WoW Annual Pass Blues

Updated Tue, Feb 21, 2012 by Mem

BlizzCon, is a place of gaming magic. It is here at this typically yearly (at least up until now) convention that players can come together for two days of Blizzard game filled goodness. During these two days of fun filled festivities players can expect some big announcements about the games they love to be revealed, especially in the opening ceremony. BlizzCon 2012 did not leave the fans disappointed with several major announcements including the revealing of the newest World of Warcraft expansion pack and perhaps just as exciting the WoW Annual Pass.

As we all probably know by now the WoW Annual Pass is exactly what it sounds like; players sign a contract with Blizzard basically saying that they will pay for a year of World of Warcraft. Overall nothing much changes, you may still pay for your subscription monthly if need be except you have now promised that you will continue to do this for at least a year. There are of course perks involved that sweeten the deal including; free Diablo III, guaranteed access to the next available beta, as well as a very cool looking in game mount.

The WoW Annual Pass Blues

While most players, myself included, have no serous regrets after signing up for there are more than a few that find themselves suffering from what I like to call the WoW Annual Pass Blues. While the reasons behind the WoW Annual Pass Blues tend to be as varied as the players behind them, three universally felt reasons behind this feeling tend to arise to the forefront:

No Way to Opt-Out

The annual pass is a relatively new and mostly unheard of concept in the gaming world. Thanks to this, many players really do not understand what they are getting themselves into. When signing up for the WoW Annual Pass you are entering into a binding (and I do mean binding) contract with Blizzard that states that you will pay for their game for a year. There is almost no way to escape this contract once you have signed up and if the contract is broken it may even be possible for Blizzard to take legal action.

This is a grim revelation for the player who rushed headlong into the WoW Annual Contract without fully understanding exactly what they were getting themselves into. So imagine the surprise of these players when a few months down the road they decide they no longer wish to pay for the game only to discover that they must do it regardless of most circumstances. Lost your job? Getting a divorce? Bored with the game? Too bad! You will still be paying for your WoW subscription like it or not which can cause a serious case of the WoW Annual Pass Blues.

BlizzCon 2013 Cancelled
Your World of Warcraft subscription cannot be cancelled.

You may be wondering what exactly the cancellation of BlizzCon 2013 has to do with the WoW Annual Pass and why those that sign up for it are taking it a bit personally. Up until now, BlizzCon has been a yearly staple that Blizzard fans everywhere look forward to. For one weekend out of the year like minded players get to intermingle and basically get their geek on. Here new games are previewed and major announcements about Blizzard and their games are made.

In fact, the WoW Annual Pass was announced at the most recent BlizzCon and players everywhere rushed out to sign up for it. By now the grand majority of players that are going to sign up for the pass have already done so, and here in lies the problem. Imagine these player’s chagrin when Blizzard announced that there would be no BlizzCon 2013. While not directly affecting anything the pass had to offer, cancelling BlizzCon 2013 felt to some players like Blizzard was saying why bother, they had your promise you would pay for a year, why go through all the trouble of BlizzCon to keep you interested. While the reasoning behind the cancellation of BlizzCon 2013 is surely more complex than this, one can see why this could potentially cause a case of the WoW Annual Pass Blues in many a player.

Free Diablo III Delayed

The final and perhaps most lauded banner of those with the WoW Annual Pass blues is the Diablo III conundrum. One of the major reasons players signed up for the annual pass is to get their very own downloadable free Diablo III copy. While no official release date has been given, judging by the completeness of the game in the beta version as well as subtle hints from Blizzard, most of us had hoped to see our free Diablo III copy in our hands early in 2012.

However, these hopes have been all but crushed as a release of the game seems to be no where in sight. To further confirm this just recently it was spilled that Blizzard doesn’t expect the game to release until late June. Sure we can all sit back and say we want a game that is finished and well put together, but none of us really expected to be waiting almost the full year of our contract for our free Diablo III did we? As it directly relates to my reasons for signing up for the WoW Annual pass this is one reason that even causes me some mild WoW Annual Pass blues.

