User Opinion: BlizzCon 2010

It happened again
Blizzard, one of the top games developers in the world opened their doors and, like Charlie to the Chocolate factory, gamers waving their golden tickets flocked into the hallowed halls. For three days they were treated to news, games, merchandise, more games and more merchandise and finally Tenacious D. For those reading who don’t know what BlizzCon is, get with the times, yo! It’s a three day event where Blizzard tells the world what it has been doing for the last year, and what it is likely to do in the next six months.

In years past I have sat with my mate, a cold beverage in my hand while we watched the pay-per-view in his living room (yes, I am a gaming enthusiast). I was there three years ago when they announced StarCraft II: we rejoiced. I was there two years ago when they announced Diablo III: my friend fell off his chair as he entered nirvana. I was there last year when Blizzard announced Cataclysm, and for all you WoW fans this is bound to be a game changer (see what I did there?)!

And so the time had come again. What chaos would Blizzard unleash this year? Whose dreams would be fulfilled?

It turns out they would unleash, brace yourselves… nothing much at all. But then can we really expect Blizzard to announce a new game every single year?! Well, yes, we can. I mean Blizzard announced that StarCraft II would be released in three batches (at BlizzCon), Wings of Liberty, Heart of the Swarm and Legacy of the Void. Being that this was announced two years ago it wouldn’t be too much to ask for Blizzard to at least give us a snippet, a taste, a sniff of what we can expect. Instead, all we receive is a blank ‘possibly 18 months, possibly not’ answer from the StarCraft II lead developer.

To tell the truth, though, I wasn’t expecting much from this BlizzCon. Blizzard is the king of keeping their audience in suspense. Release dates are things that happen to other people. This year they were victims of their own success, coming off three bumper years of development they could only give us updates.

So there wasn’t much; but, as with everything Blizzard, what there was, was good.

Diablo III
The Diablo series is still one of the most played RPG series of all time with Diablo II cranking on servers 10 years after its release. Thus Diablo III has much of the gaming world drooling with anticipation. Blizzard is still holding out on that release date, the little scamps, but they were able to tell us the following.

The fifth playable character is Demon Hunter: a foxy female with a penchant for all things ranged and explody. Videos are up on the web showing gameplay as well as a theatrical trailer. Diablo is looking suitably gory, dark and beautiful to boot. The characters look largely finished and fairly balanced. In fact, it looks almost ready for release, or at least…

Diablo Closed Beta: ready for a beta! Just as StarCraft II went into two beta stages (friends and family beta, then a wider closed beta) it turns out Diablo is ready to take its first baby steps out of the workshop! This is great news for anyone hanging out for this game as it is the first indication that we may be seeing it relatively soon.

Diablo PvP arenas: for WoW players this will be similar to Arena play with 1v1, and they have announced 2v2 for people to compete with other players.

StarCraft II
Blizzard made Mods: four mods were revealed for StarCraft II. Mods can also be translated into ‘maps’, however, true to the name, these change the style of play significantly. The four will be:

  • Left 2 Die – My personal favourite, a cooperatively possible map based on Left 4 Dead where you have to survive waves of zombies. Will include the ‘special’ zombies, a la L4D.
  • Aiur Chief – a tongue-in-cheek mod based on Iron Chef where ‘contestants’ will have to collect ingredients for recipes to gain points and eventually win the match.
  • StarJewelled – a very odd but interesting mod integrating Bejewelled, the insanely popular casual game and StarCraft. Players get troops after making combinations in the mini-game.
  • SC2 DoTA – a defence of the ancients map based on the incredibly popular mod from Warcraft III, eventually taken up by Valve as a game in its own right, and now remade in StarCraft II; this is an RPG-style game.

The first SCII invitational played: while this won’t be that exciting for people who don’t follow programming, this tournament included some of the best StarCraft II play I have ever seen. I won’t tell you the winner but I will let you know that Fruit Dealer (seller? No-one knows for sure!) is a pleasure to watch. MakaPrime, a Korean player of some repute, also gives a demonstration of how to use banshees in his match versus DeMusliM, and it’s all commentated by the brilliant Day[9]. If you were thinking about watching some games, or are just wondering why people are into it at all, watch these to find out why.

(SEA was represented by Red Archon and Ice.)

World of Warcraft
No serious news came out. Cataclysm will be sold digitally which is not a shock, tournaments were held, etcetera, etcetera.

One little tidbit of information that may interest WoW fans out there (there’s only 11 million of you) is that the lead developer for the MMORPG element of Blizzard has confirmed that they are playing around with prototypes for the next MMO to be created by Blizzard. He also said that we won’t see anything till at least 2012, but it’s nice to know that they are working on something to replace the ageing monster that is World of Warcraft.

As far as news is concerned, that was it. For the thousands that went, it was more than enough to be able to spend time playing Diablo, and watching StarCraft II pros. For those of us at home, it was a lacklustre affair, but that won’t stop me forking out 45 bucks next year. What can I say, I’m a Blizzard Junky.

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nothing interesting to report.
  • Northy 179

    I agree blizzconwas rather low on information this year, even the contests were kinda weak… Kinda stupid that they released their big cg cata trailer a week before blizzcon… Instead of a huge info reveal in the opening ceremony we get chris metzen telling us what ‘geek is’… To be fair though blizzcon is a celebration of all things blizzard and not just a chance to see the latest secrets. It was a great show still, look forward to seeing next years.

  • Angelus

    I enjoyed watching it live online. People who expect big announcements each year dont really understand the point of Blizzcon. Its about the fans, sure they use it as a massive PR exercise when they have something to promote but mostly its just a chance for the fans to get together, have a party and enjoy themselves. I look forward to the panels each year and the live raid both of which were good. Although, I wish people would be a little more intelligent with their questions. If I heard one more question about legendaries or Pally nerfs I was gonna neck myself.