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.
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