BlizzCon 2017 was probably my favorite BlizzCon in years. So much great content was revealed, while two of the IPs were a little less than enthusiastically represented (I’ve a hunch that next year will be big for the Devil). But far and away, it was a big year for World of Warcraft, Overwatch, Hearthstone, and Heroes of the Storm. Read on for our picks for the Best of BlizzCon 2017.
Putting the WAR Back in Warcraft
FINALLY, right? Every time I fear that maybe Blizzard is forgetting WoW because games like Overwatch are driving so much of the conversation, they come out with news that makes me remember my love for Azeroth. LEGION was a great expansion, but it still had us all fighting together against yet another big bad. With Battle for Azeroth, there’s no bone about – Horde and Alliance are at war once more. And while I’m sure there will be common enemy eventually (Azshara, duh), the key story of BfA is that things just got real. Legion called back to Burning Crusade, but Battle for Azeroth promises to go back further to not only Vanilla WoW, but even Warcraft 3. It’s a feeling of contention that I can’t wait to experience again.
Speaking of Vanilla…
While the information on how it’ll work is still limited (this was basically the announcement while the implementation is months away), the fact that Blizzard is officially going to bring their own progression server/s to WoW is huge. While I’m of the mind that I think I’d almost always play the regular servers, I have to admit the idea of experiencing expansions and content all over again is a pull. I want to do the Gates of AQ without server crashes, for example.
Not only are Allied Races a great way to bring new flair to the races, but they’re being implemented in a thematically appropriate way. You’ll have to play through BfA to recruit them in the campaign, and then they start at level 20 as a way to stay away from being an inappropriate starting zone or story. The Dark Iron Dwarves? Yes, please. And if you level those races up, you get Allied Race thematic artifact armor? Yes, indeed!
Hearthstone’s Solo Dungeon Roguelike
I’m a fan of Hearthstone. No doubt. But I also suck at it. I don’t play enough to keep pace with the meta. The new expansion, Kobolds and Catacombs, gives players like me a way to learn new decks, while also playing a solo experience that you can pick up and put down without feeling like you’re letting your opponent down. It’s like FTL – The Hearthstone Version. I can’t wait for December.
Overwatch’s World Cup and the Overwatch League
I don’t get esports. Or maybe, I didn’t get esports. Now I do. The Overwatch World Cup was something incredible to witness, with the flare, organization, and professionalism of a truly professional event. The Arena was insanely gorgeous, and the way the new shoutcasting tools show player stats overlaid on top of the match, picture-in-picture replays… it was phenomenal. For the first time in years, esports seems like not only something that could happen at a pro level, but something that should happen.
Hanzo and Alexstrasza
New heroes are always welcome in Heroes of the Storm, officially the most fun and most positive MOBA out there. Hanzo looks like a great new addition as a ranged assassin, but the more interesting mechanics probably belong to Alexstrasza, who can literally turn into her dragon form and rain death or heals from high above.
Starcraft 2 is F2P!
One of the best RTS games of all time is going Free to Play. It’s no secret that the West didn’t take to SC2 the way Blizzard might have hoped. But it’s still an awesome game with incredible content and fan-made content via the Arcade. Everyone should play this, and soon everyone can.
A Suspicious Lack of Diablo
But Bill, WTF? Diablo is rad, and should have been there! Hear me out, guys. The Necromancer was rad, and if Blizzard was working on more hero packs, we should have heard about it this year. But here’s the thing – I don’t think they are working on any more major content for Diablo 3. No, I think they are actually working on the long-wanted/long-hoped-for Diablo MMO. And I think 2018’s BlizzCon will belong to the Lord of Destruction. That’s me, always turning a negative into a positive.