Blizzcon, 03.11.2016

What to expect from BlizzCon 2016 (spoilers ahead!)

BlizzCon 2016 is only few days away and first images of happy people in front of the decorated Anaheim Convention Center are floating into social media as well as some leaks. Perfect time to check on the latest rumors and summarize on what to expect this year!

It has been a remarkable year for Blizzard: they have launched World of Warcraft: Legion, Overwatch and Whispers of the Old Gods for Hearthstone. Oh and there was that Warcraft Movie and of course a lot of new content for Heroes of the Storm and StarCraft II. Never before there was more Blizzard created content waiting to be played and to be honest: it is hard to imagine any big announcement at BlizzCon this year.

But wait! There is Diablo! The only major franchise that did not get a major update for months and celebrates it’s 20th anniversary at the 10th BlizzCon.

Diablo: Stay a while, and listen!

A lot of rumors have been floating around Diablo over the past few weeks. Open Job Offerings at Blizzard and old Diablo Veterans posting ambiguous things on social media raised fan’s hopes that evil still is alive and kickin in Tristram.

Diablo Expansion with Necromancer Class

 

161103-necromancer

Necromancer Fineart leaked from the Gear Store

A few days ago this image popped up at the Blizzard Gear Store and got removed shortly after. It was name “bzc16_necromancerfineart_webver_3.jpg”, which could be read as BlizzCon 2016 Necromancer fineart webversion 3. It shows a female and a male Necromancer, very similar to Xul from Heroes of the Storm. Of course a single image is a very weak indicator but with a bit of fantasy you easily could imaging a new Diablo 3 expansion with the new Necromancer Class. And here is why:

  • It is Diablo’s anniversary, they simply HAVE to show something
  • Diablo 3 itself is only four years old, a very short period for a Blizzard game
  • The Reaper of Souls was the last true content-patch for the game and was released in 2014. It is hard to believe that the Diablo-team did not work on any content in the past two years
  • A Necromancer Class would totally fit for Diablo 3 – it was a playable class in Diablo 2 already

Rumor-score: 99/100

We totally believe that Blizzard will show a new Diablo Expansion or at least a major content update.

Diablo 4? HD Remake?

A Diablo 4 is almost completely unlikely. As said above, Diablo 3 is only four years old an Blizzard usually sticks to a game for a longer period of time. Another interesting thing that could be announced would be a HD remake for the first two Diablo titles. This would fit a 20th anniversary perfectly and Blizzard always tried to ensure support for really old titles, pushing small updates and installers for modern operating systems.

Rumor-score: 60/100

Diablo 4: no, just not yet. HD remake: could totally happen!

Notable Panels

Look out for the Opening Ceremony on Friday, 11:00AM PDT and of course on the Diablo 20th Anniversary panel at the Main Stage on Friday,  PDT. On Saturday there is a Diablo III – Dev Talk and Q&A
at 4:00PM – 5:00PM PDT.


World of Warcraft

the-nighthold

Patch 7.2 and more of The Nighthold

Legion is almost 10 weeks old, Patch 7.1 – Return to Karazhan just hit the live servers and we already know about the next to upcoming raid dungeons: Trial of Valor (opening on the 8th of November) and The Nighthold, which should be released in January. Everything is so fresh and shiny and new! It is just very unlikely that we will hear some big news for WoW other than a Patch 7.2 announcement.

Rumor-score: 90/100

There is a panel on Friday, 2:45PM PDT and the Main Stage, titled World of Warcraft: What’s next?. So at least, we do know that there is something next! We do expect a first glimpse on Patch 7.2 and maybe some information on the raid instance after The Nighthold.

No news on Legacy Servers

Besides 7.2, Blizzard already stated, that there won’t be any news on Legacy / Classic servers at BlizzCon or anytime soon.


StarCraft II

Quo Vadis SC2?

Quo Vadis SC2?

Oh poor Jim Raynor. The single player campaign was completed a year ago and the mission packs Nova Covert Ops were nice but short.

But the maybe biggest challenge for StarCraft: the SC2 esports scene is falling to pieces. RTS and StarCraft in particular was the first game, that allowed a notable amount of players to make a living from playing video games competitively. But StarCraft 2 newer reached the popularity of Broodwar and the KeSPA recently announced the closure of the StarCraft ProLeague, maybe the most important SC2 competition for a complete decade. MOBAs like League of Legends, DOTA or Heroes of the Storm are now the most important esport titles.

Of course there still is a notable amount of tournaments out there and still a large amount of money can be won, but it will be interesting to see what Blizzard plans to make that decline as slow as possible.

The StarCraft II – Foundation for the Future Panel

Find out what’s next, including features and initiatives designed to ensure StarCraft II continues to be the definitive multiplayer RTS experience for years to come.

A bold description for a panel happening on the Panel Stage on Friday, 12:30PM PDT. Let’s see what kind of future Blizzard imagines for SC2.


Overwatch

Sombra Fineart recently leaked from the Gear Store

Sombra Fineart recently leaked from the Gear Store

Just a single name: Sombra. The hype about this unannounced Overwatch hero has grown into absurdity. But it looks like we finally will get to see her at BlizzCon: just like the Necromancer this image appeared on the Gear Store a few days ago and got removed shortly after.

Rumor-score: 99/100

Even if we do not get introduced to Sombra, we are pretty sure that there will be new Heroes and maybe a new map or even new game modes beeing shown at Blizzcon. Look out for the “Overwatch – What’s next” panel on the Main stage on Friday  PDT.

Besides that it will be quite interesting to see what Blizzard plan to develop the sports scene around it’s latest game. There is no dedicated panel for that but the Overwatch World Cup 2016 is taking place the whole weekend.


Hearthstone

For our favorite card game it is quite obvious, that the next expansion will be announced, themed around Gadgetzan. They are teasing it for a while now:

Rumor-score: 99/100

The Hearthstone – What’s Next Panel follows the Opening Ceremony at the Main Stage on Friday 12:30PM – 1:15PM PDT. Watch out for Goblins!


Heroes of the Storm

Blizzard’s MOBA receives a steady stream of new maps, heroes and even game modes and seasonal events. On top of that, Blizzard is trying to build a viable esports scene, that faces strong, established competitors like DOTA and League of Legends.

There are literally no big rumors around HotS this year but on the other hand we are sure, that there will be new Heroes and Maps announced. How about some Overwatch themed maps or even game modes? The respective panel takes place on Friday,  PDT at the Main Stage.


One more thing…

Well that’s a lot already. But what would be some of the more surprising totally unannounced things that could be announced?

  • A Warcraft Movie Sequel
    We totally would love to see that but we feel like we won’t see another one in the near future. But maybe any kind of commitment towards another movie? Rumor-score: 40/100
  • A StarCraft HD remake
    Quite cool idea but unlikely this year. Rumor-score: 10/100
  • A whole new Project
    Warcraft 4? Another new IP? Well, let’s be honest. After launching Overwatch only a year ago, it is very unlikely that Blizzard will already come up with another new big thing. For sure, they are rearranging their Dev-Teams (like Tom Chilton joining a new team after leaving WoW), but it is simply too early for an announcement. Rumor-score:10/100
  • TV Series
    Stacey Sher, co-president of Activision Blizzard Studios recently said, that the company is looking into opportunities to bring more of their franchises into movies or TV Series. Overwatch TV Series anyone? StarCraft Movie? Would totally watch that! Rumor-score: 50/100