BlizzCon 2015: Facts, rumors, and expectations

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There are less than two weeks left before BlizzCon 2015, one of the most anticipated gaming events of the year, starts on November 6. The annual two-day event hosts massive panels and world championships dedicated to the games of Blizzard: Diablo III, Hearthstone, Heroes of the Storm, Overwatch, StarCraft and, of course, World of Warcraft. Positive emotions guaranteed!

So, it's time to get the knack of the biggest expectations the fan community has generated thus far. What will we see in the new World of Warcraft expansion Legion, first announced on August 6 at Gamescom 2015? What’s next on Hearthstone and Heroes of the Storm? What is the future of StarCraft II?  All these questions and more need to be answered.

Blizzard has already published the official schedule of the event for both Friday and Saturday, so you can have an idea of what’s coming. If you can’t attend the event, you can always watch it online and here’s a huge list of ways how to do it. The event will also have a tremendous closing performance by Linkin Park.

Now, let’s get moving and see if this year’s BlizzCon announcements will blow our minds!

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World of Warcraft

World of Warcraft, without a doubt, is the major player on BlizzCon. The future of one of the world’s biggest MMORPGs, which actually lost a huge amount of subscribers this year, directly depends on the quality of the upcoming Legion expansion. Blizzard, by all means, needs to convince their fans that the return of the Burning Legion to Azeroth will be able to redeem the franchise.

As a part of the panel discussion, we will learn a whole set of details about the new game content, which is likely not going to be too different from this year’s Gamescom announcement. We’ll take a look at the new gaming systems, and we’ll be able to once again experience the unforgettable questions and answers session with fans and developers. In addition, the World of Warcraft panel will most likely introduce the first cinematic trailer for Legion.

Taking into account the planned launch of the beta testing for Legion this year, we can also expect at least some preliminary dates. Anyway, the whole WoW community will carefully watch every move and listen to every single word of the development team.

Additionally, the World of Warcraft movie will finally have its official trailer shown at the event. There have been lots of rumors concerning the delays and other hitches, but it is coming, so be prepared for some epic CGI showdown.

StarCraft II

The development of the Legacy of the Void, the third and the final expansion pack planned for StarCraft II, is almost complete, and probably it will be the last BlizzCon for StarCraft II, as well. The further development of the game will be suspended, and Team 1 of Blizzard, responsible for the RTS, will be able to switch to some other projects. Despite this, the developers still plan to continue provide some support for StarCraft. BlizzCon has some interesting panel discussions scheduled, such as "The Future of StarCraft II" and "Sounds from the Void."

"Sounds from the Void" will introduce composers and sound engineers, who will talk about the process of creating a soundtrack for the upcoming expansion. As a part of the StarCraft discussion, Blizzard will sum up the results of the Legacy of the Void beta testing, as well as talk about the future balance of the game.

"The Future of StarCraft II" panel is definitely the most intriguing and mysterious one. The developers will talk about significant changes and innovations that will be integrated into the game after the release of Legacy of the Void.

Perhaps the developers are planning to finalize the future mode "Allied Commander," or even produce a mini-campaign in the style of "Whispers of Oblivion," a three-mission series taking place between Heart of the Swarm and Legacy of the Void featuring Zeratul.

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Diablo III

Welp, there most likely won't be any new announcements for Diablo III this time around. Why? Because there are two days of BlizzCon and only one panel discussion with the development team of the game. The event will take place on Friday. Probably, they will speak about the details of the next update 2.4 and the next season.

There is only one possible explanation for the situation: Blizzard doesn’t want to announce another expansion yet, so that developers could focus on an unannounced project in the Diablo universe. This could also mean that there will be no next expansion for Diablo III. But fans keep asking: What about The Dark Prophet, a highly rumored next expansion? Well, who knows. Blizzard usually either create a ton of hype or just confuse their fans. Let’s wait and see.

Nevertheless, any sort of upcoming content must be big enough for developers to dedicate a whole separate panel. Fans also expect new items, kits, and perhaps the new location for the adventure mode, as was the case with the "Ruins of Secheron" at the previous BlizzCon.

Heroes of the Storm

Heroes of the Storm has three panels overall, where developers will talk about the new heroes and battlefields, and also share their thoughts on the current state of the game.

It's safe to expect that the opening ceremony will include the announcement of a new gaming event that is similar to the "Eternal Conflict," a Diablo-themed event in Heroes of the Storm, released on June 30, 2015. This would entail the introduction of a whole heap of new content dedicated to certain themes. The most suitable choice for this is considered to be the universe of StarCraft, which is honestly lacking in the current Heroes of the Storm build. Perhaps the developers will show some sort of high-tech battlefields or even early versions of famous characters.

It should be noted that if Blizzard will announce a new game event, it is most likely that it will be released no earlier than 2016. In this regard, it is possible that the developers will share some of their plans in the coming months.

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Overwatch

In regard to Overwatch, Blizzard has prepared two panel discussions: "What's New" and "The World of Overwatch." The odd thing is that panels will have almost no content, unless Blizzard has enough time to properly run the beta testing before BlizzCon, which starts today (October 27), a little more than just a week before the event. Most likely we can expect an already familiar set of announcements.

There’s no doubt that the developers will show the new maps and characters, as well as touch upon the process of creating them. We may finally hear some clear information on the business model of the game. Given the importance of events like BlizzCon, developers could also tell us something a bit more significant, as well, for example, something about the new game modes.

Hearthstone

Hearthstone also has two panels at BlizzCon 2015: "What’s Next" and "Fireside Chat." There are many hopes that Blizzard will show a new piece of content for the game, and if the current trend continues, it will be a new solo Adventure (the other two are The Curse of Naxxramas and Blackrock Mountain). Its official release can be expected somewhere in November-December this year, and we will likely find out about all the details during the "What’s Next" panel.

In addition, during the "Fireside Chat" the developers will sum up a few last months of the state of the game. In particular, the official schedule includes notes on the team speaking about the process of creation of various Tavern Brawls and answering questions.

In general, the upcoming BlizzCon should be quite interesting. It would be naive to expect any major announcements, and most likely we will simply get to learn more details about the expected projects that have been already announced by Blizzard. Nevertheless, it’s a huge event and we know we'll all be watching it.

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Published Oct. 27th 2015

Correspondent

Sergey has been a freelancer in the video games industry for more than five years, writing for various publications around the world. His favorite games are MtG, Dark Souls, Diablo, and Divinity: Original Sin. Sergey doesn't own consoles because a PC is all he needs.

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