BlizzCon 2018 will be kicking off in about 24-hours. The annual convention is usually chock-full of exciting news about Blizzard’s stable of games. This year, however, fans are confused. For weeks starting in September, Blizzard has assertively sold BlizzCon to its fans and primed the hype train. Over the past couple of weeks, however, developers have started tempering players’ expectations leaving many to wonder, “Just what is there to be excited about during BlizzCon 2018?”
In August, the Diablo hype train left the station when the development team released a video telling fans that there are big things in store for the beloved series. “The forges here at Blizzard are burning hot and we have multiple Diablo projects in the works,” said Community Manager Brandy Camel.
In the weeks that followed, rumors swirled around a possible Netflix animated series for Diablo and the first issue of a new comic was announced. And, of course, Blizzard revealed the Nintendo Switch version - Diablo 3: Eternal Collection.
From here on out, the fans of the series went crazy with speculations: could it be that Blizzard is going to remaster Diablo 2? What about a Diablo MMO? Or a whole new installment in the aRPG series! Those more skeptical about the announcements wondered if Blizzard is going to introduce a Diablo mobile game. All of these expectations were further fueled by Diablo’s placement as the first panel immediately after the keynote address, a placement that is usually reserved for the biggest, most exciting announcement coming out of BlizzCon.
However, a couple of months later, the same team dumped a bucketful of ice cold water on those forges by writing, “These are very exciting times—we currently have multiple teams working on different Diablo projects and we can’t wait to tell you all about them . . . when the time is right. We know what many of you are hoping for and we can only say that 'good things come to those who wait,' but evil things often take longer."
Last year, we predicted that Blizzard would announce World of Diablo. This year after having our hopes pretty much dashed….we’re not so sure, though it’s something we would dearly love to see.
World of Warcraft
World of Warcraft is unlikely to see any major announcements since Battle for Azeroth is in its infancy. While 8.1 sits on the PTR at the moment, devs have said that they will not be speaking about 8.1 and will instead be more focused on the longterm additions to the game. This means that fans will likely hear about patch 8.2 and beyond.
“Just wanted to take some time to set some expectations ahead of time when it comes to all of the announcements and discussions when it comes to what we’ll be talking about at BlizzCon this weekend. As many of you know, BlizzCon is where we typically talk about longer-term goals and plans.” reads a blog post on the WoW forum.
Undoubtedly, the discussion about “what’s next” for WoW will detail the major components of 8.2 such as its new raid that will bring Azshara and the Naga into the game. Further, devs will tease out some of the stories that will be told as the faction war continues. It’s even likely that we’ll see a new cinematic short similar to the Old Soldier cinematic released earlier this year.
At BlizzCon 2016, for instance, Legion was still very new. During the convention, devs teased out the Nighthold raid and closed out with the big news that players would be heading to Argus. Perhaps we’ll get some information about new zones and locations for BfA as well.
In addition, Classic fans have at least one panel and a demo to dig through. Many are hoping to hear good news about the start of Classic beta testing or even find out about a release date.
About a week ago, the Overwatch team presented the October developer update video featuring game director Jeff Kaplan. In particular, he had pointed out that, while the new content is in the works, there will be no new map announcement at BlizzCon.
“Now, some other BlizzCon news that I think is important to mention and this is just in terms of setting expectations for you all. I know that a lot of you tend to get in your mind what we’ve done in the past, and so you anticipate what we’re going to do at BlizzCon this year. And I’ve read a lot of this on social media, where you sort of predict what’s going to be announced or not announced at BlizzCon. I want it to be explicitly clear that we’re not announcing a new map this year at BlizzCon. In the past, we’ve announced Oasis and we’ve announced the Blizzard World. Both were announced at BlizzCon.”
We could still be getting a new Hero or/and an animated short (previous BlizzCons featured the Infiltration and Honor and Glory, with Sombra and Reinhardt respectively), although, taking what Jeff Kaplan said in the video to heart, maybe we should not get the hopes up.
Hearthstone, Starcraft, & Heroes of the Storm
Hearthstone fans may get an announcement of the next expansion to the game, though The Boomsday Project launched not all that long ago in August. However, we know that one more is probably coming this year and if we go by previous years, expansions are generally released every four months, so December seems a likely time. BlizzCon could reveal the title and theme.
Heroes of the Storm is the big unknown. There is a panel scheduled for tomorrow called “What’s Next”, but beyond that, we don’t have a clue. HotS developers have been very quiet lately, and its leadership has changed recently. Perhaps we’ll learn about a new comic for the series and/or event. It’s even possible that we’ll find out about a new hero.
Ever since the StarCraft 2: Nova Covert Ops DLC was over with the final part 3 released in November 2016, the StarCraft franchize has been relatively quiet. The announcement and the release of StarCraft Remastered in summer 2017 spiced things up for a while but…
Back in July Blizzard announced a new comic series coming for StarCraft alongside the Diablo one.
We will likely see a new co-op Commander announced at BlizzCon. It remains to be seen if Blizzard has any larger plans for the franchise.
The inescapable feeling going into tomorrow’s BlizzCon 2018 is that it’s simply lacking a punch this year. Most of what we believe we will hear feels lackluster in comparison to year’s past. While we’re going in with the aforementioned “tempered expectations”, we sincerely hope that Blizzard will pull a fast one on us and surprise us in ways we’re not expecting.
What do you think about this year’s convention? What would you like to hear as compared to what you think you’ll hear?