The WoW Annual Pass is not all doom and gloom though, many players find themselves more than happy with the contract, especially those who were planning on paying for a year of the game regardless, and more sign up everyday. In this writer’s opinion at least, the WoW Annual Pass was well worth it. So if you do have the WoW Annual Pass Blues, remember, we will get Diablo III eventually and even without BlizzCon it seems like Blizzard fans will still manage to have much to look forward to this year.

Wondering if you too may be experiencing the WoW Annual Pass Blues? Players with the WoW Annual Pass Blues may find themselves experiencing the following symptoms:

  • Feelings of regret and/or sadness
  • Compulsive /face palming
  • Extreme periods of nerd rage
  • Clicking the mouse with excessive force

Did you sign up for the WoW Annual Pass to obtain your very own free Diablo III? Do you find yourself regretting the decision and possibly experiencing any of the symptoms outlined above? shareour thoughts in the comments section below!

I can afford the annual pass, but at this point I'm not getting much value for it. I have one toon, with a GearScore over 10,400, and there's not a lot left to do. I've done the latest content, except for the high level raids, which my guild doesn't schedule conveniently. So when somebody gave me Skyrim, I got sucked in, and I'm not going back to WOW much at the moment. I'll probably go back when the Pandara beta hits, and I'll try Diablo III. But right now, there ain't much there, there.

Don't you mean blizzcon 2012? As far as I can find out blizzcon 2013 is still going ahead.

I got the WoW annual pass for a few reasons. One, I was planning on playing WoW for the foreseeable future anyway. Two, I liked the mount and Three, Access to the MoP beta and a free digital copy of Diablo III when it comes out was icing on the cake for me. To anyone who was confused about this pass should have read all of the FAQ and fine print. It was pretty clear, in my opinion, that you were signing up for one year of WoW without the ability to cancel for one year.

I signed up for the anual pass for one main reason, since I will be paying for WoW for a long time. I wanted the mount. I don't know Diablo, and prpbably will never play it, and I don't do beta's.

I signed up mainly because I will be paying to play WoW anyway and the rest of the stuff is just icing on the proverbial cake. Who wouldn't want a copy of Diablo III for no extra cost? The mount was a bit 'meh' but the beta might be interesting to participate in. Hopefully the new expansion will have a lot of life in it coz I'm kinda over the current one. Dman gotta learn to pace myself ;)

Thanks for clearing some questionmarks. I got 25 chars in the same realm, all already had the mount, Diablo3 hmm maybe, and like the guy above , I don't do betas. So really, what did I get?

Sorrry, but the post was posted twice so I change the second. Can't find a delete.

I don't have any blues. Let me answer why none of the above three points concern me:

1. The "contract" isn't really binding. WOW Insider explained this very well. Blizzard will not sue you if you opt to cancel your subscription. Why would they? We are getting digital goods, tied to our account. If you cancel rather than complete the year, all they need to do is turn off the mount, remove your beta access, and turn off your copy of Diablo III. So you can opt out; you just lose all of that stuff if you do. (And why wouldn't you?)

2. So there isn't a BlizzCon 2012 (not 2013... there is one for 2013, unless the Zombocalypse kills us all first). And...? I can't get to BlizzCon, but I did pay $40 for the online stream. That was neat. But the lack of a major convention, especially if they're using the resources instead to give attention to properly releasing some major releases, isn't going to bother me. And it certainly has nothing to do with the use of my Annual Pass.

3. I didn't expect Diablo III instantly. I figured summer; it's looking like summer.

I signed up for the Annual Pass because I already planned on playing WoW for the next year and it offered me some bonuses to do so. I don't see how there's anything really bad about that.

I agree completely with Erik---I couldn't have said it better myself. I did not expect Diablo III to come out any time soon, I'll save $40 this year to spend at NEXT year's BlizzCon, and I would be paying for WoW for the next year anyway. The mount is cool, and I like to have all the cool mounts that I can afford and find. Nuff said:)

Look the bottom line is as with every "gimmick" that a company uses there will be people that opt in for it to realize later it wasn't what they A. wanted or B. expected. So in short you get what you pay for and receive what is entitled so quit yer complaining, either participate or don't your choice!!! I always thought the gaming community at large was more intelligent then this.

