Blizzard cancelled BlizzCon 2020 in May, saying that the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic made the traditional weekend-long party impossible to hold safely. But it also committed to an online event in 2021 that would "channel the BlizzCon spirit," and today it confirmed that "BlizzConline" will take place February 19-20, 2021.
BlizzConline will feature a Community Showcase of work from "cosplay crafters, artists, and other community creators," with an art contest and, for aspiring filmmakers, a "digital storytelling contest" offering cash prizes and tickets to the next live BlizzCon event for the top three entries in each. A virtual March of the Murlocs will take place, and of course the BlizzCon cosplay exhibition and contest will return, in online format, with awards in four categories and an overall "Best Cosplay" winner chosen from among them:
- Best Blizzard Character – Recognizing outstanding interpretations of iconic heroes and villains from the worlds of Diablo, Hearthstone, Heroes of the Storm, Overwatch, StarCraft, and Warcraft.
- Best Blizzard Weapons & Armor – Recognizing the exemplary craftsmanship that goes into building epic, battlefield-worthy gear.
- Best Modern Creation – Recognizing expertise in working with materials such as foams and plastics, and incorporating 3D printing, electronics, and technology.
- Best Traditional Creation – Recognizing masterful skill in working with materials such as fabric, leather, metal, and wood.
There will also be a more open-ended "talent spotlight," which encourages individuals or groups to show off their special talent—"musical, physical, magical, whimsical, or otherwise." Blizzard said examples "could include, but are not limited to … a re-enactment of a scene, a sketch, stand-up comedy, a dance routine, acrobatics, or an instrumental or vocal musical performance." The only restrictions are that it must be either a Blizzard composition, or something complete original, that it run no longer than three minutes, and that it contains no "explicit or obscene" language.
The details are still being hammered out, but at least now we have confirmation that it's happening, and when. If you're interested in taking part in any of the events or competitions, full rules and registration links are up at blizzcon.com.