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    Playing through the first parts of the StarCraft II trilogy was rather inspiring.  With Wings of Liberty turning into a Raynor’s love story and Heart of the Swarm revenge for the Queen of Blades, many wondered if Blizzard could deliver on their promise to return to the dark world they built in the original StarCraft and its expansion Broodwar. As I walked over to a brightly displayed sign showcasing StarCraft II: Legacy of the Void, a row of computers invited me to sit down and test the waters. There was no wait, a first for me at BlizzCon, to test out the waters. A sign of the lack of interest in the final expansion of StarCraft II perhaps, but I wanted to reserve judgment until after I played one of the two campaign missions. Watching the opening sequences, listening to the dialog and navigating the Spear of Adun brought me back to the world of StarCraft but somehow it all felt better. The dialog seemed richer and more engrossing. I found myself listening deeply to what the characters were saying and I realized why the final chapter of StarCraft II could return to its grand roots. This game wasn’t going to be just about a drunken commander in James Raynor or a hell bent revenge stopping at nothing for the Queen of blades. No, the final chapter is about the Protoss and their survival.

    Legacy of the Void focuses on the survival of the three races of StarCraft and the stopping of the dark one. The stakes are higher, fight to win and preserve the future of your race or die trying. There is no room for failure. The motivation for fighting goes beyond simple revenge or power and thereby makes the story that much more engrossing and compelling.

    Spoiler alert for those who want to be completely surprised by the coming of Legacy of the Void but I promise to not give too much. The two playable missions from BlizzCon happen fairly early in the campaign shortly after the fall of Aiur. As you may recall Aiur is in the hands of the Zerg and Artanis calls for all the different tribes to take back their homeworld as they he leads the Golden Armada.  The call to take back what rightfully belongs to them does not go ignored as Protoss from across the sector launch an all-out attack on Aiur to reclaim their home world from the savage Zerg. Not everything goes according to plan for our young executor. Through the course of unknown events, all of which will be explained in the first few campaign missions of Legacy of the Void, Artanis is his Golden Armanda are forced to flee as Amon and an army of Hybrids claim Aiur for themselves. Defeated but not destroyed, Artanis and the remaining Protoss lead the Spear of Adun lead a fight against what the Prophecy foretold. From here the two playable campaign missions are revealed from BlizzCon. Travel to Korhal to retrieve the Keystone Artifact from James Raynor (So that’s what Zertaul gave James back in Wings of Liberty) or reunite with the remaining Protoss on Shakuras.

    Regardless of the mission you choose, you are given the option to choose different units to call into battle. Similar to Wings of Liberty and Heart of the Swarm, Legacy of the Void gives you choices in what units you’ll bring into battle to stop your enemies. Enjoyed the versatility of the Stalker in StarCraft II or bring back the classic Dragoon from StarCraft: Broodwar. The choice is up to you. Upon landing on the planet, or platform depending on where the mission may take you, the power of the Spear of Adun is never far behind. With the touch of a button, or mouse click as it maybe, the Spear of Adun can unleash an attack anywhere on the map or for the more tactical commander, summon a pylon to reinforce your current position with the power of Warp Gates.

    Blizzard is setting up StarCraft II to be what many of us expected it to be from the beginning; an epic tale of war, betrayal and survival in space. How will the story end? Only Blizzard knows but if the two missions are any indication of what Blizzard has in store for Legacy of the Void I can tell you this, I’ll be enjoying every minute of it.

Dustin Browder, Game Director for Heroes of the Storm, starts the panel, explaining the concept of the game and its various environments and objectives. He passes the mic to Kaeo Milker, Lead Game Producer for Heroes of the Storm. He explains that, after BlizzCon 2013, the take-home alpha began. Members of the development team got to take the game home and playtest it from their own computers. Many directions for the game were confirmed through the process, with decisions such as “make a lot more battlegrounds” being fleshed out as playtesting continued. The technical alpha, which began in March of 2014, was the earliest public test of a Blizzard game. This was to try and get the public to give feedback and participate in the development of the game in its early stages. Every four to six weeks there is new content patched into the game; this is because of the development team’s goal of constant evolution. He then passes the mic back to Dustin Browder to talk about content.

