A fan posted some complaints about the 12 month WoW pass promotion, and got a reply/explanation from Bashiok.
Bashiok: I’ve seen these threads before, and it’s concerning to me. I’m confused as to what people believed the Annual Pass provided when they signed up.
It’s a year-long World of Warcraft contract for people who would be playing World of Warcraft for the next year, but who also want to play Diablo III. In those cases we say Ok, agree to pay through for that year, and you don’t have to make the choice, we’ll give you Diablo III for free, plus a bunch of other goodies just in case you’re not totally sold.
I’m not sure how a Diablo III release date impacts your intent to continue playing and paying for World of Warcraft for a year. Or maybe a better question is, how does a free copy of Diablo III being released at any different point in time affect your intent to pay for World of Warcraft for a year?
Even if Diablo III was to release after your 1 year contract was up and paid off, you’re saving the cost of a copy of Diablo III, and keeping all the extras. I don’t see how that’s a trick, or a scam, or otherwise a bad deal. Unless you were buying it, not intending to play WoW, believing it would get you Diablo III sooner than other people?
I sympathize with people excited about the game, and disappointed it’s not out, I want it to be finished as much as anyone, but I just have trouble understanding this point as I see it consistently made.
…I know there was some wording on a website page somewhere saying ‘early next year’, but I’m not aware of the actual Annual Pass agreement having any release date schedule ever mentioned for Diablo III or the Mists beta.
In any case, assumptions that a contract was in any way changed aside, it doesn’t change the value of the Annual Pass and the fact that you’re getting Diablo III for free.
I hate to echo Bashiok, but I’m not sure what the OP’s complaint is. Even though Bliz at one point (screenshot evidence) said that D3 would come out in “early 2012” on the WoW Annual Pass info, that wasn’t a guarantee. Besides, does it really matter? People bought the annual pass last fall, mostly in the Oct-Dec time frame. If D3 slips into 2013, annual pass buyers have a legit gripe, as they’d feel that Bliz tricked them into paying for 12m of WoW by giving a false sense that D3 would be released during those 12 months. But if D3 is out in say, May or June, you’ll still have 4 or 5 months of WoW paid for, while you have D3 also.
Incidentally, I still think this is within Blizzard’s planned time frame. They saw sagging WoW sub numbers last year and knew they had a year (at least) before the Panda Pack would be ready. Hence the clever idea to get people to buy a year of WoW by giving them D3. Blizzard makes far more profit from WoW subs than they will from D3 box sales + RMAH, so anything that kept people from quitting WoW was golden, and the timing should still work out fine. People will be playing D3 while paying for WoW all during the second half of this year, and around the time their 12m prepay is about to expire, and they’re ready for a break from D3… here comes the next WoW expansion to suck them back in!