Video Games

Wow! Play World of Warcraft for free!

I don’t keep my despise of World of Warcraft and what Blizzard has become a secret. WoW does not deliver what I consider a fair deal per dollar, the game suffers from frustrating downtimes, and the often huge patches must be distributed peer-to-peer via an inflexible proprietary Bittorrent client. Considering that your “purchase” of the box (in addition to the monthly fee) is no more than a double-dip cash grab, the whole package smacks of cheapness.

For those not up to speed, allow me to elaborate; A friend issued me a free trial which I had a great deal of difficulty redeeming. After many gigabytes of transfers and several wasted hours after failed installs, I finally got everything working. I enjoyed playing with my friend despite the crippled functionality of the trial account so I purchased a 60-day time card. Unfortunately for me, trial accounts are not upgradable so I was forced to buy the retail disc even though I had a working copy installed on my machine. The box came with 1 month of playtime, but this meagre offering did not justify the $35 expenditure for assets I had already painstakingly acquired.

2 months into my 3-month account I got fed up with Blizzard’s greed and abandoned the game. I merrily threw my sink-hole investment of a retail box in a public garbage can and promptly cancelled my account prematurely. I’d been a Blizzard customer for over a decade but I see little reason to keep up my patronage with this funhouse mirror doppleganger of a formerly fantastic company.

A while back a friend of mine introduced me to a fascinating video games discussion forum, A quick glance through one of the lesser-trafficked topics revealed a link to – a privately-run World of Warcraft server! This came as quite a surprise since the only other rogue WoW server I’d heard of was shut down by the US “justice” system. In court, Blizzard challenged BNETD, an open source daemon (server), on the grounds that it violated the DMCA. Despite the unspecific wording and subsequent danger to other interoperability software projects like CGIs and ODBCs, the courts ruled in Blizzard’s favour, penalizing the 3 teen programmers responsible and demanding the immediate removal of the software from the internet.

Unbeknownst to the American judge, the internet exists outside of the USA’s jurisdiction, and so bnetd can be found available for download in the DMCA diaspora.
This means that, as Google will attest, free WoW servers abound! By simply signing up with one of these servers (Rook’s Realm is my favourite) and changing the realm in in the WoW install directory anyone may play this renown game for the price of the boxed retail copy! What a concept!

But don’t be so quick to cry foul. Is this truly unfair to Blizzard? You cannot join a server without a legitimate copy of the client software, and Blizzard does not distribute this freely. The going rate of about $30 for a WoW game box is about par with 2-year-old PC games, but this investment really nets you nothing as it is useless without a subscription. Said subscription pays for Blizzard’s network connectivity, administrative and support staff, and other human resources that are not exploited by those using third-party servers. Really, these servers net Blizzard a profit since they are run by volunteers.

As it happens, if you’ve thrown your WoW box in the garbage as I have, or you just don’t feel like footing the bill, you can purchase a 14-day trial disc for $1.99 and install that. Really, you’ll be saving Blizzard money by not taking advantage of their generous trial account.

However, if you’re in the USA and would prefer to stay on the sunny side of the DMCA you might want to give that trial account a whirl instead. Use mine. I sure don’t need it.


P.s., check out for a mindbogglingly huge and detailed list of free WoW servers!

By brian

About Brian Damage:

Who is Brian really?
I live in Toronto, Canada, and work for an IT firm. That's about as much real-world info I'm comfortable divulging here. What you read on my blog is the real Brian, but, for the sake of freedom of speech, I feel most comfortable leaving a gulf between my cyberspace and meatspace personae.

Who is Brian at work?
My ridiculous job title is "Marketing Specialist" since I wear so many hats at work. I'm a technical writer, a specialist in enterprise search technologies, an electronic forms designer, a newsletter author, system administrator... but I'm in the Marketing department so for the time being I'm stuck with this inauspicious title.

Who is Brian at play?

Who is Brian

25 replies on “Wow! Play World of Warcraft for free!”

You know i had a similar problem .
I live in Uruguay (south america)
A friend of mine lend me 10 day trial i used them and i was amazed by this really cool game
so when the trial days where up i payed for the upgrading 19.99 dls
I didnt have a problem for paying that was no much.

But the problem was that blizzard DIDNT upgrade my account to a regular and they kept my money and i have send several mails but NOTHING
expect for the answer of a prepared response totally useless.

So i writted this only to say this to someone
Good Luck

Hi Santiago,

I’m really sorry to hear about your bad experience. I don’t think Blizzard is a bad company, but I think they’re much better at creating software than providing services like a MMORPG. They certainly owe you what you purchased.

I’m having trouble with Steam. My password stopped working a couple of weeks ago and I can’t play my games. I sent them an email and it took them a week to get back to me. Today I had to take a photograph of my Half Life 2 box to prove that I own it.

Very annoying.

Good luck to you!

I think my message was lost. Here is my message :

I installed the 15 day demo without problem, no download problem.

I purchased a serial key from a site, so you are not obligated to reinstall the game.

I run it on Linux with wine emulator

It’s one of the best game I played !

I downloaded the client software from a site like FileFront or something, but had to do it many times because the file kept getting corrupted and Blizzard is too cheap to host it on a decent server themselves. I bought the retail box for the CD key and because I figured I’d get a printed manual for my investment. I didn’t need to reinstall it, and that wouldn’t have been preferable anyway since the $1.99 trial disc had a newer version.

I’m glad it works well for you – especially on WINE – but the game doesn’t float my boat. I’m proud of the old Blizzard whose games were so good they’re still sold on retail shelves 10 years later. The new Blizzard is chintzy and their infrastructure is borrowed or slapped together with popsicle sticks.

And FYI Roland, your comment was held and your websites were stripped because of the spammy link.

Yeah, private servers are good fun. There’s nothing like logging into WoW and seeing 9 level 70s decked in epics and knowing that you can do whatever you want and not worry about it. Do you still play? I’ve had a hard time finding a good private server lately, so if you could recommend one that would rock. Thanks!

Hi Mark,

No, I don’t play anymore. I only played for about 2 weeks around the time I wrote this article. Just search Google for “free wow server” and you’ll find tons of them. Better yet, try Guild Wars!

Thanks for writing.

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