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WoW gets Annual Pass, Diablo III free to subscribers

Mists of Pandaria expansion also unveiled at Blizzcon

Blizzard is introducing an annual subscription for World of Warcraft, and is offering a free copy of the forthcoming Diablo III as a subscriber bonus.

The Annual Pass was unveiled at Blizzard's annual event Blizzcon in Anaheim, California. A FAQ on the company's website describes it as a "limited-time offer" available to WoW players with a, "North American or European World of Warcraft region license in good standing on or before October 18, 2011."

The Annual Pass requires a Battle.net account, and is only available in the US, Canada, Europe, Australia, New Zealand and Singapore. It is billed at WoW's regular rate, and can be paid either monthly or in bulk.

The other subscriber incentives were an exclusive mount, Tyrael's Charger, and access to the beta for the new WoW expansion Mists Of Pandaria, which was also announced at Blizzcon.

Mists of Pandaria will add a new playable class, the Pandaren, which were first introduced to the lore in the real-time strategy game Warcraft III.

This year's Blizzcon had the most crowded schedule in the event's history. In addition to the WoW expansion, Blizzard is also working on StarCraft 2: Heart of the Swarm, the PC and console versions of Diablo III, and a DOTA mod for StarCraft 2.

DOTA started out as a Warcraft III mod created by the Blizzard community, but Valve is currently developing a sequel and looks set to trademark the name.

When quizzed by Eurogamer on the subject, Blizzard's Mike Morhaime reiterated the company's belief that the name "DOTA" should belong to the community.

Blizzard's DOTA mod will to anyone with a copy of StarCraft 2, or for free with the StarCraft 2 Starter Edition. However, DOTA's production director Chris Sigaty told Eurogamer that Blizzard is exploring ways to monetise the game.

"If you come in through the Starter Edition there will definitely be some costs," he said.

"We haven't really talked about exactly how [we will monetise Blizzard DOTA], we're still looking at that, but there will be some ways."

"Certainly Wings of Liberty and Heart of the Swarm will get some advantages to you in DOTA, as far as if and when we monetise it; they will give you some ins. We're still talking about how that will work."

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Matthew Handrahan

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Matthew Handrahan joined GamesIndustry in 2011, bringing long-form feature-writing experience to the team as well as a deep understanding of the video game development business. He previously spent more than five years at award-winning magazine gamesTM.

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