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Breakfast Topic: Annual pass, or regular beta?

Anne Stickney

Players that attended PAX East had a pleasant surprise waiting for them -- anyone who played the Warlords of Draenor demo at the convention received a pass with a beta key. This wasn't expected at all, and it has since been clarified that there will be other opportunities as time goes on for those that missed PAX to get their hands on a key. It's a far cry, however, from the Annual Pass that offered access to the Mists of Pandaria beta, suggesting that beta access will be far more limited, at least in its first stages.

I'm not exactly surprised about this. Beta access for Mists was a point of contention for players that expected their Annual Pass to grant them immediate access, only to find out that the invitations were being sent out in random waves. Of course everyone eventually got in, but it took time for it to happen. Having played in every beta since release, I have to say that the Mists beta was far, far more congested, and I don't know whether that really helped much on the feedback front. To a certain extent, it seemed like more players were actively dissatisfied and angry about bugs and errors that are, frankly, part and parcel with the beta experience. Bugs happen. Beta is where all those bugs are discovered and worked out -- that's what beta is for.

I don't mind that they're limiting beta access for now, because I know it'll open up to wider testing as time goes on. I don't really mind the absence of the Annual Pass, either -- Blizzard has my money either way. But I'm curious -- how many of you guys participated in the Annual Pass? Was beta access your only reason for participating? How do you feel about beta access apparently being slightly more restrictive, this time around? If you participated in the Mists beta, what did you think of the experience? And if you happen upon a beta key for Warlords, will you use it?

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