BlizzCon Opening Ceremony Liveblog

blizzcon_opening.jpgThe opening ceremony for BlizzCon 07 is just kicking off, with Blizzard employees giving themselves kudos—massive sales, 9 million subscribers, twice that of BlizzCon 05, the Emmy nominated South Park episode—and the promise of fun announcements sure to come. Hit the jump for the livebloggin' fun.

Mike Morhaime is on stage, laying out the weekend plans for BlizzCon, including StarCraft, World of Warcraft trading card game tournaments, costume contests and much more. Cocktails and costumes at 7 PM tonight. Be there and be square. Apparently, Jay Mohr is tonight's emcee. He was hilarious at GDC, so it's sure to be a fun night.

Oh and don't forget Level 70 Elite Tauren Cheiftan! And Video Games Live! It's an orgy of video game themed music.

We'll also get a look at Dell's "ultimate World of Warcraft gaming system." Oh, goodie!

Mike's summarising the Korean Blizzard World Wide Invitational, the announcement of StarCraft II, the game I've just spent the last two hours playing. Footage of the Korean Invitational rolls. Lots of Korean girls in convention appropriate outfits (read: short shorts).

The Korean crowd is much leaner than the one in Anaheim. We could eat them alive and still find room for a bag or two of Funyuns.

I'm feeling a little bit gipped. Apparently the Koreans were treated to loads of synchronised dance routines and fireworks.

Morhaine says "You all will be among the first in the world to play [StarCraft II] ." Sadly, no Zerg gameplay is available on the show floor.

The StarCraft II cinematic trailer kicks off. We've all seen this before so I think I'm gonna catch a few Zs while it plays.

Mike starts talking about the new Terran units, including the Thor. He's discussing the single player campaign, showing lots of artwork. "Expect to see some familiar faces, as well as some new characters." More details at the StarCraft II gameplay session.

There's one more matter to attend to, before we are sent back to the floor. Frank Pearce is introduced and takes over the podium.

"Holy crap. Look at all the people. Wow."

Frank talks up integrated voice chat as a live update for World of Warcraft. "Some of you might be disappointed when you find out that hot Nigh Elf on the other end is a dude."

He drops Guild Bank features, much to the delight of the crowd.

There's a new 10 man raid instance coming.

Orcs to get even larger shoulderpads! Triple the size. I for one cannot wait.

"The dev team has been working much more special than that", he says. Frank officially announces the second expansion for World of Warcraft, Wrath of the Lich King. Surprise!

Arthus, from Northrend, is the new Lich King. Frank promises an exciting storyline. "Arthus is no chump, so you won't be able to beat him at level 70. We're raising the cap to 80." I think everyone who cares already knows about that.

On the PVP front, new arenas, new battlegrounds, new siege weapons and buildings that can be destroyed with those siege weapons.

A new skill called Inscription will be added. Oh, and new hairstyles. Hopefully, they add "the Crecente."

Hundreds of new quests, items, etcetera. But even more exciting "We're adding the Death Knight hero class." Much applause.

There's a short video. Playing.... now!

The in-game clip shows characters invading Northrend, into a deep forgotten land (a forest) where "you will see wonders beyond imagining." The arctic effects in -game look pretty spectacular for WoW. Our blond haired hero ventures deep into the woods, showing the new Death Knight class. He looks pretty bad ass. New dances, new quests, new monsters, all the candies you've come to expect.

Crowd goes wild. They simply cannot wait to spend more money!

Frank talks about the rest of weekend's panels, but pumps up the crowd with the promise of a bank of PCs with playable versions of Wrath of the Lich King.

Pearce wraps up the keynote, exits the stage. That's it, kids. Check back in with us throughout the day for updates and hands-on impressions of everything new at the Con.


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