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World of Warcraft Offers Unlimited Trials

Blizzard's World of Warcraft has made a major change to its free trial system, doing away with its traditional timed period in exchange for a level-capped unlimited play experience.
Major MMO World of Warcraft has changed its free trial system, switching from a traditionally timed trial to one that offers unlimited play with a level cap. Those signing up for a free trial can now play the game infinitely, though players cap out at level 20. For reference, those playing with all available expansions currently cap out at 85. According to a forums post, in-game restrictions put on free trial players will still apply, with community manager Jonathan Brown explaining that "trial accounts simply no longer expire." The game's trial sign-up page still offers the traditional 10-day free trial, though Blizzard server issues occurring at press time may explain this, as the actual sign-up page is down for maintenance. World of Warcraft apparently lost subscribers following the release of its latest substantial expansion, Cataclysm. According to Blizzard president Michael Morhaime, the churn came because the company's dedicated players are able to consume content much faster than they used to: the company is seeing a trend where veteran players renew their subscriptions temporarily, play the new expansion, then cancel again immediately. In response, Blizzard has been "looking to decrease the amount of time in-between expansions" and "speed up the development process." The trial period's change appears to be another approach to helping stop the company's subscription bleed. Next month's release of Cataclysm in China should help, as well.

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