paid accounts.
- Starter Edition accounts are not eligible for character transfers
- Real ID features are disabled on all Starter Edition Accounts.
Notes about upgrading to paid account
From the FAQ.
- Your account name and password will remain the same.
- Your characters and items will remain on that account and will be available upon your return.
- The Starter Edition limitations and restrictions will be removed.
- When you upgrade to the full version of World of Warcraft, you will receive 30 days of access to the game for free.
- With the introduction of the Starter Edition, all Guest Pass Keys are effectively worthless.
- It is strange that Blizzard would include 2 of these in the World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria Collector's Edition, since they would have known they would be worthless for many months before release.