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The biggest BlizzCon 2019 announcements

BlizzCon is still underway. The full opening ceremony is archived above.

This year's BlizzCon revealed two major new games and two expansions to Blizzard's other existing franchises. Overwatch 2 is official, bringing co-op missions and a pile of new multiplayer stuff (including new heroes) along with it. Diablo 4 has also finally made its debut, and it did so with enough blood and grime to show Blizzard is trying to differentiate it from Diablo 3.

At the start of the opening ceremony, Blizzard president J. Allen Brack briefly addressed last month's controversy over Hearthstone player Blitzchung's Hong Kong statement and his suspension. Brack apologized, but didn't get into specifics, change the suspension, or speak to how Blizzard would treat such issues differently in the future.

That controversy hasn't completely blown over. Protesters have gathered outside the Anaheim, California convention center sporting "Free Hong Kong" signs while giving away free t-shirts. Check out our liveblog for ongoing coverage of the protests.

We're at BlizzCon watching this all play out, and you can watch along online to catch the deeper looks at Blizzard's individual games throughout Friday and Saturday. 

Here's everything that's happened so far, and how to watch along.

The biggest BlizzCon 2019 announcements

Overwatch 2 is in development. It's a full-on sequel, with a focus on co-op and new PvE modes. There are Story Missions and Hero Missions, in which you'll be able to level up your heroes. And Overwatch 2's PvP additions, like new maps and heroes, will be coming to Overwatch 1, as well, for a "shared multiplayer environment."

What's more, all of your skins and cosmetics you've earned in Overwatch will carry over to the sequel, so you won't lose anything jumping over to Overwatch 2. The first new hero, a Canadian named Sojourn, was announced but we don't know what her abilities are. Game director Jeff Kaplan also has "no idea" when Overwatch 2 will be released.

For a comprehensive breakdown of everything Overwatch 2, check out our guide.

Diablo 4 was announced and it looks absolutely profane—a true sequel to Diablo 2 that's all about satanic rituals, occult symbols, and lots of blood. Blizzard opened BlizzCon 2019 with an extended CG trailer setting up the story and then followed that up with a few minutes of gameplay footage. There's multiple panels over the weekend that will dive deeper into Diablo 4, but what we do know is that it has a non-linear story set in an open world that you can explore at your leisure. Though it's probably no surprise, there will be no offline mode and won't be releasing any time soon.

Everything you need to know about Diablo 4 can be found right here.

World of Warcraft's next expansion is called Shadowlands. It releases next year and will take players to an alternate realm of death and decay where they must choose one of several factions to align with to fight against Sylvanas. The trailer was positively bananas, with Sylvanas duelling Bolvar, The Lich King, before using his helmet to tear open the sky and obliterate the barrier between Azeroth and The Shadowlands. If that's confusing to you, we explain what it all means.

Like any expansion, Shadowlands will implement sweeping changes to most of WoW's current systems and progression. We'll have a complete overview of those features soon, but some of the most noteworthy changes include a squished level cap of 60 and a new endgame dungeon that's basically a self-enclosed roguelike.

Oh, and WoW Classic's next update comes on November 12.

Hearthstone's next expansion is Descent of Dragons, and yes, it's got a bunch more dragons in it. The surprise: Hearthstone is getting a new mode, called Battlegrounds, inspired by the autobattle genre. It's in beta soon. Read more about it here.

Other bits of notable news is that Diablo Immortal, the mobile clone that made everyone angry when it was announced last year, is still in development and actually looks pretty cool

Hong Kong protesters were seen outside the convention center, but so far haven't caused much of a stir. Blizzard president J. Allen Brack started the show with a long non-apology regarding the recent controversy around the decision to ban Hearthstone Grandmaster Blitzchung. Brack said he was sorry but that doesn't matter because the Blitzchung (and the two Taiwanese casters implicated in the incident) are still banned for some reason. 

Oh, and Warcraft 3: Reforged is expanding its closed beta and will have a release date sometime soon.

How to watch BlizzCon 2019

BlizzCon 2019 began at 11am PT on Friday, November 1 and the show continues through Saturday.

Like every year, the full BlizzCon 2019 livestream is only available to those who purchase a Virtual Ticket for $50. It's a steep price, but it does include unrestricted access to the entire show, including tournaments, a dozen developer panels for different games, and a host of in-game goodies for all of Blizzard's games.

You can find the full schedule here.

What panels should I watch at BlizzCon 2019?

Saturday:

  • World of Warcraft: Deep Dive (11:15am - 12pm PT) - A closer look at upcoming content coming to WoW.
  • Diablo 4: Systems and Features (12:15am - 1pm PT) - A panel focusing entirely on Diablo 4's features.
Steven enjoys nothing more than a long grind, which is precisely why his specialty is on investigative feature reporting on China's PC games scene, weird stories that upset his parents, and MMOs. He's Canadian but can't ice skate. Embarrassing.