As a gamer, nerd, geek and/or pop-culture aficionado, there is a multitude of events to look forward to each year. From the ginormous E3 and PAX conventions to our humble EB Expo, these events pull together multitudes of publishers, developers and designers to showcase their latest wares. And then there's Blizzcon...
It's incredible to think that just one company can pull off such an event all on their own, but then again we are talking about Blizzard - a company that defined some of the gaming genres we know and love so well. With such huge games under their belt, it's no wonder that they need a full weekend just to cover the latest in news and updates for their franchises. Let's have a look at some of the biggest news to come out of this year's Blizzcon.
Overwatch is getting its 26th playable character in 'Moira', a geneticist with history in Reaper's Blackwatch organisation. Described as a hybrid character, she plays as a support main with DPS capabilities - think Zenyatta combined with Symmetra, having both beam and orb abilities.
There's also a new payload map coming called 'Blizzard World' which as the name suggests, is a Blizzard-themed amusement park. Featuring areas based around Heroes of the Storm, World of Warcraft and even a Protoss base from Starcraft, it looks like it's going to be a blast for fans, especially given Blizzard's penchant for Easter eggs.
Heroes of the Storm
Briefly continuing on from Overwatch, Hanzo will be joining the character ranks in HotS alongside Alextrasza from World of Warcraft. Hanzo is a ranged assassin with scouting abilities, whereas Alexstrasza is a ranged support who can transform into a dragon when low on health.
HotS will also be receiving major updates to the way the game plays. From laning and matchmaking improvements to camera refinements, Blizzard wants to ensure that games stay as fair as possible.
World of Warcraft
It's hard to believe that there have been 6 expansions for WoW over the years, and we're about to get a 7th. Battle for Azeroth introduces the usual new zones and increased level cap, but brings the focus back to the conflict between the Alliance and the Horde.
Blizzard also revealed plans for an official 'vanilla' server, giving players the opportunity to play the game in its most original form from nearly 13 years ago. There's not much more to tell about World of Warcraft Classic at this stage, but in itself is still exciting news for long-term fans of the game.
Kobolds and Catacombs is the latest expansion for Hearthstone and brings with it a brand new single-player experience called Dungeon Run. Starting with a 10-card deck, players must defeat eight random bosses of increasing difficulty, levelling both your character and deck with each victory. This mode will be separate to the core game for obvious reasons and also completely free!
There are some new mechanics of course - there's the addition of the 'Recruit' keyword, new legendary weapons to be collected, spellstones that provide a new type of spell for each class and finally 'Unidentified Items' that reveal an additional effect when played. Kobolds and Catacombs will be releasing in December.
Come November 14, StarCraft 2: Wings of Liberty will be free. Yes, you read that right, players will be able to play through the whole Wings of Liberty campaign and ranked multiplayer for free. There are some caveats of course, but for those who haven't played this RTS masterpiece, there is no time like the present.
Blizzard also took the opportunity to announce new co-op content, a second War Chest and a number of multiplayer tweaks that will arrive with the next major patch.