What does the Blizzard Watch staff predict out of BlizzCon 2017?
Maybe you haven’t heard, but there’s a convention coming up soon. A Blizzard convention. Some might even call it “BlizzCon” for short. And, naturally, with BlizzCon later this week, everyone’s theory gears are a-turnin’.
From fake expansion leaks to more realistic expectations and everything in between, gamers across the Blizzardverse are throwing a lot of predictions against the wall and hoping as many as possible will stick. Team Blizzard Watch isn’t exempt from this, by any means — what kind of Blizzard writers would we be if we didn’t at least ponder over what might be coming?
As such, we’ve decided to gather predictions from the crew here and put them together in a nice list. And, as a little something extra, we decided to see what everyone wants to see, even if the likelihood of, say, new roles for existing classes is pretty low. What do we all expect? What do we all want? Wonder no longer, readers! These are your Blizzard Watch BlizzCon 2017 predictions…
Rades, Anne, Rossi, Ted, and Anna all expect that we’ll get a new hero, and Anne’s reasoning is hard to argue with: “… since we just got a new map, I don’t think we’ll see another one of those so soon, unless they toss us another deathmatch map.” Additionally, a few of the aforementioned writers also predict a new map — though, the exact map is unspecified.
Rachelle’s prediction is the boldest and most exciting of them all, however:
There’s a lot of focus on Overwatch this year, with the BlizzCon merch, taking over the StarCraft arena, and a Junkrat statue. Maybe it’s just the new goodness with Overwatch League and stuff, but I’m half expecting an expansion for the game of some sort, if not something big to move the story along. We’ll probably get a new hero and cinematic at least.
Finally, Joe keeps his predictions simple but unique, saying we’ll probably get more skins and more events announced. Which, given how much money I’m sure these events rake in for Blizzard, is probably not a bad prediction.
What does the team want? A lot of things, it turns out — too many to list in full, really. The cliffnotes version, however, is this:
- Something Canadian (Rades)
- A new Support hero (Joe and Anna)
- New animated short (Anne)
- A digital series or “something a-la Netflix” (Also Anne)
- Raiding/PVE content (Scott and Ted)
- Customizable weapon loadouts and abilities (Scott)
- A movie (Rossi. Also the entire fanbase probably)
- More story, more story, and, hey, more story (Literally everyone)
Oh, and an especially exhuberant request came from Joe: “How about, ‘Just give us the trade paperback comics you said you would!!!!’” Yes, with that exact amount of exclamation points.
World of Warcraft
Quick note: These predictions were taken before the recent datamining of four potential sub-races.
As far as predictions go, the team had one (nearly) unanimous response: A new expansion is going to be announced. Joe Perez specified that is will be an expansion of “Old Goddy goodness,” while Scott Andrews felt that it seemed like “it’s going to be Jaina-focused, in Kul Tiras, maybe with Azshara/N’Zoth as the big threat?”
Ted Atchley went beyond both of those to add that, “We’ll get new race/class combinations like Night Elf Paladins. Professions will be massively overhauled as will the talent system. I think we’ll see a new race: Nightborne. They will choose Horde/Alliance like the Panderan.”
Of everyone surveyed, Matt Rossi was the only one who decided to take a slightly different route when it came to what’s coming next:
An expansion seems extremely likely but I’m going to hedge my bets here and say they’re going to announce Patch 7.4 which will contain more non-demon story and a new five man.
Personally, new 5-man content falls squarely in the “want” category for me — I’ve been pretty staunch about not expecting a 7.4 for a long time now — but that’s what this next portion is all about. What do we all want to see from BlizzCon when it comes to World of Warcraft?
Even though some of Legion — and the BlizzCon keyart — has pointed toward Jaina and Kul’Tiras having a prominent role in whatever comes next, none of it is guaranteed. And that’s why Rades, Joe, Rachelle, and Anna all mentioned Jaina Proudmoore as a want. Really, she’s been underserved quite a bit as of late, and it’s not surprising to see interest in the badass Mage at an all-time high.
As for the rest of the team, their wants were fairly widespread. Anne wants something that hadn’t really even occurred to me before now, but is suddenly something I need in my life: “Warcraft/Warcraft 2/Warcraft 3 remastered for tablet/mobile gameplay. It’s time, give it to ussss.”
I’d be remiss if I didn’t give Scott’s predictions in full, because not only are they detailed, they’re completely awesome ideas:
- End of the mission table and artifact systems.
- New races and subraces: Ethereals, centaurs/dryads, naga, Shal’dorei, Taunka, half-ogre, leper gnome, etc.
- Story that focuses on existing characters in conflict, like Mists of Pandaria, not a world-ending threat like every other expansion.
- More “horizontal” options for customization and character power. Finding a way to help characters feel unique with more than just transmog. Customizing our spells and abilities with new effects and animations. Unlocking additional talent columns. Giving races and professions more relevance in combat and exploration.
