Blizzcon 2019
Image: Blizzard, Game Press

Blizzcon 2019: Overwatch 2, Diablo 4 and Blitzchung

Last weekend Blizzcon 2019 took place. Going into the event Blizzard were up against it with a poorly received showing in 2018 as well as leaks, rumours, and the Blitzchung scandal all occurring just weeks before this year’s convention. How did Blizzard handle these pressures, were the rumours true, and are they once again back in everyone’s good books?

In terms of games, the biggest news for me was Overwatch 2. I am a casual Overwatch fan, I love the game so much but never have enough time to commit to it. I always wanted more PVE content and new heroes are a blast, so that is what I hoped would be present in a sequel. However, I also did not want the sequel to be entirely new. The best case for me would have been a Fortnite Chapter 2 style ‘sequel’, a huge free update which carries over everything from before as well as adding new maps and skins, some new story and (most importantly) free for any current players. 

Almost all my prayers have been answered

I knew this was wishful thinking which is why I am definitely not dissatisfied with the way the reveal has gone. Almost all my prayers have been answered, except that the update is paid, but on the bright side current players can download Overwatch 2 for free, still access an updated version of the current game they love and will only be locked out of the new PVE missions. This is subject to change and, given that the team are “going dark” to work on the project, we probably will not hear many more updates for quite some time.

Then there was Diablo. The franchise was the centre of controversy last year, with the Diablo Immortal mobile title being ridiculed by fans. This year the focus was instead on Diablo 4, the next mainline title in the series. I, wishfully once again, hoped Blizzard would be bold with a release date. Sometime in 2020 would have been my prediction. It is very early but given negative reception towards the company regarding the franchise and more generally recently, a 2020 release would have earned the company a ton of praise. Though no date was announced, except that such an early release was specifically ruled out, parts of the game were playable at the event so perhaps a 2021 date is on the cards? We will have to wait and see, maybe The Game Awards or another big gaming event could be a stage to announce it? Blizzcon 2020 seems the most likely time when we will hear more.

J. Allen Brack apologised for Blizzard’s slow response and lack of clarity

Despite these and other great reveals, it was not the games that I was most anticipated for. I was instead eagerly awaiting to see how Blizzard tackled the Blitzchung situation. Blitzchung was banned for making pro-Hong Kong comments in a post Hearthstone match interview and the internet did not react kindly.

The company’s president J. Allen Brack apologised for Blizzard’s slow response and lack of clarity but later doubled down on the initial message that their broadcasts were for games, not politics. A direct apology is not often seen but for some protestors, it does not go far enough. However few of these protests made inside the convention, attendees noted a rise in Winnie the Pooh cosplays and ‘free Hong Kong’ chants disrupted a panel or two. Blizzard may have come out the other side of their controversy far more unscathed than expected.

That is all from me but be sure sure to tweet @BoarGames with your biggest Blizzcon moment from this year!

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