A Virtual Ticket View – Blizzcon Opening Ceremony

Originally posted 2015-11-07 17:00:42.

As a World of Warcraft and Hearthstone player I always get very excited for Blizzcon (even though many in the community are predicting a damp squib this year). I bought my virtual ticket last week and at 6.30pm (UK time) I got comfy on the sofa bed, ready for an exciting night of viewing (although confession of the day – I only lasted until 10 pm then fell asleep –  it’s an age thing. I have a lot of catch up viewing to do today.)

In this post I want to talk about the opening ceremony. I must admit throughout the ceremony (until the last ten minutes or so anyway) I kept thinking, “When will they get to the WoW bit?” but of course I then quickly rebuked myself.  Blizzard now has (counts on fingers) six games to cover. Six! Poor overworked Blizzard. I wonder if they ever think they’ve bitten off more than they can chew (although I suppose the millions they earn from them all must surely help the masticating juices flow … and oh dear that metaphor went awry).

Anyway the ceremony starts with a retrospective look at Starcraft –  a game I like but can’t play (too much multitasking). Then Blizzard CEO Mike Morhaime arrives on stage and tries to get the crowd feeling all excited (“It’s Blizzcon baby!”), nostalgic (“We’ve been making games for such a long long time”) and emotional (“Hands up if you met your life partner at Blizzcon”).  All nice cuddly “We are a strong united community” stuff. I played my part by waving my pizza slice excitedly at the screen at appropriate points.

Mike then shows a picture of a kitty pet that will go on sale later this year (for charity). My daughter announces emphatically that she has to have it. I remind her all such requests must be directed to Santa.

More stuff on Starcraft Legacy of the Void – it looks impressive but as I’m not a Starcraft player I find it hard to get excited. I sit up straight during the Warcraft movie segment though. Mike brings out various actors from the film and both husband and I get excited at Clancy Jones (big Highlander fans).  Film director Duncan Jones tries to prove his WoW credentials by announcing that he played Warcraft right up to Vanilla but then work commitments took over. Mike gives him a disappointed look. As for the trailer – it’s exciting to see the WoW world brought to life but I think the orcs look weird (and I find myself fixated on their lower tusks).

Anyway I digress. We quickly move onto Heroes of the Storm. Big announcement – they are introducing an Arena mode where, if I’m getting this right, you are randomly assigned a hero to play and more than one  of the same hero can be on the same team. It looks pretty cool. Then they talk about the new hero Cho’gall who (a)you have to play with another person (WHAT? How will that work?!) and (b) will be given to all those attending Blizzcon or watching via the virtual ticket (yay me and my spendy ways) and a few other select few (who are these I wonder?).  These Cho’gall holders must then partner up with someone without Cho’gall on a quest in order to spread the Cho’gall love and allow the non-Cho’gall person to get Cho’gall. The developers must have been drunk and maudlin when they dreamt this up.

Then the bit I’m waiting for (in addition to the WoW bit of course) – Hearthstone! There’s going to be a new adventure (The League of the Explorers) with lots of new cards. You’re basically on a quest to get a Staff of Origination and at some stage will get to play a Golden Monkey card which will replace your entire deck and hand with Legendaries. Wow, wow and more wows. As I’m reeling from all this they then announce it’s coming out next Thursday. Thursday!!!  I need to save my gold.

Onto Overwatch. Not played it yet (ahem Blizzard – something must have gone wrong with my Beta invite) so no idea if I’d even enjoy playing it but it looks cool. However, I’m already irritated beyond belief at Tracer and her stereotypical English accent so maybe I’ll have to have it on mute whenever I play. Overwatch isn’t just for the PC – it will be coming to both the Playstation and XBox, but of course we all knew this anyway as it had been leaked days earlier.

Then finally the big one – WoW and Legion. Chris Metzen arrives on stage, his usual hyper growling self. He shouts a lot about the Horde, Alliance,  the Legion invasion, Illidan and the fact we get to play Demon Hunters. We’ve heard all this at Gamescom though. The screenshots are all very green. Yes that’s my ultimate takeaway from the WoW segment – everything’s green.  We then see the introductory cinematic for the expansion and it’s pretty impressive. I won’t spoil it here – go watch it. It’s worth seeing. The coolest thing  –  Sylvanas nodding. But maybe I’m easily pleased. You can pre-order the game now but there’s no definite release date (just on or before 21st September 2016) and a big announcement that you can play a Demon Hunter and a smaller disclaimer that this is only when it’s ready (which is obvious but begs the question why you’d preorder without knowing when the demon hunter will be ready). Basically – nice try Blizz but I need a bit more information before I can even think of parting with my hard earned cash.

And that’s pretty much it. I switch over to start watching Hearthstone and it’s only when I drift off to sleep two hours later  (I know – total flake!) that I remember Diablo. Poor Diablo. Did it even get a mention?