Side note:
All the stuff you get when you "opt" in is great who wouldn't want to get a 60-90$ game for free, as well as a quasi cool mount for nothing or see the next content and play it before everyone else. All it takes is a commitment from you that you will monetarily support Blizz for 12 months.......OH WAIT there's the must commit!!!!!

Hmmm... I wasn't complaining, I was genuine curious. I would pay all Year anyway. But I spent 60 Euro to buy those mounts, because Blizzard let anybody buy the mounts prior to the offer. Another thing I'm curious about is: If the committment is meaningless, is this only a way for Blizzard to see how many that would commit for yet another Year? To see how much more they should put into development?

By the way, Good luck to You all!

My comments were not directed soly at you Micke, but more over to the countless mindless drones that whine and complain about everything blizzard does.

As for your comment: "If the committment is meaningless, is this only a way for Blizzard to see how many that would commit for yet another Year? To see how much more they should put into development?"

To be honest with you I have not thought about it in that direction, would make sense, a litmus test so to speak. IF the annual pass is well recieved then development would assumibly proceed as planned, BUT if it failed miserably then product development might take a drastic shift in direction.

So I would like to say in closing that I would agree with you, I also am VERY curious as to what direction Blizzard is going to take with this annual pass notion. Is it going to produce a greater game or is it just another marketing ploy to pad some fatcats pockets in corperate america.


I think it's less likely that the annual pass is an attempt to gauge interest in the game. As it stands a fraction of the player base have signed up and - whilst it's a substantial number - the vast majority of players have stuck to the conventional payment methods rather than transitioning over to the Annual Pass. It's unlikely that will change.

I think it had a lot to do with the "content hole" we're seeing in the game now. Blizzard obviously realised that Mists of Pandaria was a fair way out, and there are seemingly no more plans for content patches for Cataclysm; they needed a way to keep payments ticking over until 5.0 and the release of Pandaria in late 2012 (probably early 2013, tbh). When there are at least 2-3 "content patch cycles" between the last raid dungeon of one expansion and the release of the next expansion, the midterm health of the game would be at risk. Blizzard needed to ensure that the current decline did not become a major problem; the Annual Pass acted as a way of ensuring vague financials, but mostly it's a marketing tool that they can use to supplement their sub numbers: "1,000,000 have quit the game, we're down 1,000,000 subs, but 1,000,000 have got an Annual Pass, so everything is fine."

Diablo 3 was just icing on the cake, really; a way to tempt people who were considering leaving the game to keep paying until MoP came out. Blizzard gain far more from keeping those payments ticking over, even without the content there for players to consume, so "giving away" a $60 for assurances of a $180 contracted subscription to a game that isn't going to be offering any meaningful content for at least 6-9 months is a brilliant (and exploitative) marketing trick on Blizzard's behalf. They'll then charge you another $60 for MoP when they do release it.

And I'd just like to point out the fallacy of this particular comment: "I get Diablo 3 for free." Remember the 218th Rule of Acquisition: "Sometimes what you get free costs entirely too much." The other 218th Rule of Acquisition is also quite apt here as well: "Always know what you're buying." If you were getting Diablo 3 for free, there would be no need to commit to a 12-month subscription plan. If Blizzard were giving it away for free - and you stopped paying that 12-month subscription plan - you would keep Diablo 3 . The payment is your agreement to pay Blizzard $180 for World of Warcraft over a 12-month period. There's nothing free about that arrangement. It's a similar arrangement to the one you have with Google: Google provide you with a variety of services and you pay them by giving them your information; if you do not pay, you do not get to use the services. You're getting Diablo 3 for a price that isn't money; you're still very much paying.

Blizzard have - for a long time now - been embarking on a policy of organisational exploitation, and before anyone says, "I'm not being exploited because I don't mind/I think it's value for money/Blizzard are awesome," it is still exploitation whether you like it or not, in economic terms at least. Blizzard invariably do what is best for their pockets and not - despite presumptions and appearances - what is best for their players.

In conclusion: Blizzard have sold you a dying horse and given you a saddle and goat for free. They'll expect you to pay for the vet as well... when they get around to sending you one, of course.

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