Everything We're Expecting From BlizzCon 2019

Image: Blizzard

BlizzCon 2019 promises to be one of the most interesting gaming events amid some serious political turmoil as well as some exciting new releases.

But before all the grizzly details are announced, we want to take a quick look at what's almost certainly going to be announced and what we're speculating might be unveiled. Without further ado, here's a roundup of what to expect for BlizzCon 2019.

After A Terrible 2019, Blizzard Is Going All-In At BlizzCon

The plan was always to wait for BlizzCon. In November of 2018, after a PR blow-up surrounding the ill-advised announcement of the mobile game Diablo Immortal, Blizzard’s staff knew that they just needed to make it through the next year without incident.

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Overwatch 2

Image: Blizzard

We can fairly confidently say we're expecting an announcement regarding Overwatch 2 for BlizzCon 2019 after some leaks from a supposed training document were released. The new information reveals there's likely a new hero on the way, a new four-player PvE mode and potentially some upgrades to Tracer's pulse bomb.

While Blizzard has yet to confirm whether we'll be hearing a peep about the new addition, it's a good time for a fresh title seeing as Overwatch was first unveiled at BlizzCon 2014 and then publicly released in 2016. If the leaks are true, it's just a bit awkward for those who just recently bought Overwatch on the Switch.

Diablo

Similarly to the Overwatch sequel, rumours of Diablo 4 have been heating up with some indications it's also going to be announced. We reported earlier this year that a FPS Starcraft project was cancelled to free up work for some upcoming Diablo projects and it's expected a fourth installment in the Diablo series will be one of them.

It's rumoured a Diablo 2 remake might be on the table, though there's less concrete evidence on this. An official community manager did say multiple projects were being worked on after 2018's BlizzCon so it's not out of the realm to expect more than one huge Diablo announcement.

But to dampen hopes a little, back in 2017, Diablo II's project and design lead David Brevik told Diabloii.net in a podcast it was going to be tough to remaster it.

"If they do a Diablo II Remaster, it’s going to be difficult to make it feel exactly like the same game," Brevik said. "[Games like Diablo II] were nothing like they're made today. Everybody would just make 3D artwork and put it on a 3D grid, which works except for, it doesn’t work. Because the moment that you change the fundamental way that you interact with the game and you move around the world, you're changing the game."

There's also the elephant in the room: Diablo Immortal. The game should be much closer to a launch now, having been first announced last year. A small slice was briefly playable at BlizzCon amid all the resentment, and it'll be interesting to see if more of the game is shown off. Blizzard still needs to outline how Immortal's instancing and hub-like worlds will work, and what "Diablo with more people" is actually like.

Let The Diablo 4 And Overwatch 2 Leaks Rain

Given the absence of Diablo 4 at the show last year, and the shadow of how fans will respond this year, not to mention all the recent controversy, anticipation is high for BlizzCon 2019. So naturally, word about Diablo 4 and an Overwatch sequel is starting to do the rounds.

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Hearthstone

A new video released this week on Hearthstone's YouTube channel has suggested that Blizzard is planning to release something new for the game without actually explaining what it is. Some have speculated it's a new expansion pack as Madame Lazul lays out some cards and warns a "conflict is coming." As the Year of the Dragon is due to wrap up for players and ultimately, the League of E.V.I.L. too, it makes sense that a new one is soon released but what that will be will have to wait until November 2.

It's hard to mention Hearthstone without also pointing out its recent issues. It's been at the centre of much of Blizzard's recent woes after controversy arose when the developer banned a player, Blitzchung, for voicing his opinion about the Hong Kong protests during streaming. Blizzard has since reduced the suspension and returned Blitzchung's prize money.

Warcraft

With World of Warcraft's current expansion, Battle for Azeroth, winding up, fans are expecting a new one to be announced at BlizzCon 2019. A leak from the Blizzard Gear store earlier this week points to one called Shadowlands. The image, since deleted, was found in Blizzard Gear's directory and describes the supposed expansion pack as exploring the lands of Bastion and meeting a new race called the Kyrian.

The Shadowlands were referenced in Battle for Azeroth as a place where souls go after you die. It's described as a plane that mirrors the world but more nightmarish, making it a perfect post-Halloween announcement.

There's also the other part of the franchise: Warcraft 3: Reforged. A beta just went live this week for those who pre-ordered, and given that Activision has told investors that Reforged will be out before the end of the fiscal year — not necessarily the calendar year — we should get some kind of a release date during the opening keynote.

Heroes of the Storm

BlizzCon's schedule confirms there will be a Heroes of the Storm update announcement but what that will be boils down to speculation. It's likely that a new hero or two will be announced after the game's team confirmed in July to Windows Central they were "working on multiple heroes."

It's speculated that at least one of the heroes, if multiple are unveiled, will be an original Heroes character, similar to Orphea's launch during last year's BlizzCon. Qhira, an acrobatic assassin, was also released in August for fans to play as.

Tune in from 9.15am on November 2 (AEDT) to find out what's in store for the MOBA.

