Nearly every year, Blizzard holds a convention out in California in celebration of themselves. Now, you might be thinking that it’s a rather egotistical move to skip other large industry events like E3, just so they can parade themselves and their games at their own event. You know what? I think Blizzard has earned the right to be special enough to focus on themselves for two days every year – their games may be few and far between, but they are undoubtedly some of the best titles available anywhere, by any developer, from any region.
Now that the pleasantries are out of the way, BlizzCon 2010 is quickly approaching – it happens this weekend, in fact, October 22 and 23. What can we look forward to this year? Let’s do a quick run-down.
World of Warcraft: Cataclysm
Naturally, there will be numerous panels and special events held with the focus being World of Warcraft, but will we learn anything new? When we think about how close we are to Cataclysm’s launch, and how long the beta has been going on, there isn’t a whole lot we don’t know about that expansion. We’ve even recently been upgraded to patch 4.0, which is officially in Cataclysm, as far as patch numbering goes (the 4th iteration of the game).
We may see some of Blizzard’s future plans for their massive MMO, but I wouldn’t bet on a new expansion or anything else hugely noteworthy as far as WoW goes. Although, the panels discussing various game mechanics post-4.0 will likely be of interest to those who play the game. Also, nothing beats WoW cosplay. Nothing. Sorry Cloud-fanboys.
While StarCraft II was released in July, there are two upcoming “expansions” for the title – Heart of the Swarm and Legacy of the Void, focusing on the Zerg and Protoss respectively. We may hear a bit of info about the next one, which is the Zerg-focused Heart of the Swarm, although the way it shifts multi-player game play may not be the most prominent.
What is of more interest to me is the story behind the Zerg campaign. Blizzard has said that the story can’t really be told in the same manner as the Terran one from Wings of Liberty, and that it will be something unique and different. Perhaps we’ll see more details on this at BlizzCon. I wouldn’t expect Heart of the Swarm to see the light of day until 2012 at the earliest, though, and that is being optimistic.
Also expect a lot of StarCraft II competitions to be highlighted during the two days of BlizzCon, so if you’re interested in the competitive side of the game, you might want to check those out if you’re there yourself, or if you’ve purchased the DirectTV streaming feed of the entire convention.
This is actually the title I expect to hear the most new info on. It is also the one we know the least about, although Blizzard has graced us with bits and pieces of information over the last several months. We’ve had a StarCraft II release this year and we will have a World of Warcraft release. That makes Diablo the only franchise behind the curve, so to speak. So, I predict we’ll hear some interesting new tidbits about Diablo III this weekend.
I’m not sure if we’ll get an actual release date, but more likely a time frame, if anything, that we can expect the game.
Unannounced New IP MMO
We’ve been hearing about this for a while, but this new MMO of theirs, which is supposedly a new IP, still hasn’t been officially announced, and we may see something about that officially at this year’s BlizzCon. If we don’t, it’ll likely be another year before anything comes down the line, seeing as how Blizzard likes skipping E3, like I mentioned earlier. I’m anxious to see what it is, though, but because it’s a new IP, my hopes of a World of StarCraft MMO are probably gone forever.
Regardless what Blizzard title you’re most looking forward to, you will likely find something you’ll be interested this weekend at BlizzCon. Stay tuned here for any big news that comes out of the event!