In their annual convention, Blizzard had more than just treats and ice cream for their enormous fan base.
Playing on Nostalgia
Blizzard has been around for a long time, and as such have games that have also been around for a long time. Older players might be missing the old times and are craving to play the games they used to play back when they were younger. Blizzard knows this, and sees an opportunity to introduce their older products to the current generation, while also making the old ones happy. With that, they announced a remaster of Warcraft III, and also a return to the past for World of Warcraft.
War, war never changes; but graphics get better
Headlining this report is Blizzard’s biggest announcement so far: Warcraft III Reforged. We all remember the game that we used to play but not most of us played the way it was meant to be. Early DotA players would recognize the Frozen Throne engine as the progenitor of the game we play today. That game – along with all the creative tools we used to have to make our own custom maps – are all coming back in repackaged with better graphics and integral systems.
Warcraft III Reforged is exactly the same as the old Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos and its expansion, Frozen Throne. Same gameplay, same campaign, and the same voice acting, will all return with new models and textures. An exact release date has not yet been announced, but the game is already available for pre-purchase for $60.
Stripped down to the basics
For the past fourteen years, players of World of Warcraft have enjoyed crafting their own stories in the realm of Azeroth and beyond. Whether you’re part of the Horde or of the Alliance, the in-game world around you have changed over the years- for better and for worse. For those players who are aching to just go back to the good old days – way back when there were still no expansions to speak of.
For that reason, Blizzard will be releasing WoW Classic, which plays in patch 1.16 – just before the first expansion rolled in. The Classic WoW Demo was given out for free for those who attended Blizzcon and Virtual Ticket owners for Blizzcon 2018, and the game is slated to be released in Summer 2019.
Update, updates, updates
Blizzard would be remiss to disregard their current massive multiplayer games, and are thus dishing out updates for all of them. Overwatch gets a new character, Hearthstone’s newest expansion was announced, and Heroes of the Storm welcomes a new visitor.
Ashe: The Viper
Overwatch is giving out strong Van Helsing vibes with the announcement of their new character, Ashe. No, she’s not an Ice Queen wielding bow and arrow, but rather a charismatic gunslinger taken out of Westerns. Said to be the leader of the Deadlock Gang, of which McCree himself was formerly a member of. This connection is very appropriate, as Ashe was actually introduced in a short animation that featured McCree as well.
Ashe appears to be a sharpshooter, using a musket-like rifle as her main weapon, and a double-barreled shotgun as her secondary firearm. Her shotgun can also push back opponents as its bullets hit them, allowing her space to snipe people with her rifle again. Her shotgun’s push back mechanic can also be used to propel her into the air when jumping, very much like a rocket jump. Just like your old spaghetti western, Ashe could also use a charge of TNT to blow her opponents up. When things get shaky, she could call for the help of her robot sidekick, B.O.B., to charge the enemy and provide suppressing fire.
Rasthakan Rumble is Blizzard trolling you
Rastakhan’s Rumble is the name of Hearthstone’s newest expansion, and will be released a month after Blizzcon. The expansion focuses on one of Warcraft’s most underappreciated groups, the trolls. Of course, the expansion retains Hearthstone’s signature wit, humor and overall good vibes. Not much of the cards have been revealed, but as per usual each class will be getting one legendary minion that’s meant to build upon that class’s intended archetype for the expansion.
A visitor from another realm: Orphea
Heroes of the Storm is home to cross-dimensional characters from Blizzards’ other IPs. But it hasn’t been until now that the HotS team is rolling out a new character unique to HotS’s universe. The first Nexus-born hero is Orphea, the Heir of the Raven Court. She is the daughter of the Raven Lord, who serves as an antagonist and as one of the game’s announcers. Orphea, however, rejects her dark lineage and dares to stand against her father.
Orphea is coming in the next major patch of HotS and will be available for free to all attendees of BlizzCon 2018 and Virtual Ticket owners. Orphea is seen in the trailers as a ranged mage who damages her opponents from afar. She could also flash in and out of battle at will.
A diabolic introduction
While many of Blizzard’s fans wear nostalgia-glasses, the company is still not afraid to try new things out and expand out of their comfort zones. In what soon faced intense fan backlash, Blizzard announced their very first game in mobile devices. Many fans were also disappointed that that game turned out to be part of the beloved Diablo franchise.
Part of the criticism comes from the long-standing wishes of Diablo fans for the original Diablo or Diablo 2 to be remastered. The announcement of the new game, regardless of its potential, was received poorly simply because it wasn’t what the fans expected. There were also concerns raised over the game’s susceptibility to microtransactions, which is rampant in the mobile gaming market. Finally, the game is not to be developed by Blizzard alone, and is co-developed by NetEase.
Diablo: Immortal doesn’t have an exact release date yet, but players can already pre-register if they wish. The game will feature 6 classes, new zones, new dungeons and new stories. The game also supports online multiplayer gameplay with up to six people at the same time.