Blizzard’s sometimes-annual convention in Anaheim. Official site: BlizzCon

World of Warcraft (briefly) shows off the 8.0 expansion in testing

Can we officially declare the next World of Warcraft expansion announced yet? Technically, no. But the game’s beta version testing very briefly turned to 8.0 yesterday, as screenshotted by a quick-moving Reddit user. For those of you unfamiliar with the game’s version numbers, each expansion winds up being another tick up of the main number, and thus Legion is currently 7.3. So seeing 8.0 on the beta test servers means the next expansion is likely already in the early test stages.

This all pans out to line up nicely with the planned expansion announcement at BlizzCon next month and a release in about a year (although whether or not there will be more patches for the current expansion through that year is more ambiguous). As for what the expansion will be about… well, there are tons of rumors and leaks already, but we’re going to go ahead and bet that it’s all about herding animals. Sure, it’s almost certainly wrong, but imagine how cool it would be if that’s correct.

Source: Reddit via MMORPG


Here’s the in-game swag you’re getting with a BlizzCon virtual ticket (including WoW mounts!)

How many of you buy the BlizzCon virtual ticket as much for the in-game swag as for the actual streams? Even if not, you’re still getting the loot, and Blizz has just dished out just what it is.

  • In World of Warcraft, you’re getting mounts, one for each faction. Hey, these are actually sweet. Better than the traditional minipet!
  • Diablo III fans will be whipping out the Murkomancer minipet.
  • In Overwatch? It’s a special Winston skin.
  • StarCraft II players are getting three cute SCV, probe, and drone skins.
  • Heroes of the Storm fans are also getting a mount.
  • And for Hearthstone, who even knows. You’re just being teased with a “mystery goodie.” “The Innkeeper’s not quite ready to show his hand quite yet,” quips Blizz.

So those are the in-game items you’ll score for your $40, which also gets you access to all the live video. The WoW, StarCraft II, and Overwatch items are already live, while the other games have yet to debut theirs. Will you be watching the festivities along with us?

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British alt rock band Muse will close out BlizzCon 2017

Blizzard’s going old school once again with its band selection for this year’s BlizzCon: UK alt rock band Muse. Here’s the spiel:

“Widely renowned as one of the best live acts in the world, Muse—Matt Bellamy, Dominic Howard, and Chris Wolstenholme—have won numerous music awards, including two Grammy Awards, an American Music Award, five MTV Europe Music Awards, two Brit Awards, six NME Awards, and six Q Awards. Since forming in 1994, Muse have released seven studio albums, selling more than 20 million copies worldwide. Their latest album, Drones, debuted at #1 in 21 countries around the world and scored the band their first #1 album in the United States—along with an award for Best Rock Album at the 2016 Grammy Awards.”

Both in-person and virtual ticket holders will be able to watch the concert. Past acts at the show include Blink-182, Metallica, the Foo Fighters, Tenacious D, Linkin Park, and last year, Weird Al. Lob your “at least it’s not Blink-182” jokes at the comments below.

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The BlizzCon schedule is out, and it sure has some World of Warcraft panels

Again, we caution our readers, as we did yesterday, that there is not any official announcement of an announcement regarding the next World of Warcraft expansion, except that you can expect one next month. But boy, there is a lot of World of Warcraft stuff on this year’s BlizzCon schedule. It’s up now, and while you’ll have to page through to November 3rd to see the actual schedule, you can see several WoW-themed panels that are also helpfully vague enough to not officially say there’s an expansion while also pretty strongly hinting at it.

Of course, those of you more concerned with Overwatch, Heroes of the Storm, or Hearthstone still have some panels to look forward to. Those of you more concerned with StarCraft II or Diablo III should just feel sad. Check out the full schedule if you want to get an idea of what’s coming; it’s a little too early to formally announce that we’ll be doing our usual liveblogs, but that does seem likely.


