Blizzcon 2017: What to Keep an Eye On

Jeremy Ray
PC Gaming Blizzard
PC Gaming Blizzard Xbox PlayStation Games

Blizzcon 2017 starts tomorrow, and if you’ve got a virtual ticket, we’ve got some ideas for stuff you wouldn’t want to miss. If you don’t have one, fear not! We’ll be on the ground covering the whole event.

As a visiting Australian, it’s interesting to see so many of my fellow nationals in Los Angeles right now. It suggests Blizzard might be planning some bigger announcements than we thought. And since it’s easy to cover the news by watching the stream these days, there might be some play sessions attached to said announcements. Stay tuned for updates.

‘Overwatch’

There are some strong signs pointing to a new hero being announced at Blizzcon 2017.

In a recent interview with IGN, Jeff Kaplan said “Hero 26 is very playable and fun internally.”

He also said it wasn’t coming as soon as everyone expected, and there haven’t been any teasers in the lead-up to Blizzcon.

It would line up in terms of timing, though. Four months ago we were introduced to Doomfist. Four months before that was Orisa. Four months before that was Sombra. And roughly four months before that was Ana.

Blizzard has always operated on a “when it’s finished” approach to content, but one could easily see the new hero being planned for Blizzcon.

Speaking long-term, in the above interview Kaplan said:

I think the team has dreams of much more overwatch that goes beyond that [hero releases], and I think we can start to think of how does Overwatch express itself in other ways that go beyond the 6v6 team shooter that we know today.

This could mean many things, especially since Overwatch originally came from a cancelled MMO. Thinking along those lines, there could be some kind of PvE mode with world or character persistence coming.

It’s also possible it could go the other way and release a shorter ARAM style mode. This would be an inconsequential, drop in/drop out, silly fun mode for when you don’t feel like playing seriously or just want to practice. There might be less restrictions on heroes chosen, or even options to make the match crazier.

This would follow in the footsteps of Heroes of the Storm’s Brawl mode, and Blizzard games love to learn from the design decisions of other Blizzard games.

‘World of Warcraft’

There are probably a lot of people who haven’t finished the content from Draenor and Legion yet. But there have been murmurings of another expansion coming, and data miners have done their usual thing of finding content and extrapolating like mad. Possibly too much.

The below image is supposedly the shape of the new area:

World of Warcraft expansion

This would be the right time to announce it. I would expect to at least hear about a new raid.

New content could take another form as well, and if Blizzard are feeling very generous we could see something bigger like a new class.

‘Hearthstone’

We’ll see a new expansion announced tomorrow. As for what that is, there are very few clues because Blizzard has been good at keeping secrets this time around.

Certain hints have pointed to something possibly involving pirates or kobolds. Watch this space.

‘Heroes of the Storm’

We expected there to be a new map and hero announced at Blizzcon, which is the usual fare for HOTS. And to be fair, the maps and heroes in HOTS are huge in themselves, just because they usually come with some absolutely bonkers gameplay ideas.

There’s a good chance that a Warcraft map is on the way, as it’s the only kind of map that hasn’t been included yet. In this interview, Alan Dabiri says with a smile “there’s a decent chance you may see something like that in the future.”

That said, Khaldor may have gotten us a little bit excited with this tweet:

Could there be more coming?

All That Cosplay

Blizzard cosplay is some of the best cosplay. That’s mostly because of its dedicated fans, but Blizzard also deserves some credit for supporting its cosplayers with guides and assets. Support for Overwatch cosplay was published before the game was even out.

We’ll be snapping all the cosplay we see, so stay tuned here and on social media to see the best of what we see.

Jeremy Ray
Managing Editor at FANDOM. Decade-long games critic and esports aficionado. Started in competitive Counter-Strike, then moved into broadcast, online, print and interpretative pantomime. You merely adopted the lag. I was born in it.
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