Saturday, October 22, 2011

WoW Annual Pass and Free Diablo III

Blizzard is offering an Annual Pass for WoW. It's essentially a contract that if you subscribe for the next twelve months, you get Diablo III free, a mount, and beta access for Mists of Pandaria. You still pay monthly (or whatever your current payment plan is), but you can't cancel for a year. Or possibly you lose D3 access if you cancel.

I picked up this option as soon as I saw it. I'm going to play WoW for at least the next four months until I beat patch 4.3, if not longer. I'm also going to pick up Diablo III when it comes out. There's pretty much no downside for me, as far as I can see.

This promotion is, of course, a preemptive strike at Star Wars: The Old Republic. To staunch the bleeding from the number of subs who cancel WoW in order to subscribe to The Old Republic.

But perhaps more importantly, it is a preemptive strike at Diablo III itself!

The thing is that, with Diablo III, Blizzard is making a competitor to its own game.  A lot of people will move from World of Warcraft to Diablo III. By allowing people to avoid having to choose between D3 and WoW, Blizzard may get the best of both worlds. People stay subscribed to WoW, maybe logging in once or twice a week, while spending the majority of their gaming time in D3 for a few months.

The web of social ties that make up an MMO stays stronger, doesn't have as many holes from people who have stopped subscribing because of D3. Maybe they don't log in as much, but they're still there.

I think that this is a fairly strong indication that when Titan comes out, a Titan subscription will include a subscription to WoW.

It may even be the first step to one day having a "Blizzard subscription", where you get access to all their MMOs, and free copies of all their single-player games when they come out. Other MMO companies have done single subscriptions to multiple MMOs, but I don't think anyone has yet added single-player games to that. I think Bioware is probably the only other company that could do so.

3 comments:

Neil said...

Blizzard has stated in their FAQ on the Annual Pass that you can't cancel your subscription while the Annual Pass is active. It's a clever move.

RJ said...

You still pay monthly (or whatever your current payment plan is), but you can't cancel for a year. Or possibly you lose D3 access if you cancel.

While the FAQ for the offer does say you are unable to cancel your commitment for the duration, another page was worded that you only KEPT access to D3 if you went the full duration of the contract.

That said, the contract is also adjustable. Buying the D3 CE, for example, will shave off some months. I think it's an interesting idea. I was already gonna be subscribing for another year anyway, and I was gonna get D3 (though I'm trying for the CE), so might as well get some bonuses out of it as well.

kadaan said...

It's a genius move. I also wouldn't be surprised if there was a "Battle.net Subscription" instead of a WoW subscription in the future. They could add in the mobile auction house to the package, maybe a future web-based D3 AH app, and who knows what else.

The pet combat system is also quite interesting, as they could easily bleed that out into the realm of mobile/facebook gaming where you can battle your pets outside of the WoW client. I'll be looking forward to your post on that subject as well :D.