Blizzard Defends the WoW Annual Pass

A fan posted some complaints about the 12 month WoW pass promotion, and got a reply/explanation from Bashiok.

This has seriously gotten ridiculous. We have been “trolled” by Blizzard for years on this game. Even worse, I think the WoW pass thing is borderline FRAUD! While that might not be a winnable case in court, this is the WORSE possible way to treat their loyal fans.
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.

Early 2012... no more.

I hate to echo DiabloWikiBashiok, 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!

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34 thoughts on “Blizzard Defends the WoW Annual Pass

  1. “Blizzard makes far more profit from WoW subs than they will from D3 box sales + RMAH”

    Given that D3 is not yet out, I’m not sure how you know this to be a fact.

    It’s quite possible that the RMAH will actually produce more money for Blizzard in the short-term than WoW does, when all the WoWers move over to D3 and figure “hey, I’m not spending money on a subscription any more, I might as well spend 50c on this item” and end up getting themselves addicted.

    • Do you honestly believe the RMAH will gross over 100 mil a month, and/or that D3 will sell 20 million boxes in its first year?  Think about the math for a few seconds.
      More on-topic, I don’t know which is more remarkable, the damage Bliz has done to the brand in the past year after 20 years of building it, or the fact that it took Bobby a few years to get the job done.

      • If all of the people who play WoW left and started playing D3, then you “100 mil a month” figure might have some bearing on the conversation. But we aren’t discussing that, we’re discussing some WoW players leaving WoW and playing D3 instead; it’s quite possible that Blizzard could make more from these particular players (by nickle and diming them) than they did from them playing WoW.

        • It would have to be a ton, RMAH makes them about somewhere between .5 and .25 per transaction is what I gathered from the way they talked about it.  Maybe up to .50 for that to generate WoW money you would need a ludacris amount of sales daily.  And though I know D3 and the Diablo franchise is the best, I’m not sure the rest of the world understands that.  So I couldn’t say that RMAH will generate anything more than “sustaining” fees imo, basically meaning enough to keep content development for it going.  Obviously it’s all speculation etc etc. but I’m with the original comment numerically it doesnt seem like RMAH could generate the money that WoW does.  (Box sales would be 1 month since its not an on going thing so no that could never generate WoW money)

    • @ “It’s quite possible that the RMAH will actually produce more money for Blizzard in the short-term than WoW does”
      Exactly, and that’s why it has the highest priority. Plus, it’s their new alternative to free2play with micro transactions.

  2. I see the OPs point. I used to play WoW and I actually considered redoing my subscription JUST BECAUSE I could get D3 for free. When I used to play WoW, I felt almost obligated to play it because I was paying for it every month. If I were to reup my subscription for a year, I wasn’t planning on playing much. I still have a high level character on there and planned to just get on once a week to play with my friends during a raid.
    Plus, I disagree with the part about, “It says early 2012, but that’s not guaranteed” or whatever. If you put something like that, then you should stick with it. Otherwise, reword it because it’s getting starting to get ridiculous.
    Anyway, my point is I see the OPs point. You are getting D3 for free when it’s released, but they made it sound like it was going to be early Q1 (which isn’t obviously not going to be now) and basically sold WoW annual passes because of this.

    • That doesn’t make much sense. Diablo 3 coming out earlier is not an incentive to pay for a full year of World of Warcraft.

      In general – if you want Diablo 3 and feel like WoW no longer entertains you, this is not an offer you pick up in any case.

      • I agree with you Konfeta.  If you bought into the one year deal just so you could get Diablo 3 for free you ride the short bus.

        Yeah, 1 year sub to WoW is more expensive then D3, why would you even consider it if you didn’t want to play WoW….

  3. I don’t understand that you don’t understand. Obviously people have been led to believe (wrongly or not) this game to come out “early 2012”. It says right there “when the game launches (releases, is finished, whatever…) early next year (2012)”. If they didn’t believe this to be true then they might not have purchased anything (yet).

    At the moment it’s pretty grim the game will see a “early 2012” release and i’m sure people have the feeling Blizzard KNOWS this (notice how Bashiok doesn’t even mention early 2012 to be a possibility, which probably means it isn’t) yet is purposely keeping people in the dark.

    • If they didn’t believe this to be true then they might not have purchased anything (yet).
      I don’t understand this part. Explain to me what goes through a person mind that makes the release date of Diablo 3 the deciding factor of paying for a full year subscription of a different game.

      • You’re asking someone that didn’t buy anything based on anything (yet) so i’m the wrong person to answer. (I also never pre-order anything, ever)
        But, does it matter? Obviously (some) people had their personal reasons to buy something based on (what turned out to be) faulty information. And i think these people believe they have been purposely misled or atleast left in the dark. That in itself is enough to “understand” why these people are upset.

