Since 2005, BlizzCon has attracted thousands of fans to Anaheim Convention Center in California for Blizzard's newest franchise content. Attendees enjoy a plethora of events, from e-sports to panels, while fans from abroad can stream BlizzCon through virtual tickets. Here is a recap of what transpired in this year's BlizzCon thus far.
Over the past two weeks, many of the world championships for Blizzard's franchises preceded the opening ceremony to BlizzCon. Teams representing their countries and continents competed in streamed matches that represented the best of games around the world. The latter matches of the tournament were held on opening day.
Part of the opening ceremony hinted at new announcements for World of Warcraft's newest expansion, upcoming content for Diablo III, a new challenger in Overwatch, a new mission pack for StarCraft II, more characters for Heroes of the Storm, and a new setting for Hearthstone.
World of Warcraft and StarCraft II
Besides gameplay overhauls for World of Warcraft, Blizzard announced six new dungeons for Pandaria, a new raid zone, and new flying mounts. The developers hope to introduce these new features as a transition into the release of their upcoming expansion, Legion.
The third and last Nova Mission pack for StarCraft II will be released towards the end of the month. Alongside a new map for multiplayer, Alexi Zhukov makes a return appearance to hamper player efforts in co-op missions. Blizzard developers also announced a partnership with Google to help develop their DeepMind A.I., using StarCraft II as a medium for Deep Learning.
In addition, Blizzard showcased new art for Warcraft, StarCraft II, and Overwatch, as well as discussed development for new ideas into Diablo III. Among these comes news of a new event "Reaper of Souls," featuring the original Diablo levels. It comes complete with retro graphics, the traditional user interface, and a frame rate true to 1996. Blizzard also featured the reprisal of it's Necromancer class, which first appeared in Diablo II.
[caption id="attachment_90220" align="alignnone" width="800"] Diablo 3's Reaper of Souls event features retro graphics[/caption]
Blizzard also announced expansions to Overwatch, featuring the much rumored character Sombra, an offensive hero that specializes in hacking. as well as plans for permanent competitive teams for Overwatch tournaments. Executives also expressed intentions to promote teams with media partners and team's home cities. Blizzard also hopes to refine its practices in determining players capable of competing at the tournament level.
[caption id="attachment_90221" align="alignnone" width="800"] Overwatch introduced its new (and oft-rumored) character Sombra[/caption]
Heroes of the Storm and Hearthstone
Meanwhile, Blizzard's crossover MOBA Heroes of the Storm now hosts a new event, the Nexus Challenge, where players will be able to earn rewards that also include bonuses for Hearthstone and Overwatch. Additionally, Blizzard revealed a new map for its online card game Hearthstone. It features three new cards for prospective players to consider for future deck builds and counters. BlizzCon ends with the final match competitions for StarCraft II and Heroes of the Storm, as well as Q&A sessions on other titles.
BlizzCon 2016 showcased a variety of events, from global tournaments to highlights of upcoming content for existing titles. Whether physically present at the convention or watching online, Blizzard fans starve little for new content.
Throughout high school and college, I have aspired to write for videogames, and in the meantime, put to use my skills in analysis on the reception end of things.
Besides graphics-intensive shooters and AAA titles, I also have a vested interest in RTS and RPGs. Story and how it impacts gameplay are the two biggest measures of a game's worth to me. The rest are details.