A History of Big News: Blizzcon
Blizzard’s gaming convention and exposition of their titles have been an almost annual fixture. Blizzcon is the place where the company reveals their biggest and grandest designs. Granted, some announcements, such as the dance studio, are less momentous than others, but Blizzcon remains the company’s best PR event. The convention is the company’s equivalent of a state of the union address, except with far more attendees. That stated, what have been some of the biggest announcements at Blizzcon over the years?
The first Blizzcon was also WoW players’ first look at one of the new playable races coming to the game in The Burning Crusade, Blood Elves. Additionally, playable demo Starcraft: Ghost became available.
Jonathan Davis, of Korn fame, happened to be the judge for the music competition. Level 60 Elite Tauren Chieftain, comedian Christian Finnegan, and The Offspring all performed for the closing ceremony.
Starcraft 2 was available to play. Attendees could play as single player, or in a 2v2 map. Furthermore, much of the game was revealed and explained in a Q&A. There was no mention of the upcoming Zerg race, however.
2007 was a big year for World of Warcraft news. The game’s second expansion, Wrath of the Lich King, was announced and a demo was set up for attendees.
Comedian Jay Mohr and the now Level 70 Elite Tauren Chieftain performed at the closing ceremony, accompanied by Video Games Live.
The opening ceremony was heralded by Blizzard president Michael Morhaime, who introduced the Wizard class for Diablo 3. Moreover, he made announcements that Starcraft 2 would be separated into three games.
As is the tradition at Blizzcon, demos were set up for attendees. They featured all the major Blizzard games at the time: Diablo 3, Starcraft 2, and Wrath of the Lich King.
Tournaments featuring the WoW trading card game took place and the Zerg race was playable in the demos. Moreover, Blizzcon 2008 got to be broadcast live on DirectTV. The Blizzard fansite, WoW Radio, broadcasted live audio.
Video Games Live played the Wrath of the Lich King music during the closing ceremony. Comedians Kyle Kinane and Patton Oswalt performed.
In order to increase occupancy limits, an extra hall was added to the convention. Blizzard implemented a new ticket-buying system to reduce the chaos of purchasing tickets.
Pay Per View purchasers received an exclusive Murloc Marine in-game pet, as well as access to the online stream. This was the first year the Virtual Ticket was introduced.
World of Warcraft: Cataclysm was announced. Diablo 3 and Starcraft 2: Wings of Liberty were both available to play. Ozzy Osbourne performed for the closing concert.
The Demon Hunter was revealed as the third Diablo 3 class. The Starcraft 2 mod, “Blizzard DotA” was presented. This would later evolve into Heroes of the Storm. All the major blizzard titles had demos set up for attendees.
Tenacious D played for the closing concert, accompanied by Dave Grohl.
The opening ceremony began with a new Diablo 3 cinematic, entitled “The Black Soulstone.” New units and abilities were showcased for Starcraft 2. Additionally, the first inklings of Heroes of the Storm began to surface. Mists of Pandaria was announced, alongside a playable demo. The Global Starcraft 2 League final took place alongside Blizzcon.
The closing concert featured a cameo familiar faces, The Artist Formerly Known as Level 80 Elite Tauren Chieftains. In the middle of the concert, the Tauren Chieftens dinged to level 90, changing their names once more. The Foo Fighters performed at the closing ceremonies.
Two batches of tickets were sold. Blizzard also sold special tickets for $500 each, with the money donated to Children’s Hospital of Orange County, CA.
The alpha version of Heroes of the Storm was presented. Hearthstone was announced. Furthermore, the game would be playable on iOS and Android. Warlords of Draenor was announced alongside a trailer. Concept art for the Warcraft film was shown. Moreover, there was news for Diablo 3: Reaper of Souls. The finals for the Starcraft 2 World Championship Series occurred.
Blink-182 performed for the closing ceremonies.
Blizzard’s new, class-based shooter, Overwatch, was announced. There was big Starcraft 2 news as the third part of the game, Legacy of the Void was introduced.
The closing ceremonies were performed by the Elite Tauren Chieftains and Metallica.
Legion announcements came alongside a cinematic and a tentative release date. the Warcraft film got a trailer and a release date as well. Starcraft 2’s Nova Covert Ops were introduced, each consisting of three missions.
The 2015 Heroes of the Storm World Championship unfolded. Additionally, the Hearthstone World Championship played out. Starcraft 2′s own World Championship continued as normal. Lastly, the arena champion for WoW was won by SK Gaming.
The closing concert was performed by Linkin Park.
The tenth Blizzcon was marked by the first virtual ticket holders got access to the “goody bag.” The fourth Hearthstone expansion, “Mean Streets of Gadgetzan,” was announced. Sombra was introduced officially for Overwatch.
Kristian Nairn, who portrayed Hodor in Game of Thrones, was the DJ for Blizzard’s 25th-anniversary party. The closing concert was performed by “Weird Al” Yankovic.
Blizzard had a record number of attendees, at 35,000 strong, due to the Anaheim Convention Center expanding. The next expansion for WoW, Battle for Azeroth, was announced. A new hero for Overwatch, Moira, was heralded. A release date for Hearthstone’s next expansion, “Kobolds and Catacombs,” was set.
The eSports events as we know them today came into fruition, with all major Blizzard titles being featured.
Muse performed for the closing concert.
2018 will likely prove one of the bigger Blizzcons. With the devs scrambling to climb out of the Azerite armor controversy, Blizzard will be looking to regain footing with its community. With patch 8.1 soon to be released, there is much speculation regarding 8.2, N’zoth, and the future of the expansion. Diablo news is likely to play a prominent role in the first day of the convention, as well.