Dustin Browder recalls that the development team always seeks to create more battlegrounds and objectives to create more variety and fun. He goes through all of the new Heroes of the Storm content from this year: Garden of Terror, Murky the Murlock, Brightwing, Zagara, Rehgar, and Azmodan. The mic goes back to Kaeo Milker.

Kaeo Milker explains the acceleration of invites into the game, and that closed beta starts January 13, 2015. The development team is excited to bring more players to the game. The increase in players will help Blizzard make improvements to the game.

Alan Dabiri, Lead Software Engineer for Heroes of the Storm, takes the mic. He speaks about competitive play and the upcoming draft mode for the game. Draft mode will have teams alternate picking heroes, with no duplicate heroes being allowed, battleground selection will be known, and this mode will be used by all ranked modes. A coin flip will decide which team will pick first. The slideshow switches to a screenshot of the draft mode UI. Not exclusive to ranked play, hero selections will be visible during the loading screen for both teams. Hero bans won’t exist for the game, at least initially. Alan Dabiri explains that there are several reasons for this: hero bans will add more to the time it takes to get into the game, the number of bans along with the rule of having no duplicate heroes will severely limit a player’s selection of heroes, and the size of the current hero roster is small enough not to require bans.

Ranked play will have two leagues: Hero League, which will allow you to queue up with any number of players, and Team League, which will only allow a full party of five players to queue into matchmaking. Ranks start at 50 and go up to 1, with 1 being the most skilled. Winning games earns a player points to progress in rank, and losing games causes a loss in points. Each season will reset your rank back to 50, but a portion of the points you earned will be retained so that you don’t have to play as much to return to your original rank. Skill rating will persist from season to season, and skill rating is what will be used to match you against and with players of similar skill.

In Hero League, the matchmaking system will favor matching against parties of similar size. Your own team and the enemy team will be filled with players of similar skill rating. Your own raking and skill rating is your own, and changes in those two values will be separate from the rest of your team.

In Team League, a captain will pre-create a team with a unique name. A total of nine players can be on that team (not including the captain). An individual player can be a member of three different teams. Players cannot be in a team unless they are player level 40. Each team has its own ranking.

The topic of leavers is brought up. If you leave a game, you will be flagged as a leaver and only be put on teams full of players that are also flagged as leavers. If, as a leaver, you determine that you don’t want to play in those kinds of teams, all you have to do is not leave games for several matches. The leaver flag is removed automatically after not leaving any games for a certain number of matches.

The Q&A portion begins, and marks the end of the panel.

To see all of our articles on BlizzCon 2014, click here.

Russel Brower, Senior Audio Director for Heroes of the Storm opens the panel and thanks everyone for coming. He introduces each of the panelists, then passes the mic to Pedro Seminario, Senior sound designer for Heroes of the Storm.

Pedro Seminario explains that the hero that you play has louder sound effects and extra sound effects to make you feel central to the gameplay. He passes the mic to Shawn Minoux, Senior Sound Designer for Heroes of the Storm.

Shawn Minoux describes that the sound design focused on creating a digital sound theme while outside of the game such as in the main menu, whereas the sound theme while in a match was created to be more analogue. While dead during a match, players are in “digital purgatory”, where ambient sounds are a mix of digital and analogue. He passes the mic off to Pedro Seminario to talk about sound design for the heroes.

He plays a few sound clips that are characteristic of various characters throughout the Blizzard franchises. Then he explains that heroes have to go through an iteration phase where their sounds are improved and updated. Each hero has three buzzwords to design their sound design around; Stitches has “gross”, “sloppy”, and “lumbering”, Nova has “stealthy”, “techy”, and “precise”, Jaina has “magical”, “icy”, and “sharp”. Several clips are shown of Jaina’s abilities, showcasing the sharpness of her ice-based magic. The mic goes back to Shawn Minoux to talk about the Lost Vikings.

