BlizzCon Eve: Here’s what we expect & what we’d like to see

Blizzcon 2019

The internet is holding its collective breath as it does every year about this time as Blizzard Entertainment gets ready to kick off BlizzCon 2019. The annual convention takes place in Anaheim, California at a precarious time in history, both in terms of the raging California wildfires that have put most of the Los Angeles area under fire watch conditions and in terms of the Hong Kong controversy sparked by Blizzard’s recent banning of a Hearthstone grand champion for his support of the protests. Add in a rocky version of the annual fan meet-up in 2018, corporate layoffs earlier this year, long-time developers leaving for other pastures, and the company’s likely big announcements, it seems that the 2019 edition is going to be a fascinating two days to watch.

As always, there has been rampant speculation as to what will be presented and there have been a number of leaks that have provided us with some hints as to what to expect. Without further ado, let’s take a look series by series at what we are likely to hear and see during BlizzCon and what we’d really like to see, though we may ultimately be left wanting.

Major Announcements

Diablo

Diablo 4 

What we expect: 

We think that this is going to be one of the “cornerstones” of this year’s conventions. We fully expect to see a cinematic trailer to set the stage for the game that might show off a smattering of gameplay. We’ll likely hear a lot about story and some about the major features but we believe that’ll be about it. The official Diablo art book has actually mentioned Diablo 4 so, while the game’s arrival is welcome, it’s hardly unexpected.

What we’d like to see: 

We would love to see a demo version of the game playable on the show floor and may be released publicly as they did with WoW Classic last year. But even more than that, we would LOVE to have a release window, though that flies in the face of Blizzard’s usual way of doing things. Remember “when it’s done” and “soon(tm)” has been their mantras for decades much to the frustration of their fans.

Diablo 2 Remastered

What we expect:

This is one of the most most widely expected announcements, though it’s been a topic that has only come up in the past several weeks. Fans have been asking for a remastered version of D2 for years and we think that, with the success of WoW Classic, Blizzard finally understands the financial worth of doing such a thing. We believe that Blizzard will have a playable demo on the show floor.

What we’d like to see:

A release window — the sooner, the better.

Diablo Immortal

What we expect:

We think Blizzard may announce a release window for Diablo Immortal and have a playable version for people to check out. We really don’t expect to see much more than that, particularly after last year’s fiasco.

What we’d like to see:

A possible PC version similar to what Bethesda did with Elder Scrolls: Blades.

Overwatch

What we expect:

We fully expect to see Overwatch 2 announced. Not only has speculation been running wild lately, but a number of images have leaked from Blizzard’s own Gear Store. We believe that Overwatch 2 will not be a fully new game that players will have to purchase but that it will be a free upgrade to the existing game similar to what Fortnite did with Fortnite: Chapter 2. This is likely from the standpoint that they can’t fully replace Overwatch due to the Overwatch League and the tens of millions of dollars of investment by team owners not to mention the insane numbers of hours players have put into the game to unlock exclusive skins and so forth. The community would lose its collective shit if they suddenly had to start over again. The main thing that will be added to the game is the new PvE coop campaign.

What we’d like to see:

A release window,  gameplay demo or footage of the PvE content, and gameplay from the new hero, Echo. We hope developers flesh out the new progression system will work throughout the PvE side of the game.

Warcraft

Warcraft III: Reforged

What we expect: 

We fully believe that the release date will be announced as well as an extension of the ongoing beta to include other playable races (Scourge, Night Elves).

What we’d like to see: 

“And it’s live TODAY!”

World of Warcraft

What we expect for the retail version:

The announcement of the next expansion and its new features. Similar to the speculation about Overwatch 2, the WoW community has been wildly active in data mining and ferreting out secrets from official publications and other leaky stuff. Over 30 supposed leaks of the next expansion have been traveling the community for months. There have been a few things cited at Blizzard Gear Store that lead us to believe that the new expansion is going to be called “Shadowlands“. Ion Hazzikostas has revealed that devs are interested in a level squish and that some abilities that have been removed from classes in the past may be making a return with the next expansion. We also think that WoW’s pet battle system is going to make an appearance on mobile similar to Pokemon Go with ties to the live game.

What we expect for Classic+:

WoW Classic Phase 2 and Phase 3 release dates will be announced much to the joy of Classic fans.

Whether it happens at BlizzCon or not, we also think that The Burning Crusade and Wrath of the Lich King “classic” servers will be a thing. We think that we could possibly get a tease about this during the convention.

What we’d like to see for retail: 

All of the fan leaks have fueled our imagination. We’d love to see a new class or two, guild or player housing, more customization options for characters, the return of PvP vendors/gear sets, and more. Battle for Azeroth has left a divided community with many players having concerns about the direction of the story as it moves forward. We can certainly hope for a better story that builds on the strengths of the game as it has been with its emphasis on the differences — and the heroics — of both Alliance and Horde. Uni-faction is not a good thing.

Smaller Announcements

What we expect:

  • We believe that the Heroes of the Storm team will reveal the release window for Deathwing, the next hero, and a possible event surrounding his arrival.
  • Hearthstone will see its next expansion revealed and new gameplay elements added. It’s probable we’ll see its release window.
  • Starcraft 2: probably nothing, though possibly a new co-op commander.
  • Books, comics, movies, cartoons, series(?) based on existing IPs, but probably mainly Overwatch
  • New IP tease? Maybe!
Written by
Suzie is an avid gamer and has been since 1995. She lives in the desert with her own personal minion while dreaming of pixel worlds beyond Earth.

2 Comments

  1. I’m excited about BlizzCon but in a dread-filled kind of way. Some of my favorite game companies (BioWare, Blizzard, Ubisoft) have really let me down recently. I’m wary AND weary of that. I’ll take everything that’s announced with a grain of salt until I see it in play.

  2. I agree with pretty much all of this, though two notes:

    – I found it interesting that you think Overwatch 2 won’t be a full game or game expansion. It would make me a little sad to see it just be a “free” expansion because of its implications for the business model. I’d personally much rather have a new and full package of content vs a free-to-play, battle-pass drip of content.

    – “Uni-faction is not a good thing.” I disagree with parts of this. While I think having two separate factions for lore and macro game mechanics reasons is a good thing, I do think that Blizzard would be wise to add in cross-faction play systems. At this point, most hardcore players have friends on both factions (and probably have characters on both factions). As the game continues to age, it would be wise to let players run instances, raids, arenas, etc. with their friends in the other faction.

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