BlizzCon 2021 kicked off today with announcements for all of Blizzard's biggest games like World of Warcraft and Diablo. If you've participated in BlizzCon in the past, things are a little different this year. Because of the coronavirus pandemic, BlizzCon 2021 isn't a physical event—everything will be online. (They're calling it BlizzConline, even.)
There's a silver lining, though: You don't need to purchase a virtual ticket to watch any of the panels, deep dives, or big announcements happening during the show. It's also a special year for Blizzard because the company celebrated its 30th anniversary on February 8, so we're expecting BlizzCon 2021 to go all-out.
You can find the schedule and livestreams on the official BlizzCon site. If you just want to find out what's been announced and shown so far, you can find the latest below.
The biggest announcements
World of Warcraft and World of Warcraft Classic
- World of Warcraft: Shadowlands' next big update has been revealed. It's called Chains of Domination, and it's a big one. Check out our full interview.
- Burning Crusade Classic servers are coming to WoW Classic. That means being able to experience WoW's first expansion almost exactly like it was back in 2007.
- If you don't have a level 60 character in WoW Classic, Blizzard will let you pay to boost one—but it'll cost you.
- Burning Crusade Classic will also pit players against much harder versions of its raid bosses because you're all too good at the game now.
- We asked Blizzard whether it was planning to make Wrath of the Lich King Classic servers. They weren't very forthcoming.
Diablo 4 and Diablo 2: Resurrected
- The Diablo 2 remake is official, and it's releasing this year.
- We didn't get a release date for Diablo 4, but we learned that the Rogue will be one of the first classes available. We've got some details here.
- We also learned how open world PvP will work in Diablo 4.
- Hearthstone is getting a whole new mode. Called Mercenaries, it's a roguelike mode with simultaneous combat.
- The new Core set? It'll include reimagined versions of classic cards like Malygos, Ysera, and Deathwing. Also, Annoy-O-Tron is coming back for some reason.
- The next expansion is Forged in the Barrens and it's very much for the Horde.
- We got our first good look at Sojourn's impressive railgun.
- Blizzard is seriously reconsidering the role of tanks in Overwatch 2. They might even go by a different name in the sequel.
- "Hero passives" may be implemented to further differentiate the three core roles. Blizzard detailed how each role would change.
Watch the full opening ceremony
BlizzCon 2021: Dates and time
In years past, BlizzCon would happen during November of each year, but the coronavirus pandemic delayed the show and forced Blizzard to make the entire event online. The good news is that BlizzCon 2021 is entirely free. You won't need to purchase a virtual ticket to watch any of the programming happening throughout the two-day festival.
Here's the dates you need to remember:
- BlizzCon 2021 Day 1 starts on February 19 at 2pm PT / 5pm ET / 10pm GMT
- BlizzCon 2021 Day 2 starts on February 20 at 12pm PT / 3pm ET / 8pm GMT
If this is your first time watching BlizzCon, the most important date to remember is February 19. The show kicks off with an opening ceremony where Blizzard traditionally unveils trailers for its upcoming updates and games and it usually has a fun surprise or two. After the opening ceremony comes deep dives on each of Blizzard's main franchises, where developers of Hearthstone, World of Warcraft, and Diablo talk about what's coming later this year.
The second day of BlizzCon 2021 will be mostly for Q&As, community showcases, tournaments, and panels about the art and music behind certain games. These can still be fun to watch, but all the big announcements will be happening the day before.
BlizzCon will likely be streamed on Twitch, or you can watch it from the official site. We'll update this page with links closer to the event.
BlizzCon 2021 Schedule
The good news is Blizzard has already released the BlizzCon 2021 schedule, so you can begin mapping out what you want to watch on February 19 and 20. To find the schedule, you can go here, but here's a quick summary of the things you won't want to miss:
February 19, 2pm PT:
- Opening Ceremony - If there's one part of the show you shouldn't miss, it's this. Blizzard will spend a little over an hour unveiling new trailers, big announcements, and making vague apologies.
February 19, 3:10pm PT (streams will be rebroadcast if you miss them):
- World of Warcraft: What's Next - Blizzard will reveal what the next big update to Shadowlands looks like.
- Diablo: What's Next - Expect a detailed look at the development of Diablo 4 and probably some Diablo Immortal announcements too.
- Hearthstone: Deep Dive - A look at what's coming to Hearthstone in 2021.
- Behind the Scenes of Overwatch 2 - A sneak peek at what's going on with Overwatch 2.
February 19, 3:40pm PT:
- World of Warcraft: Deep Dive - A closer look at what's going on in World of Warcraft: Shadowlands
February 19, 5pm PT:
- Diablo: Deep Dive - An even closer look at what's going on in the world of Diablo.