The Lost Vikings, as a whole, have the buzzwords “comical”, “light-hearted”, and “medieval”. Individually though, they’re quite different; Olaf has “stout”, Baelog has “fierce”, and Erik has “swift”. The unique 3-in-1 hero design posed an interesting question of how their sounds would be created. Various video clips are played to showcase each viking’s sound effects.

Pedro takes the mic again. He talks about Thrall, who has the buzzwords “mystical”, “natural”, and “tough”. Video clips are shown again to display abilities and their sound effects.

Justin Dye, writer for Heroes of the Storm, is handed the mic to talk about the writing for each of the heroes’ dialogue. When giving each hero their voice, they have to feel powerful enough to stand the test of time. Also, the number of lines per unit in Heroes of the Storm averages 300, meaning a massive amount of writing has to be done. To talk about sound, the mic is passed to Glenn Stafford, Senior Composer for Heroes of the Storm.

He talks about combined styles, familiar characters, and being in new settings. The game’s opening theme is analyzed, going through its composition step-by-step. He heads over to a keyboard set up on the side of the stage, and explains how he began by choosing chords and progressing from there.

Afterwards, the Q&A portion starts and marks the end of the panel.

For our full coverage of BlizzCon, click here.

Kent-Erik Hagman, Game Designer for Heroes of the Storm began the panel with a summary of the game’s origins. He then introduces John Hodgson, Technical Designer for Heroes of the Storm.

He talks about hero design philosophy; when building a new hero, things that need to be considered are the fantasy, the look, and the design. The fantasy is about what the player wants to do as a character. The look of the hero is about how to shape a player’s expectation of what role the character fills. The design is about crafting a character that fulfills the fantasy and the look as accurately as possible. He passes the mic to Phill Gonzales, Senior 3D Artist for Heroes of the Storm.

Sylvanas, a new hero revealed at BlizzCon, is explained. The design team starts by gathering all the visual origins and reference art in order to gain a grasp of how the character should look. Then the crafting of the 3D models begin. A short video is played of a spin-around of her current 3D model.

John Hodgson receives the mic, to talk about how she has been updated from Warcraft III. Her core dark ranger characteristics have remained, keeping her scrappy and full of guile. An obstacle that appeared during development is that Valla and Tyrande are also ranger-ish, so Sylvanas has to be distinct in some way. Contrary to Valla and Tyrande, Sylvanas was designed to be more of a siege character. She had an ability where when she shoots minions, they turn into dark skeletons. However, back when Sylvanas was first introduced to the game, there was an overload of creating more minions due to the presence of Anub-arak and Azmodan. Now, the skeleton ability has been removed and replaced with an ability that can disable towers temporarily, and a trait that stuns enemy minions, mercs, and structures on basic attacks. These two new aspects are great at laying siege to the enemy without creating more minions on the map. A short video is played, showing off her abilities.

Next up is Thrall. Phill Gonzales takes the mic to talk about him. Thrall’s origins are in Warcraft III. His iconic mount was removed for the sake of keeping his 3D model to scale with the other heroes, but was implemented as a purchasable mount. Thrall’s development was a key component in the creation of the mount system. Kent-Erik Hagman is given the mic to talk about his abilities.

Back when Thrall was initially concepted, he had an interesting kit but it didn’t fit with his look; the kit was instead given to Rehgar. As the development team pondered what Thrall should do, and what he looked like he could do, they decided that he would be a master of the elements, a melee spellweaver that gets into the thick of fights. His abilities are skimmed over: Frostbolt Resilience - when he hits enough enemies with his abilities he heals himself; Chain Lightning - hits multiple enemies in range with lightning; Feral Spirit - when it hits an enemy, it roots them; Windfury - hits the target with a one-two-three punch; Sunder the Earth - cracks the earth and damages enemies in a line.

