BlizzCon—the largest source of news and reveals for Blizzard Games—opened its doors yesterday, and in the opening ceremony alone, a whole host of new content was announced for every one of their games. This information was only expanded upon in later interviews, and by the end of the day, Blizzard fans were left with a lot to look forward to in the months to come.
As many suspected would happen, a new Hearthstone expansion was announced at BlizzCon. Entitled Mean Streets of Gadgetzan, this expansion focuses around the titular Goblin city and the crime that fills its bustling streets.
This expansion will be a full 100+ card content update, and it also features a lot of exciting new concepts. For example, Mean Streets of Gadgetzan has a new multi-class card system, where certain cards can be played by three different classes and have a unique effect on each. This expansion also features a brand new Legendary minion that lets you create a custom spell through a series of Discover effects.
So far, only a few cards have been revealed, but the full set will be shown over the next couple weeks before it releases in early December.
Heroes of the Storm
After last year’s surprise release of Cho’gall, everyone was wondering how the Heroes team could possibly top their success. Fortunately for us, however, they did just that by announcing two new heroes, Varian Wrynn and Ragnaros.
The High King of the Alliance, Varian Wrynn is a powerful warrior who can perform three main roles—tank, sustained damage or burst damage—depending on which ultimate he chooses. This makes him the first Warrior/Assassin in the game, and he’ll likely take the Nexus by storm (pun intended) when he arrives in a couple weeks.
Even more exciting than Varian Wrynn, however, is the announcement of Ragnaros the Firelord. A massive Elemental Lord from the Warcraft universe, Ragnaros is a Melee Assassin who uses his massive hammer (called Sulfuras) to strike down the mortal insects who dare to oppose him.
Ragnaros has two ways to kill enemies. In his Hero Form (which is what he starts the game in), he can move around like a normal Hero, killing minions and heroes if they get too close. If he is attacked near one of his forts (or near the destroyed foundation of an enemy fort), however, Ragnaros can use his trait—Molten Core—to take over the fort and turn into a giant-sized version of himself.
In Molten Core form, Ragnaros gets a whole new set of abilities, which allow him to easily defeat an entire enemy team. In addition, while he is in this form the structure beneath him cannot be damaged, so Molten Core can buy time for your team to respawn and make an amazing comeback.
Overall, Ragnaros sounds like an amazing Hero, so when he arrives in the Nexus in early December, I will definitely be trying him out.
The Overwatch announcements during the Opening Ceremony started out simply enough, but then Sombra hacked into the proceedings, and everything turned upside down. (Wow, who saw that coming…)
Fortunately, Sombra looks like an incredibly fun hero, as she has a kit that focuses entirely around disabling your enemies’ capabilities before your team attacks. Using her hacking skills, Sombra can hack turrets (turning them off), health packs (preventing them from being used by enemies), and even hack enemy heroes to stop from using their abilities.
Sombra is the game’s first stealth hero, however her damage output is surprisingly low, so she won’t be able to sneak up behind squishy enemies and take them out in a couple shots. Instead, Sombra can lurk near hacked health packs, killing any low-health enemies who fall back for healing.
In addition to Sombra, a new map was announced. Called Oasis, it is a beautiful city in the Arabian desert that represents the pinnacle of modern science. Like Ilios, Nepal and Lijiang Tower, Oasis will be a control-style map, featuring 3 points that teams will vie over. (This map also contains the game’s first jump-pad, which is sure to generate a lot of highlights.)
The weekly brawl system is also being completely revamped. Instead of a weekly brawl, there will be a new Arcade section, where you can choose to play a variety of games with special rulesets. This change will bring several new game modes (including 1v1 and a 3v3 elimination modes), and a small new map to play them on.
Finally, Quick Play is going to receive a one-hero limit similar to what Competitive Mode received a couple months ago. For players who still want to stack heroes, a new, hero-stacking game mode is being added to the Arcade.
StarCraft didn’t receive as many announcements this year, however there were still two points that are worth noting. First, Alexei Stukov—the infested Terran Admiral—is coming to the StarCraft co-op mode as a new commander. Secondly, Blizzard announced that they are going to release the StarCraft AI program to the public to aid in furthering studies into Artificial Intelligence.
World of Warcraft
World of Warcraft didn’t get any major announcements during the opening ceremony—however, in a panel a couple hours later, some very big changes were revealed.
First, it was announced that World of Warcraft would start getting mini-patches, which would add more content to the game without necessarily moving forward the main storyline. The first of these mini-patches will be 7.1.5, which will add Mists of Pandaria Timewalking Dungeons, new holidays, some class balance changes and the return of the Brawler’s Guild.
Next, Patch 7.2—The Tomb of Sargeras—was announced, and with its arrival a whole bunch of exciting new content will come to the World of Warcraft. First, the Broken Shore area will become a new questing hub, as the forces of all the united Class Halls marshal their forces and march on the Tomb of Sargeras.
In addition, 7.2 will feature the return of the Legion invasions from the pre-launch event—this time, however, the Burning Legion will be invading the Broken Isles, and you’ll need to stop them before your new allies are destroyed. To help deal with these new invasions, 7.2 will add flying to the game, along with Epic Class Flying Mounts that will be awarded at the end of the new questing experience.
Of course, no major patch would be complete without a raid of some kind, and in this case 7.2 will add the titular Tomb of Sargeras raid into the game. In this raid, players will use the Pillars of Creation to seal the Legion’s path into the world of Azeroth, while battling powerful foes such as Naga, Undead and even Kil’jaeden himself!
For those ardent PvP players, Patch 7.2 will add new PvP ‘Brawls’. Similar to the Brawls from Hearthstone and Overwatch, this new game mode will be the classic PvP you know and love, but with a couple changes to make things interesting.
Finally, at the very end of the presentation, World of Warcraft Game Director Ion Hazzikostas made an exciting announcement: Patch 7.2 would not be the end of Legion—in 7.3, players will go to Argus.
I don’t normally cover Diablo news—however, the announcement made at BlizzCon was too exciting to not talk about. To honor the 20th anniversary of Diablo, the original Diablo game is going to be added into Diablo 3 as a whole new set of zones.
These new zones will play like they did back in the old days, with pixelated graphics, limited movement and old music. You will get to use your current characters, however, so you won’t have to learn a new playstyle.
In addition, it was announced that Diablo will get a new Necromancer class. Based on the old Diablo 2 Necromancer that fans of the game loved, this character will harness all the fan-favorite abilities as he fights to defend the world of Sanctuary.
So, what do you all think of these exciting announcements? Leave a comment below with your thoughts!