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Can you still get Shadowlands for free?

I‘m Steven Erikson, a gaming and tech enthusiast who loves finding great deals. If you‘re wondering whether you can still get World of Warcraft‘s Shadowlands expansion for free in 2023, I‘ve got you covered.

The short answer is no – the promotional period to claim a free base edition of Shadowlands ended on September 5th, 2022.

But don‘t worry – as a fellow bargain hunter, I‘ve dug up some pro tips on how you can still experience Shadowlands without paying full price. Stick with me for the inside scoop!

Evaluating Shadowlands in 2023 as an MMO Geek

As an avid MMORPG gamer, I believe there are still great reasons to play Shadowlands despite the new Dragonflight expansion being out:

Leveling Alts and Enjoying the Story

Shadowlands brought some excellent zone storylines and aesthetics to WoW. Zones like Ardenweald and Revendreth are gorgeous, and the overall narrative tying up threads from past expansions is engaging.

If you‘re leveling alts before heading to the Dragon Isles, Shadowlands offers a robust leveling experience. The new Chromie Time leveling system also lets you choose which expansion to level through – so you can focus just on Shadowlands.

Maximizing Professions for Dragonflight

I‘m big on optimizing professions in WoW. Maxing out Shadowlands crafting now will give you a headstart when Dragonflight releases.

For example, you‘ll be able to craft level 70 gear using new Dragonflight materials. So spending time now getting your professions up will pay dividends.

Sampling WoW Before Re-subscribing

I have some friends who are considering coming back to WoW when Dragonflight launches. If that‘s you, resubscribing before Dragonflight lets you "test drive" Shadowlands first.

That way you can get a feel for the current state of the game before committing to Dragonflight long-term. Pretty smart if I do say so myself!

According to Blizzard, over 86% of current players resubscribed from a lapsed subscription in 2021. So it‘s a popular strategy!

Completing the Content for Achievements

This one appeals to my inner achievement hunter. Even as WoW moves on to new expansions, I love going back to complete all the zones, quests, dungeons, and raids from previous ones.

Shadowlands has some great side content like the meta Torghast achievement Trusted of the Arbiter. Completionists will find tons to wrap up even as newer content arrives!

Analyzing Whether to Buy Shadowlands in 2023

Since you can no longer get Shadowlands free, you might be wondering if it‘s worth buying at this point. Let‘s dive into the pros and cons:


  • Access to raids, Mythic+ dungeons, and PvP for gear and competition
  • A complete story experience culminating in the Sepulcher of the First Ones raid
  • Unlocking Allied Races via Legion, BFA reputation grinding
  • Legendary item crafting which still sees some use
  • Completing the Korthia and Zereth Mortis storyline


  • Declining endgame participation as players move to Dragonflight
  • Upcoming new talent trees make Shadowlands builds obsolete
  • Grindy parts like Anima farming less rewarding at end of expansion
  • Gear will be supplanted quickly leveling in new Dragonflight zones

My verdict as a value-focused gamer – buying Shadowlands solely to participate in endgame is probably not worthwhile.

However, if completing the full story and collecting achievements appeals to you, it could be a good purchase during a sale!

How Can You Experience Shadowlands for Free-ish in 2023?

Alright, let‘s get into the good stuff. I‘ve discovered a couple "life hacks" to access Shadowlands without outright buying it:

Wait for Short-Term Promotional Deals

Around major events like new expansion announcements or WoW‘s anniversary, Blizzard sometimes offers short free deals on older expansions.

For example, Battle for Azeroth was briefly free with the Shadowlands pre-purchase before it launched. There‘s a chance we could see something similar for Shadowlands later in 2023.

I‘ll be keeping my ear to the ground and will let my dear readers know if any Shadowlands promos pop up!

Wait for it to Become Part of the Base Game

Now this is the ultimate bargain – when Shadowlands content gets rolled into the core WoW subscription itself.

Based on WoW‘s content cadence, I predict this could happen by early-to-mid 2024. At that point, buying Shadowlands becomes completely unnecessary!

Until then, below are some tips on experiencing Shadowlands through the free trial:

Maximizing the WoW Free Trial for Shadowlands Access

The best zero-cash way to play Shadowlands currently is using WoW‘s unlimited free trial. Here are some pro tips:

  • Get to level 50 in previous expansions first, then enable Chromie Time for Shadowlands leveling
  • Complete the 4 leveling zone storylines to see the core narrative
  • Queue for LFG dungeons as you unlock them to see group content
  • Participate in micro-holidays like the Elemental Invasions for fun rotating events
  • Chat and engage with other players in capital cities like Oribos

The only significant restrictions are no access to current expansion zones/features, max level 20, and social/economic limits.

But the core of the Shadowlands experience is still there! I‘d rate this the top bargain for patient gamers not wanting to spend on the full expansion yet.

Give the tips above a shot and enjoy Shadowlands big features without spending a dime. Let me know how it goes!

So in summary:

  • You can no longer get Shadowlands completely free
  • But you have options like waiting for deals, using the free trial, or the content eventually getting rolled into the base game
  • I recommend most players just subscribe for now rather than buying Shadowlands
  • But serious completionists may want to purchase during a sale for the full experience

Have fun in Shadowlands! But don‘t wait too long – the Dragon Isles are calling.

Let me know if you have any other questions!

– Steven Erikson

Expert bargain hunter at CoolFreePage