BlizzCon is an amazing gaming event each and every year. It represents a celebration of all things Blizzard. At the same time, this convention often brings out some serious controversy (such as fan reaction last year to a Diablo mobile game).
This year’s convention was a bit mixed. While Blizzard made some major announcements, everything was under the shadow of the company’s recent crackdown on players who vocalize their support for Hong Kong and its citizens.
Wondering what the major announcements and controversies were? Don’t worry — we’ve got you covered with our complete guide.
Protest at the Gates
Blizzard landed in hot water when they punished Hearthstone player Blitzchung for his Hong Kong support. And many fans were curious how the outrage against this action would play out at the convention.
As it turns out, things played out really loud! Protests occurred outside the convention on Friday. Protesters held various signs such as “you can’t cancel us all” while guests (including players punished like Blitzchung was) gave presentations.
Ultimately, these protests set the mood for the weekend. And they led into a very unexpected apology.
At the BlizzCon kickoff, the company’s president J. Allen Brack actually apologized for how the company treated Blitzchung. The big takeaway was that Brack himself claimed responsibility for everything that went down.
This was very pleasant in a “the buck stops here” kind of way. But skeptics were quick to note that the apology did not come with any changes to the company policies. Because of this, the company may very well crack down on future players and streamers for expressing their political beliefs.
As lukewarm as this apology was, it gave way to some really exciting announcements over the course of the weekend.
Hearthstone: Descent of Dragons
Hearthstone became a surprise hit, bringing the WoW universe to life in a dynamic card game. And the next chapter of this adventure, Descent of Dragons, was announced at BlizzCon.
The expansion will be coming out on December 10, 2019. We don’t know much about it yet except that a new keyword called “Invoke” is going to let you upgrade old cards into more powerful forms.
If you like Hearthstone, you’ll probably love the next announcement even more.
Blizzard announced that Battlegrounds would be the next big mode in Hearthstone. In this mode, up to 8 players can gather up minions to go forward and defeat each other in fine “auto battler” status.
According to the company, this mode takes the familiar auto battler genre and adds that special Blizzard magic that players love so much. And if nothing else, it’s nice for veteran Hearthstone players to finally have a new way to play.
Like we said, last year’s BlizzCon was controversial because of the company’s announcement of a mobile Diablo game. Players were obviously hoping for something like a remake of Diablo 2 or, better yet, an official announcement for Diablo 4.
This year, Blizzard gave the people what they want. They announced Diablo 4, a game that will combine Diablo story and gameplay with innovations from other Blizzard properties. That means an open world where you can interact with other players and seamlessly enter dungeons without waiting for them to load.
With promises of epic gear and engaging endgame content, Diablo 4 may be the game to beat after it releases. Sadly, that launch date is currently unknown.
It seems like the original Overwatch came out only yesterday. Nonetheless, Blizzard announced a very surprising sequel to their hit first person shooter.
The real surprise comes from the focus. While the original game was all PvP, this game will primarily focus on PvE content with only small doses of PvP. This will presumably give the company a chance to flesh out its characters and worlds in ways other than making and releasing new CGI shorts.
A release date has not been announced. Since Overwatch 2 is in its early stages of development, the soonest possibility is late 2020.
What about the original Overwatch, you ask? That’s where things get complicated.
The Original Overwatch: Still Important
The last thing Blizzard wants to do is split their own player base. This is why we never got a proper World of Warcraft sequel: nobody wins when Blizzard competes against themselves.
That’s why the original Overwatch will still be around. It will still be getting new content, and the company hopes players will continue making this game one of the world’s most prominent shooters.
Think of it this way: Overwatch provides a full PvP experience while Overwatch 2 provides a full PvE experience. This lets players focus on whichever aspect of gaming is more important to them.
World of Warcraft: Shadowlands
In many ways, World of Warcraft remains Blizzard’s most famous game. And this game will continue to evolve after the recently-announced World of Warcraft: Shadowlands comes out in 2020.
So, what’s new with Shadowlands? There will be a new starting area and new zones. It will also have more of your new “big bad,” Sylvanas, who has deposed the Lich King.
Other than these things, the biggest news about this expansion is that it will force your character level back to 50. That’s right: even your level 120 characters are going to be converted to level 50. And just like in the good old days, level 60 will be the maximum level.
Will this eliminate bloat and streamline the WoW experience? Only time will tell.
What do you think of this year’s BlizzCon announcements? Let us know in the comments below!