Blizzcon Unscripted - The first day at full tilt
We were going the entire day last night until 2 am. At this point you've seen the news: Diablo 4, Overwatch 2, WoW's new expansion Shadowlands and more. We were able to be at the Mythic stage to see all the action which was a great experience. The crowd is just huge and to imagine that it's just one of the stages available.
For me it was really nice to see J. Allen Brack address the current controversy head on with his opening statement. It was needed and helped bring the tone back to a positive one with everything that happened. There had been a lot of wondering what was going to be Blizzard's reaction here so we got a quick and definitive answer. It seemed too that people weren't being turned away with their clothing choices as there were multiple statement outfits and shirts being worn by people that I saw.
Everyone went nuts for the Diablo cinematic - twice actually. Of course people were excited but there was a technical kerfuffle where we lost the video feed at the con for 30 seconds. Whoops! But thankfully we can rewatch it later again and again and again.
The Warcraft expansion was expected with an interesting twist for the next zones. We'll see how it pans out. With a level squish back to 60 and some kind of talent system as well as a simplified avenue for getting to max level it seems like maybe they are taking some lessons from Classic that could really help engagement. Time will tell.
Lastly the Overwatch 2 announcement told us that we will get new heroes, levels, as well as a co-op and pve content. This actually got me pretty interested because I have no interest in multiplayer shooters but single player or co-op ones are pretty fun. Overwatch always interested me because it seemed like a unique take on the genre but the multiplayer only always stopped me from paying attention.
So three big announcements left me with three actual interests for a company's products that I haven't wanted in many years. Hopefully this is a shifting of the focus of Blizzard more towards their older game-making philosophies. Regardless I'm more hopeful of the future than I've been in a while.
Of course the real shocker of the opening ceremony is that we are getting phase 2 in less than two weeks. It's hard to know what is the long term plan with this since the phases seem to be coming really quickly. If we are continuing the pace that we are at then Classic is over in a year. They must be planning on spreading out the phases a bit later but it confuses me because phase 1 for most people is the phase with the most content. Blizzard is probably balancing out the needs of the hardcore and the casuals.
Granted, hardcore players need more than just phase 1 to keep themselves busy. Without battlegrounds available there is a lot less to do at max level. Here's my hot take on what Blizzard will do. We will be seeing a phase 2.5 about one month after phase 2 hits. It will include the phase 3 battlegrounds but not BWL. The pvp grind and the battlegrounds will keep the hardcores busy for months and keeping the content at Ony, MC, Azzy, and Kazzak doesn't make the slower levelers way behind everyone else with raid tiers. Then they can take a generally slower approach to the rest of the phases since multiple raids with phase 3 is entertaining for a long time.
Anyway after the announcements it was off to the demos to try Diablo 4. It felt like Diablo and had a great darker atmosphere like everyone's been hoping for. I liked the feel of it. The graphics and music were great, but it was easy. I'm sure there will be difficulty levels but a challenge is very important in a game.
Because of the demo we weren't able to really see the What's Next for Diablo but were able to catch the WoW one. I liked the concept of how the leveling will work. Being able to choose an expansion and it will take you to max level without having to go through everything partially will give a better story experience and allow newer people to catch up with the lore in a more direct manor.
We had a chance after the panel to be able to talk to Omar Gonzalez, the lead developer of Classic WoW. He had a small throng of the dedicated fans surrounding him. It was great to meet him and to ask a few Classic questions though most of it he couldn't go into the specifics of. I had to run off before he got sick of talking to everyone because I wanted to get a good seat for the cosplay section that was coming right up.
I really wanted to make sure I could see the cosplay because I've seen lots of pictures online because I knew seeing it live would be totally different. The costumes that people put together are incredible and it was fun to see everyone together. I missed being able to see everyone all at the same time in that classic picture in front of the convention hall, but I guess I can hit that next Blizzcon.
After the Cosplay show was the Community Night. This had even more cosplay which I didn't realize. I didn't know much about this event but it was fun to see. There are multiple competitions that take place. You have cosplay in different categories, fan art, fan videos, and talent competitions. There's lots of things made by the community and it's great that this kind of thing can be featured at Blizzcon.
I finally had a few minutes free to be able to take to do something not schedule related so I was able to go to the Darkmoon Faire to see what it's like and buy some merch and then also grab my stuff that I ordered on the Blink store. It helped to not have to carry everything all day long as I got more than I was expecting but the stuff will be fun memories of the experience.
We finished the night by chilling in the Marriott bar hanging out with guildies and other Classic fans and just trying to decompress from the very hectic day. The last day of Blizzcon will be a lot more low key with less panels and more time to talk to people and try the demos out.
I think we should start calling Kazzak, Kazzy. Great stuff!