The level cap for the free World of Warcraft trial remains at 20, even after the release of the Shadowlands expansion.
Free Trial Level Cap is Still 20
I know many new players are eager to jump into the exciting Shadowlands content. But Blizzard has not increased the free trial level cap which still stands at 20. So free trial players cannot access the new zones, dungeons, raids, and features that come with Shadowlands.
As an avid WoW player myself, I totally get wanting to experience the endgame right away! But the good news is the free trial gives you plenty of time to explore the classic WoW zones and get a feel for the gameplay before deciding if you want to subscribe.
What Content is Included in the Free Trial?
The free trial gives you complete access to the original World of Warcraft content, including zones, dungeons, and features. Here‘s a quick overview of what‘s available:
- 8 classic WoW races to choose from when creating your character
- 9 classes to play as you level up to 20
- 72 zones across Kalimdor and the Eastern Kingdoms to explore
- Approximately 14 dungeons you can run as you level up
- Profession and tradeskill systems up to skill level 100
- Pet battles to collect companions and team them up for battle
That‘s a ton of content for new players to sink their teeth into! The free trial really lets you experience the core of World of Warcraft before committing to a subscription.
According to Blizzard, the average playtime to reach level 20 is about 10 hours. But I‘d set aside 20-30 hours if you really want to slow down and smell the roses. There‘s no need to rush!
Subscribing Opens Up Even More Content
Now, subscribing to WoW does come with some sweet perks. All previous expansions are now included with the monthly subscription fee. This means you can level beyond 20 and experience all the expansions up through Battle for Azeroth with just a subscription.
Here‘s an overview of what a subscription unlocks:
- Leveling from 20 up to 50
- Burning Crusade zones and dungeons
- Wrath of the Lich King zones and dungeons
- Cataclysm zone revamps and dungeons
- Mists of Pandaria zones and dungeons
- Warlords of Draenor zones and dungeons
- Legion zones and dungeons
- Battle for Azeroth zones and dungeons
That‘s a crazy amount of adventuring for one subscription fee! You‘ll have many, many hours of exploration and questing through some truly epic zones and content.
According to Wowhead‘s leveling guide, getting a single character from level 20 to 50 takes approximately 83 hours. So subscribing really opens up the full World of Warcraft leveling experience.
Subscribing Also Gives Other Benefits:
- Unlocked professions up to skill level 300
- In-game chat capabilities
- The ability to form parties and access guilds
- Unlimited playtime so no cap on leveling
- Complete auction house and player economy access
But again, the one key thing is that the subscription does not include the latest Shadowlands expansion. Keep reading to learn more about that!
You Must Buy Shadowlands to Access it
I know Shadowlands has so much hype surrounding it. And trust me, it absolutely lives up to it! But in order to access the Shadowlands zones, dungeons, raids, and level 51-60 content, you must purchase the expansion.
Think of Shadowlands as beyond the "base" WoW game. The new zones like Bastion, Maldraxxus, Ardenweald, and Revendreth can only be accessed if you buy the expansion. Same goes for epic Shadowlands dungeons like Halls of Atonement or Sanguine Depths.
While a subscription gets you a ton of content, only buying Shadowlands gives you access to the following:
- 4 new Shadowlands leveling zones
- Story campaign quests with choices that impact your character‘s journey
- 8 new level 60 dungeons set in the realms of the afterlife
- 4 mythic-difficulty max-level dungeons
- Castle Nathria, the new Shadowlands raid
- The legendary city of Oribos where Covenants gather
- Choosing a Covenant like Kyrian, Venthyr, Night Fae, or Necrolords
- Leveling from 50 to the new cap of 60
I have to say, choosing a Covenant is hands down one of the coolest features I‘ve experienced in my years of playing WoW. It adds so much flavor and fun abilities to your class.
But the bottom line remains: access to the Shadowlands requires buying that expansion. Free and subscribed players must purchase it separately. Think of it as unlocking the cutting edge WoW endgame content!
Key Takeaways on the Level Cap for Free Players
I know this can get a bit confusing as a new player. So here are the key points:
- Free trial players are capped at level 20
- Subscribing opens up all previous expansions and levels 20-50
- Buying Shadowlands allows access to the new zones and level 51-60
- Only Shadowlands has the Covenants, Torghast, and endgame features
Hopefully this detailed look clears up what content you get at each stage as a free trial, subscribed, and Shadowlands player. Let me know if you have any other WoW questions! I‘m always happy to help new players get into this epic and rewarding game.