It’s November peeps and that means a number of things for me like birthday’s coming up, National Novel Writing Month (aka NaNoWriMo), and BlizzCon.
Sadly I am not in Anaheim, California to see what BlizzCon has to offer but there have been a number of big announcements that I’d like to cover.
After Mike Morhaime passed the torch to the new president of Blizzard Entertainment, the first big reveal for me was the news that Destiny 2 would be free for anyone who logged into Battle.net before November 18th. It’s important to note that players will only have access to the base game for free with Curse of Osiris and Warmind already included. Forsaken, the newest DLC content will not be included in the Destiny 2 content. Still, if players wanted to give the game a shot without committing to a dollar amount, this is the way to go!
Celebrate the anniversary of Destiny 2’s PC launch with a free game download.
— Destiny The Game (@DestinyTheGame) November 2, 2018
That’s great for new players but fear not! Veteran players will receive an exclusive gift that supposedly includes a new emblem, shader, and two exotic emotes! That said, we don’t have further information on this fact except for the quick mention from Steve Cotton, the developer of Destiny 2: Forsaken, and the BlizzCon official news post. We do know that the content will be available in December so keep your eyes peeled for that!
And just to sweeten the deal, there is also a free trial of the Gambit mode from November 9-11th for existing players. This is a new mode introduced into Destiny 2 which blends both multiplayer and monster slaying elements in a 4 versus 4 match. Players collect currency to summon a boss, hopefully before the other team. This boss will help to take down the opponents so that your team can win. It’s a mode that also allows enemy players to jump into your map. It’s an interesting interpretation of a PVP map and I haven’t played much of it, but it is fun!
After all of the amazing additions and changes to Starcraft 2 over the years, Blizzard has an excellent handle on giving all types of players content like the arcade maps, co-op missions, immersive single player campaigns across three expansions, and high level competitive play through the World Championship Series. At BlizzCon, it was announced that there would be a new co-op commander available to purchase. The familiar Protoss leader Zeratul finally enters the ring and I’m excited.
Zeratul is outfitted with all sorts of interesting abilities that players will be able to use and those abilities will revolve around something called Prophetic Vision. With it, he will be able to located Xel’Naga artifact fragments to improve his combative ability in a co-op match. He will be able to call down units, get artifact enhancements, and use a couple of top bar abilities. Each top bar ability will have different customizable options that will suit the player’s style depending on the map for that week.
A full write up of the new co-op commander and detailed descriptions of all the abilities can be found directly on the Starcraft 2 website. Players will also be able to watch a video showcasing the new abilities. You can check that out here.
Warcraft III: Reforged
Perhaps the most exciting news of the day was the announcement of Warcraft III: Reforged. Essentially, Blizzard is bringing back Warcraft III with a ton of new updates. Let me just say that as a person who loved Warcraft II: The Tides of Darkness, I’m super excited to play the legendary game that I never had the chance to play. In fact, I can’t wait to get back to playing as the Horde once again. A player can leave Azeroth, but they can never leave their allegiance. FOR THE HORDE!
*Ahem* Back to what I was saying… The character animations have been updated, the UI has changed for the better, there are tons of player created custom games, and more! Not only have they added a ton of content to the game, but they’ve rebalanced the heroes and units to bring it up to today’s standards of the RTS genre. And one more thing, they’ve even gone as far as adding 4k capability! I mean, what’s not to love?!
Be sure to check out all the information available about Warcraft III: Reforged on the website.
Combined with a new animated short which introduces the relationship between the new hero and McCree, Overwatch has a new hero. Her name is Ashe and she has a western feel, much like McCree but with a different fighting style. You see, Ashe’s family paid little attention to her so she created her family. That family is the Deadlock gang who has a reputation for being tough as nails. Ashe is the leader of this gang. Together they steal various objects for monetary gain, presumably.
In terms of how Ashe plays in Overwatch, she has a number of abilities at her disposal like a semi-automatic rifle that also has the ability to do precise shots, the use of dynamites for AOE damage, a heavy knock back ability, and she can summon a sidekick comically named “B.O.B.” With all of her abilities and knowledge, Ashe will be a force to be reckoned with on the Overwatch battle field.
