Thousands of Blizzard fans lined up outside the Anaheim Convention Center in Anaheim, California, on Friday, for the opening day of Blizzard Entertainment’s 11th game convention, Blizzcon 2017 – a two-day event spread over Nov. 3 & Nov 4.
The 11th edition of the event is not only the grandest of them all but also different from previous Blizzcons in more ways than one. A number of changes and improvements have been made this year based on fan feedback. To start with, it’s the first time a Goodyear blimp is covering the event, which in itself is an indicator of the importance being attached to the show.
Blizzard has included two additional stages this year in order to expand its coverage with multiple live streams from all of the four main stages namely the Mythic Stage, the Legendary Stage, the Epic Stage, and the Heroic Stage.
Additionally, there’s the Starcraft Stage, the Warcraft Stage, Hearthstone Tavern, Darkmoon Fair, Demo Areas, Behind the Scenes, Heroes of the Storm and a brand new Overwatch arena.
The biggest difference this year, however, is the virtual ticket which allows you to see everything happening at all the different stages, decide what to see in order of your preference – basically, there’s nothing you can miss if you really don’t want to. Check out anything, anytime!
Blizzcon 2017 has also included the convention center’s new North Hall into its scheme of things this year, allowing it to expand the overall capacity. The North Hall is where the Darkmoon Fair, the Hearthstone Tournament, and the Tavern are happening.
Talking about the ‘Work in Progress’ feature, which has been introduced this year, Frank Pearce, one of the three founders of Blizzard Entertainment, said:
“In my job, I have the opportunity to see all the work in progress at the office, every week, and so, we’ve brought Work in Progress to the show for our community to see for all our products and it’s really exciting because not only does the community get to see things that they wouldn’t normally get to see but we get to interact with the community, hear their thoughts on that Work in Progress, take all that feedback back to the office next week and through the end of the year and figure out how we want to improve it even further.”
Blizzard Entertainment’s President & CEO Mike Morhaime officially opened the convention on the Mythic Stage starting by welcoming the teams by name.
“Is the Alliance here? How about the Horde? Terran, Protoss, and Zerg? Adventures in Hearthstone? Heroes of Sanctuary? Heroes of the Storm? How about my Heroes of Overwatch?” every question was followed by a huge roar from the crowd. “All of you, welcome to Blizzcon 2017.”
He went on to say that irrespective of “who we are or where we’re from, we’re all here for the same reasons. We have a shared love of games, and their stories and characters. And, most of all, we’re here because of the relationships we built and fostered through gaming.”
He followed this up with a rather lengthy explanation of all that has happened in Blizzard Entertainment since the last Blizzcon.
Many exciting announcements followed – from game news and system overhauls to game expansion, new characters – the works, basically. Everything, everybody wanted to hear!
Let’s take a relook at some of the major announcements.
Starcraft II will be Free-to-Play from November 14
Going forward, Starcraft II: Wings of Liberty will go absolutely free effective November 14; those who are already in possession of Wings of Liberty will be entitled to the Heart of the Swarm expansion at no extra cost, says Morhaime.
Additionally, players will be awarded ranked multiplayer (no charge) but there’s a catch; 10 First Wins of the Day have to be achieved in order to unlock the gift.
Heart of the Swarm, Nova Covert Ops, and Legacy of the Void will continue to be charged games at $14.99 each.
Check out the video
Overwatch is getting a new hero Moira and a new map called Blizzard World
Not only is Overwatch getting a new hero named Moira, but a new map called Blizzard World, as well, Jeff Kaplan has confirmed.
He says Blizzard World is a theme park featuring all Blizzard properties including Starcraft and Heroes of the Storm. Additionally, there’s an area based on World of Warcraft’s Azeroth, a Heroes of the Storm arcade, and areas borrowed from Hearthstone.
The map is set to go live on November 18.
Here’s the video
Classic Servers for World of Warcraft
Blizzard is adding Classic servers to World of Warcraft in an attempt to bring back the Vanilla WoW experience, notwithstanding the massive challenge it is going to pose for the gaming giant.
Another important World of Warcraft related announcement is the seventh expansion pack, Battle for Azeroth.
Kobolts and Catacombs – Hearthstone’s next Update
Blizzard’s popular card and trading game Hearthstone is getting a new update, Kobolts, and Catacombs, which, according to Hearthstone Game Director Ben Brode, is a “return to the roots of fantasy.”
Also, an absolutely free new single-player mode called Dungeon Run is being added to Hearthstone.