I was able to upload themes and edit them for free 3 months ago. I called GoDaddy when I thought my FTP publishing wasn’t working and they said they hadn’t heard of WordPress charging for those kinds of features either. They said the whole point of WordPress was to be a free space for developers. When did this upgrade system come into effect?
@arubin09, there are two types of wordpress. This free hosting service, wordpress.COM, and wordpress.ORG, which makes and distributes the self-hosted version of wordpress that you can install on a third-party hosting service.
With a self-hosted wordpress blog you can upload any theme you wish, and you can hack it to death if you want.
With a blog hosted here at wordpress.COM, you cannot upload themes from off the internet. You are limited to the themes listed under appearance > themes in the dashboard. You also cannot edit or modify the underlying theme files. If you have CSS editing experience, you can edit the CSS here with the paid CSS upgrade, but that only allows you to stylize the themes here, it does not allow you to upload or edit the theme files.