Editor’s Note: For more on BlizzCon 2015, visit our coverage hub.
It’s that time of year again, folks. The time when our eyes sparkle with the prospects of new Blizzard heroes and villains to slaughter and plenty of loot (and Murky pets) to pave our way to glory. That’s right—it’s BlizzCon hype time!
The show runs from Nov. 6-7. With BlizzCon less than a week away, we now know what the official Friday schedule and Saturday schedule look like. Blizzard also released the convention floor map along with the schedules.
Since we know what Blizzard’s official plans are, where does that leave us? With fun-filled speculation, of course! It’s time to talk about what else Blizzard might be planning to announce, what we probably won’t hear about, and what surprises Blizzard might have for us in the vault. Let’s dive right in.
What We Should Expect
As always, the official schedule of events gives us a pretty solid picture of what to expect. Legion will definitely be the big talk of BlizzCon 2015, and that’s not too surprising given the fact that the next World of Warcraft expansion was announced earlier this year at Gamescom.
By far, the largest chunk of panel time is being dedicated to Legion this year. We’ll likely hear more about at least one of the larger features planned for the expansion as well as a bunch of smaller details about upcoming changes and necessary adjustments. Personally, I’m hoping to hear more about upcoming class/homogenization changes and how Blizzard plans to help guilds and friends find like-minded players to run content with. After how raid-driven WoD was, the necessity for social restructures seems apparent.
We’ll likely hear a beta start date for Legion. A small, closed beta could possibly be announced before the end of the year, but early 2016 seems more likely. I also wouldn’t be surprised if Blizzard announced Legion’s pre-order details and an accompanying date. This would let players plan ahead for their character boosts and for the return of Valor in 6.2.3. It also wouldn’t surprise me if Legion pre-orders were made available shortly after the end of BlizzCon and included Legion beta access and Overwatch beta access.
One of the most interesting details about this year’s BlizzCon schedule is that there isn’t a large chunk of open space on Friday afternoon directly after the opening ceremony. Usually, we’d receive a huge announcement during this chunk of time. Last year’s big announcement was Overwatch, of course. With Legion’s announcement taking place earlier in the year, the lack of a major announcement makes sense, but it’s also, well, a teeny bit disappointing.
There is a small bit of extra space during Friday’s schedule if you look closely, however. From 12-12:30, there’s an extra half hour, plus 15 minutes after the close of the opening ceremony. To me this seems like the perfect place to showcase the full Warcraft trailer, which will premiere on Friday, Nov. 6.
Blizzard obviously has a full plate on its hands currently—and more games to talk about than ever before. Equal panel time is being devoted to StarCraft II and Heroes of the Storm, which makes sense given StarCraft II’s eminent expansion and the still-somewhat shiny newness of HotS. StarCraft II’s coverage will likely focus on Legacy of the Void, future plans, and eSports. If there’s anything Blizzard has increased heavily this year, it’s eSports coverage. We might be hearing a lot about Blizzard’s plans to increase all things eSports.
For Heroes of the Storm, we’ll probably hear about future plans, planned heroes, and new maps. Likely and hopeful new hero candidates include Kel’Thuzad, Mekkatorque, Ragnaros, Diablo III’s Wizard, Deathwing, and maybe even Vol’jin. It also wouldn’t be too surprising to see new map announcements, perhaps even a Warcraft-based map or a Starcraft-based map.
Less panel time is being devoted to both Hearthstone and Overwatch, but still a decent chunk of two hours per game. For Overwatch, we’ll likely hear more about the game’s planned features as well as additional maps, heroes/villains, and game modes. For Hearthstone and Diablo III speculation, keep reading…
What We Shouldn’t Expect
As mentioned earlier, this year’s BlizzCon is more diverse than ever, thanks to all the games Blizzard is now tackling. While a brand new game announcement or even a revival of a classic Warcraft RTS would make a lot of gamers happy, frankly, I just don’t see either happening. Not this year—especially given Legion’s early announcement. The schedules also don’t correspond with a new game announcement.
Many Diablo players have expressed some dissatisfaction with the fact that there’s a distinct lack of Diablo III panel time this year. There’s only a single panel devoted to Diablo—a mere hour’s worth. While it almost seems like it’s time for Blizzard to be thinking about announcing the next Diablo expansion, I’d say that, unfortunately, that won’t be happening this year. Better luck next time, Diablo fans.
What We Might Hear About
Thanks to the released schedules and Legion’s precursor announcement, there’s a lot less speculation to wonder about this year in comparison to previous years. The one remaining game I haven’t touched on yet is Hearthstone. Hearthstone has been cranking in some serious side revenue for Blizzard, so I think it’s safe to say that its developers will try and keep up the relatively quick release pace.
It may seem like it’s a little soon, but it wouldn’t be too surprising if we hear about Hearthstone’s next adventure or expansion pack release, perhaps even a new feature or two in development. Anyone for a foray into Icecrown Citadel?
Despite the somewhat predictable outlook of this year’s BlizzCon schedule, there’s sure to still be plenty of interesting tidbits to absorb and become excited about as the weekend unfolds. Similar to last year’s coverage, Den of Geek will be covering all things BlizzCon as the days tick down to the big weekend of November 6-7. Stay tuned for more Legion coverage and analysis, Overwatch analysis, and coverage of the new reveals and panels.
Laura Hardgrave is a staff writer.