BlizzCon 2016 predictions: from Sombra to Diablo 4

We place bets on what's likely to be announced at BlizzCon tomorrow.

BlizzCon 2016 starts tomorrow, and we'll be there to bring you all the big news about Blizzard's games as it's revealed. But as we always do before BlizzCon, let's first make some predictions for what's in store—however obvious or outlandish they may seem. Traditionally Blizzard does all its big reveals at the start of the convention, so we won't have to wait long too long to see how close we came.

You should watch the video above to hear our full discussion of each prediction, but here's a summary of what we're generally expecting from each Blizzard branch.

Hearthstone

Prediction: A new expansion, probably heist/mobster themed.

Wild unlikely guess: A completely new game mode, or a massive change to Standard to include rotating "core sets."

Starting easy, Hearthstone is seemingly going to have a very predictable BlizzCon. A new expansion reveal at the event has been teased for a while now, and would line up with Hearthstone's general release schedule for new content. Blizzard even showed off a fake newspaper article from the Gadgetzan Gazette about a vault heist, so we have a sense of its theme. 

There's a chance we'll also see something unexpected out of Hearthstone, but the expansion is a guarantee.

World of Warcraft

Prediction: Info about the next Legion patch, but not much else.

Wild unlikely guess: The next expansion announced already, or Warcraft 4.

Warcraft is going to have a pretty low key BlizzCon this year. Legion is just got its 7.1 patch, and we'll probably here details about 7.2 or what else is on the horizon, but that's probably it. With WoW's game director moving to another project, and Blizzard explicitly stated that it won't be talking Vanilla servers at the event. 

It's unlikely we'll see anything about WoW's next expansion, as they've generally been coming every two years.

StarCraft

Prediction: Probably nothing at all. 

Wild unlikely guess: Another new expansion following a new story.

StarCraft 2's third expansion, Legacy of the Void, came out roughly a year ago and brought the major story line of the StarCraft universe to a close. There could be a new expansion announcement, but more likely StarCraft is in a bit of a rebuilding year. Whatever's next for the series will need to be big, so I imagine Blizzard will spend more time to make it perfect. 

With both Warcraft and StarCraft in lulls this year, Evan thought it might be the right time to hand the RTS mantle back to Blizzard's fantasy series and announce Warcraft 4. While that would be exciting, I think Blizzard probably isn't finished with StarCraft 2 quite yet.

Diablo

Prediction: One of the three, in order of likelihood: a new Diablo 3 expansion, a Diablo 1 and 2 HD remake, or Diablo 4.

Wild unlikely guess: All of those.

It's no secret that Diablo is ramping up for a big BlizzCon. There have been rumors of Diablo 4, leaked images of the Necromancer, and even a Diablo 2 HD teaser site counting toward BlizzCon—which Blizzard says isn't official. Honestly, I'm not sure which scenario is the most likely, but my money is on a new Diablo 3 expansion as it makes a lot of sense when you look at the bigger picture.

Diablo 4 seems like a stretch as it's only been four years since Diablo 3 came out, which would make it the quickest sequel Blizzard has made since Diablo 2 in 2000, four years after the original. On the other hand, a new expansion lines up nicely with Blizzard's release pattern, two years after Reaper of Souls, which was two years after the base game. 

And although that teaser site may be fan made, it doesn't mean Blizzard isn't also working on an HD remaster of its old games. An HD remake could theoretically launch alongside either of the other two options, and the necromancer art could literally be for any of the three. But there's no doubt one of them is happening.

Heroes of the Storm

Prediction: Two new maps, three new heroes (one of which is from Overwatch), and possibly a new game mode.

Wild unlikely guess: A full-on Overwatch themed update, with multiple Overwatch characters, Sombra, and Overwatch maps.

Heroes of the Storm is going to have a fairly predictable BlizzCon as well. Blizzard will announce some new heroes, show off a couple new maps, and may even announce a new game mode. It's possible all of this will be themed around another one of its other games, but the smart money would be on Warcraft if anything. 

There's also no doubt that one of the heroes announced will be sort of strange. Two years ago we saw Lost Vikings, last year was Cho'gall, and this year we'll see something else to try and turn heads. My wild guess here is the Innkeeper from Hearthstone.

Overwatch

Prediction: Sombra, a new map or two, the Overwatch Pro League.

Wild unlikely guess: Another new hero teased for after Sombra, a permanent new game mode.

The unholy mess we've been calling the Sombra ARG will finally come to an end, and the hero that's been leaked twice now will be officially announced. She'll almost definitely be playable on the show floor before going on the PTR next Tuesday, and then live in the game the week after.

We'll also probably get a look at a new map or two that will arrive down the line, and an official reveal for the Overwatch Pro League which was accidentally announced last week. My money is also on another cinematic being shown off at the event and maybe some more comic announcements. Less likely but still entirely possible is some larger change, like a new game mode or map type that's very different from what we have now.

Got a prediction of your own, or think one of ours is particularly right or wrong? Let us know in the comments below!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Tom is PC Gamer’s Associate Editor. He enjoys platformers, puzzles and puzzle-platformers. He also enjoys talking about PC games, which he now no longer does alone. Tune in every Wednesday at 1pm Pacific on Twitch.tv/pcgamer to see Tom host The PC Gamer Show.
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