This year’s BlizzCon, or “BlizzConline” as they’re calling it, will be a new experience for participants and developers alike. For the first time in well over a decade, the BlizzCon experience will be fully virtual rather than a combination of both in-person and online attendance. However, the new format doesn’t mean that there won’t be lots of excitement and big announcements. In fact, we have a few ideas about what might be revealed during the event scheduled for Friday, February 19th and Saturday, February 20th.
World of Warcraft
By the time BlizzConline will roll out, Shadowlands will be a few months old. At this point, many players would have defeated Sire Denathrius in Castle Nathria on various levels of difficulty, enjoyed the Tyrannical weeks in Mythic+, climbed the PvP ladder, and more. It is time to bring new experiences to the retail version of the game.
In a blue post on the official forums, Blizzard revealed that patch 9.0.5 will be arriving on the live servers in March, bringing along a number of changes and additions such as the return of Valor Points.
It is likely we will learn everything there is to know about this patch during BlizzConline – provided you didn’t already do that via Wowhead’s datamining! However, one might notice that, as many x.x.5 patches out there, 9.0.5 is not exactly brimming with content… which leads me to believe that Blizzard will also reveal patch 9.1 and some general information about it, to give players an incentive to wait for it.
With Naxxramas conquered, WoW: Classic has gone through its content like a wildfire. I’m sure there is a huge number of players who want to continue to play the earliest iteration of Azeroth, but for others, this might be a call that things need to change a bit.
The logical follow-up would be the introduction of Classic Burning Crusade servers. It is not an unlikely event and there was certain writing on the wall that might imply we’re in for a treat soon: previously, Blizzard sent out a survey asking players how they would feel about Classic TBC; the pet that is included in the Blizzard Celebration Collection is a Moon-Touched Netherwhelp – the second Netherwhelp pet to be added to the game with the first one being TBC Collector’s Edition ownership reward! Last but not least, Blizzard has updated the World of Warcraft Beta access help page – Shadowlands beta has been out of the picture for a while, and the next expansion is still ways away.
Newly announced Classic TBC, however, might bring nostalgic players back. Players who’d like to participate in a beta, right?
Diablo IV was initially announced during BlizzCon 2019 that saw the biggest drop of information on the title. The developers’ team also shared quarterly reports, bringing players up to speed on the how’s and the what’s of the upcoming title. But what has been missing is some kind of big announcement: a new class, a new zone, maybe some kick-ass feature.
With Diablo IV Beta access help page being updated recently, it is also highly likely something of the above will make it in.
Any bets on the new class? So far we have Barbarian, Sorceress, and Druid, with two more remaining un-announced so far.
Blizzard’s mobile entry into the Diablo series, Diablo Immortal had a rough journey since its announcement during BlizzCon 2018. Following the community’s icy welcome, the game went quiet until the recent closed beta that saw a large amount of information revealed.
Just like Diablo IV and World of Warcraft, Diablo Immortal had its beta access page updated. It is possible we’ll find out the next beta stage and the release window.
Diablo 2 Resurrected
In January, it was revealed that Vicarious Visions (Skylanders; Crash Bandicoot: N. Sane Trilogy; Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1+2) is merging with Blizzard and will be dedicated to the company’s games and initiatives.
According to Bloomberg’s Jason Schreier, some of the Vicarious Visions developers have been moved to work on the Diablo 2 remaster also known as Diablo 2 Resurrected.
With the lack of other big announcements, Diablo 2 Remaster seems to be a good fit into BlizzConline 2021.
BlizzConline 2021 is the perfect time to show off more about Overwatch 2. Devs have been very quiet about the game’s development and it feels like the right time to get fans excited again. We are almost 100% certain that we’ll learn about a new character for OW2 and perhaps get a few hints about another along the way. Blizzard does love to obliquely tease out characters so it should be a fun time for all.
It’s less likely that we’ll hear anything about testing opportunities at this point though it’s possible there might be a few hints about alpha testing. Blizzard notoriously keeps things under wraps until late in the development cycle and devs probably aren’t quite ready to talk about the stuff everyone wants to know: “When can we play?”
During earnings call, Activision Blizzard said it does not expect Overwatch 2 or Diablo 4 to launch in 2021. pic.twitter.com/C2BmDP53JA
— Geoff Keighley (@geoffkeighley) February 4, 2021
For the people asking for Blizzcon leaks.
I’ve already mentoined everything. Short summary:
– Lower your expectations
– Some progress reports on OW2
– OW1 is dead
– Diablo 2 remaster
— Metro (@Metro_OW) February 16, 2021
As noted above, it’s highly unlikely that anything will be said about Overwatch 1 other than the possibility that it is, or soon will be, going free-to-play.
Hearthstone developers are already teasing something for the popular card battling game. It’s probably not much of a stretch to imagine that they’re going to be talking about the next expansion, new cards, new systems, new Heroes, Legendaries, etc. We’ll probably get a fun and funny trailer to introduce the expansion along with news about when it’s going to be released.
Danger lurks amongst the thorns and thistles…
— Hearthstone (@PlayHearthstone) February 16, 2021
Starcraft, Heroes of the Storm, Warcraft and….other things?
It is unlikely that we’ll hear anything about the Starcraft franchise. Starcraft II is languishing in maintenance mode and, unless an announcement is made about a mobile version or a new announcer being released, we’re going to call this one a rub, something pretty disappointing for fans of the long-running series.
One day they’ll announce World of Starcraft….right?
It’s equally unlikely that we’ll hear anything more about Warcraft III Reforged either. From our perspective, despite the much-ballyhooed announcement of the game and its subsequent stumble out the gate, there really isn’t much more that can be said. Maybe the newly-outsourced game will see some new units or tiles added but that’s probably about it for the time being.
Heroes of the Storm might get a tiny bit of attention if the dev team is ready to reveal a new hero in development or perhaps a new map. We’d like to see the Mines map returned to the rotation, but that’s probably just a pipe dream.
It is the Other Things that has us intrigued. In Activision-Blizzard’s recent financial call, it was revealed that multiple mobile games are in development including several in and around Warcraft. Fans have been speculating mightily over the past couple of weeks about what that could look like. Will Blizzard release a standalone Warcraft RPG or maybe even a WoW Pet Collecting AR game similar to Pokemon Go? This weekend should answer all of those questions.
The only Other Thing we can imagine is Blizzard announcing a brand new IP. It’s probably somewhat unlikely, but not impossible to imagine. After all, the company’s reputation is built on long-established, long-running games. How likely is it they’re ready to expand into new realms?
Lastly, Blizzard will also be celebrating itself and its vast community thanks to 30 years of the company’s existence. We’re likely to get all the feels during the event as we take a virtual walk down memory lane and relive some cherished times from the past as we look ahead to the future.
WoW: Patch 9.1 and Classic Burning Crusade announcement
- Diablo IV: New class and/or new zone
- Diablo Immortal: Release window and next stage of beta
- Diablo II Resurrected announcement
- Overwatch 2: New heroes, map, lore
- Hearthstone: New expansion
- Other stuff
So that’s it for our predictions for BlizzConline 2021. What are you expecting to see and learn?