Procrastination Amplification: Punditry on MMOs and games in general.

How about Some Free WoW Instead?

So you get Diablo III for free when you subscribe to World of Warcraft for a full year. Not a big deal really. Few people will take it and of those, at least half (probably more) will regret it because they won’t be playing WoW for remotely that long. A minority will save a little bit of money because of it. The meanings of this have also been discussed quite a bit in the blogosphere. Some say it’s a genius move, others say that it means Blizzard has no faith in WoW, Diablo III, or both. Me, I find the idea of getting two games at once that both require a lot of time to play a bit weird and I have no interest paying for 12 months of WoW anyway. Things could be quite different if the deal was reversed, though.

Sure, you are not going to get a 12 month subscription for WoW at the price of a single game, but what about, say, 3 months? Then current WoW players might be inclined to try out Diablo III (and spend money in the auction house!) at a slightly higher price than their normal subscription, while Diablo III players might be tempted to try some (or get back to) WoW.

Getting people back to WoW is profitable even when they are not paying for a while. For one some will get hooked again and stay after the three months are over (profit). For another, people will want to actually use their three months. To do that they need more than the base game (newcomers) or they’ll want the newest expansion. People like me, for example, who stopped in WotLK, will be very tempted to get Cataclysm now that their subscription is already paid for. Profit!

Blizzard will lose some money on those players that would actually have had a WoW subscription for the three months after the Diablo III release AND would have bought Diablo III anyway. Now I don’t have any studies telling me whether that would cost Blizzard more money than it would make, but I frankly doubt it. This current promotion won’t have a big effect at all, simply because a 12 months subscription is so much more than the price of Diablo III that I doubt many people will bite. Hell, I already know only a few people who go with 3 month plans in their MMOs and no one who uses a 6 month setup. (Though I do know some people with lifetime subscriptions to other MMOs.)

Then, while you’re at it, include 12 months of subscription into the collector’s edition of Diablo III. That might be what they are doing anyway, however. (As they said that the CE price will count towards the price of your WoW 12 months subscription and the current trend in CE pricing goes towards $150.)

I’m not sure if I would go back to WoW even under these conditions, but I would at least consider it. And then probably buy Cataclysm to get my hands on actual new content. Profit!


  • Well I know a lot of people in your old guild have bitten! For raiders playing WoW if you intend to at least try the pandas before quiting it seems like a no brainer to me. I doubt pandas will be out until July/August next year at the earliest so being locked into a contract till November in exchange for a free copy of a game I was going to buy anyway and access to the beta looks good to me. I suspect Diablo will cost ~5 months subscription so as long as you intend to play 8 months out of the next 12 your onto a winner.

  • How many people do you know that actually use the 6 month sub model though? Because if 6 is too scary to use (even though it would save money) 12 has to be at least as bad.

    I know I lost a lot of money on having a 1 month sub cycle for years in WoW. Doesn’t mean I would change that now 😉
    scrusi´s last blog post ..How about Some Free WoW Instead?

  • @scrusi: Hi, this is my first comment on your blog, but I’ve been lurking for a little while. Anyways, I don’t think Blizzard is expecting to make huge profits from Diablo 3 after release like WoW makes. The real money auction house will give them some profit over time but nothing compared to an MMO subscription.

    It’s all just to stem the tide of lost subscriptions. There will be a long wait between patch 4.3 and Pandaria. Bored people might get hooked on TOR, which releases right in between those two. Then there’s people like myself that quit WoW in preparation for D3.

    I didn’t resub for this but do have some friends that did. It’s those people on the edge that this offer will pull back to Blizzard. People that were thinking about quitting WoW to play D3 or TOR. I know D3 is not an MMO, but it’s a much more casual game overall.

  • Thanks for commenting and welcome to the talking part of procrastination amplification. I’m always glad to see a new face around here.

    You are absolutely right that the income from the auction house won’t be as high as that provided by the subscriptions in WoW. I doubt that they will be neglible though.
    I am quite surprised that so many players are actually taking this offer (though I would love some real numbers on it.) It really seems to me like it is very akin to the six month deal. But then maybe a free copy of Diablo III is flashier than saving a bit of money each month, even if the monetary difference isn’t all that high.

  • I may well grab the 12 month deal simply because the friends I game with the most are. This means they’ll also be testing the waters with Diablo 3 as well. I have friends and family as well playing WoW so that in itself is enough reason to keep playing.

    For once I may well actually try the beta, as that will allow me to save the cost of the box if it turns out that I hate the talent changes as much as I fear I will…

  • I didn’t even think about it, but you’re definitely right. I would be far more interested in your idea than what Blizzard is offering now. A 12 month subscription is just so very long and it seems the only people that would interest are the same people who pay 300 euro for one well geared level 85 only to regret it a month later. Maybe there are more of those out there than I think.
    Zinn´s last blog post ..Killing the zeros