In an effort to hold on to players whose interest in their seven-year-old MMO might finally be waning, Blizzard’s promising a free digital copy of Diablo III to anyone who signs up for the World of Warcraft Annual Pass.

Announced yesterday at BlizzCon, the Annual Pass is a twelfth-month subscription payable in monthly installments of $14.99 or by another billing plan of your choosing. Annual Pass subscribers will also get a fancy new flying mount when the next patch drops and access to the Beta for the next WoW expansion. That next expansion? The Mists of Pandaria, an April Fools’ joke-turned-actual thing that will bring panda monks to Azeroth.

Blizzard’s doing everything they can to keep WoW fresh and interesting in the face of lagging subscription numbers. It’s clear that this is another act of retention, as the promotion only applies to current WoW players. Accounts opened after October 18, 2011 are not eligible to receive the benefits of the Annual Pass. Subscribers will also not be able to cancel their account until the twelfth months are up.

More information on how to sign up and what exactly you’ll get can be found at the link below.

Source: Blizzard

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  • Wetworkz - Saturday, October 22, 2011 - link

    I have been playing WoW since Vanilla. That’s a long time. I love this game for a lot of reasons but I am also realistic and I am aware of its flaws. I am neither a fanboy nor a hater. This expansion brings some changes that are welcome but overall I don't think it addresses the main issues with the game at all. What is worse, Blizzard getting crazy and silly with the lore in an attempt to keep people will just drive them away. I believe the underlying problem causing subscribers to depart is Blizzard has over-publicized this game. The game is not a mystery anymore. There was a time when you explored and did not know what you would find. There were elements of the game to be uncovered and worked through. Now every aspect of this game is COMPLETELY published and walked through before it even launches and when it does hit your hard drive it’s just a mad dash to do what you already planned, go to the places you have already seen, and fight the fights you already researched. That’s not a successful model for an MMO, that’s a recipe for boring. Blizzard is becoming a victim of its own success. I personally wish they would go back to the roots of what made them successful to begin with release material that people find engaging and full of adventure. Also, while I like Asian culture and mythology it really doesn’t fit well in high fantasy, it’s its own genre. Despite my concerns, I subscribed for the annual pass deal. Blizzard allows you to use the 6-month billing, making it a very good deal since you get Diablo 3 for free. That is a bargain for a world class MMO subscription when you subtract out the price of a game that everyone was going to buy anyway… I just hope having Bruce Lee show up next to Legolas doesn’t give me bad dreams.
  • jalexoid - Saturday, October 22, 2011 - link

    I stopped playing WoW because of an accident with mu credit card. Missed one expansion and found that Blizzard have become exceptionally greedy in their pricing strategy. It costs a "fortune" to start playing the game. The last two expansions have not had their price cut and the monthly subscription just kills it.
    I mean, just look at the prices.... It costs over 75 Eur to start playing the game for a new person(after their price drop). Yeah... You can't chose the any new races without buying the expansion... If you want to play Panda, you have to pay the full price, which will probably balloon by 35 Eur...
    Yay! For massive corporate greed... and idiots in accounting. I mean, because they did not slash the price of the older expansion packs(WotLK is still 35Eur as download) and not included one free month with the quite expensive upgrades; they did not get my 36 months of monthly subscriptions (36 * 13 Eur = 468 Eur) that is almost 8x revenue loss vs the price of the upgrade to cataclysm.
  • inighthawki - Saturday, October 22, 2011 - link

    Maybe they should give away all expansions before the newest one (and maybe even the game itself) for free, or at least heavily discounted. I can see what you mean in that anyone who doesn't currently play now has a huge barrier to entry if they want to be able to play the game with all of the content.

    A quick look at gamestop prices and you can pick up the original + burning crusade for $20, but the next three expansions (counting the new one coming soon) are all $40 each, and then tack on the subscription price (i don't know if/how many of the games come with any free time). But you end up looking at $140 just to be up to date when the expansion gets released, plus another $15/month. Granted some may argue there's a lot of content, but it certainly isn't helping persuade people who want to start playing the game and have access to what most of the other 11 million subscribers probably have.
  • tayb - Sunday, October 23, 2011 - link

    It's a lot of content but no one plays anything but the new content. I firmly believe that everything but the latest expansion should come in a bundle for no more than $20 and the latest expansion can be priced whatever you want to price it.
  • daniel142005 - Sunday, October 23, 2011 - link

    Agreed. The cost of the game is way over priced. I can understand the monthly fee, but a game should _never_ cost more than $40-60, for ALL expansions. Imo they need to release two versions. One that is upgrade only, for say $25-30, and then a full version that includes everything for $50.

    The other problem is their Blizz store. $25 for mounts? $15 for mini pets? The minipets are now BoE so you can sell them for gold? (Essentially legalizing gold buying)

    Want to rename your character? $15.

    This doesn't even factor in transfers. With how easy it is to get to 85, most people have a lot of characters and want to bring all of them when they go play with friends. To transfer 3 characters to a different server, that's $75 ($25/ea). Whats that you say? They're on a different faction too? Add another $90 ($30/ea). That's $165! I wouldn't have a problem paying $25 or $30 if it let me transfer multiple characters on one server, but it doesn't.

    Oh, and want the mobile armory? That's a separate $3/mo subscription.

    The list goes on...
  • Grizzlebee - Saturday, October 22, 2011 - link

    I completely agree. Nothing really feels new when you read about so many aspects of it months before its release. In Vanilla there was so much mystery and I could spend hours at a time just exploring the map and getting lost. Back then, everyone was still learning how to play well and there were no obvious optimum specializations and ability rotations. Now everything feels so formulaic and calculated with little variation from character to character. Even with new content, you feel like you have played it already.
  • jibz - Saturday, October 22, 2011 - link

    Kung-Fu Pandas and Pokemons? Thank you Blizzard. Now the constant temptation to reactivate my account is much, much easier to resist.

    Now if I could just resist trying The Old Republic...
  • seamonkey79 - Saturday, October 22, 2011 - link

    The complainers are getting to be as boring and cliched as they claim Warcraft is.
  • Wetworkz - Saturday, October 22, 2011 - link

    Why call criticism complaining? Some people are validly expressing that they feel the new direction is a bit ridiculous. Why do diehard fans just accept everything pushed in front of them as perfection and then feel the need to defend it when it is questioned? The fact is Blizzard does not need to impress you. You accept whatever they push out. They need to impress the people who are not going to love everything Warcraft, just for the sake of it.
  • seamonkey79 - Saturday, October 22, 2011 - link

    Who said I was a diehard fan?

    The simple fact that people have been using the same 'criticism' for five years or so turns it into complaining. It's monotonous. As a person on the outside, looking in, nothing has really changed since Blizzard started releasing expansions.

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