BlizzCon 2023: Everything Announced At The Opening Ceremony

BlizzCon 2023: Everything Announced At The Opening Ceremony

BlizzCon 2023 is well and truly here, and Blizzard’s first major in-person event since 2019 has kicked off with a bang – and a stacked Opening Ceremony announcing all sorts of juicy reveals for the company’s games, and a Phil Spencer cameo. If you didn’t catch the Simulcast, or are keen to see just what we can expect from Blizzard titles including Diablo IV, Hearthstone, Overwatch 2, and World of Warcraft in the next twelve months, here’s everything announced during the BlizzCon 2023 Opening Ceremony.

Mauga is Overwatch 2’s newest Tank hero

While this reveal got an early leak thanks to a Nintendo eShop blunder, Mauga was officially announced during the BlizzCon Opening Ceremony. The smiling brawler (and former bestie of Baptiste) comes complete with two chainguns (one Incendiary, “Gunny”, and a Volatile critical hit-dealer, “Cha-Cha”), and a loadout designed to bash through front lines and fight opponents in close-quarter combat. Mauga also passively gains temporary health for critical hits, can charge and knock back enemies, and create an aura that reduces incoming damage and allows allies to heal when they deal damage. His Ultimate Ability, Cage Fight, traps nearby opponents in a fighting ring which blocks enemy damage and healing from the outside, forcing trapped enemies to face Mauga and his chainguns. Mauga comes to Overwatch 2 in December’s Season 8 launch, although players can test him out in a sneak peak from 3-5 November as part of the Overwatch free trial weekend.

There’s a new game mode and map coming to Overwatch 2, and two new heroes teased

BlizzCon sees the reveal of a new PVP core game mode, Clash – which includes five objectives which players must move between until one team captures all five. The mode is set to take place on a new map, Hanaoka – which may sound familiar given it’s inspired by the Overwatch original fan favourite map, Hanamura. Director Aaron Keller also showed concept art for two new heroes coming to the game in 2024 (with a third hero also coming next year according to Keller’s BlizzCon presentation), damage hero Venture, and support hero codenamed Space Ranger. There’s not many details on either hero just yet but further panels at the event may reveal more.

Diablo IV’s first expansion is called Vessel of Hatred

Forget the Daughter of Hatred, Diablo IV is getting its first expansion since the June 2023 launch with Vessel of Hatred. Players will learn the fate of prime evil Mephisto and his demonic designs for Sanctuary as they explore the lush jungles of Nahantu, with a completely new, never-before-seen class coming to the game when it releases in late 2024. BlizzCon also sees the reveal of two seasonal events – Midwinter Blight, a Christmas-themed event that transforms Fractured Peaks into a horrific winter wonderland from December 12, and Abbatoir of Zir, a 6-week long “highly replayable” event for high level players which “starts difficult and only gets harder.” Other small additions to Diablo IV include an enchanting preview window coming to the Occultist class on 5 December and “five unique, class specific ranks to relive fun from Season of The Malignant.”

World of Warcraft is getting three new expansions as part of The Worldsoul Saga

Announced at BlizzCon by none other than Warcraft Executive Creative Director, Chris Metzen (who was welcomed to stage by a cacophony of cheers and confessions of love), World of Warcraft is embarking on an “ambitious creative endeavour for the Warcraft universe” with The Worldsoul Saga, a multi-expansion storyline that starts off with World of Warcraft: The War Within. This first installment in the saga (and the game’s next expansion) will see players travel to the new continent of Khaz Algar “as an ancient civilization rises to power deep beneath the surface of the planet.” The War Within is the first of three expansions coming which Metzen detailed at BlizzCon – the other two are Midnight and The Last Titan.

Warbands, Delves, and A New Allied Race Come to World of Warcraft

While a new expansion (and two more to whet the appetite) is already a huge announcement for World of Warcraft fans, BlizzCon’s opening ceremony also saw the reveal of a number of updates to the game as a whole – with one of the most exciting announcements being the warband feature. Warbands allow players to “treat alt characters like family” and share banks, reputations, transmogs and more. Beyond warbands, there’s also the Earthen allied race coming to the game, hero talents, and delves – a variety of “bite sized experiences” for 1-5 players with endgame rewards. 

World of Warcraft: Cataclysm Classic is Coming In 2024

To add to the new things coming to World of Warcraft Classic, BlizzCon saw the announcement of Cataclysm Classic coming to the game in 2024. The third WoW expansion, which originally released in 2010, returns with “faster content cadence, improvements to levelling, expanded Collections UI, a new difficulty level for Dungeon Group Finder after launch,” as well as a whole host of changes and new additions players will have to experience for themselves on launch.

Season Of Discovery Is Coming To World of Warcraft Classic

One of the most well-received announcements from the BlizzCon Opening Ceremony was the announcement of World of Warcraft Classic: Season of Discovery. In Season of Discovery, players will “start a fresh adventure where exploration and experimentation will be key to unlocking new abilities for their characters.” During the presentation, it was described as “vanilla WoW with new secrets and class-altering abilities,” with the audience invited to imagine a “tanking warlock or mage healer.” There’ll be a level 25 cap, which will raise in a few months as endgame content is introduced. Season of Discovery will launch on 30 November.

Showdown in the Badlands is the new Hearthstone expansion

Showdown in the Badlands is Hearthstone’s next big expansion, set in Azeroth’s Wild West where the Bloodrock Mining Company has struck Azerite. Showdown in the Badlands is Reno Jackon and Elise Starseeker’s origin story, and will feature the game’s first ever neutral hero card when it launches on 14 November, 2023. In a cheeky Overwatch reference, the official site is now live post BlizzCon’s opening ceremony, and the expansion’s description says that it’s “high time for high noon” in this showdown. Players can also get ‘Catch-up Packs’ which will include up to fifty cards in a single pack from within the last two years.

Warcraft Rumble is available now

While Warcraft Rumble has been in soft launch in Australia since mid-late August, the mobile action strategy game is live now on iOS and Android. Players must assemble armies with iconic characters from the Warcraft universe and “battle it out to test their tactical wits.” With the first season underway, there’s also a new playable leader, Sylvanas Windrunner.

BlizzCon 2023 has already seen heaps of news for various Blizzard titles – we’ll update this article should more teasers, reveals, or announcements occur during the rest of the event, and keep an eye out for our deep dives into the event, games, and news as the weekend continues.

Lead Image Credit: Blizzard

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