StarCraft

Image: Youtube / Carbot Animations

Kotaku reported back in June that Blizzard had pulled the plug on a Starcraft FPS project so it's pretty dicey whether we'll hear much Starcraft-related at this year's BlizzCon.

With Starcraft's World Championship Series being played at the conference, there's still a chance we'll hear something about what's in the works, if there is anything. Otherwise, expect Blizzard to quietly let this one slip through.

Protests Are Coming To BlizzCon In The Wake Of Blizzard's Hong Kong Fiasco

Multiple groups are in the process of organising protests set to take place outside BlizzCon, the annual convention held by game developer Blizzard, in response to its suspension of a Hearthstone player for expressing support for Hong Kong during a live event. Digital rights non-profit organisation Fight For The Future launched a website and Discord to kick off its organising efforts, and a “ProtestBlizzCon” subreddit is gaining serious steam as well.

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Comments

    So it will end up being..

    Overwatch Immortal
    Warcraft Immortal
    Starcraft Immortal

    No HK protests?

      I doubt that Blizzards gonna bring that up.

        But someone will. I'm 'expecting it'.

          By the looks the largest organised protest is going ahead outside the venues entrance, it's been signed off on by the local authorities so I would guess there's gonna be a cordoned off area for protestors and possibly a police presence to ensure both events go off without issue.

          Inside the convention centre is gonna be the interesting thing to keep an eye on since anything deemed disruptive will result in folks having to choose between stopping, leaving or getting kicked out.
          (Doesn't have anything to do with the controversy or the politics, just how it works)

          Expect a lot of frozen smiles and attendees being told that 'there is no war in Ba Sing Se.'

    What I would LOVE to see from Blizzcon is a human moment from Blizzard. An acknowledgement that they fucked up. An acknowledgement that they're caught between money and doing the right thing and they picked wrong.

    I would love to see actual discussion of the things they're going to do better about being a responsible, ethical entity and not just a faceless, robotic, games-producing cog in a system that rewards horrific abuse because it's profitable. They claim to pride themselves on 'having values', which were spectacularly exposed as meaningless lies - mere marketing - when actually put to the test. So now that we know that those aren't actual values that guide behaviour but are in fact marketing/PR lies, they need to either stop telling those lies, or tell us how they're going to work on actually doing what they say. That's what I'd love to see at Blizzcon.

    However... What I EXPECT to see is some 1984 bullshit.
    No mention of 'the unpleasantness' at all.

    Deflected non-answers will be provided to all questions about 'the unpleasantness' in order to stay 'on-topic'. It will go left unsaid that there will be no actual official venue for 'the unpleasantness' to ever actually be considered on-topic. "Please direct your question on that subject to the box for that subject." "There is no box for that subject!" "Indeed."

    Universal across the convention will be on display a genuine, sincere and desperate desire to focus enthsiastically - and exclusively - on how awesome all these new games are and how we should all forget about boycotts and buy them.
    Aren't these new games awesome? Way better than the unpleasantness. Let's not talk about that, let's all focus on giving money to Blizzard for producing a product, everyone! Please stop asking us uncomfortable questions! We're humans, too! Humans who are just trying to take your money! And isn't the pursuit of taking your money regardless of the human cost the most pure and noble goal, really?

    (Related: I'm so fucking sick of hearing people say that 'the purpose of a company is to make money,' as an excuse for shitty behaviour in pursuit of that goal. No fucking shit, Sherlock. But companies 'fulfilling their purpose' doesn't excuse them being socially irresponsible about it. The fact that companies can make more money doing unethical things is NOT justification for companies continuing being unethical: it's justification to add limits and constraints to companies for the sake of society.)

      Could not agree with you more , the whole world has gone to shit in the last few years all in the pursuit of the almighty dollar.

      Well said. Activision Blizzards prioritisation of profits is not unique or isolated, it's reflective of a financial system which measures success through one metric only, profits. As a result clear violations against what is 'right' is regular and reaffirmed by a set of happy shareholders.

      That's a separate issue to why I am upset at Activision Blizzard, which is that at some point in time they have abandoned their 'player first' value and clearly started prioritising their profit metric above all else. They continued selling to consumers under the false pretense that they are still the same old company that started in the garage.

      At Blizzcon I would also like to see them address their challenges in facing a set of conflicting priorities, and what they going to do about it. I don't see why players shouldn't be afforded the same courtesies as shareholders in the sense of knowing what a companies leaders want the company to be.

      I'm expecting them to announce some new they are working games on.

      Oh for fuck’s sake, what we got was even worse.

      No apology for appeasing China and putting China’s values before the contradicting values they claim to have in the west... no.

      They’re apologising for acting too quickly and not communicating more. What the fuck? THAT’S NOT WHY PEOPLE ARE MAD.

      They’re apologising for something insignificant because they’re never going to apologise for the real wrongs. But they’re going to act like they have and want to know why everyone’s still mad after an apology.

      Last edited 02/11/19 11:41 am

    Why have the convention in America if they want the chinese profit soo much. Just do it in Beijing and all of the immortal games they are curning out will sell like hot cakes.

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