How is it Blizzcon time already? Where has this year gone? It feels like I was just learning how to play Doomfist (actually I still don’t really know how to play him) and now we have another new character! I’m not even going to mention Wrecking Ball and the fact that I’ve only seen the Busan map twice.
Well as usual team Unpause has been up all night so you don’t have to be! We’ve got here all the latest announcements from Hearthstone, Heroes of the Storm, Overwatch, StarCraft 2 and World of Warcraft. So here’s what the Blizz team has for us this year.
Warcraft III: Reforged
Probably the most anticipated news next to the announcement of Warcraft IV is the remaster of Warcraft III in Warcraft III: Reforged. It’s been 16 years since the original game came out so there’s a lot of catching up to do in the tech department. Expect a full overhaul of the game’s graphics and systems, while preserving the RTS mechanics that we know and love. Based on the announcement, it also appears that the game is getting an updated ladder system to help players better compete online in competitive play as well as an updated map editor, which were the original tools that helped create the entire MOBA genre.
Warcraft III: Reforged doesn’t have a concrete release date yet, but Blizzard said it would be out sometime next year.
World of Warcraft: Classic
As promised in last year’s Blizzcon 2017, Blizzard would be bringing the World of Warcraft game back to its roots in the newly announced World of Warcraft: Classic. The game brings WoW all the way back to patch 1.12, which is essentially the last patch before the game’s first expansion, Burning Crusade. Blizzard also announced during the opening ceremony that the standard WoW subscription will also work for Classic. This is a project that some extremely passionate fans can’t wait to play, and today Blizzard let them know that summer 2019 would be their chance to play the full game. While that date might be right around the corner, fans at Blizzcon or who purchased the Virtual Ticket will also get the chance to check out the game’s beta today.
World of Warcraft: Rise of Azshara
World of Warcraft’s first major patch — Tides of Vengeance — is just around the corner, set to launch on Dec. 11. But at BlizzCon 2018, the Blizzard team unveiled the second major patch of the expansion as well. Patch 8.2 will be called Rise of Azshara and will send players into the depth of the sea to fish out N’zoth’s favourite minion.
Queen Azshara and her army of snake-like Naga will be the focus of 8.2. Players will set sail and find a great crack in the ocean. The champions of Azeroth will then disembark to discover that this new landmass is the famed Nazjatar, home of the Naga. Players will be able to explore the zone and discover all of the replayable content there. In the heart of Nazjatar, players will find Azshara’s eternal palace, the raid location for patch 8.2. The raid — cleverly named “Azshara’s Eternal Palace” — will house eight bosses for players to eliminate. Blizzard teased that players will take on a Naga hatchery, a fully underwater boss and Queen Azshara herself in the raid.
Rise of Azshara will also contain a second, completely unrelated continent: Mechagon. Mechagon is the ancient gnome city, where residents replace their fleshy bodies with robot parts to increase their societal standing. Here, players will be able to explore the zone and uncover what Blizzard is calling a “megadungeon.” This Mechagon dungeon will contain eight bosses and will be limited to the Mythic difficulty only — at least when it first releases.
Yee-Haw! It’s a showdown at Route 66 and these two rival gunslingers are packing some serious heat. As usual, Blizzard knocks it out of the galaxy with their amazing animations and their storytelling while great is endlessly unsatisfying, giving us more questions than it does answers. It appears Ashe and our boy McCree used to be part of the Deadlock gang before McCree joined the path of good. Who the robot in the case is I have no idea but she’s probably a character we’ll be getting in later on.
The animated short is a great leadup to the reveal of Overwatch‘s brand new character Ashe. A full DPS hero she’s got a repeater rifle for taking enemies down at range, a shotgun assisted jump, a bundle of dynamite to help clear out space and even a murderous robot companion named B.O.B.
Her rifle, the Viper, can be shot from the hip or zoomed in to deal more damage, kind of like a hybrid between McCree and Widowmaker‘s weapons. It has a long, one bullet at time reload time, but shots can be fired individually just after they’re loaded. Her secondary ability Coach Gun deals damage and knocks both Ashe and her opponent away from each other, it can also be used to give the hero a boost. Her other secondary ability is Dynamite, and it’s exactly what the name implies – a bundle of explosives that has a long cooldown after it’s thrown until it blows up, it can be shot by Ashe to be detonated as well. Her Ultimate calls in a robot helper, B.O.B., who acts as a high damage dealing turret and sort of a 7th hero for the team. He moves forward through the battlefield upon being called in before stopping on contact with an enemy or a wall to begin firing.
There’s no word on the release date or when Ashe will be available on the PTR. But judging from Moira‘s debut last Blizzcon we’re guessing pretty soon.
There’s no denying that fans were pretty excited at the prospect of new Diablo, and it’s here … sort of. This wasn’t, exactly, the game that many fans might have been hoping for, but it does look great. The game takes place between Diablo 2 and Diablo 3 and looks to show us some of the stories that led up to the most recent game. Based on the footage that was shown, most of the classes, which are the same six from Diablo 3, will play about the same way, with a few additional spells for each. While Blizzard was careful to keep expectations low for this announcement, the game looks good and it appears that there’s more coming for the series sometime down the road.
Pre-registration is open on the Play Store already but so far, there doesn’t appear to be any release date set.
Hearthstone: Rastakhan Rumble
A new Hearthstone expansion is here and it’s called Rastakhan Rumble. As anyone who’s been playing World of Warcraft recently knows, that means it’s going to be all about trolls this time around. Speaking of which, this is also going to be the first time that a Hearthstone expansion is keeping up with current WoW lore, which means there could be some exciting storytelling going on in the expansion. As for the new cards, not much has been revealed yet, but it appears that each class is going to get its own specific legendary cards that help compliment the styles that they are best at.
Rastakhan Rumble will be out on Dec. 4, meaning fans won’t have to wait long to get their hands on all the new cards.
Heroes of the Storm
An all-new hero, “born entirely in the Nexus,” is the next to join Heroes of the Storm. Orphea, introduced at BlizzCon 2018, is the 83rd character to join the lineup since the game launched in 2015.
Orphea is the daughter of the Raven Lord, hence her moniker, Heir of Raven Court. “Rejecting the dark power her father had begun to consort with, Orphea tried to run away from the Raven Lord’s influence,” says her official bio. “But after witnessing King’s Crest fall to his machinations, she was convinced she needed to stand and fight. She now vows to protect the innocent — as a Hero of the Nexus.” Orphea is free for anyone either attending BlizzCon or buying a Virtual Ticket to this weekend’s expo. She will be available during the next major patch following BlizzCon 2018.