BlizzCon 2014 Wishlist/Predictions + New Article

We’re now a little over a month away from this year’s BlizzCon, so now feels like a good time to go over my predictions for the convention’s reveals, as well as what I’m hoping to see.

Warcraft:

A player garrison in World of Warcraft: Warlords of DraenorI can’t imagine there will be much to discuss in regards to World of Warcraft at BlizzCon this year, since Warlords of Draenor won’t even be out yet. A surprisingly large number of people are speculating they’ll announce the expansion after WoD, but I think that’s crazy talk.

Time to face facts, people: Blizzard isn’t going to deliver on their promise of faster expansions. They’ve been saying it for half a decade, and we’ve still gotten a year-long content gap every time.

Even putting aside how absurd it is to think they’d have anything to show from 7.0, they wouldn’t want to spoil the hype around WoD, such as it is.

I could see them making some reveals for the first content patch of WoD, but that’s about it.

I don’t think we’ll be lacking news for the rest of the Warcraft franchise, though.

I fully expect to be hearing a lot about the Warcraft movie at BlizzCon. There was a teaser trailer shown at Comic Con this year, so I would be surprised and more than a little disappointed if they didn’t release the first publicly available trailer at BlizzCon.

A screenshot from Warcraft: Orcs and HumansSomething else that we might see is news of remastered versions of the old Warcraft strategy games. It’s already been announced that Blizzard is working on updating them for newer systems, and this year is the twentieth anniversary of the Warcraft franchise, so now seems a good time to release them.

Unfortunately, I suspect all they’ll do is update the code so the games run well on modern operating systems. Heck, Warcraft I was a DOS game.

But what I’d really like to see is full graphical remakes. They can keep the game mechanics the same — maybe better pathing and some quality of life tweaks, but nothing more — but redo them in the StarCraft II engine. That would be nothing short of amazing.

There have been rumours swirling of an HD remake of Warcraft III, but I dare not get my hopes up. Plus, as much as WC3 is my favourite installment of the franchise, and as much as I would love to see it with revamped graphics, I think the earlier games would benefit from that treatment a lot more. WC3 still runs okay on modern systems, and the graphics have aged reasonably well due to their cartoony style. Even in if the earlier games could run on modern systems, they’d look and play rather poorly.

But I don’t see Blizzard wanting to put forth the effort necessary to fully update those games, sadly.

There’s been a lot of talk of another expansion for Hearthstone lately, so I expect an announcement of it at BlizzCon.

StarCraft:

A screenshot of Zeratul in a StarCraft II cinematicIt’s been a while since Heart of the Swarm launched now, even in Blizzard time, so I think it very likely that we’ll be getting a major dump of information on the final expansion, Legacy of the Void.

Protoss have always been my favourite race, so it’s hard to imagine myself not loving LotV. I’m a little nervous since the story for HotS was pretty underwhelming, but it would take some serious effort to make an entire game full of Protoss not be awesome.

I greatly hope they will make Zeratul a Warcraft III style hero as they did for Kerrigan in HotS. It adds such an interesting extra dimension to the gameplay, and Zeratul is such a legendary figure that he deserves to be more than some guy who only shows up every few levels and just hides in your base.

I’m curious what other unique mechanics the campaign will bring. Given the identity of the Protoss, I think it might be interesting if, instead of applying blanket upgrades to unit types, individual units could become veterans based on their kill counts, gaining better stats and new abilities over time. Your strongest veterans would follow you throughout the campaign, becoming ever more powerful.

I’ve heard it said they don’t plan to add any new units to the multiplayer, but I expect them to renege on that. It feels pretty underwhelming if they don’t add anything to half the game, and why would multiplayer fans need to buy the expansion if there are no new units? Doesn’t make good business sense.

As futile as it seems at this point, I’m still hoping they find a way to make carriers actually useful for something.

Diablo:

A cutscene from the crusader class in Diablo 3I fully expect there to be at least one more expansion for Diablo III. It’s been rumoured since before the base game was even released, and the ending to Reaper of Souls had multiple cliffhangers.

