So this weekend is BlizzCon, are you ready? With millions of Blizzard fans across the globe the world will be watching and waiting for what Blizzard announces. Last year BlizzCon gave us Cataclysm which will be launching in December just in time for the Christmas season. This year, Blizzard does not seem to have as much in its hidden poker hand as before. Let’s break down what we can expect and hope for.
The first announcement, for me at least will be the fifth and final class in Diablo 3. For the last two years Blizzard has shown one class a BlizzCon, to be honest this is getting a little old. However, the fifth class should be announced this week. The consensus seems to be pointing to some kind of archer/ ranged class and I have to agree it is the one element missing form the classic Diablo 3 archtypes of fantasy classes. The Barbarian is the melee, the Witch Doctor is the Pet Class, the Wizard is our spell caster, and the Monk is our speed, DPS style class, so what does that leave? Well some form of Ranged class is obvious. Yet, you never know, Blizzard could surprise us here with something. Though I doubt it, it seems the Diablo 3 class designs are pretty cookie cutter for classic play styles. So I expect a ranged class, yet I hope for some type of surprise from the Diablo team.
I do believe that Starcraft 2 will be the focus as the campaigns for the Zerg and Protoss are announced. Though Starcraft 2 has been out now for the summer, remember that the game is coming in three sets. This is a chance for Blizzard to show off the campaign boxes for the other races in the game. I for one think the Protoss offers a great campaign storyline and am interested in what comes out of Blizzard. I do think the Zerg is very different and writing a campaign for bugs could be fun. Overall, I do believe that these two announcements will make up the core of BlizzCon’s state of the union. So I expect to here about at leats one of the campaigns. I hope to hear about both and get release dates for them.
The last expectation is the new MMO. Let me start by saying I don’t expect to hear jack. However, my hope is that Blizzard will preview something. It is no secret that the game is a ways out and Blizzard’s top developers are working on it. However, Blizzard does have a tradition of announcing things insanely early. The 2001 announcement of World of Warcraft is a prime example. The game was launched in 2004. Diablo 3 was announced in 2008 and looks to be releasing in either late 2011 or early 2012. Blizzard has the “launch when it is done” philosophy which is a luxury the rest of the game industry does not share. Still, this new MMO launch target could come in around 2013-2014, which if it does, puts the Blizzard tradition of announcing things early right around this BlizzCon or next. Sure it is wishful thinking but I believe Blizzard would bring down the house this year with the announcement, if they decide to do it.
Then there is Cataclysm. Last year the annoucnement were clear and broke early on the Intranets. It came as no surpise to players. Cataclysm changes Warcraft for good. All of the good times you had over the past six years are now changed forever. I believe Blizzard will have more of an operate and maintain approach to cataclysm this year. We will see much more in depth coverage of the panels and some more information on the specifics of the expansion, but at this point we all know what to expect.
BlizzCon never disappoints, but this year could be the one that wow’s us the least, no pun intended. Still, there is a new MMO there and if it is announced…BOOM! I do think we will see some cool things from the show, but overall nothing mind blowing. We will have complete coverage for you here at MMORPG.com so enjoy this weekend and hopefully our expectations are met, along with a little surprise for fun.