Rumor: Blizzard is buffing Battlenet with chat channels, offline mode

The dataminers at MMO-Champion may have just figured out one of the big reveals Blizzard has cooking for BlizzCon next month. It revolves around Battlenet: They’ve found a cavalcade of strings relating to grouping, plus icons and avatars, references to online/offline modes, and chat channel features, all pointing to a batch of new social features for the heretofore relatively featureless launcher.

Players are already calling it “guilds 2.0” and a “Discord clone,” which may not be bad things given that Battlenet is basically a lump taking up resources in your system tray as it stands, and there was certainly room for improvement of the friends lists that span multiple games. And the offline mode will certainly cheer up anybody who’s tired of that one guildie who still plays Heroes of the Storm bugging you every time you log into Diablo, am I right? Plus, if it’s keeping the name Battlenet (and it is), it deserves a bit of sprucing up.

Safe money’s on more info at BlizzCon in early November.


Blizzard is hiring for a production director for the Diablo franchise

Remember last week’s announcement that there would be no news for Diablo III or any other part of the Diablo franchise at this year’s BlizzCon? It remains to be seen when that will change, but something is definitely shifting with Blizzard’s latest hiring position. The developer is searching for a new Production Director for the Diablo franchise as a whole, helping to bring the games into the ambiguous future.

The ideal candidate listed will have experience with online gams, as well, which raises all sorts of questions. Is it something for a new expansion? A new title? An overhaul of Diablo III into a new service? It’s all impossible to say, but it should at least help mollify fans who see the franchise as being largely abandoned. And hey, if you’ve got the production experience and you’re a fan, this could be good for you on multiple levels.


World of Warcraft confirms a next expansion reveal at BlizzCon in new video

Let’s be fair, World of Warcraft’s recap of 2017 doesn’t outright say that the game’s next expansion will be revealed at BlizzCon. But if you don’t want to take a trip down memory lane, that’s the big takeaway from the very end of the video, that this year’s convention will discuss where the game can possibly go after facing off against the Burning Legion. So you can expect an expansion reveal.

Of course, if you would like to take a trip down memory lane, that’s what the whole video is all about. So go ahead and take a trip back from the opening of the Nighthold to the most recent patch depositing players on Argus and everything in-between, narrated by Ion Hazzikostas discussing each major milestone and what it meant for the game as a whole. And, obviously, keep your eyes peeled for that reveal next month.

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Diablo III will get absolutely no announcements at this year’s BlizzCon

Blizzard really cares about the Diablo III fanbase and the overall Diablo franchise. So what if it gets less attention than other franchises? So what if it’s gotten an alarming lack of updates since its solitary expansion? So what if the game was once referred to in a press release as “that other game we run sometimes, Devin or Derrick, some D thing?” So what if the game is going to have no announcements whatsoever at this year’s BlizzCon?

Wait, that last one is actually kind of really bad. Like, this is a problem.

Yes, Blizzard has confirmed on the forums that there will be no announcements for the franchise this year. D3 itself will have a presence, but there are no announcements coming out, so you had best put that out of your mind right now. There’s also the promise that more is coming out in the future, but when all is said and done… well, it’s hard to get one’s hopes up.

We did get plenty of announcements and new content last year thanks to the game’s 20th anniversary, but it appears we’re now retreating to the pattern from the years before that.


WoW’s Running of the Gnomes, BlizzCon’s virtual tickets, and patch 7.3.2 story spoilers

Did you drop $40 on a virtual ticket for BlizzCon 2017? You won’t have to wait until the convention starts in November to enjoy some of the benefits that come with such a golden pass.

Blizzard has started to post pre-show videos leading up to the show, and while the public can view some of them for free, others are exclusive for virtual ticket holders. Three videos can be access with the ticket, looking at casual and advanced cosplay as well as a trip into the Blizzard museum for memorable stories about the community.

Speaking of the community, World of Warcraft players are organizing another Running of the Gnomes on October 14th to raise awareness and money for the fight against breast cancer. While there is now an official micro-holiday spawned from this player event, this particular run is purely community-operated. Participants are urged to roll a pink-haired Gnome on the Scarlet Crusade server and have their guilds donate to charity.

