I got this from Engadget: Free World of Warcraft now goes till you reach level 20, instead of the previous 7 free days of gameplay.
Now, at first sign, it may look like it’s a good thing: You don’t need to rush those 7 days to reach the level limit, you now can take your time, not worrying that your “subscription” will run over and you won’t be able to play anymore.
The thing is: in a 7 day trial, playing, say, 1 hour per day, at the end you’d be around level 40, ‘cause the latest expansion (Cataclysm) turned the low level playing in a walk in the park. Oh, sure, there are some quests that require thinking and such, but they are interesting enough so you don’t realize how long you have been playing.
Also, up to level 10, when you need to chose your specialization, takes about half an hour to get there. So you can imagine how long it takes to reach level 20.
So what Blizzard actually did wasn’t give people freedom to explore the game on their own time. The just cut the 7 day trial to something really really a lot less than that.
Also, I wonder what would happen if, once reaching level 10, you went farming low level creatures (at the point you won’t get any experience by killing them) and then locking your level — you pay a fee and then you’re free to do whatever you want without worrying about getting experience. And, as a cherry on the top, you can roll a tank, get instant queues and also go non-stop into dungeons, playing for ages without worrying about leveling.
Surely, something I should try to exploit soon.
Update: I just heard Totalbiscuit on today’s The Mailbox and it seems you’re locked out of of a lot of stuff, including the Auction House (which would be a helper to reach the 10 gold to lock your XP). On the other hand, it seems that if you want to keep playing after reaching level 20, you can, you just don’t get any more XP.