The next hero that is talked about Jaina, and Phill Gonzales takes the mic to talk about her. Her origins are in Warcraft III, with her visuals changing through the course of World of Warcraft. Her visual for Heroes of the Storm is unique, blending her look from Warcraft III and World of Warcraft together. Phill Gonzales then passes the mic to Kent-Erik Hagman.

He explains how her abilities were fleshed out. The development team decided that Jaina would be a pure frost mage to give her a solid theme for what she did. A trait that was created was, “Every subsequent hit that Jaina deals with her abilities will critically hit.” The team also wanted to transfer over frost mage spells from Warcraft, such as Frostbolt, Blizzard, and Cone of Cold. With all of these abilities in her arsenal, Jaina felt very distinct and very fun to play.

Phill Gonzales gets the mic again to talk about the Lost Vikings. As three characters that are over twenty years old, they were difficult to update them to modern times. More emphasis was given to their weapons, and they differ in colors and size between them. The mic is passed to John Hodgson.

The Lost Vikings has a lot of cool things that they can do. The biggest fantasy they wanted to chase with this (these) heroes is to be able to control all three Vikings as one player. This posed some problems however, since having multiple Vikings selected meant that the game has to choose which Viking’s command card to display. To solve this, they made the Vikings have no abilities whatsoever. This made them more accessible, but there were many playtesters that wanted abilities to use with them. Now the Vikings can unlock abilities through the talent system, allowing more skilled players to use abilities if they so wish without confusing newer players.

Next topic are the battlegrounds. “One way to think about battlegrounds are that they are WoW raids,” John Hodgson says. Each battleground has unique objectives and mechanics that alter how and why teamfights occur. The new battleground, Sky Temple, has the same core elements that all battlegrounds have (towns, minions, etc.) but its unique objective is capture points. When you capture one of these capture points, they fire lasers at enemy structures and help you win the game.

David Harrington, 3D artist for Heroes of the Storm receives the mic to talk more about Sky Temple. It’s a temple in the sky with a desert theme. It has a cool aqueduct system, cool hot air balloons that transport citizens, and other flavors around the environment that bring the battleground to life. A good 3D model can make the battleground more immersive. Models are started as blocky shapes that are hand-carved to intricate, individual details.

Phill Gonzales takes the mic to talk about the creatures in Sky Temple. Lane minions will have a strong Egyptian theme, making them distinct from minions on other battlegrounds. The brawlers and siege giants also get the same treatment, making them consistent with the environment.

Tomb of the Spider Queen is the next work-in-progress battleground. David Harrington explains that it’s a dark, creepy environment with spiders. Different stone and tomb-themed props are displayed on the screen, as well as an exclusive video sneak-peek at the map.

Phill Gonzales shows off another work-in-progress map that collides the High Heavens and the Burning Hells of the Diablo universe. Many concepts for props are shown.

The Q&A begins, marking the end of the panel.

To see all of StarCraft: Legacy's coverage on BlizzCon, click here.

The following are the various press releases pertaining to StarCraft II. Although the information given is very basic, it is a great summary of all the new announcements from this year's BlizzCon.

StarCraft II: Legacy of the Void – New Unit Descriptions

HERC – HERCs are new terran units that can be used to counter the popular zergling and baneling army composition. They’re effective at tanking damage from most protoss ground units while other allied infantry units deal heavy damage.

Cyclone – Cyclones debut a new way to open a fight for terran players. They pit the movement skills of both players against each other since Cyclones need to stay within a certain distance to deal damage with their Lock-On ability.

Ravager –Ravagers are a new zerg artillery unit that can break Force Fields using their Corrosive Bile. Since this ability has a small delay before it lands, player skill has a large influence on the outcome of who will emerge victorious when these two abilities collide.

Lurker – Lurkers provide the zerg with a new siege option, harassment option, and can be used to defend key locations.  Additionally, they can be used as part of a zerg player’s core army causing splash damage to large numbers of smaller units.

Disruptor – Disruptors introduce a new splash damage option to the protoss. Unlike the Colossus, the Disruptor’s effectiveness depends on the movement skill of the player.  It’s possible to get a larger number of kills with the Disruptor depending on how well you position it.

