Blizzard’s yearly Blizzcon event kicked off today, and with it came a variety of announcements for each of the gaming juggernaut’s franchises. Each announcement was spread across the convention centre’s many stages and arenas, allowing fans to really pack it in and watch the game they were most excited for.
The first big announcement was Starcraft 2 going free to play. The entire game won’t be free, however. The original single-player campaign, Wings of Liberty, will be free, but the other expansions will not be. Co-op Commander missions will be free up to level five, and multiplayer will be free, but ranked will only be unlocked after playing ten unranked matches or against the CPU to “preserve the quality and integrity of the ranked experience.” Nicely enough, if you already own Wings of Liberty, Blizzard will give you the expansion Heart of the Swarm for free. This update will drop the 14th of November.
Next came Hearthstone, and with it, a new expansion called Kobolds and Catacombs. A handful of new cards were revealed (in a very cheesy and, in my opinion, bad way) as well as a new game mode called Dungeon Run, where you’re given random cards to progress through a set of eight battles with. When you lose, you start over with a new deck, essentially making it a Hearthstone rougelike. This expansion is set to release in December.
Heroes of the Storm had a brief reveal, showing two new characters: Alexstrasza from WoW and Hanzo from Overwatch. Blizzard also says there will be a new update to the game next year that adds voice chat, better stealth mechanics, and a new camera.
Up next was Overwatch. The class based shooter introduced two new things: a new map and new hero. First was Blizzard World, a theme park map sprinkled with classic Blizzard games references. Blizzard World is set to release early next year.
Next was the reveal of Overwatch‘s newest hero, Moira. An Irish-born DNA expert, Moira can spray her teammates with a healing mist, or fire orbs that either heal friends or harm foes. She can also teleport short distances, and her ultimate is a Kamehameha-like beam that either heals or harms depending on who she’s firing it at. No date was confirmed for Moira.
Finally for Overwatch, a new animated short was shown, revealing Reinhardt’s origin.
The last announcements were for World of Warcraft. WoW revealed two major things: First, official Classic WoW servers for people who want to play the MMO as it was originally rolled out. This server option is currently in development, so no date has been confirmed.
Finally, the latest (and seventh, geez) World of Warcraft expansion was revealed: Battle for Azeroth. WoW is thematically returning to its roots, separating Horde and Alliance groups to different sections of the map to level up to 120. There will also be new PvP modes that pit Horde and Alliance players against one another, and new items to customize and level.
Overall this Blizzcon has something for everyone (unless you’re only in it for Diablo, but c’mon, don’t be pushy). As someone who only plays Overwatch, Moira seems fine, but I’m more excited for the goofy Blizzard World map next year.
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