Today, I’m back in the States, in Anaheim, Blizzcon wristband key on and ready!
Yet, something strange and interesting – I still don’t fully know what Blizzard is set to announce.
There have been leaks, interesting and possible all the way to 4chan garbage. There’s a real sense of weight to the proceedings this year – something needed after last year. The rumor mill has worked overtime suggesting things for this Blizzcon.
All of them seem compelling, and more than enough individually to be great. However, there is a lot more than the disappointment of 2018 to overcome. 2019 has been the year of “big corporation Blizzard” who have finally found the ways in which to wear down their player-friendly facade to reveal a disappointing side. Layoffs en masse in February. PR blunders throughout the year, including the cancellation of Heroes of the Storm esports (HotS has less merch at Blizzcon this year than even Starcraft II, a game which has not had meaningful content released in nearly 4 years). Most of Blizzard’s games have been lackluster with content updates and execution this year, leaving dissatisfied fan bases across the board.
That’s without diving into the Blitzchung incident, the anemic response to which from Blizzard still poses some threat of being an elephant in the room and led to the cancellation of a WoW 15th Anniversary event in Taiwan and the same for the Overwatch Switch version launch event.
Yet, Blizzcon 2019 is still here, and while Blizzard has much to answer for to both dedicated fans and keyboard-warrior detractors, one thing remains exciting to me.
I still couldn’t fully tell you what they’re going to announce.
Yes, Overwatch 2 is probably a thing, and that’s great – but what does that announcement entail? Nobody fully knows yet. Yes, there’s likely both a Diablo 4 and a Diablo II Remaster, and both sound great, but short of a few leaked details that aren’t yet confirmed, what do these entail? Uncertain.
Then, my bread and butter, WoW. An expansion reveal so inevitable my guild leader has given up on fighting it (and the dunking I will enact tomorrow will be mighty and annoying), but what is there to look forward to?
Well, who can say?
We’ve seen the Bolvar print, confirmed via a Blizzard gear store leak anyone could validate until Blizzard found out. We’ve heard Shadowlands, but what does that mean?
To me, Shadowlands is a big idea that encompasses a lot of ideas – death itself, the actual Shadowlands, and a lot of heavy theming. However, the Bolvar leak gives credence to that while also telling us so little that it might as well have been intentional – now everyone is excited about this idea but who can even say what it means? We also don’t even know if Bolvar is evil or allied – and the possibility exists for both to work within the framework in front of us. There are also a lot of 8.3 details that we know are hiding in encrypted files that concern Bolvar, and who knows what shape that will take. Plus, the actual ending of Battle for Azeroth is still up in the air – who knows what is to fully come in 8.3 and the likely 8.3.5?
Every big Blizzcon year, I feel like this bears repeating – not knowing these details is good, even great! We know so much about the game in advance these days – have since Wrath of the Lich King and the rise of data miners, really – and having something largely unspoiled is kind of nice, even if I personally don’t care about regular spoilers for patch news and will voraciously read and write about every spoiler I see.
Now, I wait – I eagerly want to know details about gameplay and the zones. I want to see Diablo II remastered. I want to see Diablo 4’s artstyle and gameplay. I am looking forward to seeing other people be excited for Overwatch 2. I want to eagerly consume everything about the WoW expansion and report back with my experiences.
Is it enough to bring people back to the table after Blizzard’s 2019? That remains to be seen.
But, it is Blizzcon eve, and here in Anaheim, at least, that cynicism is largely on-hold.