The World of Warcraft Annual Pass Con

Posted: 06/04/2012 in World of Warcraft
Tags: , , , , , , ,

 I’m going to discuss a topic that has divided the user base (and former user base) of World of Warcraft, but it’s something that keeps rumbling and personally I think that it deserves being discussed in a blog. Back in August of last year I publish a post “Milking the Cash Cow – How’s Blizzard’s Attitude Has Changed“, and I guess that this post could be seen as “Part 2”.

 When Blizzcon was on back in October one of the first things that Blizzard announced was the World of Warcraft Annual Pass. This was a 12 month commitment to the game in which time you weren’t allowed to cancel. In return you’d receive and exclusive mount, a free digital copy of Diablo 3 and access to the Mists of Pandaria beta. The beta started a few weeks ago and just before it launched Blizzard made a post saying that “invites will be done in waves and will be based on when you signed up for the beta and how long you have been playing for”. This for me is where the problems arrive, to sum it up before I get going here is my opinion ..

I personally believe that Blizzard decided not to tell people about this until the last-minute so they could get maximum cash from the annual pass. I also believe that it can’t be justified that some people are being given more value for their annual pass (earlier access to the beta), then others who have the annual pass.

When I first bought this up on Twitter, one of the first comments I got, was from someone who to be honest doesn’t deserve to be named, however the tweet was …

QQ about people getting butt-hurt because they didn’t get in first when Blizzard gave no such promise.

The irony is this person doesn’t even play WoW anymore so why they had to stick their nose is will always be a point of confusion. Anyway! Whilst it’s true that they didn’t say “Sign up for the annual pass and get into the beta as soon as it starts”, they pretty much gave the impression at Blizzcon that it would be the case. At NO point did they say “you’ll get in the beta but it might be weeks or months before others”.

Another tweet I had sent my way which I can fully understand was..

They kinda had to do it in waves to protect the servers from crashing

This I can totally understand, but again in my opinion they must have known that they would have approach the invites like this but they kept quiet until the last-minute. Why would a company keep quiet until the last-minute? It’s simple. Keep on advertising the annual pass and if one of your main selling points is the beta, you’re not going to tell the people who sign up “oh you’re one of the last to sign up so you’ll be one of the last to get an invite”. Why not? Well simple because, said person probably won’t bother to sign up.

Invites will be based on how long you’ve been a WoW player for.

 This is another piece of information that was left out until the very last-minute. I’ve been a WoW player since 2005, but decided during Blizzcon to attach the Annual Pass to my US account which has only been online since September 2011. Why didn’t I attach it to my 7-year-old EU account? Because again, at no point did Blizzard state that invites would be based on how long the account has been active. Some people have also said that “oh but you got a free mount and a free game”. Whilst those are nice, that’s not the reason why some people signed up. Some signed up for the beta and at the moment are feeling screwed, especially when they know other people are inside.  The other comment I’ve seen a few times is “but people would’ve signed up for those 12 months anyway, so why not just be grateful for getting something free out of it”. Again this isn’t entirely accurate. Quite a few people who were sitting on the fence and probably would’ve cancelled for at least a little bit in 2012, were enticed by the promise of beta access and so signed up.

 I can’t help but feel conned by Blizzard regarding this. I know this entire post is me going on the offensive, but when you offer someone a service, when you say “make X commitment and get Y in return”, then you expect to get the same value for Y as everyone else. You wouldn’t expect to get a month less (or maybe more) of what was promised then someone else who made the same commitment. To me, this has Activision‘s fingerprints all over it. Everyone knows how well they like ripping people off (they learnt off the best, EA, but that’s another story).

 In my opinion Blizzard intentionally left out some vital pieces of information at Blizzcon and up until the last-minute of the beta going live.  They were more interested in getting maximum profits from the Annual Pass then being straight up and honest with the players. I know I’m not the only one in which this has left a bitter taste in their mouths, and whilst some people will defend Blizzard for their action (for which they have every right to do so), I for one think that they acted with intent to deceive, whilst keep an eye firmly on the only thing they care about nowadays … the amount of money you give to them. Had I known Blizzard‘s intent was to offer an entirely inadequate approach to this whole fiasco then chances are I probably wouldn’t have signed up for the Pass.

 I realise that this topic has a polarizing effect on the player base both current and former, but I wanted to get my opinion across. Thank you for reading.

Correction – I’ve been informed by the person who was involved in the little “set to” that is mentioned at the start of this post, that a slight part of it was misread by myself. While the general context is still accurate, the person in question is still technically playing WoW. I would like to apologize for that.

  1. Lou Gagliardi says:

    My comment was out of line, and I do apologize for it. I can understand your point of view, I really can. But the problem is, you’re looking at it without your enrage timer cooling down.

    Did Blizzard purposefully leave information out to screw people over? Or did their legal team find problems with the OP and it had to be fixed? These things do happen.

    But I do see your point.

    Oh, one factual error. As of this posting I still played wow. My subscription doesn’t expire for another 4 days and I will be playing it as soon as I can afford it.

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