The first Blizzcon Online, or Blizconline, celebrated its opening ceremonies with a tribute to the Blizzard community, it’s inclusivity, and thirty years of developing games.
The opening event was preceded by Kirstian Nairn, aka Hodor from the HBO Series Game of Thrones, spinning a bopping DJ set and the opening was also booked-ended with an unannounced Metallica concert.
While the musical acts were all a well and good part of the fun – who doesn’t want to hear a live performance of For Whom the Bell Tolls and see Hodor himself spinning sick tracks – the real draw of the opening stream were teases for what was to come from World of Warcraft, Hearthstone, and Diablo.
The WOW portion of the conference opened with World of Warcraft Executive Producer John Hight reminiscing over the potential World of Warcraft has to bring people together in a Covid-19 world.
Following this, they revealed the first major update for World of Warcraft: Shadowlands; Chains of Domination. It was unveiled with a super slick CGI animated trailer featuring big dudes in armor, glowing swords, and high-fantasy gobbledygook we’ve all come to know and love from WOW.
In more World of Warcraft news, the Burning Crusade expansion is coming to WOW Classic with the goal of updating the game while maintaining the expansion’s original appeal.
While the opening ceremonies didn’t dive deep into Chains of Domination, more was revealed later in the day.
Outside of the games themselves, Blizzard also touched on their pet charity program where every donor will receive a WOW ingame pet once certain stretch goals are met. Proceeds from the charity drive go to Doctors Without Borders.
The Hearthstone portion of the ceremony began with bidding a farewell to the Year of the Phoenix and hello to the Year of the Griffin. With the change in mythical-bird-animal-thing year, core-sets will be replacing the classic card sets with the cards being free and sourced from the best of the best of Hearthstone years past.
Dragon cards including Ysera the Dreamer, Malygos the Spellweaver, and Deathwing the Destroyer will be updated.
A new version of Hearthstone and two new expansions were also announced. Hearthstone Classic will let players return to the classic Hearthstone that they know and love, and the Forged in the Barrens expansions introducing hoard warriors will be available for free today through Blizzard Battlenet. The second expansion was Hearthstone Mercenaries, which puts a rogue-like spin on the Hearthstone formula and is scheduled to release later this year.
To wrap things up before Metallica stole the show, Blizzard gave an update on Diablo IV and confirmed the rumored return of the Rogue class in a classic Diablo fashion with a beautifly dark and gory cinematic trailer featuring all the occult imagery and severed ears that a Diablo fan could ask for.
With bringing back the rogue from the original Diablo, Blizzard is shooting to have a widely customizable option with the Rogue character class ranging from the original arrow shooty dude to cloak and dagger knife dude.
That’s not all! A full remaster of Diablo II is in the works for PC and consoles which will fully update the graphics and remaster the cutscenes for the original game and the Lords of Destruction DLC.
More is sure to be revealed about Diablo VI and the Diablo II remake throughout the rest of the conference as well as pane with Diablo developers hosted by Diablo speedrunner Mr. Lama.
On final note, Blizzard also announced that they’re releasing Blizzard arcade through Blizzard’s store.
Blizzcon Online continues streaming today from noon to 4:30 PST.