It’s been known that EA held off on announcing The Old Republic’s release date out of the fear that Blizzard would do something to counter it, and now that the date has been announced; Blizzard did just that. In a pretty brilliant plan to keep existing World of Warcraft subscribers in the light of a major competitor launching; Blizzard created an “Annual Pass” subscription plan.
Only existing World of Warcraft accounts existing before October 18th qualify, but it nets those who opt in a free copy of Diablo III. The way it works is that the person commits to paying for a year of WoW in a subscription plan that cannot be cancelled until the 12 months is up. This locks existing players in, and prevents subscription churn when TOR is released next month. In addition to the free copy of Diablo III, WoW players get a new flying mount in-game that’s inspired by Tyrael as well as guaranteed beta access to Mists of Pandaria.