BlizzCon 2023: WoW, Diablo IV, Overwatch 2, and more at the Opening Ceremony


All the big news is at the end!

We’re gearing up for the start of BlizzCon – and its freebie virtual stream – as the opening ceremony kicks off at 2 p.m. EDT. As we’ve noted, the event includes multiple panels for World of Warcraft, WoW Classic, Overwatch 2, Hearthstone, and Warcraft Rumble, plus more tomorrow – including Diablo IV. Check out our “what to expect” post from this morning for some of the rumors and teases we’re anticipating (as well as some things we won’t see at all), and then strap in to watch. We’ll be updating this post at the end as the event trucks along!

Mike Ybarra/Phil Spencer intro
Ybarra is out on stage first, saying four years between live shows is too long. He says the show is about “the Blizzard we are today and the Blizzard we are becoming.” He’s stressing that “players are the forefront” of what the company does. He also addresses the Microsoft buyout of Activision-Blizzard and introduces Microsoft’s Phil Spencer for his “first BlizzCon ever.” He promises to “nurture the essence of what has made Blizzard unique” at Xbox, specifically saying the company will support the developers of the games. Ahem. When Ybarra returns, he reiterates the idea that this is a new era and appears to be holding back tears when addressing the Blizzard team.

Overwatch 2
Aaron Keller is onstage for Overwatch 2 now, recapping the game’s 2023 to date. No mention of the problematic PvE cancelation, of course. Art director Dion Rogers then joins to introduce the new hero, Mauga, who has been teased since something like four years ago. He’s the game’s first Samoan hero, and he’s got kind of a lot in common with Maui. He’s meant to have a “brutal but cunning” playstyle, and he’s launching with season 8 – however, he’s playable in quickplay today after the opening ceremony.

There’s also a promo for OW2 esports and for the LE SSERAFIM kpop collab, and when Keller returns he teases several new things coming to the game next year: A core PvP game mode called Clash is on the way, set in a Hanamura-spinoff Hanaoka map. It’s also reworking the whole competitive system and teasing new themes – sounds like a superhero, Egyptian, and spooky theme. Plus it’s working on a new damage hero Venture and a support hero codenamed Space Ranger.

Diablo IV
Rod Fergusson takes the stage to talk Diablo next. He also mentions Diablo Immortal, which the company hasn’t been promoting at all. Production directors Tiffany Wat and Chris Wilson then join to first recap the last few months of Diablo IV content and then tease what’s coming next: Next week, the game is introducing new rings to allow players to relive old mechanics, adding an enchanting preview window for the UI, and the Abattoir of Zir six-week limited time event, meant for Season of Blood endgamers. Diablo IV is also getting a holiday event starting December 12th – a “winter terroland.” A “slayride” pun was made. Then we’ve got a teaser for the next big content drop. Diablo IV: Vessel of Hatred is the name of the new expansion, coming “late 2024.” It’s got a new region, a nostalgia throwback zone, and a new class never seen in Diablo.

World of Warcraft
WoW’s John Hight is on the stage talking up the franchise’s 30-year history. He says today is the beginning of a new chapter in the franchise to run the next 30 years. There’s a tease for the expansion and then… nope.

Hearthstone’s Cora Georgiou announced Showdown in the Badlands, the new expansion launching November 14th.

“The Bloodrock Mining Company found powerful Azerite in the Badlands. They’re digging deep and bleeding the land dry, disrupting the Badlands and awakening slumbering elementals! Now mysterious outlaws are riding into town to set things right. Tumbleweeds roll by and high noon looms. Grab your horse and your hat, it’s nearly time for a Showdown in the Badlands—launching November 14th!”

The team is also introducing catch-up packs intended to help new and returning players get back into the game. Everyone’s getting some, with extras for BlizzCon attendees. Finally, the team announced Battlegrounds Duos, a new co-op mode available at BlizzCon for demoing.

Warcraft Rumble
Vik Saraf takes the stage to reintroduce Warcraft Rumble, the mobile strategy title set in the Warcraft universe and meant to provide “joyful chaos.” It technically launched yesterday, meaning it’s playable right now already.

World of Warcraft Classic
Holly Longdale is here! She begins with WoW Classic, saying that the studio is adding a new way to play Hardcore next year – no details given. More importantly, she announces that WoW Classic is getting the Cataclysm expansion – with #changes. It’s coming, she says (while the crowd shouts “Classic Plus!”), first half of next year. And maybe even more important than that, the Season of Discovery will offer “class altering abilities” and other differences from the original title. That’s coming November 30th.

World of Warcraft
Chris Metzen is here to cap off the show.

Metzen suggests the next stage of WoW is meant to be the culmination of the last 20 years of storyline and “vector” the team into the next 20. He’s calling it the Worldsoul Saga, and it will play out over multiple expansions, a little faster than we’re used to. They’re not unveiling a ton here; he promises that it’s coming and they’re moving with purpose. In fact, he’s announcing the next three expansions all in one go. The first is called The War Within, the second is Midnight, and the third is The Last Titan. “When it comes to WoW’s storytelling, we ain’t screwin’ around,” he says. “Now is the time to come home.” The War Within launches next year – no tighter window than that. We’ve put more details into our followup post!

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