Games Announced, Players Engaged at BlizzCon

Games News Blizzard
Games Announced, Players Engaged at BlizzCon

This weekend Blizzard held its first BlizzCon fan fest since 2019, a four-year gap incited by the coronavirus pandemic and extended by the revelation of California’s lawsuit against the company over accusations of harassment, abuse, and fostering a workplace environment hostile towards women. The two day event at the Anaheim Convention Center brought thousands of Warcraft, Overwatch and Diablo fans together (and probably some long-suffering StarCraft fans, too) for a weekend of heavy games worship, with all the breaking news you’d expect from such a convention. Here are some of the headlines from BlizzCon’s Opening Ceremony.

Mauga, a character first introduced several years ago in an Overwatch short story, will finally become a playable hero in Season 8 of Overwatch 2. The Samoan tank (his name means “mountain,” don’t you know) and his two chain guns will be officially released on Tuesday, Dec. 5. With his Samoan heritage, his arrogance and his braggadocio, he resembles Maui from Moana more than a little bit. Blizzard also showed early glimpses of two other upcoming heroes: Venture, who’ll arrive with Season 10, and a Season 12 support that has the working title of Space Ranger.

Over in the World of Warcraft, a major new storyline called the WorldSoul Saga was announced by executive creative director Chris Metzen. The new story will focus on the titans, the race of massive, godlike beings long on the periphery of the game’s lore, and will spread out over three upcoming expansions. The first, The War Within, should be out in 2024—the MMO’s 20th anniversary. A cinematic trailer debuted, with almost disturbingly lifelike versions of longtime WoW characters Anduin and Thrall having a heart-to-heart (and, at one point, sword-to-heart) about how this dang ol’ warcraft world can really crush a warrior priest’s spirit. It ends with the two stoically staring at the planet-piercing Sword of Sargeras, hinting at new revelations about one of the game’s most significant landmarks. Meanwhile World of Warcraft Classic, which recreates the original WoW as it existed 20 years ago, will see content from the Cataclysm expansion debut next year, along with a variety of other tweaks and seasonal alterations. Finally, the mobile game Warcraft Rumble was released for iOS and Android during the opening ceremony, and a new collaborative Hearthstone mode called Battleground Duos was announced for 2024.

Diablo also still exists, and the newest game in the series, Diablo IV, will be getting a new expansion in 2024. Vessel of Hatred will return players to Diablo II’s jungles of Nahantu and also introduce a new Class. Not much info was revealed about either at BlizzCon, so expect more to be announced next year.

Outside of game news, the biggest highlight of the convention came during the show-closing Community Night event, when Blizzard hands out awards to the best art, short films, and cosplay created by its fans. A couple who bonded through playing World of Warcraft together over the last two decades, and who got matching tattoos earlier during the convention at its Hell’s Ink pop-up tattoo parlor, were introduced on stage to highlight how Blizzard’s online games bring people together. This wasn’t just another reason to gush about Warcraft, though; after a brief speech one of them got down on their knees and proposed to the other, who accepted. Some of the eyes in the arena weren’t dry after that, I tell you what. It seems like this brutal, unforgiving world also has a little bit of lovecraft in it, too.

There’s more to an event like BlizzCon than expansion announcements and character reveals, of course. Look for more coverage of the convention at Paste soon, from a first-time BlizzCon attendee. (Me. Talking about me. Yeah)

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