- Greediest ask: An unlockable new spec for each class with a new role. Tanking for Shamans, Warlocks, and Hunters. Healing for Mages and Death Knights. Caster ranged for Paladins and Monks. Physical ranged for Rogues, Warriors, and Demon Hunters so someone else can use all those ranged weapon drops. Melee for Priest. Druids get a hybrid melee/ranged spec with a hydra form.
Finally, Dan wants to see tradeskills become “viable, valuable, and meaningful again” — in his words, “I’m playing a tradeskill game on my phone these days to get my fix (go Shop Heroes!) but I’d rather be doing it in Azeroth.” Ted, on the other hand, wants Tinkers: “[They’d have] two specs like Demon Hunters, Ranged DPS and support (tank or heal). Mail or Cloth. They build turrets, explosive sheep and have guns. Gnomes and Goblins only. They equip mech suits like the one Mekkatorque has on the Broken Shore. These function like Druid forms to perform their roles”
Heroes of the Storm
When it comes to Heroes of the Storm, it’s less easy to predict on as specific a level as, say, World of Warcraft. As a result, most of the team predicted a new hero, a new map, or both. Where the variation came into play was which game(s) the new hero(es) would be from. Rades, Dan, and Joe all predicted a new Overwatch hero being added, while Rossi thought we’d see at least one StarCraft hero thrown into the mix.
The other popular response was that we’d see an event announced, similar to The Eternal Conflict and Machines of War events. However, there wasn’t a unanimous prediction around which game would see a new event.
The team’s wants are a perfect example of why I love Heroes of the Storm. Pretty much every single response here was unique — which goes to show just how crazy a universe the Nexus can be. While Joe Perez wants to see “original characters or lesser NPCs from other games,” Rossi goes a little more specific with a single-world response: “Blackthorne.” On the opposite side of the coin, Dan wants to see less Overwatch: “I know they are trying to get Overwatch players to cross over and try the game, but there’s plenty of other characters across the Blizzverse to pull from.”
Of all the ideas, Anne’s has to be my favorite (no offense, everyone else):
I’ve said this before, but I’d love to see Alextrasza and Deathwing added along with a Twilight Highlands map. Dragonflights duking it out, let’s gooo.
And finally, not so much an in-game want, Anna — not too surprisingly, given she’s our resident esports enthusiast — wants to know, “Can we get more stuff like that behind the scenes Heroes of the Dorm documentary from last year? I ate that up like avocado toast.”
Similar to the team’s WoW predictions, the Hearthstone ones mostly boiled down to “new expansion announcement.” Of those expansion predictions, we had two that stood out as slightly more specific — Scott’s and Ted’s, who each predicted the following:
Something extra-wacky this time to as a palate cleanser after the darker Knights of the Frozen Throne expansion. (Scott)
We’re getting the announcement of the third expansion of the Year of the Mammoth. I’m thinking something Booty Bay/Stranglethorn themed. It would be a combination of Mean Streets of Gadgetzan and Un’Goro. Also, they will announce major changes to the ladder and also ways to help the new player experience. (Ted)
Where the team’s predictions were mostly restrained, their wants were a lot more specific. Most were still tied to a new expansion, but without the constraints of what may or may not be likely. Joe wants to see a real Death Knight class — “not just DK versions of existing heroes” — and Anne wants to see “some kind of Titan vault expansion — Ulduar, Ulduman, or heck even Mogu’shan Vaults would be cool.”
Scott Andrews had the most detailed response of the team when it came to wants:
- A new card type: Trinkets!
- Extra occasional rewards from packs that aren’t cards. Could tie in to other games also. Make packs more rewarding.
- Completely different ladder system.
- Way more new hero portraits. It’s pathetic how few they’ve added since launch.
Poor, poor StarCraft. We all know it’s a classic Blizzard game and that it’s actually seen updates to its Co-Op Mode that are very impressive but still. I think Anna summed it up best with her prediction:
Outside of that apt prediction, Ted had a legitimate prediction that we’ll be seeing new maps added to the game. Never one to not dream big, however, he lists his “want” as StarCraft 3 — which, frankly, I would be ecstatic and absolutely blown away to see come from BlizzCon 2017. I’m sure I’m not the only one.
Okay, yes, the Diablo team has already straight-up told us we’re not going to be getting anything new announced at BlizzCon. It’s very sad news, but hopefully it means a Warlords-to-Legion style resurgence is in store for the game later on. Until then, we always have Rossi willing to throw caution to the wind and make a prediction against all odds:
I dearly hope all of this is just to lower expectations and at the con they say ‘hey, turns out we do have something’ and it’s a new expansion
And that’s the last of ’em! I’m curious to hear from all of you — both on what you predict/want from BlizzCon, as well as which of our predictions you like the most. Personally, I would love to see single-player or PVE content in Overwatch. There are a lot of cool possibilities across the Blizzardverse, but this one seems like something that could, odd as it may sound, completely surprise while still feeling like a logical next step. Thankfully, we won’t have to wait long to find out any of this!
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