Today and Saturday, November 8th and 9th, Blizzard will be hosting their annual convention, BlizzCon, after a one year hiatus. Since Gaming Illustrated posted our preview of the event last month, Blizzard has released the schedule for the event, which looks to show information on all of Blizzard’s intellectual properties, including the recently-renamed Heroes of the Storm.
The convention will have seven stages—the main stage, a Starcraft II stage, a World of Warcraft and Hearthstone stage, a panel stage, an artist stage, faction feud stage, and a voice actor stage. All the big news will obviously come from the main stage, including the expected announcement of the new WoW expansion. The Starcraft II stage will spend both days on the last rounds, semi-finals, and grand finals of the global World Championship Series of Starcraft II. The WoW and Hearthstone stage will similarly focus on the World of Warcraft Arena Global Invitational throughout both days. A three-hour block is set-aside for Hearthstone exhibitioning on Saturday morning. The panel stage will delve into the typical panel topics such as the art and sound of the various IP’s, Q&A, cosplays, and so on. The artist stage will have a variety of Blizzard’s digital painting, traditional sculpting, and digital 3D modeling team members showcasing their work and processes. The faction feud stage is for chest-beating and good-natured competition from the various factions of each of Blizzards main IP’s. Lastly, the voice actor stage will involve presentations on the voice acting of Blizzard’s games and autograph opportunities with the major voice actors.
While there is plenty going on throughout the day at all the various stages, all the major news will be at the main stage. On Friday, after the appropriately-named Opening Ceremony at 11:00 AM, fans will not have to wait long for the big news, the panel that most fans will likely be waiting for—“World of Warcraft: What’s Next?” at 12:30 PM. With Mists of Pandaria on its supposedly final patch, news about the next expansion is well overdue. Blizzard recently copyrighted the name “Warlords of Draenor” in New Zealand, Europe, and the US, which has many believing it will be the next expansion. However, they still have a copyright on the name “The Dark Below” that they applied for several months ago. The fan community speculation is flying all over the place, some suggesting that Warlords of Draenor will in fact be a long-awaited RTS Warcraft game. The days leading up to the announcement of Mists of Pandaria were marked by similar wild speculation, so it might be better to not count anything out until the event gets underway.
After the big World of Warcraft presentation, Blizzard will follow-up with a “fireside chat” on Hearthstone at 2:15 PM where they will talk more about the origin of the game idea, what they have learned from the beta testing thus far, and what new features they plan on implementing. They will follow with a similar preview of the new Diablo III expansion, Reaper of Souls, at 3:30PM and a long-awaited overview of Heroes of the Storm, the renamed Blizzard All-Stars MOBA game.
As typical for BlizzCon, the event will be heavily colored by the World of Warcraft news. While subscriptions stabilized early in Mists of Pandaria, they dropped off significantly as the expansion went on, so the game could use a big announcement to get people really excited about the game again. With the big news of the real-money auction house closing already well-known, the Diablo III panels just have to finish convincing the displeased Diablo fans that the game will be totally turned around. BlizzCon 2013 looks to have a lot of much-desired news; hopefully, it will live up to expectation.
Stay tuned to Gaming Illustrated for news from the floor of BlizzCon!