All right, here we go, just like before. It’s time to kick off BlizzCon 2019, and we’re kicking it off the best way we know how: with liveblogging. And we don’t really know exactly what to expect just yet, but there have been enough leaks and rumored leaks that a fair amount has already been guessed at. New World of Warcraft expansion, probably with more Lich King! Overwatch 2! Diablo 4! Some fourth thing or another that we’ll keep referencing as “fourth thing” as a recurring joke!
For those of you who haven’t been in our coverage before, I (Eliot) will be liveblogging down in the comments below, while Bree will be transcribing and tweeting and summarizing in the post above periodically as we go. Also screenshots. Lots of screenshots. It’s kind of a routine thing now. So grab your popcorn, fetch a gas mask from your official Hong Kong liberation kit, settle into your chair, and feel free to watch along if you can as we liveblog the opening ceremonies for BlizzCon 2019.
1:45 – Before we get rolling here, a quick note – yes, it looks as if there are already Hong Kong protests starting up outside the convention center. Polygon reports there are apparently multiple groups of protesters outside, people inside wearing pro-Hong Kong Mei cosplay, someone dressed as Winnie the Pooh (haha), people in face masks and gas masks, and people distributing Hong Kong t-shirts, stickers, and signs.
1:50 – Nobody during the preshow has so much as hinted at acknowledging the controversy or the protests outside so far.
1:55 – PC Gamer is also covering the protests. The protesters have a literal protest truck. Apparently security isn’t hassling them yet.
— alessandro fillari (@afillari) November 1, 2019
And here’s the Pooh.
happy BlizzCon everyone pic.twitter.com/rP4WULding
— Rod Breslau (@Slasher) November 1, 2019
Here we go. J Allen Brack took the stage and pretty much did something nobody really believed he’d do: He said sorry. He apologized for the Hearthstone esports incident that provoked weeks of Hong Kong anger. “We failed in our purpose. And for that, I am sorry, and I accept accountability.” Brack says Blizzard was too slow to respond, and too quick to act. “But our actions are going to matter more than any of these words.” He also says that players’ right to express themselves will be respected, including at the convention, and here he makes reference to the protests.
amount of times J Allen Brack mentioned Hong Kong or China for why in this context all esports players should have the right of free speech and expression: 0
— Rod Breslau (@Slasher) November 1, 2019
Now we’re on to the intro vids. Clearly we’re watching Diablo 4.
It’s official: Blizzard’s going back to its “darker roots.” Blood and gore is promised. PvP is happening. PC, PS4, Xbox 1. Still isometric. Barbarian, Sorceress, Druid coming first. Limited demo at the con.
Brack is back to talk Blizzard Arcade, StarCraft, AI, HOTS, deathwing. Some jokes about WoW Classic too: “Vanilla ice cream for sale in the concessions area! You think you want this… and maybe you do.”
WoW next with Hazzikostas on the stage. Next update for Classic coming, including the PvP honor system. Dire Maul is playable onstage at the con too.
Now moving on to the future of WoW: Blizzard just announced WoW: Shadowlands, the game’s next expansion. No more lich king, fam!
Hearthstone next: Descent of Dragons set, coming December 10th, with prepurchase live today. Not much applause here, oddly. They’ve also announced an 8-player multiplayer Hearthstone mode called Battlegrounds.
Overwatch next. Your friend Jeff from the Overwatch team is up to announce Overwatch 2, which is basically an Overwatch sequel, mostly Overwatch in a “shared multiplayer environment,” with “highly replayable co-op” and missions, hero level-up, ability customization, and a new core competitive Push mode, and new heroes – among them, Sojourn. Toronto and Rio maps are live at the con. Yes, expect a “ton” of PvE content and story. (They aren’t talking about Sojourn today, though!) No, you’re not losing anything from Overwatch with this sequel. They’re not “splitting” the communities.
That’s gonna be a wrap, folks! We’re noticing there wasn’t even a single mention of Diablo Immortal!