BlizzCon is now in full force, and there is a steady stream of news escaping the convention center. One of the most interesting tidbits for gamers on the prowl for freebies is that you’ll be able to grab Diablo III, the upcoming action RPG, for free – if you pay to play World of Warcraft.
There’s a catch. You can’t be a month-to-month subscriber. Instead, you have to sign up for the “annual pass”, a twelve month subscription that can be billed monthly at $14.99. It seems that Blizzard is taking a page from the playbook of the world’s mobile data carriers, enticing players with freebies in exchange for a long-term commitment.
Players who sign up for the annual pass will receive the standard edition of Diablo III, not a limited or special edition. However, they’re not entirely left out when it comes to extra goodies. Annual pass subscribers will receive a special flying mount called Tyrael’s Charger and instant access to the beta test of the upcoming expansion Mists of Pandaria, which was also announced at BlizzCon.
It will be interesting to see how many players sign up. At a rate of $14.99 a month, the pass represents a total commitment of $179.88. If the Diablo III standard edition retails for $59.99 (and it probably will, as that’s what Starcraft 2 cost at launch), players who go for the long-term commitment will need to play at least eight of the twelve months to break even. That might not make sense to everyone, but diehard fans will surely jump on this bandwagon.