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Blizzard: Offering Diablo III for free is a show of "gratitude," to WoW player base

Blizzard COO Paul Sams has said the firm is offering Diablo III free to World of Warcraft Annual Pass subscribers as a way to "show an amount of gratitude," to the player base.

Speaking in an interview with VentureBeat, Sams said giving Annual Pass subs the game, is a way for WoW fans to enjoy both games without having to pay out anymore than they already do for the MMO.

"We talk about, all the time, how can we do something cool for our players that’s going to benefit them, benefit us, and that they’ll feel is a give-back of sorts," he said. "That’s where this started. There’s a variety of benefits that come from it. Certainly the players get DIII, which is pretty exciting. That doesn’t mean they get the expansion sets, it means that they get DIII, right? So we get people excited about playing that … they get to touch it, feel it, experience it. And then from our perspective, it also is a situation where they aren’t necessarily going to leave WoW to play our own game.

"We don’t want to take players from our universe and shift them over from World of Warcraft. There’s a lot of players playing WoW that have huge amounts of friends and family that they play World of Warcraft with, so [giving Annual Pass subscribers Diablo III] says, enjoy both of them. You don’t have to pay any more than you already do for WoW."

"We thought it would be a cool thing to have our players be able to experience that game without having to leave WoW. We really view it as a give-back to the players. Will that mean that there’s more people potentially playing DIII? Maybe. Does that mean more people might engage in the real-money auction house? Possibly. That could be very positive for the organization, and I think for the players."

The Annual Pass, announced during BlizzCon, is available for a limited time and allows players to sign up for a monthly-billed, 12 month subscription plan. Along with Diablo III, subs will get access to the Mists of Pandaria beta and receive the exclusive Tyreal's Charger mount.

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