Recent rumors surrounding World of Warcraft’s 6.1 patch suggested that the subscription-based MMORPG would become free-to-play with its latest update via the introduction of a new account type called “Veteran Edition.”
Blizzard Entertainment hastened to clear up the misunderstanding. The “Veteran Edition” account type is being introduced in the upcoming 6.1 patch. But it isn’t a move to FTP. It’s a way to allow past subscribers who aren’t currently active to get back into the action—for free. There will be restrictions, of course. The “Veteran Edition” acts much like the “Starter Edition” accounts, which allow newcomers to play for free up to a certain point. You’ll be allowed to go up to level 20, have a maximum of 10 gold and even have limited access to chat.
“We’ve always had this kind of weird limitation, where if you’ve never played WoW, we let you play as much as you want, albeit in a very restricted Starter Edition account. However, if you ever had a subscription—but don’t currently have one—we don’t even let you log in,” explained Community Manager Bashiok in the game’s forums. “In 6.1, we’ll effectively revert lapsed accounts into a Starter Edition ‘mode’ with all of the same restrictions—the one difference being that your sub-level 20 characters will be able to join a guild if any of your other characters are still in that guild.”
When 6.1 arrives, it’s unlikely the accounts will be called “Veteran Edition.” “The label for this mode internally is ‘Veteran,’ and those are the strings that were datamined, but it’s unlikely to be a term we use to any great degree externally,” added Bashiok. “It will simply be the default state for accounts that don’t currently have an active subscription.”