BlizzCon 2018 is done and dusted, so let’s make our way through the announcements and see where we’re going for the next year.
World of Warcraft:
Do we normally announce patches? I suppose in the case of 8.2, you could count it as an uber-patch with some pretty sweeping updates and changes. But for 8.1.5, also one of the ‘big announcements’, these are updates we already knew were coming. I guess there are always light news years.
In patch 8.1.5 – December 11, 2018
Zandalari Troll and Kul Tiran Humans allied races released and we get a view of the classes available. The Zandalari can be Druids, Hunters, Mages, Monks, Priests, Rogue, Shamans, Warlocks, Warriors and most notably Paladins! Kul Tirans are able to become Hunters, Warriors, Priests, Rogues, Monks, Shamans, and again notably Druids. These were actually some pretty neat lists and I am full jealous of anyone who gets to play a Kul Tiran Druid. They follow the Drustavar look of the current expansion.
There are also new portal rooms in the hubs of Orgrimmar and Stormwind and Professions are getting some quest lines!
In patch 8.2 – Sometime early 2019
This is the big one. The Rise of Azshara. This massive update includes:
The new zone of Nazjatar which has new stories, friends and foes (some pretty cool looking stuff in here, I want that crab mount!). And of course, the new raid Azshara’s Eternal Palace. The Palace raid has 8 new bosses, a naga hatchery (apparently we’re finally finding out how the naga reproduce) an as yet unnamed underwater boss (sometimes, Blizzard are the monsters) and Azshara herself. The new zone of Mechagon, ancestral home to Gnomes. This place looks damn cool, all gears and metal. Mechagon introduces us to a new type of Gnome, Mechagnomes. They’re look is full on cyborg, the more machine you are, the higher up in Mechagon society you are. There’s also new heritage armour for Gnomes and Tauren.
In patch 8.2.5
There wasn’t much detail about this, the big news is that Worgen and Goblin character models are getting some updates.
Warcraft 3 Reforged
The Classic Blizzard team have been hard at work since StarCraft remastered and Warcraft 3 is on the way! This was honestly the most exciting bit of news this year. We got to look at some of the updated models on the likes of Uther, Arthas and Jaina, as well as many of the Horde, Alliance and Scourge units. They have done some really good work in this area. You may have already found it showing up in the Blizzard Launcher, but we won’t see the full game till late next year. One of the really exciting parts is that current custom maps will be able to be loaded as is into Reforged, meaning you can still play your favourites. There will also be a new map building tool so we can keep creating the maps we want.
We have our next character! Ashe is a gunslinger and leader of The Deadlock gang, a band of outlaws who are old acquaintances of one Jesse McCree. Ashe sports a pretty cool looking gun and her ultimate is to call on her old guardian and butler B.O.B, an omnic with a spiffy looking bowler hat. Ashe was announced in a new Overwatch short called “Reunion” which you can see below. It’s also got a moment with a probable new character heading our way soon.
Watch the Overwatch Short, Reunion:
Heroes of the Storm
The next hero to join the Nexus will be the first character to have come from the Nexus itself. We always think of the ‘Villains’ like the Raven Lord who plague us on certain maps to be, I don’t know, just a side bit? But apparently they have their own existences away from the rumble of heroes in the Nexus. Orphea, the daughter of the Raven Lord joins us in an effort to defy her father. Her look is something a bit more out of League of Legends than we’re used to, but her abilities (based around the purple darkness we see on the Raven Lord map) are pretty cool looking. Orphea is free for anyone who attended BlizzCon in person or through the Virtual ticket.
Check out the spotlight trailer below:
I didn’t think I could be more sad after the Switch Diablo announcement, but Blizz have managed to top themselves this year. With… Diablo Immortal, a mobile game. Set somewhere between Diablo 2 and 3, this will be a new type of clickfest for the Diablo fan on the go. It features the characters from 3 and is set to include new stories from the downtime after Tyrael sacrificed himself to destroy the world stone.
There has been some criticism of this already, but apparently because all the consoles and PC were already represented, mobile seemed like the next logical expansion for Blizzard.
With Warcraft 3 Reforged out of the way soon, here’s hoping for some good Diablo news next year.
Check out some gameplay from Immortal below:
The next expansion is on the way! On December the 4th, get ready for the first Troll focused expansion Rastakhan’s Rumble. Heading back to the old arena in Stranglethorn, this expansion will include all the updates we’ve come to expect, new cards, heroes, card backs, boards and more. The trolls are looking pretty cool and some of the new cards are looking to really shake things up.
Check out the cinematic trailer below:
That’s all folks
And that’s it for the big announcements! As said, it was a bit light this year, but you can’t always have a big one. World of Warcraft is moving on nicely and with the new expansion only just released, we weren’t expecting much more. The classic remakes are looking excellent (let’s hope for a Diablo 2 announcement next year) and our regular updates of new heroes and characters in the other Blizz games were all pretty well received.
The only real criticism has been towards Diablo Immortal, and if you’re interested, Gamespot have an interview with the principle game designer Wyatt Cheng, where they discuss some of the backlash.