An overview of how much it costs to start playing World of Warcraft Classic, Burning Crusade Classic, or Shadowlands in 2021.
Since its release in 2004, World of Warcraft (WoW) has released 8 expansions! Fortunately, as a new or returning player, you don’t need to buy each of these updates and games individually. So, what expansions do you need to buy? How much does it cost to start playing WoW?
In short, you can begin playing WoW Classic and all content up through the 7th expansion (Battle for Azeroth) for the price of a monthly subscription. In the U.S., this will cost you $14.99/month for a single month, $41.97 for 3 months, or $77.94 for a 6-month commitment. If you want to play the most recent expansion — World of Warcraft: Shadowlands — you will need to purchase at least the Base Edition for $39.99. You can also buy the game with extra perks for $59.99 (Heroic Edition) or $79.99 (Epic Edition).
If you decide to purchase the game, make sure to check out my ultimate guide for new and returning World of Warcraft players!
When you purchase longer subscription lengths, you ultimately get a lower price per month, but you have to pay upfront. Each tier you move up lowers the per month price by $1. So, if you opted to get two 6-month subscriptions, you would save $24 per year. Also, you would receive a couple in-game rewards (typically mounts) reserved for players with a 6-month subscription.
|Subscription Length||Cost/Price (US)||$ Per Month|
WoW subscription costs in Canada and the U.K.
The prices I quoted above only apply to players in the United States, where I live. If you are from another country, there is a good chance that your costs will be slightly different. For example, players in Canada will pay a somewhat higher per-month price, even after the exchange rate. As of December 2020, Blizzard set the WoW subscription costs in Canada as follows:
|Subscription Length||Cost/Price (CAD)||$ Per Month|
In contrast, the price of subscriptions is slightly lower after the exchange rate for players in the U.K. For those of you in the U.K., you can expect to pay the following amounts if you are interested in playing WoW:
|Subscription Length||Cost/Price (U.K.)||£ Per Month|
All of the prices mentioned to this point are for players who set up reoccurring subscriptions on their account. This requires that you provide a credit card that will be charged on the renewal date. If you aren’t interested in setting up a reoccurring subscription, there are a few other options.
Alternatives to reoccurring subscriptions
The first alternative to a reoccurring subscription is to purchase 60 days of game time. You can do this through your Battle.net launcher shop or through the online Blizzard Shop. When purchased, it will grant you 2 months of game time and will set you back $29.99. At the end of the 60 days, your time expires, and you would need to purchase additional time to continue playing.
As a side note, you can also gift game time to your friends with this approach.
Another alternative to a reoccurring subscription is to purchase your game time with WoW tokens. Unfortunately, this method requires that you have active game time on your account and the ability/time to make a decent amount of in-game gold.
To get a WoW token, you will need to farm up gold and buy one on the auction house. The token price will depend on how many tokens are available on the auction house, so I can’t give you an exact gold price here. If you are interested in how much gold you would need, you can look on the A.H. or in the shop tab of your in-game menu. You could also look it up online as well.
The final alternative to a reoccurring subscription is to subscribe and then immediately cancel. While this still requires you to provide a credit card, it will ensure that you avoid that surprise charge if you forgot to cancel.
Purchasing the Shadowlands expansion
As mentioned above, you will need to buy the Shadowlands expansion to play the newest content. If you get the Base edition of the game, you will get access to the expansion and a mount that looks like a tree (Wandering Ancient Mount). This is the cheapest option.
The other options give you more perks but also cost more. These perks take the form of mounts, a pet, transmog, a hearthstone animation, and 30 days of game time.
You can see the perks for purchasing each version of Shadowlands in the following table:
|Wandering Ancient |
|Character boost |
|Eternal traveler |
|30 days of |
|Anima Wyrmling pet||X|
How much does WoW Classic/Burning Crusade Classic cost?
Perhaps you are interested in WoW because you want to play Classic. Let’s talk about how much that will set you back.
Basically, it will cost you the monthly membership price if you want to play WoW Classic or Burning Crusade Classic. In the U.S., this means that it would run you $14.99/month. However, suppose you are planning on playing for longer than a month. In that case, you can benefit from purchasing the longer subscription time for a lower per-month price.
Is there any way to play WoW free?
If you are looking to try out World of Warcraft but aren’t ready to buy yet, you can play a free trial. This trial allows you to create and play a new character to level 20 in the game’s retail version. However, the free version comes with many restrictions, including ones on the amount of gold you can have, content you can play, and social interaction.
There is no free trial of WoW Classic or Burning Crusade Classic.
Regardless, it is an excellent way for new players to try the game. If you need help getting started with the free version, you can check out my article on playing World of Warcraft for free.
While there has been a lot of World of Warcraft content released since 2004, you don’t need to buy all of the past expansions. Except for Shadowlands, every version of the game can be played by signing up for a subscription or using a game time card. If you are a new player or just want to dabble with a low-level character, you can play World of Warcraft for free.