BlizzConline, Blizzard’s virtual replacement for its annual BlizzCon gathering streamed over the weekend and to say things were a bit weird is an understatement. That’s not to say fans didn’t have much to look forward to – the Con’s developer panels, which revealed some details about Overwatch 2, likely satiated some appetites – but the opening keynote felt a little stunted.
This is probably down to the fact that Blizzard’s president, J Allen Brack, made his announcements to an empty room, albeit one watched by tonnes of fans. As someone who has been fortunate enough to attend BlizzCon on numerous occasions, the palpable excitement of hundreds of fans greeting the keynote wasn’t just missing, it showed that perhaps Blizzard should take a different route if it plans to hold an event like this again – maybe take a couple of pages out of the Nintendo Direct playbook?
Belles of the BlizzConline keynote ball
However staid it may have seemed to a semi-regular, Blizzard did have quite a few items to show off in the keynote. In no particular order, here they are:
World Of Warcraft: Shadowlands Chains Of Domination Announced
The WOW faithful have a new update to the latest expansion Shadowlands to look forward to. Titled Chains Of Domination (or Patch 9.1), it brings players a brand new region called Korthia, likely with the usual bevy of quests, raids, dungeons and more.
It also means players will be put on a collision course with Sylvanas Windrunner herself. Here’s hoping your usual band of WOW guild members have the time to back you up when this arrives. (Pity news of this was leaked before the actual announcement).
World Of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade Classic Expansion Announced
WOW’s first ever expansion is coming to WOW:Classic later this year – albeit with a couple of kinks.
Players will have a level cap of 70, flying mounts, combat arenas, dungeons, raids and more. Oh, and obviously the Draenei and Blood Elves will be playable races. Let’s hope you’re all prepared…
Diablo II: Resurrected Announced
Continuing Blizzard’s dip into nostalgia, the developer announced an HD remake of Diablo II, which is set to land on PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/s, and Nintendo Switch, with cross progression.
Slated for release later this year, Diablo II: Resurrected will feature both the original game and its expansion Lord Of Destruction, all of it wrapped in updated and rather eye-catching visuals.
Diablo IV is getting The Rogue
And speaking of Diablo, Blizzard announced a new class for Diablo IV: The Rogue in a particularly dark trailer involving a confession, a priest and a handful of severed ears. Yes, really.
Apparently it’s the new game’s first Dexterity class – think somewhere between the Demon Hunter from Diablo III and the Assassin from Diablo II and you’re starting to get the picture.
Hearthstone’s new expansion is called Forged In The Barrens
Blizzard’s virtual card game is (as expected) getting a new expansion. Forged In The Barrens will include a new core set made up of classics and 20 new cards, themed around bad times in the barrens (that area around orc stronghold Ogrimmar, if you care).
New mechanics include auto-attacks when a minion is damaged and spells that upgrade as each match progresses. There’s also a new mode called ‘Mercenaries’, which allow players to build teams and head off on missions. The lack of humour in the launch trailer was a bit of a let-down. Oh for the days of Ben Brode…
Blizzard Arcade Collection is out now
If you were hankering for something to play immediately why not check out the Blizzard Arcade Collection, which is now out on PC and consoles?
The collection includes a Blizzard’s earliest games (enhanced of course): The Lost Vikings, Rock N Roll Racing and Blackthorne. It also includes a “library of artifacts from these games’ heyday, like digital manuals, interviews with developers past and present, and classic artwork”… if that’s your sort of thing.