Another Overwatch related announcement is Blizzard teaming up with Kellogg’s to release the new “Lucio-Oh’s” cereal, and it will be available to buy in December. Not only will players receive the food contained in the box, but they also will receive loot boost codes to use in-game. As we know, players are all about that fat loot!
In tandem with the cereal, right now players can download a full album of Lucio music. But, get it quickly because it is only available until November 20th! The album is titled Synaesthesia Auditiva and the music has a distinct chillstep yet up tempo sound. I actually quite like it, in truth. Anyways, get the music here while you can!
There were many other interesting things announced at BlizzCon like new content for Heroes of the Storm, HearthStone, and the dreaded Diablo III mobile game. I’m sure the game will be fine but many are not enthused. (All you have to do is watch the videos with the crowd booing its announcement. On a second side note: The fact that the crowd was more excited for a cereal that was originally a joke than a full game baffles me. Although, I guess I shouldn’t be surprised because Pandas were not technically part of the World of Warcraft lore until they made an April fool’s joke into a full expansion for the game, so what do I know?)
Anyways, yes, the mobile market has increased drastically over the last couple of years. Yes, virtually everyone has mobile devices. And while it is true that businesses want to expand their player base, taking a beloved franchise into the mobile market was a gamble that Blizzard lost, in my opinion. I would argue that the reason Blizzard lost the gamble is because they came at it from behind. Diablo III was a train wreck at launch and it basically blew itself into shrapnel when the auction house was released. And yes, I know they admitted that the auction house was a mistake, causing them to take it out of the game, the damage had already been done. Later, Blizzard tried to resurrect Diablo III with the launch of Reaper of Souls. This expansion added challenges like rifts and seasonal characters, which brought a ton of players back to the game, but other Blizzard games are infinitely more popular than Diablo III.
Now, Blizzard has done many fantastic things for gaming in terms of optimization, RTS balancing, new content, etc… But, when it comes to the Diablo franchise specifically, the mobile Diablo announcement is a huge disappointment. While I respect that Blizzard is trying to bring the franchise back to life by expanding into a newer space (to them), they shot themselves in the foot by saying that there were no plans to make Diablo: Immortal available for PC version, even in the future. (Not that that is a bad thing because mobile to PC ports haven’t always been great. I’m sure Blizzard would do it properly if it became a PC ported game but still, I’m not onboard.)
I’m extremely excited for Zeratul in Starcraft 2, despite the fact that I can’t protoss to save my life. He brings a new dynamic to the current mutation maps that I’m sure many players will test out. I’m also extremely hyped for Warcraft III: Reforged since I never had the chance to play the game during the glory days. I’m even mildly excited for the Overwatch community because Ashe looks badass. She’s a tough cookie and I like her style. And along with the Overwatch announcements, while I’m not a big fan of a cereal, I enjoy the music album.
I think with most of the announcements that I read about or saw in the opening ceremonies on Twitch, I’m pleased with where Blizzard games are going. I can’t wait to see how all of these games flourish with the new content.
Also, I’m sad that Mike Morhaime, after 20+ years with Blizzard Entertainment, has stepped down from CEO of the company and will fulfill an advisory role to Blizzard. During the opening ceremonies, he has passed the torch to his colleague and friend, J. Allen Brack – the executive producer of World of Warcraft and 12+ year veteran of Blizzard. He will valiantly aim to fill the giant shoes left by Mike Morhaime. And while I’m sure Brack will do very well in his new position, many Blizzard fans (myself included) will miss Mike’s ambition and passion.
To Mike Morhaime I say good luck to you in the future. Your continued passion for video games through the years has brought many of us together as a family. Thank you for everything.
Check out the BlizzCon coverage with the virtual ticket which can be purchased here. If not, there is plenty of coverage from community members, so be sure to follow the hashtag #BlizzCon2018 on Twitter!
What’s the most exciting announcement for you? Let us know in the comments below!
Article by Susan N.