BlizzCon 2017: Opening Ceremony Announcements Recap

From StarCraft 2 and World of Warcraft, to Heroes of The Storm, HearthStone, and Overwatch, here's what Blizzard showed off during BlizzCon's Opening Ceremony.

BlizzCon 2017 started off with a bang. Making some big announcements for some of the most-celebrated games in their catalog, such as StarCraft 2, Heroes of the Storm, Hearthstone, World of Warcraft, and Overwatch, Blizzard opened the ceremonies in Anaheim, California with some big news. 

Here's a rundown from BlizzCon 2017 so far. 

StarCraft 2 is Going Free to Play

You read that right. The Blizzard RTS is going completely free-to-play beginning November 14. This F2P version of the game will give players access to the Wings of Liberty single-player campaign, as well as all co-op commanders until Level 5. 

Players who already own Wings of Liberty will be given Heart of the Swarm for free. Access to StarCraft 2's multiplayer component will also be free to all players who achieve 10 "First Wins of the Day" against CPU opponents. 

New Heroes of the Storm Characters

WoW's Alexstrasza and Overwatch's Hanzo are confirmed to be the latest characters joining the Heroes of the Storm roster in a 2018 gameplay update.

For those who don't know, Alexstrasza is a ranged support character that can transform into a dragon, as well as use her own life force to heal her allies in combat. Hanzo will be a ranged assassin and perform scout duties, similar to those he is able to perform in Overwatch

On top of that, Blizzard announced that Heroes of the Storm will be receiving major updates, such as stealth reworks, evolved battleground mechanics, refined camera mechanics, voice chat features, and reworked matchmaking mechanics. 

Hearthstone Expansion Announced

Kobolds & Catacombs, Hearthstone's upcoming expansion, is a self-proclaimed "love-letter to that famous fantasy dungeon-crawling experience" found in games such as Dungeons and Dragons. Set to release in December, the competitive card game's newest addition will focus on adventuring through dungeons and finding precious loot. This expansion is now available for pre-purchase. 

New cards featured in the BlizzCon announcement were Marin the Fox, Crushing Walls, Recruit, and Dragon Soul. Marin the Fox will be free for anyone who logs into Hearthstone starting Monday, November 6 -- and anyone who attended BlizzCon or holds a BlizzCon ticket will receive a gold version of the card for free. 

In addition to those announcements, Blizzard also revealed that Hearthstone will be receiving a new single-player experience called Dungeon Run. According to Blizzard, this mode is: 

All about defeating bosses, collecting loot, and leveling up your character. You'll defeat eight random bosses, and each time you defeat a boss, you'll earn new cards for your deck. 

And if you lose, you lose all of your cards and start over, adding a rogue-like element to the competitive card game's Rolodex. Dungeon Run will be completely free upon its release in December. 

New Overwatch Map and Hero Announced

Blizzard also announced a brand new, amusement-park themed map for Overwatch called "Blizzard World". Sporting all things theme park, from arcade areas to rides and more, Blizzard World is a part-assault/part-payload map that will go live sometime next year. 

But what is Overwatch without its heroes? Blizzard knows the answer, so to shake things up in the Overwatch meta, the company announced a brand new hero: Moira. The game's newest support/healer, Moira is mage-type character that is highly mobile and able to dole out loads of damage in conjunction to her healing abilities. Part of the Blackwatch and having a history with Talon, Moira is described by Blizzard as "OPAF" ... and we're sure you can figure out what that means ... 

World of Warcraft Classic

In one of the biggest announcements of the day, Blizzard revealed World of Warcraft Classic. This new "addition" to the game comes in the form of a throwback, "vanilla-WoW" server.

As of this writing, there is no word on when this newest WoW feature will launch. You can read more about WoW's upcoming vanilla servers here

World of Warcraft Expansion: Battle of Azeroth

Set to release sometime in 2018, Battle of Azeroth sees the horde facing off against the Alliance for the very soul of Azeroth. The expansion will introduce new continents in Kul Tiras and Zandalar; new allied races, new zones, and increased level cap (now at 120), and more. 

You can read more about the upcoming WoW expansion here

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Stay tuned to GameSkinny for continued coverage on BlizzCon 2017. 

Published Nov. 3rd 2017

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