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    As revealed at Blizzcon, there’s a nice promotional offer for World of Warcraft players. Agree to purchase 12 more months of WoW and get Diablo III for free. The deal is only valid for past or present WoW subscribers (you had to have a WoW account as of October 18th), but if you are one, it’s a pretty sweet deal. You can even buy the DiabloWikiDiablo 3 Collector’s Edition instead of taking the digital download, and get 4 months of free WoW (a $60 value) with that purchase.

    The official news is here, and you can read more details official news is here. You also get a new Tyrael styled horse and access to the Kung Fu Panda beta test, once it begins. Where will you find time to play Diablo III with all that?

    For a limited time only, players who make a 12-month subscription commitment to World of Warcraft through the WoW Annual Pass will receive the following epic rewards:

    • Diablo III FREE – Download the digital version via Battle.net for free when the game launches early next year. This is the full game, not a trial edition.
    • Tyrael’s Charger WoW Flying Mount – Ride for the Archangel of Justice on all current and future characters on a single World of Warcraft account. Tyrael’s Charger will arrive via in-game mail with the upcoming launch of patch 4.3.
    • Access to the Next WoW Expansion Beta Test – Get a guaranteed spot in the beta test for the next World of Warcraft expansion (at a time to be announced in the future).

    We’ve long seen speculation about how Blizzard was going to avoid having their WoW subscription base gutted by the release of Diablo III, and this seems like a pretty clever counter to that threat. I don’t know if it’ll work; I asked two former WoW players if this offer and the upcoming Panda-pack was going to entice them to resub, and they said no. But it seems like a no-brainer for anyone playing WoW now and not planning to quit. I’d assume it will work the other way too; encouraging WoW players who are curious about Diablo III to give it a try, since they can do so essentially for free.

    It’s a risk for Blizzard, though. Say 1m WoW players take them up on this… that’s $60m in free copies of Diablo III. Even to Bobby, that’s getting up towards being real money. True, not all of those players would have bought D3 otherwise, and probably a fair number would have canceled their WoW subs and played D3 exclusively, but I’m sure at least a few hundred thousand WoW players were going to buy D3 on top of Wow, and Blizzard just gave all of those people $60.

    It’ll be interesting to see how this plays out, though I doubt Blizzard will publicly release any figures on how many people take them up on this offer. I wonder if there will be a similar offer for the Diablo III expansion(s) when they arrive in 2014+? Or will Blizzard be tying to free subs to Titan, by that point?

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