The opening ceremony began with a serious tone as J. Allen Brack, Blizzard's president, apologised for their lack of communication with players regarding the 'Blitzchung' incident. However, there was no apology for the actual punishment dealt to the Hong Kong Hearthstone professional, their conflicting statements to their Chinese and western audience or their banning of participants in a college Hearthstone tournament.
As for actual announcements, there were quite a few. At long last, Diablo 4 is official, with a grisly, frightening new nine-minute long cinematic as well as gameplay for three different classes (Sorcerer, Barbarian and Druid). From the cinematic, we know that the main villain of this installment will be Lilith, 'Mother of Sanctuary', one of the two beings that created the in-game world we know and love.
Diablo 4 will also be open world and feature a non-linear narrative. Unfortunately, it was confirmed during the Diablo 4 panel that the game is not coming soon whatsoever.
After a number of leaks showing talent trees and updated visuals, people were skeptical, but these leaks were confirmed to be true
The other huge announcement was the confirmation of Overwatch 2. After a number of leaks showing talent trees and updated visuals, people were skeptical, but these leaks were confirmed to be true. With the newest, and frankly amazing cinematic 'Zero Hour' and a short gameplay trailer, Blizzard confirmed that Overwatch 2 will have a complete player-versus-environment (PvE) campaign story mode, a new game mode called 'Push', two new heroes, Soujourn and Echo, as well as a rework of all heroes' visuals.
They also reassured players that all collectibles (including skins) will transfer between the two games, and that any player-versus-player (PvE) map or hero made for Overwatch 2 will be available in the original game. Jeff Kaplan, Overwatch's game director, said that there was no release date or price information yet.
World of Warcraft was certainly not left out, with yet another cinematic to herald the release of the next expansion: Shadowlands. This brings five new zones to explore, more customisation options, new dungeons and raids, and the option to join one of four 'Covenants', giving you specific abilities and cosmetics.
The levelling system has had a complete overhaul, with the new level capacity reduced to sixty (confusing, I know) so that new players can get to the Shadowlands expansion faster.
The levelling system has had a complete overhaul, with the new level capacity reduced to sixty (confusing, I know) so that new players can get to the Shadowlands expansion faster. Don't worry though, any current characters at the maximum level will be reduced to level fifty, but will still be able to use all of their gear.
The next Starcraft 2 co-op commander, Arcturus Mengsk, was also very briefly announced. The newest Hearthstone expansion, Descent of Dragons, has been confirmed, as well as a new game mode called ''Battlegrounds'', featuring eight players battling to be the final winner. With even a game like Hearthstone becoming a battle royale, Blizzard really did pull out all the stops this year.