- Blizzard Entertainment held its annual fan conference,BlizzCon, from November 1 to November 3, welcoming thousands of gamers to the Anaheim Convention Centre.
- BlizzCon is a thorough celebration of the company’s iconic video game franchises, offering trailers and game announcements and giving attendees a chance to demo upcoming releases.
- After three jam-packed days of announcements, panel discussions, and esports competitions, this year’s BlizzCon produced plenty of highlights.
- However, not everyone was on board for the celebration – protesters gathered to rally against Blizzard’s suspension of Blitzchung last month, a professional gamer who spoke out in support of the protests in Hong Kong.
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After spending a month mired in political controversy, Blizzard Entertainment welcomed thousands of gamers to the Anaheim Convention Centre for BlizzCon, its annual fan conference from November 1 to November 3.
BlizzCon is a thorough celebration of the company’s iconic video game franchises, giving attendees a chance to demo upcoming releases and dazzling viewers at home with trailers and special announcements.
Not all of this year’s attendees were on board for the celebration – protesters outside of BlizzCon gathered to rally against Blizzard’s suspension of Blitzchung, a professional gamer who spoke out in support of the protests in Hong Kong. Many considered Blizzard’s punishment an act of censorship and fans organised boycotts of Blizzard games on social media in the weeks leading up to BlizzCon.
Blizzard President J. Allen Brack offered an apology for the Hong Kong controversy in his opening remarks at BlizzCon and the rest of the weekend was dedicated to restoring the community’s excitement for Blizzard’s current and future games.
While Blizzard’s rough October left many questioning the company’s future, BlizzCon brought the attention back to what the company is best at: making games that people care about.
These were the most important takeaways from BlizzCon 2019.
A gory cinematic trailer revealed “Diablo IV” at the start of BlizzCon.
“Diablo” is one of Blizzard’s longest-running franchises. Like previous games in the series, “Diablo IV” is a fantasy role-playing game with leading players through demonic dungeons and crypts.
Based on the trailer and early footage, “Diablo IV” has a darker tone and more emphasis on gore than “Diablo III.” The game’s visuals have been overhauled as well.
BlizzCon attendees got to play an early build of “Diablo IV” during the weekend and lots of gameplay footage was streamed.
“Overwatch 2” was one of BlizzCon’s most anticipated announcements. The new game has a cinematic campaign and focuses on cooperative play.
“Overwatch 2” is a new game from Blizzard’s youngest franchise. While the original “Overwatch” is a competitive shooting game with a professional esports league, “Overwatch 2” will have a greater emphasis on storytelling and cooperative play.
“Overwatch 2” players will be able to team up with each other and take on campaign missions, complete with cinematic cut scenes and big-time bosses. Blizzard also introduced a new character to the “Overwatch” universe, Sojourn.
Players who own the original “Overwatch” will still be able to play the same online modes with “Overwatch 2” players, and new characters and multiplayer stages will be added to both games moving forward.
Fans got a chance to try “Overwatch 2” in competitive and cooperative matches.
“Hearthstone Battlegrounds” is Blizzard’s first foray into the growing genre of “auto-battlers.”
“Auto-battlers” are a relatively new genre of competitive strategy games. Blizzard’s “Hearthstone Battlegrounds” joins Riot Games’ “Teamfight Tactics” and Valve’s “DOTA 2 Underlords” as the latest auto-battler to use a popular franchise to attract players.
“Hearthstone” is Blizzard’s popular digital card game, but “Battlegrounds” is an eight-person turn-based strategy game. “Hearthstone Battlegrounds” is in beta testing now and Blizzard is opening up the program to everyone on November 12.
“World of Warcraft” got a haunting new trailer for its next big update, “Shadowlands.”
“World of Warcraft” celebrated its 15th anniversary this year, but Blizzard has no plans to stop working on the game. The next expansion for “World of Warcraft” is “Shadowlands,”which will allow players to cross over into a spiritual realm with brand-new areas to explore.
Check out the trailer for Shadowlands below:
Blizzard also showed off more of “Warcraft 3: Reforged,” a remastered version of the 2002 classic.
Esports events for Blizzard games were packed with hundreds of fans. Blizzard said people from 59 different countries were in attendance during the weekend.
In the grand finals of the Overwatch World Cup, the United States team defeated China to earn its first world championship.
“Hearthstone” player Xiaomeng “VKLiooon” Li became the first woman to win a BlizzCon esports championship, and the first Chinese Global Champion.
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