Blizzcon 2019 kicked off on 1 November with grand opening ceremony followed by developer panels, community nights, esports tournaments and their BlizzCon special announcement.
At the start of the opening ceremony, Blizzard president J. Allen Brack briefly addressed last month’s controversy over Hearthstone player Blitzchung’s Hong Kong statement and his suspension. Brack apologized, but didn’t get into specifics, change the suspension, or speak to how Blizzard would treat such issues differently in the future.
That controversy hasn’t completely blown over. Protesters have gathered outside the Anaheim, California convention centre sporting “Free Hong Kong” signs while giving away free t-shirts. Check out our liveblog for ongoing coverage of the protests.
Here are the major announcements from the BlizzCon 2019:
- Hearthstone Descent of Dragons, is Hearthstone’s next expansion and it includes more dragons compared to the initial one. It was just announced by Hearthstone creative director Ben Thompson on-stage at BlizzCon, who promised “more dragons than has been in any set before.” The surprise: Hearthstone is getting a new mode, called Battlegrounds, inspired by the auto battle genre which will be available in beta soon. The brand-new auto-battling game mode introduces a fresh, strategic, 8-player experience to Hearthstone. In Battlegrounds, one can take on the role of a familiar hero straight out of Hearthstone history, craft a powerful board of recruited minions, and face-off in an action-packed series of duels until a single winner is crowned!Descent of Dragons releases on 10 December and will wrap up a narrative arc that’s been running throughout 2019 involving the League of E.V.I.L. battling a coalition of good guys led by the League of Explorers.Thompson said Descent of Dragons comprises a handful of new mechanics and an entirely new keyword: Invoke. Invoke is tied to Galakrond, progenitor of all dragonkind—a super powerful new hero card that can be upgraded through three different forms. Interestingly, these transformations can occur while Galakrond is in your deck. It seems a little like C’thun, insofar as other cards with the Invoke keyword on will trigger the transformation buffs.
Battlegrounds is everything one know and love about Hearthstone – familiar minion types such as Murlocs, Mechs, and Demons , keywords, and cards – but played in a way you’ve never experienced before.
- Overwatch 2 is on the way, Blizzard finally made it official at BlizzCon opening ceremonies. Overwatch game director Jeff Kaplan surprised the crowd with word that the new game will be playable at BlizzCon. In fact, the logos for the Overwatch PCs set up at the show all flipped over to the Overwatch 2 logo after the announcement—a very nice touch. The new game will maintain all of the original heroes, maps, and modes, and will also feature a new 6v6 PvP mode called Push, in which two teams will race to make a robot push the map’s objective to their opponent’s. It will be available in casual and competitive modes, and will also be played in the Overwatch League.
In addition to that Overwatch game director Jeff Kaplan surprised the crowd with word that the new game will be playable at BlizzCon. In fact, the logos for the Overwatch PCs set up at the show all flipped over to the Overwatch 2 logo after the announcement. In fact, all of the skins and cosmetics that the players have earned in Overwatch will carry over to the sequel, so one won’t lose anything jumping over to Overwatch 2. The first new hero, a Canadian named Sojourn, was announced but none knows what her abilities are. Game director Jeff Kaplan also has “no idea” when Overwatch 2 will be released as he didn’t disclose any launch date.
- Diablo 4 was announced and it looks absolutely irreligious—a true sequel to Diablo 2 that’s all about satanic rituals, occult symbols, and lots of blood. It’s a return to the darker look of early Diablo with even more blasphemy and profane imagery per capita. Diablo IV takes place many years after the events of Diablo III, after millions have been slaughtered by the actions of the High Heavens and Burning Hells alike. In the power vacuum, a legendary name resurfaces—Lilith, daughter of Mephisto, the whispered progenitor of humanity. Her grip on Sanctuary cuts deep into the hearts of men and women alike, cultivating the worst in its denizens and leaving the world a dark, hopeless place.Diablo 4, they are cracking open the campaign approach to broaden Sanctuary in a way they have never explored. With a fully open world, players will be able to adventure across five distinctively dangerous regions in any order, all seamlessly connected for uninterrupted journeys.
Blizzard opened BlizzCon 2019 with an extended CG trailer setting up the story and then followed that up with a few minutes of gameplay footage. There’s multiple panels over the weekend that will dive deeper into Diablo 4, but what we do know is that it has a non-linear story set in an open world that you can explore at your leisure.
- World of Warcraft’s next expansion is called World of Warcraft Shadowlands. Sylvanas Windrunner, fallen leader of the Horde, has pierced the veil between Azeroth and the realm of the dead, setting in motion a series of events that threaten to upset the cosmic balance between life and death.Azeroth’s heroes will confront the wonders and horrors of the afterlife as they deal with the consequences of Sylvanas’ actions. It releases next year and will take players to an alternate realm of death and decay where they must choose one of several factions to align with to fight against Sylvanas. Shadowlands is now available for pre-purchase in-game and through the Blizzard Shop!
Let us know about what you think about the Blizzcon 2019 announcement.