Blizzard kicked off Blizzcon 2019 today, delivering a look at all of the big projects it currently has in the works. Nearly all of Blizzards big franchises, from World of Warcraft to Overwatch and Diablo, got a turn in the spotlight, offering up a load of hype for hardcore Blizzard fans.
So, whether you're excited to jump back into the world of Azeroth or Sanctuary, here's a look at all of the biggest announcements to come out of Blizzcon 2019 so far.
World of Warcraft: Shadowlands
Of all the announcements expected at Blizzcon 2019, World of Warcraft's next expansion was probably one of the most anticipated. And if the trailer is anything to go by, Blizzard didn't disappoint.
The story setup for World of Warcraft: Shadowlands sees Sylvanas Windrunner, fresh off of her abandonment of the Horde, seeking to bring her world of death to fruition. Her pursuit leads her to the frozen throne, where Bolvar Fordragon, the current Lich King, awaits. A pitched battle ensues, during which Sylvanas chains the Lich King dow, removes his Helm of Domination, and promptly rips it in half.
This is not a good thing for Azeroth.
With the helm in pieces, a rift opens between Azeroth and the Shadowlands, the realm of the dead that pre-dates the Titans' ordering of the cosmos. And it's this realm that players will venture into throughout the Shadowlands expansion. But, rather than being a land of darkness and despair, there are vibrant zones with all-new races for players to encounter.
So what is Sylvanas up to? It's anyone's guess at this point, but Shadowlands looks to be taking World of Warcraft's narrative in some extremely interesting directions. However, we'll find out more when World of Warcraft: Shadowlands arrives in 2020.
If you're in the mood for something much darker, we finally got a look at Diablo 4, which appears to be much more of a return to form for the franchise.
Diablo 4, according to Blizzard, will be much closer to Diablo II in terms of tone, gore, and aesthetics. The story involves the return of Lilith, a major force in the creation of the nephalem, through a rather greusome and dark ceremony. As she returns, the world of Sanctuary is plunged into darkness once again. Not that it was ever a light and happy place to begin with.
Diablo 4's character classes are a callback to previous entries in the franchise as well. Players will be able to take on the role of a Barbarian, Sorceress, or Druid. However, the team is planning to launch the game with five classes when the time comes.
There's no release date set for Diablo 4 yet, but it will likely have fans of the dark, gritty tone chomping at the bit for more.
One of Blizzard's brighter franchises, Overwatch, is getting a much-rumored sequel. Overwatch 2 will expand the multiplayer foundation laid down by its predecessor with a large chunk of PvE content for players to check out.
Overwatch 2 sees the titular team reform to take on a worldwide threat. The game brings new story missions to the fold, as well as "hero missions." Blizzard describes the latter as "highly replayable" co-op experiences through which you can level up your heroes, build out and customize their skills, and more.
Blizzard was clear, however, that it isn't going to split up the community between the original Overwatch and its sequel. Instead, Overwatch and Overwatch 2 players will be able to play against one another in the same maps, and with the same heroes, including new ones. With Overwatch 2, you'll gain access to an upgraded game engine, as well as all of the PvE content and missions.
Overwatch 2 doesn't yet have a release date, but we should find out much more in the coming months.
Hearthstone: Descent of Dragons
Last but not least, we got a look at Hearthstone's next expansion, called Descent of Dragons. The expansion builds upon the "Year of the Dragon" journey Hearthstone has been on, culminating in a set that brings none other than the fearsome Galakrond to the game.
For those not familiar with Warcraft lore, Galakrond is the massive progenitor of all dragons, and was once the most fearsome beast in all of Azeroth, consuming anything in his path. In addition to the arrival of this absolute unit, all classes will have their own dragon-themed cards to play with.
But the Hearthstone team didn't stop with Descent of Dragons. There's a new game mode, called Battlegrounds, on the way, which allows eight players to duke it out. Essentially, each player will recruit minions and send them into battle against opponents until one combatant remains.
Descent of Dragons is due to launch on December 10, while Battlegrounds will hit open beta testing on November 12.
Dan Thorp-Lancaster is the Editor in Chief for Windows Central. He began working with Windows Central as a news writer in 2014 and is obsessed with tech of all sorts. You can follow Dan on Twitter @DthorpL and Instagram @heyitsdtl. Got a hot tip? Send it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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