Daily Archives: November 1, 2019

BlizzCon 2019 and The Big Four Announcements

Not at all my review of BlizzCon or its announcements, but just a note about what the big four announcements that came up in the opening ceremony.

Diablo IV

As expected, the next entry in the Diablo franchise is finally here.

The focus is darkness, world, and legacy.  They want to get back to what the series was like, while keeping the snappy game play of Diablo III.

There is a cinematic and a game play trailer available to watch.  This was the first of the four main stage presentations lined up for today.

World of Warcraft Shadowlands

The next expansion for WoW.

Sylvannas is off to Ice Crown to take us to the world beyond death.  This ended up as the third unannounced panel on the main stage for today.

The Lich King awaits

Available for pre-order today, launching in 2020.  There is also a cinematic and an expansion overview video.

Hearthstone Descent of Dragons

And then Hearthstone got a new expansion.  I figured on that.

What I did not count on is that Blizzard would decide to go with Hearthstone as the basis for their new 8 player Auto Chess/Auto Battler destination.

There is, of course, a cinematic video for the expansion and a trailer for the new mode, which is called Battlegrounds.  This ended up as the fourth unannounced presentation on the main stage.

Overwatch 2

Not unexpected.

Overwatch 2 will have new modes, new maps, some new heroes as well as a PvE campaign.  It will be linked into Overwatch, so players of the original will get to play with owners of the new game where they overlap and all your goodies and progress will be saved.

This ended up as the second big main stage presentation today.  And naturally there is a cinematic trailer and a game play video to go along with the announcement.

Other Items

There was an statement up front by J. Allen Brack about the Hong Kong fiasco with an apology and a promise to do better, hinged on watching Blizzards actions going forward.  This won’t be enough for some I am sure, but it was more than I expected.

StarCraft II and Heroes of the Storm also got small mentions, the usual additions one might expect for titles on the back burner.  Also, Warcraft III reforged is expanding its beta.  I’m already able to download it.

WoW Classic also got a mention.  It was the minimum I expected, the phase 2 unlock date.  But J. Allen Brack also mentioned that they would be serving vanilla ice cream at BlizzCon.  He didn’t think we would want that, but maybe we really do.

The last two unannounced presentation slots were for Diablo IV related panels on day two, so nothing else new to come.

Anyway, much more to watch and think about over the weekend.  Look for a post on Monday I suppose.  I get an extra hour to work on it this weekend as Daylight Savings Time ends on Sunday.

BlizzCon 2019 Before the Storm

Today is the day.  In a few hours BlizzCon 2019 will kick off with the keynote address.

I am glad I was so keen to get my BlizzCon post out at the start or October.  There is a little bit more satisfaction in having declared that Blizz had better have an announcement about Diablo IV back then than after it was pretty much confirmed by leaks.

The schedule shows that after the keynote there are four as yet untitled presentations on the main stage.  To my mind that means no fewer than four big announcements.  Diablo IV, Overwatch 2, and the next WoW expansion seem to be three likely suspects in that regard.

And that is just on day one.  There are two more untitled presentations on the main stage set for day two.  This could be a very big BlizzCon if most of those are new titles.  There is even room for a new IP in there I hope.  I don’t think things like Warcraft III or Diablo II remasters, as cool as they are, are necessarily main stage worthy.   We shall see.

The big question for me is what will they say about WoW Classic.  Indications from the outside via things like the additional servers the company had to pile on to the earnings boost recorded seem to mean that WoW Classic is bigger than the company anticipated.  This means, as I noted before, they cannot simply say nothing about it.  But what they might say, beyond the expected hype, could surprise.

Then there is the Hong Kong thing.  There will be people anxious to rub that in Blizzard’s face.  The question revolves around how many people will be there to protest.  Has hype and time tempered the rage, or will it turn into a real problem?  Even if that isn’t a focus, it has put Blizzard in a bad odor with some who are now looking for any reason to criticize the company.  I’m not saying you shouldn’t gripe about Blizzard.  I’ve done plenty of that.  But maybe avoid pilling on with completely garbage complaints.  Or don’t.  You do you.

Anyway, we shall see it all soon enough.

Or I will anyway.  I don’t know about you.  I bought the Virtual Ticket.  I am interested enough in seeing the panels, many of which won’t get any coverage outside of the event, if history is any indicator, that it is worth it to me.  I am happy that Blizzard has extended the time you can watch panels, with replays promised to be available through the end of March 2020.

So now we wait for the keynote and what many of us hope is a lot of big news.

Addendum: PC Gamer is live blogging the protest outside BlizzCon.