  4. any ‘fan’ who honestly thought this was anything other than a marketing gimmick was a fool
    lesson learned i guess

    • You A) don’t play WoW and B) can’t do math.  For someone already playing WoW the subscription opportunity cost diminishes as they reach July 2012 (true subscription fee minus box copy break-even point).

  5. OP’s point is that people who are WoW players thought they would play the 4.3 content, then play diablo 3, and by that time, Mists would be ready. 

    It’s not that the pass is cheating anyone, just that WoW content gets stale and D3 was going to be the entertainment instead of 12 months of Deathwing.

    • So… Subscribe until you are bored with 4.3 content, stop playing when you are bored, buy Diablo when it comes out, come back when Mists is ready? Why pay for the months you aren’t gonna play? Why pay for a game you don’t enjoy playing?

    • But no one (not even Blizzard) suggested that Panda Pack would be done before late this year, at the soonest. So anyone who bought it the 12m plan knew they’d be paying for a year of WoW before the next expansion was ready. So long as D3 comes somewhere in that time, it doesn’t seem like a big deal. Other than just “want d3 sooner” syndrome, which we all suffer from.

      • Regardless of if it was suggested, people thought that way. I can attest to this, because my friends thought this way. They aren’t dumb people, either; it’s just clever marketing. Especially when you combine a long-er beta already, lots of D3 info out, and almost nothing on Pandaland. Some were also betting on Diablo 3 burn-out, and WoW to be fresh again, around that time.

        • I’m sorry, but your friends plan was to pay over 150$ for WoW so they can play it until D3 came out, which if it was actually Q1 would not even be 6 months (regular D3 won’t be over 75$), and then play D3…. that’s an awful deal… i don’t see how you can claim they’re not dumb on this one.

  6. Those of us that purchased the annual pass when it was announced and plan on purchasing the collectors edition will effectively have to pay 12 months in wow subs if the game is not released “early 2012” as was stated in the annual pass. Those that purchase the annual pass later may benifit from purchasing 8 months of PAID wow time and receive + 4 months off the contract. Any later then a year and people that purchased the annual pass at announcement are locked into 12 months OF PAID wow (out of there own pocket) and then 4 months of free wow time.

  7. That is the dumbest OT ever. OldGeezer is even dumber if his intended audience is for WoW players.  I purchased the WoW annual pass in October – it would have been a ripoff if D3 launched in December 2011 – 3 months of WoW played before playing D3 – then 9x$15 = $135 WoW fees – $60 D3 digital copy = net -$75.

    IF the game launches in June 2012 (as did D2), then I play WoW until June and I only burn my WoW sub fee for Jul, Aug, Sep – that is 3x$15 = $45 WoW fees – $60 D3 digital copy = net +$15.

    Annual pass members playing WoW only BENEFIT THE LONGER D3 IS DELAYED by the fuzzy math listed above.

    • Finally, someone with math sense.  I was wondering how this many comments could go by without a single person pointing this out.

  8. To be honest the most interesting news regarding Annual pass is that 1+ million people bought it!
    That would mean like 20-25% of the total US/EU WoW playerbase got it. Kinda insane. And that number can/will still grow before release.
    Btw, bought annual pass in november, and I don’t regret it despite I pretty much havent logged into WoW since then. Seriously, there is nothing to cry about here. People knew what they got. Or they should have.

    Though I bought it mostly because my WoW 6month sub had just been charged a week before, so basically that annual pass turned into a 6 month pass. Which is pretty much the same as Diablo 3 would cost anyway = Free D3 or free 6 months WoW.

  9. Who would pay for something they aren’t even going to play ? To me it just a way to keep WoW accounts active so they can keep promoting the millions of subscribers they have.  Notice I didn’t say active subscribers….

    • But why are they paying if they’re not active subscribers… i mean it’s 2nd grade math over here.

  10. Yeah Q1 my but -_- Keep lieing to us Blizzard! Ure the Lord of Lies !

    Anything for the money…thats the whore Blizzrd turned into after Diablo 1.

    • Nope it said early next year, so they got till the end of June before the ad is invalidated, the Q1 was never mentioned in there ads (show me a pic if it was). But any way when you went to by the sub it says “get a free copy of D3 on release”.

  11. As used by the quoted poster, fraud is a legal term of art and should not be thrown around by people who have no idea what it means. He/she says it “might not be winnable in court” when in fact there is no evidence of fraudulent businesses practices at all.

  12. That’s not the fucking point. The point is that people (customers) obviously feel Blizzard isn’t being honest to them (and the evidence Blizzard isn’t being honest is RIGHT FUCKING THERE). If you don’t understand why that makes people upset then you’re plainly retarded. /end discussion

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