Blizzcon 2011: WoW Annual Pass, Free Diablo 3

The opening ceremonies for Blizzcon 2011 just came to an end, and a TON of information was revealed. We saw a Diablo 3 trailer (no release date, another 'it's done when it's done' comment came up), some information on Starcraft 2: Heart of the Swarm, the official announcement of Mists of Pandaria, WoW's new expansion, but the two biggest bombshells were the World of Warcraft Annual Pass, and the benefits of said Annual Pass.

  • WoW Annual Pass - Working on a payment plan structure (using monthly fees, three month fees, six month fees, or full year payments), a WoW annual pass works the same as a cellphone plan, but there's one catch: You cannot cancel the subscription. There's no price-hike, everything stays the same, but you're locked into a contract (in which you sign an End User License Agreement) with Blizzard for payment. What are the benefits?
  • Benefits - Well, for starters, how about a guaranteed free copy of Diablo 3? A digital-only version of D3 will be tied to your Battle.net account used for the WoW Annual Pass, and will be conveniently in your game list, ready to rock upon release. Also, how about guaranteed beta access to Mists of Pandaria? How about exclusive in-game content for World of Warcraft, such as mounts? It seems like this system is primed and ready to deliver exclusive 'VIP Only'-esque content at the drop of a hat, so it could be a powerful platform for Blizzard

An annual pass structure, much in the same way as Call of Duty Elite and the EA Sports pass, is a solid way to tie a user (such as, you know, me) to Blizzard during a time in which The Old Republic and Torchlight 2 are breathing down the neck of WoW and Diablo 3.

Also, before I get any emails, yes, that is a picture from my account at the top of the story. BRING ON MY FREE DIABLO 3, BITCHES!