 

Read more: BlizzCon 2014 StarCraft II Press Releases

James Waugh, Director of Story Development on Legacy of the Void, opened the panel and introduced his fellow panelists. He headed straight into the topic of writing the story of Legacy of the Void. He explained the core tenets involved in constructing a Protoss campaign:
-    Create a distinctly Protoss story while wrapping up the trilogy story threads
-    Create an epic end times screnario for players to stand against
-    Fulfill the fantasy of playing Protoss

There are also several key traits about the Protoss that the writing team wanted to capture. They’re an ancient, noble race, they have the Khala, they have high tech, and they are few in number. At Blizzard, Protoss are considered to be similar to space samurai, following strict codes of honor. The Khala is a unifying energy field that encompasses the Protoss, and themes of unification will definitely be a part of Legacy of the Void. Protoss’ high tech will definitely have the spotlight in this expansion, bringing their war machines to the forefront of battle. Because of the Protoss’ small numbers, each Protoss is a rare and precious army of one. Legacy of the Void is about a small band of fighters going against all odds.

The Protoss, during the events of the past two campaigns, have been trying to rebuild on Shakuras. The Templar and the Dark Templar sought unity, but old grudges are rising up to split the two sides. Artanis, the hierarch, is responsible with bringing all the Protoss together. He, along with a Golden Armada, seeks to reclaim the old homeworld of Aiur. This is where Legacy of the Void begins.

Zeratul, however, is lurking in the shadows and will bring another dark prophecy in Legacy of the Void. Amon, the fallen Xel’Naga, returns with plans to set the universe ablaze. The story will focus on how this plan collides with Artanis and his goals. After the epic invasion of the Golden Armada upon the Zerg forces, Amon reveals himself and corrupts the Khala. Hordes of Hybrids are unleashed, chaos ensues, and Artanis, along with a few loyal followers, have to do the unthinkable: they must sever their nerve cords to sever themselves from the Khala and become safe from Amon’s corruption.

In summary, the player will assume the role of Artanis and attempt to unite Protoss factions, turn Protoss society into one that doesn’t use the Khala, and ultimately retake their homeworld. Legacy of the Void will challenge everything the Protoss know about their civilization and defeat an ancient evil. The mic is passed off to Jason Huck, Lead Level Designer of Legacy of the Void.

Blizzard’s goal for Legacy of the Void is not only to bring forth new and entertaining gameplay mechanics, but to fulfill the fantasy of being Protoss. The Protoss, who live by a code of honor and strong sense of justice, will traverse the galaxy to smite Amon’s evil, wherever it appears. After the failed reclamation of Aiur, Artanis makes a choice to go to Korhal. Unfortunately, the Terran are under attack by the Shadow Corp. One of the first missions is called Sky Shield, and takes place on a space platform that’s plummeting to the surface of Korhal. A short video of in-game footage is played. The goal for the Protoss in Sky Shield is to secure the space platform before it crashes into the planet. The player’s goal is to reclaim the stabilizers located over the platform so that Raynor and his forces can repair them.

Legacy of the Void will bring new challenges, ones not seen in Wings of Liberty or Heart of the Swarm. A late mission in the campaign is called Unleashed. This mission is after the Protoss have unlocked the mightiest of their technologies. They are planning an assault on the Shadow Corp’s base of operations. The interesting mechanic of this mission is that you can literally fly your entire base around on a space platform.

