In an effort to hold on to players whose interest in their seven-year-old MMO might finally be waning, Blizzard’s promising a free digital copy of Diablo III to anyone who signs up for the World of Warcraft Annual Pass.

Announced yesterday at BlizzCon, the Annual Pass is a twelfth-month subscription payable in monthly installments of $14.99 or by another billing plan of your choosing. Annual Pass subscribers will also get a fancy new flying mount when the next patch drops and access to the Beta for the next WoW expansion. That next expansion? The Mists of Pandaria, an April Fools’ joke-turned-actual thing that will bring panda monks to Azeroth.

Blizzard’s doing everything they can to keep WoW fresh and interesting in the face of lagging subscription numbers. It’s clear that this is another act of retention, as the promotion only applies to current WoW players. Accounts opened after October 18, 2011 are not eligible to receive the benefits of the Annual Pass. Subscribers will also not be able to cancel their account until the twelfth months are up.

More information on how to sign up and what exactly you’ll get can be found at the link below.

Source: Blizzard

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  • CosmoJoe - Sunday, October 23, 2011 - link

    Mists of Pandaria, to me, is when WoW jumped the shark. This is really a drastic departure for the lore and frankly, there are a lot of other story arcs I would like to see addressed and visited in an expansion; Chinese mythology doesn't interest me in the slightest.

    I think on some level, Blizzard themselves knows this is risky and this is why they are trying to lock people into a year sub with free Diablo III and beta invite. I've been playing since WoW's launch but I will not be buying this expansion.
  • tayb - Sunday, October 23, 2011 - link

    I don't think Blizzard is having a problem retaining current players so much as it is having a problem attracting new players.

    The game has become too expensive.

    World of Warcraft + The Burning Crusade: $20 (Battle Chest)
    Wrath of the Lich King: $40
    Cataclysm: $40
    Monthly Subscription: $14-$15

    Up front cost: $100
    6 month investment (about how long I typically play games): $190
    12 month investment: $280

    That is a lot to ask and a lot of players aren't happy with some of the changes.

    This move reeks of desperation to keep the MONEY coming in but not the PLAYERS coming in. Offering a free copy of Diablo III keeps the money flow but it doesn't keep the player online which is the actual problem.
  • wizdum - Tuesday, October 25, 2011 - link

    Why so upset about pandas in the realm? Did anyone play Warcraft 3? Pandaren Brewmaster? No? I loved that guy, and am a bit tempted to play WoW (I never really have) because that race will be playable. I absolutely love the spontaneity of Blizzard's decision realizing that their April fool's joke was actually a great idea. Keep up the good work, apparently Activision hasn't sucked out your soul completely yet.
  • vision33r - Saturday, October 29, 2011 - link

    I gave Cataclysm a chance but stopped played a few months ago. This expansion overall is very sloppy and the new changes are both a blessing and a detriment. I'm not sure if I am right but I started to feel the developers are no longer as enthusiastic about the game. Many class changes they make just doesn't make sense. If you play a certain class for years and suddenly they change an ability to knock it down but doesn't fix the implication of breaking the ability. It seems they just crunch numbers and ensure that you don't get excessive numbers. When some classes are dependent on RNG which means the ability either hits hard or soft based on random generated numbers then your ability suddenly becomes a lottery.

    As for Pandas, I just don't get it. The players all voted for races like Nagas, Murlocs, Wryms, etc.. Then they pulled Pandas out of nowhere. No only is it unfitting for the lore, they decide to give it a touch of Disney.

    Blizzard is starting to get cocky that even if the game is broken, they will still come..

    Sorry I'm no longer interested in WOW.

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