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Wow! Play World of Warcraft for free!

Video Games | Thursday, November 16th, 2006 | 10 years, 4 months ago

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, fucktheinter.net. A quick glance through one of the lesser-trafficked topics revealed a link to wow.fucktheinternet.net – 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 battle.net 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 realmlist.wtf 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.

TM7KCJ-JFHG-87FGFBY-EB9P-GWXPK9

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

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25 Comments

  1. hehehehehehehehehehehe

    Comment by Regun — April 14, 2007 @ 11:18 pm

  2. vghyf

    Comment by david — July 28, 2007 @ 5:17 pm

  3. Cat-like typing detected – http://www.bitboost.com/pawsense/

    Comment by brian — July 28, 2007 @ 6:21 pm

  4. 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

    Comment by Santiago — September 5, 2007 @ 8:42 pm

  5. 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!

    Comment by brian — September 5, 2007 @ 9:02 pm

  6. Just to add : I play WoW on Linux.

    correction on my email also.

    Comment by Roland — October 23, 2007 @ 11:15 am

  7. 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 !

    Comment by Roland — October 23, 2007 @ 11:18 am

  8. 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.

    Comment by brian — October 23, 2007 @ 12:18 pm

  9. Thanks. The trial account is certainly useful for people who have yet played the greatest mmorpg game in the world…

    Comment by Joanas Guide — November 6, 2007 @ 10:19 am

  10. Great game

    Comment by Anonymous — December 6, 2007 @ 7:35 pm

  11. Meh. Guild Wars is better.

    Comment by brian — December 6, 2007 @ 9:10 pm

  12. nopay

    Comment by death101 — December 24, 2007 @ 8:57 pm

  13. 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!

    Comment by Mark — February 4, 2008 @ 3:56 pm

  14. 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.

    Comment by brian — February 4, 2008 @ 4:59 pm

  15. this sounds awesome that people all over the world can play world of warcraft for FREE!!!!

    Comment by Anonymous — March 12, 2008 @ 5:09 pm

  16. How do I download this then???

    Comment by Alexander — April 2, 2008 @ 1:18 pm

  17. yoyoyoyoyoyoyoyooyoyoyo its sooo coll!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Comment by danny mckirnan — April 17, 2008 @ 1:34 pm

  18. Private servers have been up for a while, and there’s not much difference between a GOOD one and the real thing. See for yourself, Top 100 Private Server list:

    http://www.xtremetop100.com/world-of-warcraft

    Comment by Anonymous — October 24, 2008 @ 4:37 pm

  19. this is cool!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    and its

    FREEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE

    Comment by german — December 31, 2008 @ 6:33 pm

  20. What do ya
    think
    about it

    Comment by german — December 31, 2008 @ 6:34 pm

  21. what s up

    Comment by german — December 31, 2008 @ 6:35 pm

  22. hello is anybody there

    Comment by german — December 31, 2008 @ 6:36 pm

  23. I’m here and ready to reply to coherent comments. Got any?

    Comment by brian — January 5, 2009 @ 10:04 am

  24. hello is any body there today

    Comment by Anonymous — August 24, 2010 @ 5:41 am

  25. i cant find it to play it free

    Comment by huss — August 29, 2010 @ 3:01 am

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