When you pre-order either D3 or D3CE do you get a battle.net key immediately which will allow you to pre-load the game, so you can play the very minute it goes live even if your physical box is a bit late?
I don't think you'll be given the battle.net key since the key would be found in the manual, the cd itself or the case so that would mean they would need to physically open your edition to provide it to you. There is a way to download the client however and have it ready so that when you do recieve your physical box, you can just put your key in and be good to go.
It does. If you chose release day delivery. I remember having that option when I ordered CE yesterday but i didn't even consider it since I already get to play 1 second after servers go live (because of Annual Pass) and I can wait 2 days for my virtual aesthetic stuff and extras from CE. http://www.amazon.com/gp/help/customer/display.html/ref=hp_left_cn?ie=UTF8&nodeId=200180350 <- for info on how release date delivery works for amazon.
I doubt he'll get a key for the Diablo 3 version that comes with the annual pass. I think thats directly added to his battle.net account. And if it gets a key it doesn't matter that much since as I said I think its added to his account and he can't do anything else with it. Like give away or sell.
Annual Pass = you get full version of D3 added to your account (equivalent of a key). When I get my CE from Amazon (if they ship it and don't mail me some apology later because they ran out or something) I can use it on some other battle.net account and get 2 D3 copies (one being CE) or I can add it to the same Annal Pass account and get 4 months of free WoW and only 1 D3 (upgraded now to CE version) on that one account. There might be another option where I phone Blizzard customer services and ask them to give me 1 extra key for a standard edition that I can give to a friend and remove those 4 free months that I would get.
aah i thought so. so not getting 2 keys, but getting two accounts of the game. the only worry i have for you is.. if the in-game CE items (wings/dyes/etc) are attached to the CD KEY you receive from Amazon, then that will be the obvious choice to take as the version added to your battle.net account via annual pass is just a standard edition after all. I guess that leaves you with the dilemma of trying to get in contact with blizz support and hopefully they'll give you another standard edition key to give away elsewhere, so that you don't find yourself having the CE edition CD-Key in the same account as your free D3 activation account.
As with WoW, you are idd able to upgrade a normal version to a CE. I've done it with Cataclysm. Normally you loose the standard version of the game though, but sometimes Blizzard gives you a replacement key if you go through the trouble of calling them and say the right things.