For the first time since 2019, BlizzCon has returned to its traditional form. While Blizzard’s convention held an online ceremony in 2021, it has not been hosted as an in-person event since the COVID-19 pandemic began in 2020. That changed today with the 2023 edition, which saw fans returning to the Anaheim Convention Center to get all the news on the studio’s games.
It all kicked off with an Opening Ceremony that gave players updates on titles like Overwatch 2, World of Warcraft, and more. It was an especially important moment for Blizzard, as it all took place very shortly after Microsoft completed its acquisition of the company this fall. Due to that move, all eyes were on the BlizzCon stage this year. That wasn’t lost on the company, which rolled out the big guns. We got an ambitious new DLC plan for World of Warcraft, saw Diablo 4‘s new DLC, and even got a cameo from Xbox head Phil Spencer. It was a long show packed with details, but we’ve got them all for you right here.
Journey to the heart of the world.
A story 20 years in the making.
Introducing the tenth expansion of World of Warcraft, The War Within. pic.twitter.com/rdje36HgaG
— World of Warcraft (@Warcraft) November 3, 2023
World of Warcraft is getting a major story update. Blizzard veteran Chris Metzen revealed an ambitious content plan called the Worldsoul Saga. Metzen says it will take place over three expansions. Blizzard teased not just one, but all three of those expansions during the opening ceremony. The first expansion is dubbed The War Within and will have players exploring a subterranean kingdom. That’ll be followed by Midnight, which takes players back to Quel’Thalas. Finally, there’s The Last Titan, set in Northrend.
We got a glimpse at all those plans, with multiple trailers for The War Within. One was a live-action trailer that simply teased an emotional story built around an enormous, world-piercing sword. The second clip was far more informative, showing off new features. The expansion adds new zones like the Ringing Deeps and Hallowfall. We also got a rapid fire list of other features: Delves is a new end-game activity, Warbands allow players to link together their characters, and Hero Talents expand customization. The expansion is set to release in fall 2024.
World of Warcraft Classic: Cataclysm
🏃♂️ Faster Cadence
📈 Improved Levelling
🤝 Improved Guild Features
🐺 Worgen and Goblins
🗡️ 10 Dungeons
⚔️ 5 Raids
And more! pic.twitter.com/XUw08CJyjf
— World of Warcraft (@Warcraft) November 3, 2023
As for the classic version, World of Warcraft is getting a big update in the form of Cataclysm Classic. For those who don’t remember, Cataclysm is a critically acclaimed World of Warcraft expansion that released all the way back in 2010. The update is set to launch in the first half of 2024. The Classic version of the MMO is also getting Season of Discovery, which has a level 25 level cap initially. Blizzard will gradually raise that cap, adding in more rewards as it goes. It launches on November 30.
Overwatch 2 game director Aaron Keller and other team members took the stage early on to give several updates on the sequel. That started with the reveal of the shooter’s next hero, Mauga, a Samoan Tank class character with a chain gun on each hand. He has abilities like Overrun, an unstoppable charge, and Cage Fight, which gives his team infinite ammo for a brief time. The character was first introduced in a short story four years ago, so he’s a long-awaited addition for eagle-eyed fans. He’ll join the roster in season 8, and players can try him for free today.
Keller also teased two new heroes. A hero named Venture is coming in season 10 and another code-named Space Ranger will join the roster in season 12. More details on both will be revealed during the remainder of BlizzCon.
Keller went on to discuss the team’s new “clarity of vision” that’s guiding its 2024 road map. The team is making a new PvP game mode called Clash, which is another point-capture variation. That’s also bringing a new map, Hanaoka, which is a new version of Hanamura. The game will also get a rework of how rewards, seasons, and lore work.
For its Diablo 4 block, Blizzard gave a refresher on what’s in the current Season of Blood. That includes an experience boost that allows players to hit level 100 much faster. Starting next week, the season will introduce five class-specific rings from the game’s previous season. On December 5, the game will be getting an enchanting preview to make builds easier. That date will also bring a six-week event called Abbatoir of Zir. A holiday event, dubbed Midwinter Blight, is coming on December 12 (and it may just include a killer Santa Claus).
Blizzard also teased a few additions coming to season 3, including a Gauntlet mode that adds leaderboards. We also got a quick teaser of an upcoming story expansion dubbed Vessel of Hatred. That’s set to release in late 2024 and will include a new region, as well as one from Diablo 2. It’ll also come with a brand new class that has never appeared in a Diablo game before, though Blizzard was tight-lipped on what that is. More information on the expansion is coming next summer.
Tumbleweeds roll by and high noon looms 🏜️
Grab your horse and your hat, it’s nearly time for a Showdown in the Badlands—launching November 14th! pic.twitter.com/ErfITzDPYp
— Hearthstone (@PlayHearthstone) November 3, 2023
The Hearthstone team gave an overview of the card game’s next expansion, Showdown in the Badlands. A new trailer showed off its Wild West theme and teased a few new cards. It’ll add Reno Lone Ranger, the game’s first neutral hero card. The expansion launches on November 14.
Blizzard also announced Catch-up Packs, which include up to 50 cards from the last two years. All players are getting some packs, and some will be included in Showdown in the Badlands bundles too. Its unclear how much those cost for those who want to buy them outside of that.
On top of that, Battlegrounds is getting a co-op mode called Battlegrounds Duos. It’ll give teammates a shared health pool and let them trade cards back and forth during battles. The mode is set to launch in early 2024, with more information to come during the rest of the convention.
Free-to-play mobile game Warcraft Rumble began rolling out right before BlizzCon began, so it only made sense that it would get a bit of attention during the show. We mostly got an overview of how it works covering dungeons, PvP, raids, and more. Blizzard set the segment up like a surprise shadow drop, though the game was already available nearly a day earlier.
While not exactly an announcement, BlizzCon opened with an important moment as Xbox chief Phil Spencer took the stage. Spencer didn’t come with any news (like Blizzard games coming to Game Pass), but he did lay out a bit of a mission statement for Xbox’s relationship with the company. He gave a shout-out to the long-defunct Starcraft series, hinted that Blizzard games are coming to Xbox, and noted that the company will work closely with Blizzard to build its future. It was a big PR moment for the two companies that set the stage for the future without confirming anything new.
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