A few days ago Blizzard revealed that over 300,000 invites to the new WoW Panda Pack beta had been sent out, chiefly to players who had purchased the annual pass (thus earning them a free copy of D3 as well). Today Bashiok tweeted that another 250,000 invites were flying to those annual pass people.
As Panda beta access was listed as one of the perks for WoW annual pass buyers, and they sold more than one million of those, this isn’t a surprise. Still, it’s hard not to compare the tsunami-sized waves going out in just the first days of this WoW beta, to the feeble trickles we’ve seen during the entire 7+ months of the D3 beta. Blizzard hasn’t shared the total figures, but I’d be surprised if there are even 100k Diablo 3 Beta accounts in total. We saw invites going out in handfuls last year, and while Blizzard finally began to give them out in blocks of 50, with a few 100 or even 500 blocks to some gaming sites, it takes a LOT of those to get up to even 50k or 100k. Which might have seemed like a lot, until you saw that they sent out 250k WoW invites just today.
Obviously there were technical issues with ramping up the (still sketchy) D3 B.net servers, but the massive disparity in these Beta invite numbers reinforces the impression you get when attending Blizzcon — that supporting the Diablo community is a very second-tier priority for Blizzard, compared to their WoW golden goose. (And maybe even to Starcraft?) Can we really blame them, though? After all, everyone who made D1 and D2 at Bliz North is long gone, and all those WoW beta invites are going to paying customers, while we’re still just a bunch of “10 years of D2 B.net” freeloaders, in their eyes.