BlizzCon 2019 started Friday and already they are pushing out new and exciting stuff this weekend. The announcements included Diablo IV and Overwatch 2, Hearthstone Battlegrounds and World of Warcraft Shadowlands. We’re only one day in and we’ve already had four major announcements to be excited about. Here are the highlights from BlizzCon 2019 (Day 1). You can also check out the entire opening ceremony here.
Last year’s BlizzCon will always be remembered as the time that Blizzard assumed “you game on a mobile phone, right?” The fiasco surrounding a mobile version of the popular Diablo game was met with tons of skepticism and disappointment. Fans of the Diablo franchise expected Diablo IV. And for all of you fans that were let down last year, the time has finally come.
Blizzard announced Diablo IV and unlike the mobile version, this game will be just like the previous installments in the franchise in terms of gameplay. You can expect deadly dungeons to crawl through and hoard up as much loot as humanly as possible (or as whatever creature you want to play as, of course).
According to the developer, Diablo IV is set to be the ‘perfect’ game in the dungeon crawler franchise as it will combine the doomy dread of Diablo, the loot focused gameplay of Diablo II and the awesome combat of Diablo III. The game will feature PvE, co-op and there will be designated PvP areas.
Apart from the insanely high production value trailer above, you’re are also treated to a solid 3 minute long gameplay trailer. The game looks beautiful in all it’s detailed textures, gorgeous elemental effects and atmospheric lighting. Classes like the Wizard, Barbarian and a shape shifting Druid will be returning to the franchise. Oh, and did we mention there’s mounts for you to ride?! From demon horses to faceless mounts and many others, you can use the mounts to travel faster between waypoints and in conjunction with class-specific dismount abilities. You can also customize your mount’s appearance, which also improves its abilities, like equipping certain armor buffs and more.
Diablo IV will release for Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and PC. A release date has yet to be announced.
Although it leaked a couple of days ago (Overwatch game director Jeff Kaplan even made a little joke about it) fans now officially know a sequel to 2016’s Overwatch will be coming to consoles and PC soon. Although, ‘sequel’ might not be the right word for what Blizzard has been cooking up for fans of the hero centered competitive shooter.
Overwatch 2 will focus on the story side of the rich universe of Overwatch. Instead of the original’s competitive nature, Overwatch 2 will focus on story driven (co-op) missions in the spirit of the reoccurring Archive and Halloween events. Instead of downright replacing the first Overwatch game, the sequel will exist alongside it.
Players’ earned skins will be shared between the two games while new maps, heroes and cosmetic content will be released for both games. Kaplan calls the sequel the start of “a shared multiplayer environment” where progress, cosmetics and select content will be shared between games. For story content you will have to purchase Overwatch 2, but all ‘competitive’ additions to the sequel will also be available for free on the first Overwatch.
In the trailer below, you wont see any gameplay. Instead, you get another high production value cinematic that is filled with little nods and Easter eggs. Previously teased character Echo makes her return while Blizzard shows many of the ‘old’ characters in action once again. And speaking about the veterans of Overwatch, many are given new looks and we even get a glimpse of some of the potential new gameplay mechanics like Brigitte and Reinhardt interlocking shields and Tracer and Mei combining Ultimates.
World of Warcraft: Shadowlands
The next expansion to grace BlizzCon 2019 and the World of Warcraft community is Shadowlands. The expansion launches in 2020 and will take players to an alternate realm of death and destruction. You must choose one of several factions to align with to fight against Sylvanas. In the trailer you’ll see Bolvar, The Lich King battling Sylvanas, before she rips his helmet in half to destroy the barrier between Azeroth and the Shadowlands.
Many things are sure to change about WoW’s current gameplay and progression systems. But we will report more on that when we have more information. Some of the most noteable changes include a reduced level cap of 60 and a new endgame dungeon.
WoW Classic will also have an update November 12th.
Hearthstone Decent of Dragons + Battlegrounds
To conclude this announcements-filled day we get to Hearthstone. Fans received not one, but two big announcements surrounding the collectible online card game. The first revolves around a new expansion called Decent of Dragons. Players will go to the region of Dragonblight, introduced with the World of Warcraft expansion Wrath of the Lich King.
Hearthstone expansions are always accompanied with a new set of cards and this time around you can expect dragons. Lots of dragons. In the (power metal fueled) trailer below we get a glimpse of some of the upcoming new monsters, although we have absolutely no idea what the respective cards will actually do.
We do have an idea of where the story will be going, as this is presumably the last addition to the current Year of the Dragon. During this ‘season’ two expansions came out and Decent of Dragons will likely conclude the story line of this season. It appears that the end is nigh and players will finally have to choose between good and evil.
Hearthstone Decent of Dragons will release on December 10th.
Other new stuff
Besides the new set of cards, Hearthstone will also be getting a new take on the auto-battler genre called Hearthstone Battlegrounds. This rogue-like game mode will have you choose one of 24 heroes with unique abilities and perks. When the game begins and you will visit Bob’s tavern, instead of building a deck of cards, players build an ever growing board of minions. The game will feature many familiar cards from the base game and also features all the trademark powers like Divine Shield, Taunt and Charge.
Players have to build an army and keep an eye out for synergies (everyone knows orcs love to fight alongside other orcs). Once a solid army has been built, fight against one of seven opponents. After that, their armies will automatically fight to the death until just one player is left standing.
Hearthstone Battlegrounds will be available during an Open Beta starting November 12th for all Hearthstone players. Early Access will be available for a week starting November 5th for players who attended BlizzCon 2019, pre-ordered the the Decent of Dragons bundle, or bought a BlizzCon Virtual Ticket. For more details, here’s an introductory tutorial in this Battlegrounds blogpost.
Viewers looking to watch Day 2 of BlizzCon 2019 can purchase a virtual ticket from BlizzCon to catch the action. Be sure to check back over the weekend here at Game Enthusiast for more updates from BlizzCon and the rest of your favorite gaming franchises.
Image credit: Blizzard