BlizzCon 2021: What to expect
Because BlizzCon 2021 is also a chance for Blizzard to celebrate its 30th anniversary, we're hoping the show has a few surprises that wow us. With Overwatch 2 and Diablo 4 not coming until 2022, it feels like there's an enormous gap in Blizzard's games—and I'm secretly hoping it has an ace up its sleeve in the form of an announcement that will be coming this year. A remastered Diablo 2 seems the most likely, considering all the rumors.
Of course, you can expect lots of exciting news for individual games like World of Warcraft and Hearthstone. The only thing suspiciously absent from the show is Overwatch, which is basically in a state of limbo while Blizzard works on the sequel. Sorry, Overwatch fans.
World of Warcraft: Shadowlands
WoW's eighth expansion launched back in November and it's pretty dang good. Players have been chewing through its endgame, leveling up their undead gang hideouts and exploring its roguelike dungeon. That's all well and fine, but like any good WoW player I have an insatiable hunger for new stuff and I'm dying to know what Blizzard has in store.
The big thing I'm expecting is a reveal of update 9.1, the first major patch for Shadowlands. The development team has been tight lipped on new features, but I wouldn't let your imagination run wild. The first patch of a main expansion is typically a bit smaller than the later ones. Expect the announcement of a new raid, some new ways to power up your character, and probably a new dungeon or two. Torghast, Shadowlands' roguelike dungeon will also probably get some new areas to explore. This is also a prime chance for Blizzard to address some of the biggest bits of feedback and announce how it's fixing Shadowlands' few issues, like the drought in good endgame gear.
Diablo 4 and Diablo Immortal
Blizzard has already said that it doesn't anticipate Diablo 4 to release this year, so don't get your hopes up. It'll be exciting to get a closer look at its ongoing development to see how the game is coming together, but I doubt there'll be any big announcements. At best, I'm hoping we'll get a new cinematic trailer that's every bit as gnarly as the first one was.
One big announcement I'm willing to put money on is a Diablo Immortal release date. This controversial mobile game put Blizzard in hot water when it first revealed it, but it actually looks really cool and is a lot of fun too. I'm betting Blizzard will drop news of either an open beta or a full release for later this summer. Hopefully by then you'll have a phone.
Like Diablo 4, Blizzard already tempered expectations by saying this probably won't launch in 2021. That's disappointing—especially if you're an Overwatch fan. You can expect to get a more intimate look at Overwatch 2's singleplayer campaign and I bet Blizzard can't resist announcing a new character, too. But since it's so far away and Overwatch is basically in limbo, it's hard to find much to be excited about.
The fact that Team 5 already dropped a megaton announcement this week with the reveal of the new core set and Classic mode might leave you wondering what's left to reveal. Well, there's the next expansion of course, which by our reckoning could be here as early as March and will coincide with rotation for the Standard format—always the most exciting time of year in terms of meta shakeup. Given the ongoing success of Battlegrounds, an update on the next patch for that mode is also a given. It's also safe to assume we'll see some sort of demo of Classic mode for those of us who want to party like it's 2014. As for curve balls, the developers have been making bold moves over the last couple of years, so don't rule out another surprise mode announcement, though it's probably too soon for a new class.
Diablo 2 Remaster
The biggest rumor circling Blizzard for years has involved its supposed work on an unconfirmed Diablo 2 Remaster. According to a report earlier this year, Vicarious Visions was working on the project—a rumor that was bolstered by the recent news that Blizzard would be absorbing Vicarious Visions entirely. At this point, a Diablo 2 Remaster seems incredibly likely, it's just a matter of when Blizzard will decide to officially announce it.
BlizzCon 2021: What about all them goodies?
We're not totally sure what Blizzard will be giving away for free to players of its games, but if you have some money to spend there's a special 30th anniversary collection you can buy that has loads of in-game cosmetics, skins, and loot for all of Blizzard's games.
You can find the full breakdown here, as the collection comes in three different tiers at different prices. But here's a quick rundown:
The Essentials Pack: $20
- Coupon for 15% off the Blizzard Gear Store
- Hearthstone: 10 Madness at the Darkmoon Faire Card packs
- Heroes of the Storm: Tracer's OSV-03 Rogue mount + Tracer
- Overwatch: 5 loot boxes
- Overwatch: 30th anniversary icon and spray
- Starcraft 2: Set of 30th anniversary portraits
- Diablo 3: Pet and a portrait
- World of Warcraft: Moon-touched Netherwhelp pet
The Heroic Pack: $40
- Everything in the Essentials Pack
- World of Warcraft: Snowstorm mount
- Diablo 3: Wings
- Overwatch: Raynhardt legendary skin
- Hearthstone: Random Madness at the Darkmoon Faire Legendary card
The Epic Pack: $60
- Everything in the Essentials and Heroic Pack
- World of Warcraft: 30 days subscription time
- Hearthstone: 5 Golden Madness at the Darkmoon Faire card packs
- Overwatch: 3 golden loot boxes
- Diablo 3: Transmog set