It does seem a bit soon after RoS for another expansion to be announced, but one can still hope. Much to my surprise, I’ve come to greatly appreciate Diablo III, and RoS was nothing short of spectacular, so I’m very excited to get my hands on another expansion.

As for what the actual content of the expansion will be, it’s hard to say at this point. Undoubtedly, we’ll be hunting Diablo himself once again, but beyond that, it’s all guesswork.

My hope is that the destruction of the Black Soulstone means Leah’s spirit has also been freed, and that we may see her be redeemed. She did not deserve her dark fate, and I’d like to see her get her happily ever after, or something close to it, at least.

I also hope to see more conflict with the angels. One of the most interesting aspects of Reaper of Souls was realizing that the High Heavens were as much a threat to humanity as the Burning Hells. And Imperius really needs to be taken down a peg.

We’ve also got to help Shen track down Dirgest, and we have to solve the murder of Lyndon’s brother.

Battling atop the battering ram outside Pandemonium Fortress in Diablo III: Reaper of SoulsThe setting is a big question mark. For some reason, I get the feeling we might end up in jungles of Kurast, but I have no real basis for that. The Dreadlands also seem a likely prospect, being a hotbed of demonic corruption.

Personally, I’d like to go to Xiansai. A far northern land with Asian inspirations? Hell yeah. Plus, it’s the homeland of two of my favourite characters: Covetous Shen and Li-Ming.

I also expect another new class in the inevitable second expansion, whenever it comes around. Necromancer is probably the most commonly requested one, but I think it might be too close to the witch doctor.

Mind you, I said the same thing about monks and paladins, and then we got the crusader. And it is worth noting that a lot of people — myself included — enjoyed the necromancer in Diablo II and do not feel the witch doctor is at all a valid substitute.

But I think my money is going to be on druid. It’s the only class from Diablo II whose archetype does not seem to be at all represented by any of the D3 classes. I’m not sure exactly how a druid would play out in D3, partly because I’m not sure how they worked in Lord of Destruction, but I think it could be interesting, particularly if shape-shifting is involved.

Heroes of the Storm:

My team prepares to begin a match in the Heroes of the Storm alphaWith the final stage of technical alpha before us and the last account wipe behind us, I expect we’ll see an announcement of an imminent beta for Heroes of the Storm at BlizzCon.

I think it will either be an open beta, or a closed beta with the option to buy access through founder’s packs. Either way, I expect this will be another case where “beta” means “soft launch.” The alpha is already surprisingly polished, and the game feels almost ready for primetime to me.

I’m predicting an official release in early 2015.

I hope to see a bunch of new hero announcements at BlizzCon, as well. Hopefully some of the more iconic heroes. It feels very strange to me that they’re already putting out ultra obscure heroes like Rehgar Earthfury and completely new creations like Brightwing when major icons like Thrall, Jaina Proudmoore, Sylvanas Windrunner, Fenix, Mephisto, and Baal are still nowhere to be found.

Would be nice to see a new map or two, as well. I really want to see a StarCraft-inspired space platform map. So far, every map has been fantasy-based. Let’s get some sci-fi in there for flavour.

Other:

Sadly, it was recently announced that the upcoming MMO known only as “Project Titan” has been cancelled. Not that it was likely to be discussed at this year’s BlizzCon anyway, but it’s still a bit disappointing.

That said, there’s still the chance Blizzard might surprise us. There have been rumours of another unannounced game aside from Titan, possibly a shooter similar to the Left 4 Dead series. The term “Overwatch” was supposedly trademarked by Blizzard aways back, so that might be related.

The Jacobs Installation mission in third person shooter mode in the StarCraft: Mass Recall modI wouldn’t mind seeing a shooter set in the StarCraft universe, especially if I can play as a ghost. On the other hand, it might be nice to see Blizzard take a chance with a new IP. They haven’t done that since literally last century.

* * *

What about you? What are you expecting to see at this year’s BlizzCon? What are you hoping to see? Share your thoughts.

New article:

In my latest published article, I delve into the darkest mysteries of the World of Warcraft and seek to uncover the truth behind the enigma of the Old Gods.

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