WOW Annual Pass Surprises

Posted by Daeity On Friday, March 23, 2012

This isn't exactly a late post, I just wasn't planning on writing about it. :)

It's an issue that has already been talked about to death on many forums, and I prefer the kind of stuff that no one else is talking about. However, a lot of you have asked for my opinion on the matter so I'll oblige.

Basically, many WOW Annual Pass subscribers are upset to learn that they no longer have immediate access to the MoP Beta, and entry into the Beta is actually based on a previously unannounced Blizzard-internal surprise invitation ruleset.

Over the course of the test, we’ll be inviting Annual Pass holders, press, fansites, friends and family, and opt-in beta testers to participate.
In their official announcement, Blizzard makes note that "To find out more about getting into the beta test, including info on how we’re inviting Annual Pass holders, please read the Mists of Pandaria Beta Opt-in announcement and FAQ." Well, at least they created a FAQ on HOW they're inviting the Annual Pass members giving everyone an idea of when they'll be invited!

Unfortunately, here's all they wrote on the subject within the FAQ:
We’re inviting Annual Pass holders in waves over the course of the beta test, and will be ramping up the number of invites we send as quickly as possible. We’ll be inviting Annual Pass holders based on several factors, including how long your World of Warcraft account has been active and when you signed up for the Annual Pass.
The detailed information on "how we're inviting Annual Pass holders" was even worse than the official announcement, and it provides no clues as to what's going on.

This was a vast departure from that Blizzard customers were previously led to believe, but more on that later.

Hey, I Didn't Say That!

You might have noticed that I get misquoted a lot, or people just spread general misinformation about the blog. Anyone can be Daeity, it's just a virtual identity floating around the cloud.

Anyone can also make a post on "Forum X" saying "Daeity said Y" and then when "Y" didn't or doesn't happen, that's actually used as proof that Daeity was wrong. Sadly, unknowing (aka ignorant) users even continue to link to "Forum X" as irrefutable proof. :)

This just happened.. again.. on MMO-Champion. It's a really good read, I recommend you check it out from beginning to end especially the speculation on TOD's identity. And they say *I'M* paranoid. :)

Here's the original post that kicked off the funny feeding frenzy:
More than "90% people with Annual Pass" won't get beta till a month before release

I read this on Digital Castration.

How reliable is this guy?

This sucks if true
But here's what actually happened; it was just a comment made by an anonymous user.
Anonymous said...

On Mists of Pandaria beta and Annual Pass:

More than 90% of Annual Pass holders will not be receiving their invites until 3-4 weeks before the expansion is released.
And here was my response:
Daeity said...


That's brutal. It was a major selling point of MoP. I guess from Blue's perspective; "hey, at least we're fulfilling our end of the contract. You get to play the beta." :)

Do you have a link for that?
The worst part is that no one from MMO-Champion needed to check the source. In fact, they DIDN'T EVEN ASK FOR THE SOURCE but instead asked for MY source.

Can you believe that?

Just read the first 3 pages alone. 3 posts demanded my source, 13 said I was lying but they refuse to check the blog (or have never read the blog), and 11 just refused to read the blog.

Even after they were told it never happened, and that everyone there was being trolled hard, it still continued. They're currently over 300 posts on the same subject. :)

Someone easily trolled them, and everything they're saying just makes the situation look even more foolish for them. The best responses are when they said that I never provided any sources. Oh my. And in a twisted way, this link will be used as "official proof" in the future that Daeity is wrong and never provides sources. :)

"Don't listen to Daeity. Remember that time he said that 90% of the users won't blah blah blah derpity derp. Here's the link. See, he's full of bullshit."

I've talked about this predictable MMO-Champion mentality before, and here it is again. It's very bad and just embarrassing.

If you're looking for something fun to do, here's something; out of the 300+ posts, see if you can count how many people actually asked for a direct link. Be careful though, some of them are misleading. For example, many users didn't ask for the OP's source, they just asked for MY source because they didn't believe ME. :)

If you want to have even more fun, keep posting stuff that "Daeity said", and just make up a bunch of stuff. Watch the feeding frenzy. Put me down for some ridiculous MoP Release Date (make it a Sunday), but make sure not to provide any links.

So, What I Do Really Have To Say?

From what I can tell, most of the written content about the WOW Annual Pass just guarantees "a spot in the beta test". But they've never said that WOW Annual Pass subscribers will get access as soon as it goes live.
Access to the Next WoW Expansion Beta Test – Get a guaranteed spot in the beta test for the next World of Warcraft expansion (at a time to be announced in the future).
I'll keep digging around, but if any of you know of older (October/November 2011) posts detailing the WOW Annual Pass / Beta Access portion that shows "as soon as it goes live", let me know.

Although it might never have been written by Blizzard, it was certainly said. By Mike Morhaime, CEO of Blizzard Entertainment when the WOW Annual Pass was first announced.

You can watch the exact statement above from his prepared speech (I've linked to the 6m36s mark):
"You will also get guaranteed access into the next World of Warcraft expansion beta when it goes live."
So here's how I see it;
  • This was an official announcement from the head of Blizzard guaranteeing Beta Access for all WOW Annual Pass subscribers "when it goes live." Not "while it's live", or "during the beta".. but "guaranteed access.. when it goes live."
  • Media news sites took this information, and it became a major selling point for World of Warcraft enthusiasts. Blizzard did not correct them or mention any fine print.
  • When the written Annual Pass announcement was made, Blizzard provided no real details.. only that they would have guaranteed beta access. No mention that "terms are subject to change" or any kind of fine print to ensure that players weren't mislead by Mike's statement. This just left players with the Blizzcon 2011 announcement which contained the most details.
  • The sudden back-peddle of the Blizzard's Promise™ was very disappointing as you've seen. If it was obvious from the start that Blizzard was going to invite players in waves and that only certain people would get in when it went live, you would not have seen the negative reaction that had just happened.
  • Leaving everyone in the dark is not good business. It leads to frustration and wild speculation. You need to give customers specific information and stay true to your word.
  • For several months, users were led to believe that they would have guaranteed access when it went live. Even though Blizzard claims to monitor all communications, forum comments, and fan feedback to improve the customer experience, they still didn't say anything to correct this gross misunderstanding. They have paid staff with the responsibilities to set user expectations, and they failed greatly in this specific situation.
What's left now are the "types of players" who are invited first, something I'll be very interested in seeing. Right now, initial invitations are to a very limited beta experience (the Pandaren 1-10 leveling zone) with the new content locked down.

According to Blizzard, they have a "secret internal formula" for invitations (which will drive hopeful Beta testers even more crazy) based on how long the WOW Account has been active, when you signed up for the Pass, if you're from the press or a fansite, a Friend or Family member, an opt-in beta tester, and other criteria.

Blizzard hasn't revealed which of these have more seniority over the Annual Pass members. If you're a WOW Annual Pass member, though, don't be surprised if (on average) the Press & Fansites get invited before you. I think the Annual Pass invites will probably be "sprinkled in" with the various other criteria that are higher on the totem (like Press/F&F).


Cool. Proof that even MMO-Champion impartial "Moderators" don't confirm anything, don't read, and their actions are personally motivated after all. It was purely a reaction to a name, even though it was completely fake. :)
Callei, Moderator

Closing. The person the OP refers to is not a credible source, ergo, closing to prevent spreading misinformation.
How many times has MMO-Champion kept threads open even though they knew for a fact it was from an actual noncredible source?

A wise moderator would have closed it with, "This thread has derailed."