Summer madness is over and as the fall season begins there’s a calm before the storm feeling in the air, it’s that BlizzCon time of year again. Blizzard Entertainment gives their fans the ultimate service by hosting their annual convention for all things Blizzard. For all of you that haven’t caught up with all the exciting announcements, not to worry we got you fam.
On the roster of Blizzard game announcements are the usual suspects Hearthstone, Heroes of the Storm, Overwatch, StarCraft 2 and World of Warcraft. This year to be expected was a huge focus on eSports with a huge outpouring of news about the Overwatch League, which will kick off in January with 12 teams from around the world. And of course, Blizzard recently welcomed its first third-party game into the Battle.net family: Bungie’s Destiny 2.
This year BlizzCon 2017 ran from the 3rd – 4th November at the Anaheim Convention Center in Anaheim, California.
StarCraft 2: Wings of Liberty, is becoming a free-to-play game. A sequel to the original StarCraft which launched back in 1998 it was the definitive online real-time strategy game and is still going hot with over 3 million copies out in the wild. From November 14th players will be able to play the entire Wings of Liberty campaign at no cost. Not to worry for you loyal StarCraft II supporters if you already own that content, you’ll be receiving Heart of the Swarm at no additional cost.
Also included for free is the ranked multiplayer ladder, which players will unlock after achieving 10 First Wins of the Day in either unranked or versus modes. All co-op commanders, also announced today at BlizzCon, will be playable for free as well, albeit only up to level five. (Kerrigan, Raynor and Artanis will remain free indefinitely, however.)
Other single-player campaigns will remain available for individual purchase. Heart of the Swarm, Legacy of the Void and Nova Covert Ops will cost $14.99 each.
A brand new hero joins the fight in Overwatch! Genetic scientist Moira is a support healer for people that hate playing healers. She can fire damaging orbs of dark energy while also deploying healing beams. A fairly mid-range hero her Biotic Grasp gives her short-range options, while her Biotic Orbs contribute longer-range, hands-off damage and healing; she can also Fade to escape groups or remain close to allies in need of support. Her ultimate is quite the battering ram and once she’s charged Coalescence, Moira can save multiple allies from elimination at once or finish off weakened enemies.
Moira, whose full name is Moira O’Deorain, is Irish and was once based in Dublin, according to her official story profile. Shunned for her ambition in science Moira turned to Talon to further her work. It’s noted that she also has a history with the Reaper’s Blackwatch organisation.
Overwatch‘s next map is Blizzard World a cross-game Blizzard theme park including theme park attractions based on Heroes of the Storm, World of Warcraft and StarCraft (please make this a real thing). Director Jeff Kaplan introduced the hybrid map, which will have players both attack and protect the payload, during BlizzCon 2017’s opening ceremony.
There’s an arcade based on Heroes of the Storm, a place based on Azeroth from World of Warcraft and areas borrowed from Hearthstone, among others. The map will go live in Overwatch for all players early next year. It will be available on the Public Test Realm soon so PC fans should keep an eye out for the map.
Heroes of the Storm
Heroes of the Storm is releasing dragons into the Nexus! Everyone’s hated eagle eye sniper Hanzo joins the roster in Heros of the Storm along with fellow dragon lady Alextrasza. Hanzo is a ranged assassin that comes to the surprise of no one. Whilst Alexstrasza is a ranged support who can pack a punch, she can both healing her allies and transform into a dragon.
Hanzo joins his fellow Overwatch comrades D.va, Lucio, Tracer, Ana, Junkrat and his brother Genji.
World of Warcraft
After all the expansions six to be exact, this next foray into World of Warcraft brings us back to the roots of the Warcraft series. At this point, over a decade into World of Warcraft’s life, the Horde and the Alliance exist as something greater than simply opposing forces in an endless war. The grudging cooperation between the two during the last expansion in Legion was never going to last and it seems like all that fair play has only led to more resentment in the World of Warcrafts’ latest expansion Battle for Azeroth.
In Battle for Azeroth, the fall of the Burning Legion has set off a series of disastrous incidents that reignites the furious rivalry between the noble Alliance and the mighty Horde. As a new age of warfare begins, Azeroth’s heroes must set out on a harrowing journey in search of new allies, race to claim the world’s mightiest resources to turn the tides of war and fight on several fronts to determine which side will lead Azeroth into its uncertain future.
The expansion will feature new continents for both Alliance and Horde players and the ability to adventure to level 120 with new dungeons and raids. Other additions include uncharted islands, the ability to dominate warfronts and inclusion of allied races. The Horde will be able to travel to three new zones making up the islands of Zandalar, while Alliance players will focus on three zones set in the island nation of Kul Tiras. As well as the implementation of a new “islands” system, where players will team up in a party of three to explore areas where the enemies and situations you encounter can change each time. The studio is also introducing warfronts, where groups of 20 players will team up to fight for locations that have strategic importance to their faction.
World of Warcraft will finally receive an official classic-style “vanilla” server. Blizzard’s response to fans who have long begged for a server based on the original version of World of Warcraft. “We want to reproduce the game experience that we all enjoyed from the original, classic World of Warcraft,” said executive producer J. Allen Brack, following a trailer that revealed the server.
Players have wanted an opportunity to return to the original-style gameplay for quite some time, particularly after the release of World of Warcraft’s Burning Crusade expansion, which radically altered the game when it launched in 2007. Brack didn’t say when Classic would be released, but don’t expect it for quite some time as it’s still in development stages.
Hearthstone’s next update is Kobolds and Catacombs and will be a “return to the roots of fantasy,” according to game director Ben Brode. Players will spend their time exploring dungeons and finding loot. During a preview of the add-on, dragons, vaults containing an abundance of gold and the kobolds could be seen.
Brode also announced new cards from the expansion, including Marin the Fox, a new legendary. Marin the Fox will be available to anyone who signs onto the game starting at the beginning of next week. With the expansion will be a new single-player mode called “dungeon run.” Players will receive eight random bosses during gameplay sessions and earn new cards as they play. If players lose, the deck gets thrown out. Players will then have to start over.