How Much Does World of Warcraft Cost?

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In this article we will explain exactly How much does World of Warcraft Cost and Why is World of Warcraft an subscription game? The answers may shock you. We unravel the differences between “free to play or FTP” in World of Warcraft vs “Subscription”. Many wish for a world where World of Warcraft is free to play but never really consider the consequences of that, don’t worry we’ll explain more below.

Base Cost for World of Warcraft

One month Subscription to World of Warcraft costs $14.99 however this can be much cheaper if you buy multiple months at a time. Blizzard often have special offers on their subscription cost to include things like mounts, pets and transmogs so it can be a good idea to regularly check Battlenet (Blizzard) for the latest costs.

World of Warcraft How Much Does it Cost?

Your monthly subscription lets you play the game from 1-50 (in Dragonflight this will become 1-60). Then to play the currently (latest) content including raiding, top tier dungeons and pvp you will need to purchase the latest expansion of World of Warcraft. Don’t worry though any older expansions of World of Warcraft are automatically included in the World of Warcraft Subscription so you wont have to buy all of the old expansions, “phew” right? There are 8 wow expansions!

Shadowlands is the current expansion and as of 24/09/2022 that costs around USD 39.99 for the base game, check here for updates. The price changes throughout the lifecycle of the expansion so if you decide to join at the start of the expansion it may cost more than it would towards the end of an expansion. This is due to deals and new expansion releases.

World of Warcraft is completely free to level 20. So if you aren’t sure if you want to pay right now simple download Battlenet and install World of Warcraft. Create a character and level it to level 20. If you enjoy and want to stick around then consider activating that WOW subscription.

WoW Tokens can buy expansions?

In World of Warcraft if you manage to farm enough gold to purchase a WOW Token you can buy yourself another month of game time without needing to spend a dime of IRL money. This can effectively mean that buying your WOW Subscription can be a one time purchase! Additionally for those who are especially talented at farming gold you can buy many wow tokens and convert them into battlenet balance which can be used on all battlenet games including WOW, Hearthstone, Overwatch and even Call of Duty. This is especially good news because you can buy your WOW Expansion using WOW Tokens earnt from just playing World of Warcraft!

How did WoW come into Existence

To begin to answer, “Why is World of Warcraft a Subscription Game?” We have to look back to 2004 and look into why Blizzard Entertainment made this decision. Back in the early 2000’s Blizzard Entertainment was developing the Popular Warcraft series and “Orcs vs Humans” concept games. World of warcraft was a mere imagination into the game it is today. They had developed another RPG game that was Multiplayer but it wasn’t interactive and they were shot down at gaming conventions with “they had just made another “Orcs vs Humans” game. So back to the drawing board they went. With only a handful of employee’s and a lot of time spent developing, Blizzard developed World of Warcraft. Not an easy feat to accomplish! But this doesn’t answer our question.

What Does a Subscription Bring to the Game

To begin to understand why we have to look at the background above, in the early 2000’s Blizzards games did not require much server space, server maintenance, running costs more employee’s to manage the game. We have to appropriately assume what the cost of the game was becoming. All of this is good reasoning to begin with, But why is World of Warcraft a subscription game?

  • Blizzard listens to it’s player base and is constantly improving the game.
  • Paying for the servers space and speed to stay running.
  • Contributing to employee salaries to manage the game.
  • Paying to keep the game away from a Freemium style of play.
  • The ticket response in game support “GM’s”.
  • Regular 3-6 month updates bringing new content to the game.
  • Re-developing older content to make it re-playable and enjoyable for years to come.

At least this is the original answer to, Why is World of Warcraft Subscription Game? But over time we “The Players” have understood that a series of differences have emerged. Such as Blizzard’s favour to Automated “GM’s” instead of an actual person helping you. Content Drought or Time Locked Content. WoW Token causing an increase of gold available to purchase boosts or BoE items that were previously harder to obtain. With World of Warcraft Advertising revenue alone should cover the employee costs. 

