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BlizzConline will be free for everyone

Blizzcon
(Image credit: Blizzard)
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The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic put the kibosh on just about every in-person gaming event this year, including BlizzCon (opens in new tab), the annual weekend-long celebration of all things Blizzard. The studio said when it pulled the plug that it was trying to pull together an online replacement, and in September it confirmed that the awkwardly-named BlizzConline (opens in new tab) will run February 19-20, 2021.

In previous years, BlizzCon has been a pay-to-play event: The opening ceremonies are free to watch, but full online access to panels, esports events, and the like requires a "virtual ticket" that have previously sold for $40 each. But 2020 has been a different sort of year, and so this BlizzCon event (which is happening in 2021, but replacing the 2020 show) will be different too.

"While we won't have a physical show this year, we're very much looking forward to BlizzConline early next," Blizzard president J. Allen Brack said in today's fireside chat video (opens in new tab). "We want it to be a big virtual celebration, so BlizzConline will be free to watch and engage in."

Despite the challenges of the pandemic—Brack said that more than 95 percent of Blizzard's global workforce is now working from home—BlizzConline promises to be a pretty big deal, with events including a cosplay exhibition and competition, art and storytelling contests, a "talent spotlight," and the March of the Murlocs (opens in new tab), a parade of Murloc-inspired looks ranging from simple facepaint to full-on cosplay. 

Blizzard confirmed via email that the event will fully free: "Blizzard will not charge viewers to watch and engage in BlizzConline," a rep said. 

Hopefully we'll also get a fresh look at some of the new things Blizzard is working on, including Diablo 4 and Overwatch 2, but we'll have to wait awhile yet to see how that goes. To find out more about BlizzConline or sign up for any of its events, head around to blizzcon.com (opens in new tab).

Andy Chalk
Andy Chalk

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.