BlizzCon and World of Warcraft go hand in hand, and this year proved it once more, so let’s look at the winners and losers of this year’s Con.
BlizzCon 2023 is in the books, with World of Warcraft, Overwatch, and Diablo all getting new reveals. However, there was plenty across the board for all of the publisher's biggest games. It was exciting weekend, but inevitably there's got to be some winners and losers.
Let's look at the BlizzCon that was, and assign value on each, much in the way parents tell their children which is their favorite.
BlizzCon 2023 winner: Blizzard
Blizzard needed a win. With all of its games trudging through the proverbial muck of public opinion for the last few years, the publisher craved some kind of positive news. Even more so given that this would be the first official BlizzCon under the Microsoft family banner. After all, you need to look good when Daddy Phil Spencer shows up for dinner.
Luckily for Blizzard they did just that.
It's hard to score too many things as a negative for this BlizzCon--minus the constant vocal minority of never-happy boo birds. However, there's plenty of good to be seen. The thunderous arrival of World of Warcraft, Overwatch making a big showing--and best of all, nothing getting openly booed.
Already a vast improvement over the previous BlizzCon.
Loser: Diablo IV
If you blinked then you might have missed Diablo having a presence at BlizzCon 2023 at all. In fairness, of all the games in the Blizzard lineup at the moment it's the one with the worst player reputation--and that includes Overwatch. Since launch the game has been a clown car of errors. Continued server issues, an uneven gameplay experience outside of its story, and two new seasons of middling "new" content.
So, how does Blizzard steer the ship in light of all that? By showing a vague trailer for an expansion not coming until late 2024. Cool. All your other games are showing new characters and three expansions at once and you just give us some jungles. Thanks, Diablo. I bought your fried chicken and this is how you repay me.
It's not nearly as bad as the crowd booing Diablo Immortal from last BlizzCon, but not by much.
BlizzCon winner: World of Warcraft
It's a Warcraft world and we're all just living in it. A massive showing for World of Warcraft, a new game debut in Warcraft Rumble, and the cementing of its biggest franchise for the future are all wins for Blizzard. Even the most jaded WoW fan would have trouble finding any fault with the announcements from this year.
More to the point, this felt like for the first time in a long time that Warcraft was treated as the main event. All of it felt like a real coming home for the publisher's biggest franchise, especially as Chris Metzen confirmed that they are looking forward to the game's future.
BlizzCon and World of Warcraft go hand in hand, and this year proved it once more.
Loser: Overwatch World Cup
Not that you would know, as many of the matches were cut off from the streams in lieu of BlizzCon panels. Then, to top it off the finals saw "the team we can't call 'Team China'" versus the apparent future keyholders of professional Overwatch.
Given the slow decline of the league and its impending death, I can think of no more fitting way for it all to go down.
However bad things might have been for its World Cup, Overwatch came to play at BlizzCon. We've talked about the company needing wins, but it especially needed Overwatch to come out of the show looking strong. A number of announcements struck the right cords with the right audience. This includes a new (and immediately playable) Hero, a return of a beloved map, new Heroes in 2024, a competitive revamp, and more.
It certainly didn't hurt that the show ended with LE SSERAFIM reminding one and all that me and my girlies are gonna party till it's early.
Never before has Hearthstone felt more like an afterthought. With almost no hype from the community for the upcoming Badlands expansion, the presence of Hearthstone at BlizzCon lacked any intrigue. While Battlegrounds Duos looks like a fun, new addition, that was basically it.
After all, what else is there to expect? The game's pro scene is all but dead and the game lacks the buzz it had a decade ago. Can Hearthstone turn it around in 2024? If BlizzCon was an indicator of the future then maybe we should be worried.
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