Why is World of Warcraft not Free to Play?

Well there are a lot of issues with Free to Play Model in games that players who flame World of Warcraft for being a subscription game don’t understand or acknowledge.

Microtransactions within free to play model games are absolutely notorious. Microtransactions completely ruin games, especially MMO’s as in MMO’s a gamer has spent hundreds if not thousands of hours playing and investing their time into their character. It can be so underwhelming when you manage to get a rare lucky mount, pet or toy if the game is riddled with Microtransactions. With World of Warcraft having a subscription service it can greatly reduce the amount of Microtransactions throughout the game.

Player nuisance, this could range from players spamming chat, excessive auction fluctuations, group spamming. We already experienced this for a couple of years within World of Warcraft with Boosting Communities but because World of Warcraft is a paid service they added new channels for “Services” but with the intention that Solo Players can do it or Guilds but not Communities anymore.

Multiboxing, this was an outrageous issue within World of Warcraft. Multiple characters all being controlled by one player at one time. Made farming for Herbs, Ores, Fishing easy but took the Auction House prices to the ground. Players looking to farm were constantly being overrun by Multiboxers.

Advertising within the game, we covered in-game adverts for gold making by communities above, but other adverts stream free to play games, from spam links, clickbait to other games trying to poach players. 

Game Balancing. With free to play games the issue is more apparent that the games aren’t balanced, that classes or specs or entire teams are out of control. You can’t win without being one of them and in order to do so you need to pay lots of real life money to do so in some others.

New Content? With a free to play model it’s almost impossible for a games company to regularly update a game with new content. World of Warcraft players expect a new content update every 3-6 months so if it were free, there would be no way that Blizzard could afford to have those new content updates developed meaning that WOW would eventually fizzle out just like many of those other free to play MMO’s.

So why is World of Warcraft a Subscription based game?

The answer is simple: The players determine the game’s value but Blizzard is setting a defined player base to enjoy the game. With World of Warcraft: Dragonflight across the horizon, Blizzard are looking back, they are responding to “The Player ” and are once again adding more elements to the game we would like to enjoy. With the beta underway we can see there is a lot of content, the timegate content is being removed. We are fingers crossed about to experience the Diamond era of World of Warcraft.

In conclusion

The subscription model is constantly being flamed in the blizzard forums, and we find that over 60% of players disagree with it staying the way it is. But within this data it is apparent that the forums are also filled with players that only play for certain aspects of the game and un-sub until the next raid tier or Mythic+ season. The Subscription model in World of Warcraft is one of the best as Blizzard Entertainment are once again listening to the players with the game content and are always looking to improve the game from past mistakes. And whilst this answer may not please everyone. Why is World of Warcraft a subscription game? It is because it wouldn’t have the amazing immersive experience we get to enjoy every day if it was free.

We as a player base may find it frustrating to have a monthly cost for a game we play but in all likely hood we wouldn’t be able to play this game and enjoy it like we do without it being a subscription model. If WOW had no subscription fee it would quickly become riddles with microtransactions like we’ve never seen before, all “new content” updates would completely stop, re-development of old zones to become re-playable would stop. Ultimately the game would become a shell of it’s former self.


Question: How much does WOW Cost?

Answer: World of Warcraft is free up to level 20. Then you Pay a subscription ($14.99) to play the remainder level. To play the current content (latest expansion) you need to buy the latest expansion. Usual price for base expansion is USD 39.99.

Question: Why does World of Warcraft have a sub?

Answer: To keep the game from a free to play style filled with microtransactions and no fresh content. The wow subscription means the game will always have regular updates and be continually enjoyable for years to come.

Question: Will World of Warcraft become Free to Play?

Answer: It is highly unlikely World of Warcraft will become free to play due to the Subscription model working so well.

Question: Can I get World of Warcraft Free?

Answer: Yes you can play to level 20 for free.

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