Mega-Waves of WoW:Panda Beta Keys

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.

250,000 additional Mists of #Pandaria beta invites going out now to Annual Pass holders.

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 DiabloWikiDiablo 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 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” freeloaders, in their eyes.


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  1. They’re contractually obligated to invite annual pass subscribers to the beta.  I bet they’re not entirely thrilled to be dealing with such a large beta.  Plus, the WoW xpac beta is generally just an extended marketing campaign for the new expansion pack.  The vast majority of people who haven’t quit by the time MoP comes out will buy it, so the best strategy for them is just do anything they can to retain players interest, even to the point of releasing 100% of the content ahead of time as a “beta test”.
    On the other hand, the D3 beta seems designed just to stress test the game, the RMAH, and the integration with 0.2.  Not surprised they can accomplish that with just a few thousand players.  But I also wouldn’t be shocked to see the D3 beta go wide a few weeks before the launch date for marketing.

    • I agree, the purposes of both betas are completely different.  In WoW, we’ve always had complete access (at least by the end of testing) to the entire game.  WoW is so massive, it is probably the only way to test everything effectively.  They give you the entire leveling experience AND all end game content.

      Diablo III on the other hand has been tested 95% in house.  We’ve stress tested the AH and game servers, tested out basic systems and functions, found bugs here and there… but the entire game’s story is still under wraps, all testing for end game content has been in house, the jeweler, most of blacksmithing, and (until recently) the rune system and dyes were not available in the beta.  We have only one follower currently, access to only a fraction of our skills, I could go on and on.  For ALL of these reasons, they have not needed 1M testers to get the job done.  

      As aurik said, the MoP beta is a contractual obligation between Annual Pass holders and Blizzard, there should be zero surprise there.  I imagine they wouldn’t have ended up with 1M opt-in testers even by the end of the beta in a world with no AP.

      There was a 100k wave a few weeks back, so I’m sure there are more like 200k D3 beta accounts.

      Anyways, it has much less to do with Blizzard hating us and more to do with the obligations and needs for each separate beta test.  

  2. I think your comment that Blizzard cares much less about DIII fans (in this particular circumstance) is a little off.
    WoW servers have been active for eight years. Thats years longer than DIII (current build) has even been conceived. In that time they have served literally millions of players. It makes sense that their beta servers for that game would be able to take lumps of 250,000+ people.
    Diablo, on the other hand, is working with a new interface on a relatively new They have to carefully watch the servers and interface to make sure they aren’t overloaded.
    It makes sense that the incredibly polished game could hold a lot for a beta.

  3. I think Flux is just trolling again. 

  4. I’m not sure what the issue is here, why do you need 100k players for a limited stress test in a limited beta with virtually no content?

  5. Different types of tests for different things, but I too feel D3 should have been given a lot more fanfare for the beta.  That goes especially for now when we’re under a month and a half from release, they should just let the invites flow for some real stress testing.

  6. Unfortunate the article is unclear.  Reading it implies WOW Pandawhatever beta and nothing regarding D3 Beta invites.  Confidence is high that the servers from WOW will carry the load. Cheers!

  7. Somewhat off topic but you have to wonder if Diablo players would pay to play.  I know that in the early days of Diablo II I would certainly paid $5-$10 per month just to have monthly content patches, bot and spam policing, and someone paying attention to massive balance bugs (like oh say, Bowazons being unplayable for the first few months).  For Diablo III, I would probably pay the same if it meant a significantly better game.  Hell I played WOW for 2 years and they made $400 off of me, and I played Diablo II for 3-4 years and they made $60. 

  8. lol not sure if Flux is serious.  Anyway, I am more of Starcraft fan than Diablo so I am not second-tier priority.  \(*-*)/

  9. Deep breaths Flux, deep breaths 

    • I’ve been in the d3 beta since September, so it’s not a big deal to me. But I’d imagine the countless numbers of Diablo players who are still outside looking in find it a little annoying, watching the overwhelming numbers of wow beta keys going out.  Like I said in the last line of the post (which some commenters seem to have skipped?) you can pretty well understand blizzard’s motivation, after all those wow players are paying customers. But that doesn’t mean diablo players should be happy about it.

      That Bliz announced a new contest to give out 8 (yes, EIGHT) d3 beta keys the next day, and made that post in one of their WoW forums, was just the hilarious icing on the cake.

