This year’s BlizzCon is over and wow did it deliver. After last year’s event was met with frustration is was clear Blizzard needed to pull out all the stops this year to ensure it didn’t happen again. Last year’s controversy, which was annoyance from fans that Diablo 4 was nowhere to be seen and instead a mobile game was announced, seems small potatoes though now. Unfortunately, this year’s event was also mired in controversy but of a different sort.
However, for the purpose of this run-down we’re going to focus on the announcements related to gaming. The Hong Kong protests have been widely covered (and for good reason), but controversy aside BlizzCon 2019 was a great success from a videogame announcements point of view especially.
First we had the opening ceremony presented by Blizzard president J. Allen Brack. He briefly spoke about the controversy and offered an apology before moving on. Whether you feel this was an acceptable apology is up to you. We’re a bit unsure what to think. But everything from here was all kinds of awesome:
BlizzCon 2019 Announcements
Overwatch 2 is in development
We discussed this here on another article. The game will retain its emphasis on co-op, PvP and now a PvE mode. The PvE intrigues us very much. While it may be more like Destiny, which can be played essentially as a single player experience in a shared MMO style world, it could also take the Wolfenstein approach. Single player FPS games are making a hot comeback and this kind of play style may attract some gamers who are more comfortable playing a game with the pressures of multiplayer. Although Overwatch is and always should be a multiplayer game at its core. The game will feature a Story mode and additional Hero Missions.
Blizzard also announced further support for the original Overwatch. This is excellent news, developers often slowly abandon a game once a sequel arrives, but more content has been announced for Overwatch one, such as characters, maps etc. Even more exciting, all of our skins, cosmetics and other things we bought or earned in the original will carry over to Overwatch 2. This is fantastic news and means we’ll be (somewhat) able to pick up where we left off. Nice.
Diablo 4 was finally announced
It’s been one HELL of a ride but here we are! After a bunch of leaks over the past few days, and the train-wreck that was BlizzCon 2018, Blizzard have officially unveiled Diablo 4.
So far PS4, Xbox One and PC are confirmed platforms which was to be expected. No mention of PS5, Project Scarlett or Nintendo Switch however. We imagine a next generation port could be planned but we will be surprised if the Switch gets any demon love this time around. No release date as of yet, but as PS4 and Xbox One are confirmed platforms, and are to be replaced in 12 months’ time, we at least have that as a window. Although some are saying 2021 is the release window. This firmly places it in the realms of PS5 and Xbox Scarlett. Although it may get released on PC first.
Let’s talk details, the team behind the game made “Embrace The Darkness” their motto while they were designing it and that shows. Diablo 4 is intended to be a return to the dark gritty world of Diablo 1 and 2, and away from the more colourful world of Diablo 3. Although we felt Diablo 3 was plenty dark!
The games story is set a fair amount of time after Diablo 3. The forces of Heaven and Hell have been depleted by the events of that game. Humanity has survived but things are looking bleaker than ever. The 9-minute story trailer shows a shadowy individual manipulating some thieves and a scholar in opening a ‘gate’ that releases Lilith back into the world of Sanctuary. Lilith and her new minion seem set to be the games new antagonists, but as this is a Diablo game we’d be surprised if the big red devil himself doesn’t show up at some point. He is the titular character after all.
Lilith has had an interesting role in the story of Diablo so far, appearing as both a friend to humanity and an enemy at different times. The ‘Nephalem’, the heroes from Diablo 3 are directly related to her and she has gone to war with both Heaven and Hell in the past to protect them. So she may be a more sympathetic villain than we’re used to this time around. Or she may just now be hella evil.
Speaking of heroes, the Barbarian, Sorceress and Druid are confirmed as returning classes. No news yet on other character classes but here is a brief list of others that could return, although we expect some new classes too.
Unconfirmed but also possible:
- Assassin/Demon Hunter
- Witch Doctor
Finally, the game world will be more dynamic then we’re used to. Progression will work a little differently to previous games giving Diablo 4 more of an open world feel. Areas will be more explorable and less gated. NPCs will spawn randomly some offering quests or aid while some may be more of a hindrance.
The game world will also have an MMO feel allowing players to dip in and out of each other’s sessions. Or a player will be able to do their thing while seeing other players running around doing their thing. Players can team up and quest together, but we also expect some PvP details to emerge too.
Diablo Immortal Update
While we’re on the topic of Diablo, we have been given some tidbits regarding the other Diablo game in development, Diablo Immortal. The game looks great but last year at BlizzCon the announcement ruffled some feathers of gamers who were expecting a Diablo 4 reveal (that we got this year) and not a mobile game.
Blizzard have confirmed Diablo Immortal is designed for multiplayer but solo players will be catered for too saying, “(Diablo Immortal) will thrive with multiplayer features including persistent shared zones, four-player instanced dungeons, full Guild support and social systems, and so much more.”
So far six character classes have been confirmed, the Barbarian, Monk, Wizard, Crusader, Necromancer and as of BlizzCon 2019 – The Demon Hunter. Not a bad line up. The characters will each have an ‘Ultimate Ability’ which will make them stand out from the rest.After the official reveal of Diablo 4, Blizzard released a statement regarding the Diablo Immortal, addressing why no release date had been announced yet:
“We don’t have a release date to announce at this time. It takes significant time to meet the Blizzard quality level we’re aiming for, and we have a lot of ambitious goals for Diablo Immortal. Keep a close eye on Diablo channels for upcoming news and Pre-Register for testing opportunities here. Diablo Immortal is planned from the ground up for ongoing content and events. After launch, expect continued support and regular content updates including balance changes, new zones, dungeons, bosses, loot, additional stories, and even new classes.”
There’s also been no mention of if the title will release on PC or consoles. While we’re not opposed to Diablo Immortal being released on Android and iOS, the series fan base would probably prefer to play the game in the usual way they enjoy Diablo games.
That about wraps it up for Diablo. You can see the Immortal update trailer here:
World of Warcraft has a new expansion coming called Shadowlands
WoW is the gift that keeps on giving and Shadowlands has us very excited. It will release in 2020 and will take us to the Realm of Death and Decay. Players will need to pick a side in the battle against the Sylvanas.
Like previous expansion, Shadowlands will bring some seismic changes across the WoW’ world. We’ll know more details soon, but until then just know the next WoW update is coming on the 12th of December.
Hearthstone’s next expansion has been announced
And it’s called Descent of Dragons, and it will indeed feature more of the big scaly beasts. It will also bring a brand-new game mode to Hearthstone called Battlegrounds, it will be an ‘auto battling mode’. We’ll share more updates as soon as they become available.