Blizzard Entertainment held its annual convention, BlizzCon 2010, at the Anaheim convention centre in California over the weekend. Blizzard's top brass alongside 20 000 fans attended the huge event, filled with tournaments, announcements, cosplay and even live performances.
Here are a few of the major BlizzCon announcements regarding the worlds of Starcraft II, World of Warcraft and Diablo III.
With the Cataclysm expansion pack for World of Warcraft dropping on 7 December, fans were awaiting some new announcements from their favourite fantasy arena. Cataclysm will boast a new storyline, new characters, new raid zones and dungeons and in general, a bigger and better WoW experience.
Some interesting announcements regarding the WoW movie were also made, as the movie's story seems to have been finalised and director Sam Raimi (Spiderman) is waiting for the green light. A new book, World of Warcraft: The Shattering: Prelude to Cataclysm has also been announced, outlining the story of Thrall (an Orc hero), as it introduces the Cataclysm storyline.
Unfortunately we did not receive a solid release date pertaining to the series' next expansion pack, Heart of the Swarm. It seems that we can only expect to see the title late in 2011, or somewhere in 2012.
There were however some hints as to the expansion’s storyline, with Blizzard revealing that Valerian Mengsk and the Xel'Naga will still be heavily involved. A nod was also leveled at Tychus's fate at the end of the first game, saying he could still be alive, perhaps infested by the Zerg, or he could be dead.
More multipayer focused changes include the introduction of a new Master League, containing the top 1-2% of players in each region and a new Grand Master League, which contains the top 200 players in each region. These elite leagues and their standings can be viewed by all players so placement will no doubt be an impossibly intense affair.
It was also announced that replays would be viewable in the cloud next year, enabling all players to watch them. Custom chat channels will also be available within one or two months, with rolling updates continuing indefinitely.
Unfortunately, we still don't have a release date for what is one of the decade’s most anticipated titles, but Blizzard did reveal a new class at this year's BlizzCon, the Demon Hunter.
The Demon Hunter was designed to fit the ranged archetype, but instead of making a traditional ranger character Blizzard opted for a more powerful and faster class.
The class will use bows, crossbows, daggers, shortswords, gadgets, traps and a bit of shadow magic to defeat Diablo's minions, and Blizzard wanted the character to have a thirst for revenge and be made, not born, very interesting.
Armour customisation was also covered, showing a Witch Doctor armour set with moving tentacles, as well as armour that can be dyed different colours. It was also revealed that discussions with non-playable characters (NPC's) in the game wouldn't be as long-winded as in Diablo II, with the NPC's actually falling in behind your character to brief you on a quest as you continue running through the game. Check out the amazing trailer for the Demon Hunter class at the bottom of this article.
While we would have loved to see some concrete release dates for Heart of the Swarm and Diablo III, Blizzard has never really been known for its early releases. Luckily we can keep ourselves busy until that time with Cataclysm releasing in December and Blizzard continuing to update and add features to the already amazing Starcraft II.