Boy, I really missed something when I applauded Blizzard's move to open BC to vanilla-only owners.
From Blizzard Support:
The World of Warcraft Starter Edition allows players to access World of Warcraft for free -- all you need is a Battle.net account and an Internet connection. Starter Edition players can play up to a maximum character level of 20 and are able to upgrade to a full, paid account at any time, allowing them to continue their adventures where they left off.
Okay, I'm less happy. It turns out the free BC was just to pacify that I'd paid to level to 20. Matlocker, as you can see, is just barely over level 20. Matlocker's buddy in Recruit-a-Friend is just barely 20. Now of course one bud probably should be in a paid account. If nobody is, they can't play together in a group (if neither can start a group -- and FTP characters can't -- they're just fighting near each other), have one use heirlooms, or get the RaF bonus, but the $15-$5+$30 we paid for Matlocker to get WoW vanilla and a 30 day time card seems a lot stoopider [sic] now.
Oh well, Blizzard robbed me of another $40. What else is new?
I think the real take home for me is that I've got something to do the next time I suspend my account. I still don't have a Horde alt worth a rip. I also planned on checking out the Worgen starting zone at some point. Now I can do both off the clock while Jal's fishing, and that's a good thing.