BlizzCon? More like ZzzCon.

Is it just me, or was this one of the most underwhelming BlizzCons in, well, ever?

I had a gut feeling from advance mentions and hints that we should be setting our expectations really low for BlizzCon this year, but it turns out that “low” wasn’t low enough. I could forgive the extremely annoying preshow announcers (who were calling the experience of eating breakfast cereal “AMAZING!”) and even the various low-key presenters who looked painfully uncomfortable in front of the crowd (I’m looking at you, J. Allen Brack), but this was obviously a year in which the studio had nothing great to say about its lineup.

World of Warcraft had no new expansion nor classic server announcement to spring on us, and so instead we got a lame tease of Patch 8.1 and a Summer 2019 launch date for WoW Classic. That’s pretty much it. I wasn’t expecting much, but c’mon… they could have at least hinted at 8.2 or beyond. They might have said something about Old Gods. I watched the keynote looking for some reason to be really enthusiastic about WoW, and they gave me nothing. I know they talked a bit more about future patches in the panel, but even after reading up on that, I’m not seeing anything that new, surprising, or engrossing.

Overwatch had a strong showing, although that isn’t at all interesting to me. Heroes got a new hero, Hearthstone got a new expansion, and StarCraft II got its corpse dragged in front of everyone so they could acknowledge that it still exists.

The Warcraft III remaster — which had been rumored — received some positive reception. I suppose it’s something if we’re not getting Warcraft IV, but again, I’m not that keen to play a game that I played way back when I was still in love with RTS titles. I’ve moved on.

Then there was Diablo. We all knew that this show was going to be Diablo’s moment, and with multiple projects in the works, perhaps we were going to get a lot of reveals. Instead, Blizzard talked up the Nintendo Switch launch and then announced Diablo Immortal, an MMO mobile version.

Now to be fair, this is kind of interesting to me. I’ve really wanted a good Diablo experience on my smartphone ever since I had my first iPhone back in 2009, and I am sure that I’ll be playing this a lot more than I did Diablo III. It does seem like a good toilet break — er, Bio Break — game, doesn’t it? As long as it loads quickly and plays smoothly, I’ll be there. I know it’s a huge disappointment to many, and I get why, but I’m a little more flexible on this because I’m not as passionately invested in the Diablo franchise.

Alas, with that one medium-sized bullet fired, Blizzard slunk off-stage and we weren’t left with much to be that excited about. I suppose that WoW Classic’s demo is supposed to bear the weight of that franchise at this moment, but in a way, that all feels like last year’s announcement leftovers reheated.

I guess it’s a good sign for me that my decision to push WoW to the gaming backburner is justified. There is a lot else to play and a busy month of gaming ahead, so I’ll stay the course and hope that next year’s BlizzCon will give us something to talk about once more.

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7 thoughts on “BlizzCon? More like ZzzCon.

  1. Tyler F.M. Edwards November 5, 2018 / 11:31 am

    “StarCraft II got its corpse dragged in front of everyone so they could acknowledge that it still exists.”

    You know, I’m getting kind of tired of people who aren’t the target audience for SC2 assuming it’s dead or failing because they don’t personally play it. It gets only slightly less new content than Overwatch, and it manages to mostly avoid the kind of endless controversy that dogs most of Blizzard’s games, especially WoW.

    I should probably do a post on that at some point…

    Granted, Blizzard didn’t help matters by treating it as an afterthought during the opening ceremony. That was disheartening.

  2. Asmiroth November 5, 2018 / 11:54 am

    re: SC2

    Hyperbole perhaps, but SC2 does get a whole lot less spotlight as compared to OW, HotS, HS, or WoW. Sad really.

    Still miles better than D3. Diablo wasn’t even a topic at last year’s Blizzcon. And in 2016, it was only about the 20th anniversary of the franchise.

  3. solidd November 6, 2018 / 9:06 am

    > I’ve really wanted a good Diablo experience on my smartphone … I know it’s a huge disappointment to many, and I get why

    I don’t have a crystal ball but I would be willing to bet real $$ that Diablo Immortal will not be the “good Diablo experience on my smartphone ” that you are hoping for.

    Blizzard chose NetEase, a Chinese company that makes really grindy and bland mobile RPGs and MMOs, to create Diablo Immortal. All you need to do is play a little of one of their games to understand just how bad DI might be. Add to that the really lame demo at Blizzcon and further details revealed that made every true Diablo fan cringe.

  4. JThelen November 8, 2018 / 9:00 am

    > That’s pretty much it. I wasn’t expecting much, but c’mon… they could have at least hinted at 8.2 or beyond.

    This is dead-ass wrong. I get that Blizzard was lazy AF when it came to Blizzcon, but at least read all the recaps if you’re going to talk about it.

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