The mic is passed off to Allen Dilling, Lead 3D Artist for Legacy of the Void to show some campaign art. First up is Aiur, which looks desolated by the Zerg and has some familiar doodads from StarCraft: Brood War. Buildings are crumbling, creep is everywhere. There are also ancient temple grounds on Aiur, bringing flashbacks to the jungle tileset from Brood War. The orbital platform environment has fire and debris flying everywhere and features the largest Terran-themed doodads ever. Augustgrad is next, and looks severely destroyed. Buildings are toppled over and craters are everywhere. A Dark Templar city on Sharkuras is shown, with green glows on several doodads and very ancient technology being shown. Also on Shakuras is an ancient temple, which captures the same feel as the twilight tileset from Brood War. A location called Slayn is shown, which is the homeworld of the Tal’Darim who worship Amon. There are giant sacrificial pit doodads, and the objective of the mission that takes place on Slayn is to drag the leader of the Tal’Darim into the pit before he does the same to Artanis. The color theme is very dark. Finally, there’s Cybros, a home space station for the Purifiers. The Purifiers are an ancient robotic race made by the Protoss long ago and since forgotten. Artanis discovers them and attempts to recover them. White is the main color for this environment, and everything is very robotic with many moving parts.

Justin Thavirat, Lead 3D Artist for Legacy of the Void takes the mic. He introduces a cutscene of the Spear of Adun and Karax, a new character. It’s an in-game cutscene that shows Artanis and Karax walking the halls of the ship alongside other Protoss. Karax explains the various parts of the ship, such as the warforge where weapons are made. The video ends and cuts to Artanis’ 3D model. It’s very detailed, with silver armor and broad pauldrons. Next is Zeratul’s 3D model. It seems more detailed than before. Vorazun’s 3D model is shown next, and she has a shoulderguard made of Zerg exoskeleton, with sleek purple robes. She gives a definite Dark Templar feel without looking as ragged and tattered as Zeratul. Karax’s 3D model is shorter and stockier, and he has attached cybernetic tentacles to where his nerve cords used to be, giving a very “Doctor Octopus” feel to him. Lastly, there’s Rohana, a female Protoss preserver. As a preserver, she holds the memory and intelligence of the Protoss race through the Khala. Her nerve cords are splayed out and harnessed in a halo-esque mechanism behind her head. There’s also the Spear of Adun. It contains the remaining Protoss civilization aboard, and combines archaic and traditional Protoss visual themes.

One of the rooms that serve as a main hub for the campaign, the War Council, is displayed. It’s very dark, and was designed to look foreboding. Another room is the bridge, where Artanis interacts with various characters such as James Raynor. Some impressive animation for holograms is shown as an example of how a player would choose missions in Legacy of the Void. A scale of the Spear of Adun is shown as a video. The bridge is just a tiny area at the front of the ship.

Matt Morris, Lead Level Designer of Legacy of the Void, is handed the mic to talk about army customization. “An important question we ask is, ‘What is the fantasy?’” The Terran fantasy was building a bigger and stronger army. The Zerg fantasy was about adapting to hostile environments and become a more efficient killing race. The Protoss fantasy is about uniting the Protoss factions. As Artanis leads the various factions, each faction will bring their fiercest warriors. The player can choose one of three different types of Zealots, such as the Aiur Zealot that has a spinning area attack that decimates Marines. The player can also choose one of three different types of Stalkers, and so on and so forth.

The Spear of Adun is another weapon that the player can customize. During missions, you can call orbital strikes from the Spear of Adun, annihilating enemies with devastating weapons. Some examples of these weapons are shown, such as mass stasis which can freeze enemies.

Before the panel ends, Matt Moris reveals a new game mode coming to the game, called Allied Commanders. It will be an objective-based cooperative experience, where each player can pick a commander from their favorite race, unlock units and abilities, and fight AI foes in open-ended progression. There are no specific details to show at BlizzCon, but more info will be given in the future.

The Q&A section begins and closes the Legacy of the Void Campaign Panel.

For all of our BlizzCon articles, click here.

BlizzCon 2014 is fully underway, and the opening ceremony was an amazing experience. Here’s what happened and what was shown.

It began with a video, showing the origins of the Warcraft franchise and how it expanded into an MMO. From the humble beginnings of Warcraft vanilla to the widely successful World of Warcraft, the developers share their emotions and thanks for helping Warcraft become the amazing franchise that it is today.

