BlizzCon 2019 is over, but it was one of the biggest BlizzCons to date, with an unprecedented number of announcements, including new installments for Diablo, Overwatch, Hearthstone, and World of Warcraft.
Diablo IV promises a return to a darker, more horror-themed Diablo, with buckets of blood, body horror, and scary monsters.
The cinematic trailer shows the return of Lilith, daughter of Mephisto and Queen of the Succubi, and presumably the main antagonist of the game.
The game will feature PvP at launch, and a dynamic multiplayer experience, which will let you seamlessly group up with other players to tackle challenging world bosses.
Check out my hands-on with the game for more info on that.
Diablo IV does not currently have a release date, but will launch on PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One.
Hearthstone: Descent of Dragons
Descent of Dragons will be the final expansion in Hearthstone’s epic year-long Year of the Dragon storyline.
Following Rise of Shadows, which introduced the League of E.V.I.L. and saw them steal the floating city of Dalaran, and Saviors of Uldum, which saw the League of Explorers fight back, Descent of Dragons brings the storyline to Dragonblight, where the League of E.V.I.L. is trying to “bring doom to Azeroth by resurrecting Galakrond”, the first proto-dragon and the progenitor of all dragonkind.
The set will include 135 cards and, including Galakrond himself and, according to game director, Ben Thompson, will include “more dragons than any other set before”.
Descent of Dragons launches on December 10.
Hearthstone Battlegrounds is Blizzard’s take on the auto battler genre, popularized by Auto Chess, Dota Underlords, and Teamfight Tactics.
Battlegrounds pits you against seven other players in a turn-based battle royale, where you’ll fight to be the last man standing. At the start of each turn, you’ll recruit minions from the Warcraft universe to build your army.
Unlike every other auto battler game, there is no chessboard-like grid to place your minions on. Instead, like Hearthstone, there’s a single row for you to place them on, and you can only control their position in the line.
Battlegrounds will also include the concept of Heroes, which sounds pretty similar to what Valve is doing with its titular Underlords. At the start of each game, players will be able to select a Hero with a unique power that will affect how you build your army.
Hearthstone Battlegrounds will go into open beta on November 12, however, BlizzCon 2019 attendees and Virtual Ticket holders will have early access starting on November 5.
Blizzard is promising to redefine the meaning of sequel with Overwatch 2, a huge update to Overwatch that will include a new PvE story mode, new maps, new heroes, and a graphical overhaul featuring a new art style and new look for every hero in the game.
The biggest update is a new story mode that will expand on the lore Overwatch has been building on for the past three years. You’ll be able to explore this lore for yourself with new story levels and hero missions. For the first time, players will also be able to level up and customize heroes with talent trees.
You can read more about the first PvE Story Mission, which takes place in Rio de Janeiro here.
On the PvP side of things, Blizzard is adding a new “Push” map type, which will see teams battling over control of a giant robot that will help push one team’s payload to victory.
You can read more about Push in my hands-on here.
Blizzard also confirmed that players who only own Overwatch 1 will still have access to all of Overwatch 2’s PvP modes, maps, and heroes. Only PvE content will require an Overwatch 2 purchase. Additionally, all cosmetics unlocked in Overwatch will carry over to Overwatch 2.
Finally, Blizzard also announced that Echo, a robot featured in the Reunion cinematic, and Sojourn, a new Canadian hero will be the next two heroes added to the game.
There is currently no release date for Overwatch 2.
World of Warcraft: Shadowlands
Shadowlands will be the seventh expansion for World of Warcraft. The expansion was revealed in a dramatic cinematic trailer that saw former Horde Warchief, Sylvanas Windrunner, travel to Icecrown Citadel and defeat the Lich King, Bolvar Fordragon, taking the Helm of Domination from his head.
Bolvar warns Sylvanas that the Lich King’s crown will be her undoing, but instead of putting it on herself, Sylvanas shockingly tears it in two, seemingly ripping open reality itself and creating a huge rift above Icecrown Citadel to the Shadowlands — the land of the dead.
Players will be able to travel to the Shadowlands, a new continent with five zones, which is essentially Warcraft’s version of the afterlife.
One of the zones, The Maw, houses Torghast, Tower of the Damned, a replayable dungeon with a randomly-generated map that has been inspired by Roguelike games.
According to game director, Ion Hazzikostas, players can look forward to seeing some long-dead characters in the Shadowlands, including Kael’thas Sunstrider and Uther the Lightbringer.
Shadowlands is available for preorder now at the game’s official website. The expansion is due for release sometime in 2020.