Rumors surrounding the Veteran Edition for Blizzard's World of Warcraft have been put to rest after a community manager in the game company's forums explained Blizzard's plans for the new feature.
The Veteran Edition was revealed through the 6.1 patch notes of World of Warcraft. Early rumors suggested that the feature was the first phase of a free-to-play edition of the full game.
However, it seems like the Veteran Edition will be something more like the trial Starter Edition, as a free-to-play mode that can be accessed by users that already have signed up for World of Warcraft accounts.
According to Blizzard forums community manager Bashiok, World of Warcraft previously had the "weird" limitation in allowed playing times that was different between new users and users already with accounts.
For new players that have never played World of Warcraft before, they were allowed to play as much as they wanted, though only with a Starter Edition account that has several restrictions. However, for players that have previously signed up for World of Warcraft accounts but don't currently have one, they are not even able to log into the service.
Bashiok explains that once the 6.1 patch has been rolled out, players that have lapsed accounts will have their profiles reverted to a mode similar to Starter Edition with all the same restrictions, which is what the Veteran Edition is about.
According to Bashiok, the difference between the Starter Edition and the Veteran Edition is that characters below level 20 will be allowed to join a guild if the player still has some characters that are current members of that guild.
Restrictions shared between the Starter Edition and the Veteran Edition include limits on levels gained and money held. Players can only level up their characters to a maximum of 20 out of 100 levels, and can only hold up to 10 gold. Upon reaching the level and money limits, players can choose to continue playing World of Warcraft, but they will not be able to earn more experience or gold while they play.
Another restriction shared between Starter Edition and Veteran Edition is on communications. Players are not allowed to send whispers to characters that are not on the friends list of the player. Players are also not allowed to shout and to invite other players to join groups.
Bashiok, however, said that the term "Veteran Mode" is not an official name.
"It's unlikely to be a term we use to any great degree externally," Bashiok said. "It will simply be the default state for accounts that don't currently have an active subscription."