How the Annual Pass Could Save WoW or Doom It.

Updated Tue, Oct 25, 2011 by Saia

After several quarters of dropping subscriber numbers, Blizzard is back on the World of Warcraft offensive by offering the perk-loaded WoW Annual Pass.

The idea is simple: in exchange for a year’s worth of WoW subs, Blizzard will give us, the players, a full copy of Diablo III and an amazing mount straight out of Sanctuary’s lore: Tyrael’s Charger.

If you lay down money every month/quarter/year on a regular basis, it’s a pretty sweet deal. The economic depression means there can sometimes be a choice between paying for WoW and investing in a new game so this is a nice way of rewarding people who play. However it will also ensuring more people try Blizzard’s next must-play title and, if they must play several titles, at least this should keep them in the Blizzard fold rather than wandering elsewhere and playing games on the Xbox, Steam, PS3, Origin, or OnLive.

The pricing itself is pretty competitive too. Especially when you add. Xerin did the math and, paying $14.99 a month you end up with 12 months costing $179.88. Take out the guesstimated cost of D3 ($59.99) and you're now paying $119.89 for an entire year of WoW (or $9.99 a month). It gets to be even cheaper the longer you renew your account for. What's not to love?

Even better, if you buy the Diablo III collector's edition, you'll get four months of WoW free to offset the base retail price ($59.96 in value). So there isn't even a risk if you decide to upgrade.

WoW Diablo III Annual Pass

Who doesn't love angelic sparkle ponies?

The addition of an exclusive mount - which ticks almost everyone’s boxes - not only separates the geeks from the fanboys/girls by allowing them to have an awesome in-game sign of their loyalty regardless of whether you’re a Diablo fan, a mount collector or just looking for something cooler than the Winged Lion. Who doesn’t want to fly around Stormwind or Orgrimmar on a horse belonging to the Angel of Justice. Actually, let’s just be honest here, who doesn’t like angelic sparkle ponies? Team TenTonHammer certainly does, especially when it will compliment Mini Tyrael so perfectly!

It’s a pretty cunning ploy but, like all things, it could easily be a double-edged sword. People who sign contracts - which is what this is - expect more than just people who subscribe. At least with game cards you can walk away once your time expires and choose not to renewal. With the WoW Annual Pass, you’re committed for twelve months. You can use the game card with the annual pass though, but you'll have to have a credit card subscription to stay on the plan (even if it isn't billed).

With the levels of expectation raised, the sword of Damocles is going to hover above Blizzard’s collective head. This year, the playerbase has been VERY vocal about what’s wrong with the game, quitting in droves. That’s essentially the power we, as players have, it we don’t like it, we vote with our feet. If Blizzard don’t work hard, if they ignore the players, those who purchase the WoW Annual Pass might not be able to walk but their shouts will become a deafening roar that cannot be ignored.

So this is it, Blizzard has showed their hand and taken back control. They’ve realised Cataclysm was … problematic and want to ensure they have some control over the all-important subscriber numbers. And, in return for our loyalty, they’re certainly compensating us handsomely. The WoW Annual Pass is exciting, especially as it’s easy to see how it could be changed each year, with new mounts and games which will ensure people keep on paying to play. But what do you think? Are you going to sign up? Let us know in the comments box below.

If Blizzard was interested in keeping subscribers it would not be turning WOW into Hello Kitty: Panda Adventure. I have heard many players discussing on trade chat how when the expansion drops they are done. I include myself in that group. I have enjoyed this game for 4 years, but Pandas are more than I can take. I also wonder why giving me a different game to play is a "handsome" reward for renewing my subscription...

Playing with cows is ok but playing a panda which is just oozing in the original series lore is too much for you to handle? If you can't handle all of the Warcraft story then maybe you should have quit 4 years ago. Chen Stormstout's keg has been sitting in the barrens for years. It's about time he or one of his brethren came to get it. I just don't get all this whining about pandas. Mostly from people who never played Warcraft.
"Cows and Blood Elves are ok but pandas are too much for me to handle, boo hoo sniffle."

Ten Alliance one each class 4 lvl 85's 6 lvl 71's.
When Blizzard added Jousting in Wrath of the Lich King - all players 50,000 health using the same lance weapon, NO DIFFERENCE in players characters while jousting and each players character was the same, I knew WOW had become WII bowling and Toontown jelly bean collecting added as "NEW WOW JOUSTING" content. SHOCKING WOW players failed to boycott this NON WOW jousting silliness and actually did as their WOW teachers told them to do!
I was fed up with a Warlock going from the BEST Character in Burning Crusade the "GOD" to being forced to play with 12% Damage absorption armor on a Warlock and having the Warlock be IGNORED in the Q % A and buff list for 18 Months. For 18 months WOW ignored the Warlock and continued to keep it the NEW worst and weakest wow character in Wrath of the Lich King.
So a Hunter was then my choice due to it having 46% damage absorption armor much better than the warlock's 12%. So Beastmastery Hunter was 25% underpowered forcing wow hunter players to play the PVP designed sabotage spec to have descent DPS. So in Cataclysm it only took WOW 5 months to correct the Beast Mastery Hunters DPS and only 7 months to admit the Spellcaster spec for a Druid had it's two main abilities 23% underpowered! Never mind the New Cata Hunter now had only one melee ability, NO AOE Range move anymore, and 7% LESS armor damage absorption, and the Cata Druid Spellcaster now had lost the 300% leather armor buff. So I ran dungeons on the Spellcaster druid from level 80 to lvl 85 not doing the Quests only to be BLACKMAILED! You can now only do the new content if you go back and for NO EXP do 80 Quests in the Mountain lvl 80 - lvl 81 area. WE are upset no wow player actually enjoys or likes boring WOW quests and considering the WOW players such as myself completed EVERY CATACLYSM quest WE REFUSE to do the quests again on our other 9 characters so why not simply run dungeons from lvl 80 to lvl 85? WELL NOW you have to go back and do the quests you skipped for NO EXP to unlock each NEW QUEST AREA! Cancelled my WOW subscription and Have now 4 LVL 50 RIFT Characters! A game which keeps to the true PATH of the game!

I type a page about my ten WOW alliance one each class, a detailed description of the woes of playing 6 lvl 71's and 4 lvl 85's in WOW and close with news of my 4 lvl 50 happy RIFT characters only to be spam filtered here?

Your comment is now live on the site. We check the spam filters daily for anything that gets stuck in them. Sorry for the glitch. Registering to on the site will also help reduce the likelihood of your comment being marked as spam.

News from around the 'Net