Highlights from BlizzCon 2023!
As this year draws to a close, it’s time once again for BlizzCon! This year was the triumphant return of in-person celebrations which had previously halted for the last four years. Fans flocked to Anaheim, California to celebrate the games they love and see what is new and developing in the world of Blizzard. Tickets to the two-day celebration had increased 30% from the last in-person BlizzCon in 2019, and participants hoped that the price increase might also indicate there would be news truly worth celebrating. Having newly been purchased by Microsoft after a lengthy acquisition process, Blizzard had fans asking a lot of questions. Let’s jump into the best moments from the con!
Phil Spencer, Microsoft’s CEO, was there to celebrate his first Blizzcon with a quick speech that showed everyone he had studied up on Blizzard’s portfolio. His speech didn’t include any earth-shattering announcements, but it was nice to see him make an appearance and relate to gamers as a fellow fan of Blizzard games.
Diablo IV might have just come out this year, but they are not slowing down when it comes to releasing new goodies for their fans. The Vessel of Hatred expansion was announced for 2024 and will dive into the fate of Mephisto and introduce a new region, the Torajan Jungle. In addition to this new expansion, the three-week Midwinter Blight Holiday Event will start on November 12th.
The Overwatch franchise may not have had the most positive year in terms of reviews *cough* Steam *cough* but it sounds like the Overwatch 2 team is hard at work with a focus on winning back the love it once had from its fans. The rewards will be revamped, and a title above Grand Master will be introduced called “Ultimate.” Players will receive more detailed information about their rank after each game. A curious but interesting new PVP mode will be introduced, called Clash, where teams compete for 5 points. The first map to support this mode will be Hanaoka, a reimagined version of the classic Hanamura. Blizzard also announced their newest hero, Mauga, as well as teased details on the three other heroes' slate to release including a DPS hero named Venture, a support with the placeholder name “Space Ranger,” and another unnamed tank.
As the 10th anniversary of Hearthstone ventures looms over its current 9th year, Blizzard has some important updates for the popular card game. Catch-up packs will be introduced. These packs will read into the cards that a player currently has and will attempt to fill in the player's missing cards in order to “catch them up” to current players. Each player will receive two of these packs and will have the opportunity to buy more or get additional packs through the Shadowdown in the Bandlands pre-order. Excavate cards will be introduced, these cards “excavate” treasure when played, and will no doubt add an extra element to the game when in play. Players will also be able to team up in Duo Mode with their friends. Each will have its own board, Tavern Tier, and gold. They’ll share HP and armor, and the mode allows card-passing to friends for a little gold.
News surrounding World of Warcraft was the unofficial main event of the con with surprises and important announcements coming left and right. Chris Metzen, a key architect of the franchise, is returning from his retirement of 7 years as an executive creative director to captain a trilogy of expansions that are part of the Worldsoul Saga. Even when viewing the show from a screen, you can feel the crowd’s excitement as Metzen enters the stage and interacts with the crowd. The passion and excitement is palpable as he sells the game to both fans and some who might have let it drift to the back of their mind over the past decade. It’s undoubtedly an exciting time for WoW fans, and what better time to either try it out for the first time or hop back on?!
That’s it for the recap! BlizzCon 2023 provided fans the unique opportunity for fans to experience the excitement in person once again after four long years, and showed everyone more insight into the state of their favorite Blizzard games and what’s to come. It was quite the year of ups and downs for everyone, including Blizzard, but the game updates to come offer quite a lot to look forward to! Which update did you find most interesting? Let me know!