Mike Morhaime walks in after the end of the video with a greeting: “Welcome to BlizzCon 2014!” His speech kicks off the eighth BlizzCon, and he seems very excited and filled with emotion. He makes a point to be positive, and show how great gaming and gamers can be.

He goes on to talk about the upcoming events, mostly about the upcoming World of Warcraft video, the upcoming World of Warcraft charity pet, and news of the upcoming movie. The director of the movie and Chris Metzen will have a special panel to talk about it. There is also a sneak progress of work-in-progress footage that will be viewable within the Blizzard cinematics room.

“But BlizzCon is about more than just Warcraft,” Mike Morhaime says. He announces that Level 90 Elite Tauren Chieftain will be back, as well as Metallica playing live. Heroes of the Storm exhibitions, Hearthstone Arena, and StarCraft II will be shown all throughout the event. He introduces a video showing off what’s to come in terms of eSports for BlizzCon 2014.

“Of course, we have a few new things to share with you.” Mike Morhaime starts talking about Heroes of the Storm, and introduces a new trailer for the game. Two new Heroes appear: Jaina, who summons blizzards and ice elementals, and Thrall, who is shown beating Arthas to a pulp. There’s two new battlegrounds coming, along with tons of new skins for existing heroes. Lost Vikings are also coming to the game, and it appears that all three Vikings are to be one single playable hero. Also, closed beta begins January 13, 2015! Sky Temple, one of the new battlegrounds, will be playable on the floor.

The next game to be talked about is Hearthstone. Mike Morhaime introduces the Production Director of Hearthstone, Jason Chayes, and walks off the stage. Jason Chayes shows excitement for the first ever world tournament for Hearthstone taking place at BlizzCon, as well as the upcoming tablet version of the game. There’s also something new, something bigger to show. He recalls the origins of Warcraft, the clashing of two races. On one side, the Alliance. On the other, the Horde. For the first Hearthstone expansion, these two sides were brought together against their will, and the results are explosive. A trailer plays; Goblins vs Gnomes appears to be the name of the expansion. Jason Chayes comes back on stage, explaining that this expansion brings explosive gadgets and inventions, such as the Explosive Sheep. This expansion is set to launch next month, but is playable on the BlizzCon floor for all attendees. More information will be revealed in Hearthstone panels over the event.

Game Director and Vice President Dustin Browder comes on stage now, speaking about StarCraft II, and the long journey that the game has traveled. He announces that Blizzard is now ready to show a glimpse of StarCraft II: Legacy of the Void! The footage focuses on Protoss fleets cruising in orbit, Artanis wielding a blue and a green psiblade, Zeratul standing imposingly as thunder rings in the distance, and Kerrigan returning to give dire predictions. The teaser ends, and Dustin Browder comes back to say that Legacy of the Void will be a standalone product, not requiring Wings of Liberty or Heart of the Swarm to play the game or take part in multiplayer. New units are viewable on the BlizzCon floor, an example being the Zerg Lurker. Team Melee will be back, allowing multiple players to take control of one base. Dustin Browder gives his thanks to the community, and introduces Chris Metzen onto the stage.

“What up, BlizzCon!” Chris Metzen shouts as he walks on stage. He talks about the various franchises, then introduces a new project. The trailer plays. Overwatch is the title, and it shows two kids touring a museum of heroes, when suddenly villains drop from the ceiling. Heroes show up, and chaos ensues, featuring awesome explosions, teleportation, and fistfights. Chris Metzen comes back on stage to introduce Jeff Kaplan.

Jeff Kaplan explains Overwatch as a team-based multiplayer shooter. It will be very approachable, and amplify what’s fun about shooters. “Would you guys like to see Overwatch?” The crowd roars in anticipation. The movie starts playing. Beta is coming 2014, and Overwatch is available to play in Hall C of BlizzCon for the entirety of Friday and Saturday.

That concludes the opening ceremony of BlizzCon 2014. Keep checking back for updates, because we will be providing coverage of StarCraft II: Legacy of the Void, Heroes of the Storm, and Overwatch.

To see all of our coverage in one place, click here.

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