The annual celebration of all things Blizzard took place this past weekend in Anaheim, California giving press and gamers a like a glimpse into the coming future for the mega company. Since a lot of news dropped, I figured what better time for a handy recap of all the bigger pieces of news? Lets dive in and break things down by franchise.
There’s a lot to cover so everything has been tucked away after the break.
Diablo 3: Ultimate Evil Edition was announced for PS4 and will bring with it unique features that the PC will not be getting. First and foremost, players will be given the option to transfer characters from their PS3 version if they choose. In addition to getting the “Reaper of Souls” expansion, new features include avenger kills and player gifts. If a player dies at the hands of a monster, that monster may level up and then target a player on your friends list. When that person comes online, the monster will then appear for them in a special event. If the player dies, the monster will continue this cycle and leveling up until either they “retire” or are killed by a player. Both players will gain XP and loot for the kill.
For player gifts, if you find a Legendary item, a gift box will also appear with an item for one of your friends. At that point you can send it over to them via the player mail system on the PS4. It’s meant to allow players to play with each other even if they’re not online at the same time.
On the technical front, the PS4 version will also feature higher monster density, better graphic shaders, shorter loading times and touchpad support for navigating your inventory.
In terms of the Reaper of Souls expansion, a few more details were dropped this past weekend. Adventure mode will let players hop around the world via the waypoints to complete bounties and other goals. This is meant to make Diablo III a more open world, let players see places off the beaten path, while gaining great loot at the same time.
Nephalim Rifts are a sort of “boss run” mode, where players tackle monsters taken from any of the 5 acts and placed into varied environments. This mode also aims to bend and break the rules of traditional Diablo. The monster density will be increased, random bosses will be thrown into the mix, and players will received random and crazy buffs from time to time as well. All in all, it sounds like a refreshing and unique take on the Diablo formula.
World of Warcraft: Warlords of Draenor announced as the next expansion for the mega MMO. The game will focus on the land of Draenor, homeland to the draenei and orc races. The level cap will again be raised to 100 and players will have the option to “boost” a character directly to level 90 so they can play the new content. The biggest change with this expansion however is that characters are getting all new animations and designs to help liven things up a bit. Another major element are “Garrisons” which, if you’re familiar with MMOs, will serve as a players house. These will be expandable and customizable strongholds that players can also recruit NPC characters who will gain resources and go on missions for them.
Warcraft movie director Duncan Jones, longtime fan of the franchise, shared some details on the upcoming movie. Instead of jumping right into the World of Warcraft story line, the plan is to move back in time a bit to show the origin story line between orcs and Humans. The movie will try to bring a balance for both sides and try not to paint one or the other as the villain. Anduin Lothar will lead the humans while Durotan commands the orcs. Currently, the movie is planned for release on Dec 18, 2015 which may or may not share that date with another major franchise.
Not too much on this front considering that Heart of the Swarm recently released and knowning how long Blizzard takes to make games, we won’t be hearing about the Protoss campaign for a while at least.
The other bit of Starcraft news was that update 2.1 is soon on the way.
In other news, Blizzard’s free-to-play card game, Hearthstone, will also be coming to iOS and Android devices.
Heroes of the Storm, a MOBA style game, was announced formally this weekend. Originally known as “Blizzard All-Stars”, Heroes will combine the three major franchises (Diablo, StarCraft, WarCraft) into a single game for the first time ever. For more on the gameplay front, the following trailer was released: