For the first time since 2019, BlizzCon is returning to its traditional form. While Blizzard’s convention held an online ceremony in 2021, it has not been hosted as an in-person event since the COVID-19 pandemic began in 2020. That changes today with the 2023 edition, which sees fans returning to the Anaheim Convention Center to get all the news on the studio’s games.
It all kicks off with an Opening Ceremony that’ll give players updates on titles like Overwatch 2, World of Warcraft, and more. It’s an especially important moment for Blizzard, as its happening very shortly after Microsoft completed its acquisition of the company this fall. Due to that move, all eyes are on the BlizzCon stage this year. Could we perhaps get some news on Blizzard titles coming to Game Pass? Will Xbox’s Phil Spencer make a cameo? If you can’t watch live, don’t worry; we’re keeping track of all the news right here as it comes in.
World of Warcraft is getting a major story update. Blizzard veteran Chris Metzen revealed an ambitious content plan called The Worldsoul Saga. Metzen says it will take place over several expansions. Blizzard teased not one, but three of those expansions during the opening ceremony. The first expansion is dubbed The War Within and will have players exploring a subterranean kingdom. That’ll be followed by Midnight, which takes players back to Quel’Thalas. Finally, there’s The Last Titan, set in Northrend.
As for the classic version, World of Warcraft is getting a big update in the form of Cataclysm Classic. For those who don’t remember, Cataclysm is a critically acclaimed World of Warcraft expansion that released all the way back in 2010. The update is set to launch in the first half of 2024. The Classic version of the MMO is also getting Season of Discovery, which has a level 25 level cap initially. Blizzard will gradually raise that cap, adding in more rewards as it goes. It launches on November 30.
Overwatch 2 Game Director Aaron Keller and other team members took the stage early on to give several updates on the sequel. That started with the reveal of the shooter’s next hero Mauga, a Samoan Tank class character with a chain gun on each hand. He has abilities like Overrun, an unstoppable charge, and Cage Fight, which gives his team infinite ammo for a brief time. The character was first introduced in a short story four years ago, so he’s a long awaited addition for eagle eyed fans. He’ll join the roster in Season 8, and players can try him for free today.
Keller also teased two new heroes. A hero named Venture is coming in Season 10 and another codenamed Space Ranger will join the roster in Season 12. More details on both will be revealed during BlizzCon.
Keller went on to discuss the team’s new “clarity of vision” that’s guiding its 2024 roadmap. The team is making a new PvP game mode called Clash, which is another point-capture variation. That’s also bringing a new map, Hanaoka, which is a new version of Hanamura. The game will also get a rework to how rewards, seasons, and lore works.
For its Diablo 4 block, Blizzard gave a refresher on what’s in the current Season of Blood. That includes an experience boost that allows players to hit level 100 much faster. Starting next week, the season will introduce five class specific rings from the game’s previous season. On December 5, the game will getting an enchanting preview to make builds easier. That date will also bring a six-week event called Abbatoir of Zir. A holiday event, dubbed Midwinter Blight, is coming on December 12 too (which may just include a killer Santa Claus).
Blizzard also teased a few additions coming to Season 3. That’ll include a Gauntlet mode that adds leaderboards. We got a quick teaser of an upcoming story expansion too, dubbed Vessel of Hatred. That’s set to release in late 2024 and will include a new region, as well as one from Diablo 2. It’ll also come with a brand new class that has never appeared in a Diablo game before, though Blizzard was tight lipped on what that is. More info on the expansion is coming next summer.
The Hearthstone team gave an overview of the card game’s next expansion, Showdown in the Badlands. A new trailer showed off its wild west theming, teasing a few new cards. It’ll add Reno Lone Ranger, the game’s first neutral hero card, The expansion launches on November 14.
Blizzard also announced Catch-up Packs, which include up to 50 cards from the last two years. All players are getting some packs and some will be included in Showdown in the Badlands bundles too. Its unclear how much those cost for those who want to buy them outside of that.
On top of that, Battlegrounds is getting a co-op mode called Battlegrounds Duos. It’ll give teammates a shared health pool and let them trade cards back and forth during battles. The mode is set to launch in early 2024, with more information to come during the rest of the convention.
Free-to-play mobile game Warcraft Rumble began rolling out right before BlizzCon began, so it only made sense it would get a bit of shine during the show. We mostly got an overview of how it works, going through features like dungeons, PvP, raids, and more. Blizzard set the segment up like a surprise shadow drop, though the game was already available nearly a day before.
While not exactly an announcement, BlizzCon opened with an important moment as Xbox chief Phil Spencer took the stage. Spencer didn’t come with any news (like Blizzard games coming to Game Pass), but he did lay out a bit of a mission statement for Xbox’s relationship with the company. He gave a shout out to the long-defunct Starcraft series, hinted that Blizzard games are coming to Xbox, and notes that the company will work closely with Blizzard to build its future. It was a big PR moment for the two companies that set the stage for the future without confirming anything new.