  10. typical of my luck. i have 2 accounts (me and my wife) signed up on the annual pass and neither have been invited yet.

  11. I was invited and I am not an annual pass holder. 😉

    Funny enough, outside of writing a preview for it I wasn’t interested so I let my brother-in-law come over and play. He’s pretty hardcore WoW player, been waiting for this expansion, and to much derision from me likes the whole panda thing. He played until level two and then stopped playing because he was bored and it was hilarious. 

    • I don’t really see why you think its funny that Blizzard is having problems keeping there fan base. And why everyone seems to hate on WOW. lets face it, if it wasn’t for the huge success of WOW we might have never seen D3 actually come to fruition.

      Yours and every one else’s low brow insults are really getting old. If you guys care so little for WOW then why bother taking the time out of your day to crack jokes. 

      All your doing is letting everyone know that your on the bandwagon too so that makes you cool cuz you can say funny stuffz about a game that millions of people play.
      Just more elitist comments by people who seem to want Blizz to actually Fail.

      • Welcome to this website, this is pretty much standard fare, and you should immediately put up your flame shield.  I even have a WoW hating stalker that I believe was temp banned a week ago or so.  

        The level of discourse falls to that of a Android vs. iOS discussion, maybe even lower.

      • Actually, my friend, I don’t understand your logic at all. The original Diablo 3 would have been an mmo so WoW pretty much killed Diablo 3. And if WoW wouldn’t have been successful then they would have been pressed to release a successful Diablo 3 to compensate, not a cheapass thrown-together game. You should leave the bandwagon mentality for the 12 year olds and start watching and thinking when you write something. 

        • I believe trapdoor’s point has a lot of credibility.  Have you ever heard of the term “paying the drinks at the bar”?  It’s a term you use when WoW’s money is the only thing that has floated D3 as a project through all of the bumbling steps since 2001.

          It is hilarious that you think “WoW pretty much killed Diablo 3”.  Were you around when it was leaked that Diablo 3, and I quote “just wasn’t fun and needed to be reworked”?  Were you here when BN shut down because of their incompetence in handling the project?  I’ve got news for you buddy, BN shut down in 2005, WoW was released in 2004.  Nothing killed D3 MMO other than the same minds that would go on to make the colossal failure Hellgate: London.


          Please inform yourself at that link to learn that it took until 2008, and in my brutally honest estimation, until beta patch 13 to make Diablo III what we know and love today. And what really burns me is that you make a baseless argument and then go on to call HIM the 12 year old. Really!

          • I love it how you missed the 2 mmos being developed at the same time, but believe PR bull like that. You can quote all you want. Nobody will say that they cancelled a project because it would drain the other project. They will stall for time and see what they can do with the project. Hence the “it wasn’t blabla enough so we had to start from scratch”. WoW never funded the old D3 version. In fact i dare to think D3 was too ambitious. That is why they killed it. Too ambitious, just like the game you hate so much, Hellgate: London.
            And I was referring to the fact that he uses the “you just think you are cool cuz you hate blizz” mentality instead of thinking that maybe people can have differing opinions.

  12. Damn, no beta key yet.  Don’t even tell me I was lucky enough to get a D3 key, but not lucky enough to be selected in a 250k MoP wave.

  13. The Panda invites surely arent because Blizzard care about their WoW players more.
    I bet they hate the fact that they need to add 1 million+ people to their Panda beta. Not like the servers can really handle that. I got invited a week a go or so, and they have just 4 servers for all those people.
    (Note: A WoW server seems to be able to handle around 20k players at its max, but that is mostly if those players gets spread out in different areas, something which is not possible when the beta testing leads them all to one place).

    Amazingly enough the servers are relatively stable (but somewhat lagging) which probably shows that only a very small fraction of the people invited bothers to try the beta.

    I bet this is the last time Blizzard offers beta access as part of an Annual Pass like promotion – though probably not the last time they offer an Annual pass.

  14. Hmmm even though there may be some truth in what you say Flux you also have to consider:
    -The MoP beta is a lot more content to test than Diablo. A lot more area, countless more spells to monitor, 10 classes, tons of quests etc etc. 
    -MoP beta is currently in a VERY buggy state, I see countless bugs and unfinished stuff whereas the D3 beta even if it had a few bugs looked near release material.
    -They are forced to sen 1Million beta anyway.
    -There are probably more server dedicated to the WoW beta, one (or 2) by regions.

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