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BlizzCon reveals this year’s virtual ticket plans, broadcasts pre-show

Is there anything really important between now and November 3rd, when BlizzCon 2017 begins? Probably not, so we might as well all start hibernating in our pumpkin spice caves.

However, it might behoove some Blizzard fans who can’t physically attend the two-day convention to check out the virtual ticket as a way to hang out at the show from home. It sounds like this package is even better this year. Running fans $40, the virtual ticket offers coverage of every stage, panel, and special event during the convention as well as a $10 discount on the Blizzard physical goody box, a customized viewing list, and replays up to a month after the convention.

The ticket also comes with in-game goodies, including a choice of either a either an Alliance Skychaser or a Horde Interceptor World of Warcraft flying mount that can be redeemed and used today. It also should be noted that everyone, even the most cheapskatiest of us, can view the opening ceremony and e-sports tournaments for free.

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Here’s what is in this year’s BlizzCon goody box

Whether you’re attending BlizzCon or not, you can be the proud owner of this year’s BlizzCon goody box. Physical attendees get $10 off a box at the convention (which makes it $25 total), while everyone else has the option to shell out $35 to buy one on the side as long as supplies hold out.

So what’s inside? There’s an official BlizzCon backpack with a fuzzy section to customize with the velcro game tags that are also included. There’s a random Overwatch character hanger, a random Overwatch figure, and a random Blizzard collectible pin. There’s probably going to be some trading at the convention between fans looking for their favorites.

News on the virtual ticket and what will be included in this year’s digital goody bag is coming this Wednesday to a Blizzard livestream. The studio teased that there would be “exciting changes” to the ticket this year.

If a mere list isn’t enough to sate your ravenous curiosity, you can watch the full unboxing after the break. Then you can contemplate how we as a civilization have arrived at a point where we gladly stare at other people opening boxes of things as a form of entertainment.

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Underage Overwatch player lands six-figure e-sports contract

He may not be old enough to vote, but 17-year-old Jay Won is already making more money than you. Probably.

Won, an Overwatch player who goes by the handle “sinatraa,” just landed an $150,000-per-year contract with NRG Esports. He will be playing for the e-sports firm on its Overwatch League team, enjoying revenue-sharing options and team bonuses above and beyond his annual salary. Which, again, is $150,000.

Apparently Won is such a good player and in such great demand that there was a bidding war between teams to grab him. He’s also part of the North American Overwatch World Cup team, which will be competing in early November at BlizzCon.

This is merely the latest drop of wild news to fall into the bucket of Overwatch League craziness. The fledgling league is expanding aggressively as it seeks to establish itself and the game as a legitimate e-sports outlet. Last month, the OWL expanded to include teams from London and L.A.

Source: ESPN. Thanks Sally!


World of Warcraft rockets to Argus in patch 7.3 today

At last year’s BlizzCon, when Blizzard first announced World of Warcraft fans would someday be trekking to Argus, it seemed so distant to many of us that the narrative that bubbled up was more about whether or not Blizz could keep up that sort of cadence, not OMG Argus how cool is that. But here we are, with 7.3 launching today, and even I have to toss in my OMGs, if only because it means we’re that much closer to the next big thing. Or possibly a long pause until the next expansion?

“Following recent events in the Broken Isles, a link has been created between Azeroth and Kil’jaeden’s homeworld of Argus, bringing the Burning Legion closer than ever to destroying Azeroth. In order to stop them once and for all, Illidan and Velen are taking the war directly to the surface of Argus, where they hope to join forces with Alleria, Turalyon, and the Army of the Light to launch an all-out assault on the Legion’s primary base of operations. Board the Vindicaar, a vessel that will serve as your mobile base of operations on Argus, as well as one of your few safe havens on the planet. As you explore Argus, you’ll visit new locations across the planet, experiencing the epic conclusion to the Legion storyline and unlocking new world quests and other content along the way.”

We’ve rounded up some of our 7.3 coverage to date down below along with the survival guide and cinematic trailers and patch notes. Are you diving in for the patch, or holding out for some “and beyond”?

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