Blizzcon Postmortem

Well Blizzcon this year was definitely a thing. I’m going to ignore all the pieces that seem perfectly cool but aren’t for me, like Overwatch and HotS, and focus on the big things that I feel strongly about. And boy do I feel strongly. It’s a testament to Blizzard that even after all the time and frustration with some of their franchises, I still care enough about them to wish they were better.

I’ll start with Warcraft. There were three prongs for this franchise, two of which are banking solidly on nostalgia. The Warcraft 3 remaster seems pretty cool. I never actually played any of the Warcraft games before WoW, so I could see myself trying this out just to see some of those pivotal lore moments. It’s not anything I was hoping for, but I might still buy it out of curiosity.

The second piece of Warcraft news wasn’t very new but still makes me happy. WoW Classic development is moving along, by all accounts the demo was as painful and wonderful as I had hoped it would be. The timeline for release seems reasonable, and I’m sure will be perfectly calculated to keep people subscribed to WoW during a content lull in the modern game. Most importantly, it will be on that same subscription. Your $15 a month will buy access to both versions. This is a pleasant surprise. For me I think Classic might become my primary MMO for a while, but it will be nice to be able to duck into BfA also if the mood strikes me. On the flip side, I appreciate that this arrangement will let people dabble in Classic if they start getting bored of modern WoW. It will keep the overall subscription numbers up, and will keep the Classic servers more populated that they would be if they required an additional fee.

I’m more and more excited about WoW Classic all the time because I’m realizing that the current incarnation of WoW is just not for me at all. Nothing about the announcements for the new content in the works for BfA was that appealing. I still haven’t seen the full Uldir raid, so it is hard to get excited about a new one. I dislike the faction conflict and the set-up for Sylvanas’ eventual downfall, so the cinematic just made me sad. BfA is a game for an audience that doesn’t include me. I think the existence of WoW Classic is the key that keeps me from being unreasonably sad or angry about that fact.

Speaking of unreasonable anger, it’s time to talk about Diablo. Diablo fans have been running on the fumes of hope for years now. This year the franchise seemed to be getting a place of honor at Blizzcon, instead of being relegated to the kiddie table or ignored completely. You can understand that we were pretty excited. Obviously there was going to be some kind of big announcement. Unfortunately, we did not get any of the things we were expecting.

Diablo Immortal is a game I want to play. It looks fun, and it fills in a gap in Diablo lore. Cool! It is also deeply disappointing as a major Diablo announcement out of Blizzcon. Why? Because it is a mobile game. By definition it will be less complex, less hardcore than a pc or console offering. Because it looks backwards into Diablo’s history instead of forward with new story. And because it came without the merest sliver of a hint of motion on the core game, the thing the fans have been invested in for years even in the face of Blizzard’s occasional neglect.

I completely understand the anger and frustration of the assholes who stood up during Q&As and were inexcusably rude to the devs. I’m unhappy with this situation too. But lashing out is not useful to anybody. I’m a weird Diablo fan, because I want more of the full deep experience on the PC, but I am also super excited to try a more casual mobile offering. I would have been legitimately hyped about Diablo Immortal if it had also come with a promise of more “traditional” Diablo. Instead, this announcement seemed to say “you get Diablo Immortal instead of more actual Diablo”, and that felt terrible. I get that they aren’t far enough along with anything to say much, but a simple “we’re working on this” would have gone a long way. As things stand I am 100% sure I will at least check out this new mobile offering, but I’m desperately hoping for some pc Diablo news sooner than later. At least I still have the Torchlight MMO to look forward to.

So that was my Blizzcon. It was filled with lots of things that aren’t for me, and the realization that even the franchises I love from Blizz seem determined to move away from me too.

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6 thoughts on “Blizzcon Postmortem

  1. Pingback: BlizzCon Yawns 2018 | The Ancient Gaming Noob

  2. It certainly was a memorable Blizzcon. I might try Warcraft too sometime 🙂

    I feel the same way about Classic that you do. It was a treat to play. Within minutes I had lots of buffs and was in a group. A real group 😀 I almost died to a murloc too, lol. Good times!

    That Diablo announcement. Oh, I wish it had gone differently, for all you Diablo fans out there. I am saddened by that fact. If only they would have been just honest and said something like “listen, guys, we are developing D4 (?), but the costs are a lot, so either we put a subscription fee on it, or we launch a mobile game to be a cash cow to fund it. Here is a sneak peak of D4”.

    But that comment, the “Don’t you guys have phones?!” was brutal. A lot can be said, but that comment was not helping their cause one bit.

    Fingers crossed we will be able to continue to recognize Blizzard in the future.

    • I didn’t actually get to play the Classic demo, but everything I have heard about it makes me really happy. I’m glad you enjoyed it and I can’t wait for the finished version to get here next year.

      Here’s hoping we continue to recognize Blizzard in the future indeed…

  3. I cant wait for Warcraft 3. My best friend and I were godlike back in the day (we both grew up playing every single RTS we could get our hands on). The found memories of us teaming up and slaying a much larger team 😍
    Then we’d play against each other and our games would be either 5 minutes or nearly 5 hours xD

    The Diablo anger is just ridiculous. Blizzard already conquered the Diablo market on PC and console. There is a market gap for mobile. They developed a product for it.
    The generation who is the main target for this mobile game will be much more inclined to play future Diablo titles for PC/console.

    Making a mobile Diablo doesnt mean the future of the franchise is on mobile, and people need to understand that, specially when Blizz told fans before Blizzcon to not get their hopes up for Diablo 4 announcement.

    A similar rage happened when Hearthstone was released, and now it is a massively played game 🙂

    On related Diablo news, with your advice on a past post, my Necromancer is already 70, geared up, and smashing rifts like a god. And like everything else, it is so much more fun to play with friends: and we’ve been kicking it old school, not on discord, but all in the same room with our PCs 😋
    One of my friends had only been playing solo and after our Diablo night he was saying “Ah, this is the Diablo I remember”

    • I definitely agree that there is plenty of space for Blizz to bring Diablo into the mobile market. But probably Blizzcon wasn’t the place to expect people to be happy about it.

      I’m glad my advice was helpful, and I’m super jealous you get to play D3 with friends in-person! That sounds like an incredibly fun time!

      • I think there was poor judgement on their part regarding not measuring the potential mess of a reaction on an audience of older players, PC gamers. And also poor judgement on people reacting as if their puppy was sent to death row. Diablo Immortal does NOT mean Diablo 4 won’t happen. Can’t please them all, I guess.

        If we cant all be together, we occasionally group up and banter on discord (From discussing how amazingly evil Zoltan‘s laughter is- seriously, since the first time I played the game I immediately knew “this guy is gonna betray me” xD , to joke around regarding ability use). You are more than welcome to join us if and when you like 🙂

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