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BlizzCon is the annual convention held by Blizzard Entertainment to celebrate their many epic video game franchises including Warcraft, StarCraft, and Diablo. This year at BlizzCon 2011 there are a lot of great things going on including developer panels, an art show, a costume contest, two StarCraft 2 tournaments, and new this year concert from the Foo Fighters.
But aside from all of these festivities, the main reason we want to go to BlizzCon 2011 is to learn about what's going to be coming out in the future from Blizzard, and to spend time with our fellow players. All the cosplayers don't hurt, either. But this year, what should we expect from Blizz in terms of straight up game news? Let's break it down by each game.
World of Warcraft
World of Warcraft is Blizzard's AAA MMORPG and their current cash cow. Last year at BlizzCon, developers were showing off an almost completed version of the World of Warcraft: Cataclysm expansion. As the developers have said it's their new mission to create more content faster than they ever have in the past, I believe that we can expect another expansion announcement this year at BlizzCon.
With the recent trademark of "Mists of Panderia" all signs point to another expansion featuring the well-loved Pandaren race. I expect that we'll hear very little about the expansion, perhaps see an in-game cinematic, but that's about it.
I also expect to see some in-game footage or concept art of the epic Deathwing fight that's supposed to be the culmination of the Cataclysm expansion. Blizzard has talked about this fight before, mentioning that you'll actually get on Deathwing's back and tear him apart limb from molten limb, so getting some more information on this fight would be really awesome.
When it comes to StarCraft 2 we can definitely expect a lot of information on the upcoming StarCraft 2: Heart of the Swarm expansion pack from BlizzCon this year. In fact, I think this BlizzCon will be all about HotS and its new units and new campaign missions. They'll probably show the same Heart of the Swarm demo that we looked at back in May. It was a great demo (so many Banelings!) and I'm sure Blizzard is dying to get it in to the hands of the public.
I also expect that Blizzard will announce the release date of the Heart of the Swarm beta, but not the game. We know that the game will probably come out some time next year, as Blizzard has said that they want to have six new games out by 2014, and this is definitely one of them.
I doubt that we'll get any info on the second SC2 expansion, StarCraft 2: Legacy of the Void, this year from the SC2 developers as they're still pouring their blood, sweat, tears and grey matter into HotS.
With all of the hubbub around the Blizzard to Valve spinoff Dota 2, we can also expect to learn more about the Blizzard-made mod Blizzard DOTA. The company is holding an entire panel around mods and Blizzard DOTA, so hopefully we'll get a lot of info about the long awaited mod and the mod marketplace. The mods we got to check out last year like Aiur Chef, Left 2 Die, and Starjeweled turned out very cool so I'm excited to see the improvements that Bliz has made to Blizzard DOTA since last year.
Finally, we can expect a Korean to win both StarCraft 2 tournaments that Blizzard is putting on at BlizzCon. Yes, foreigners like EG.IdrA and Mill.Stephano both beat their Korean competition out at recent major SC2 tournaments but I fully expect a Korean to take both competitions at BlizzCon. With huge heavyweight players like Lim 'IM.NesTea' Jae Duk and Jung 'IM.MVP' Jong Hyun no foreigner honestly stands a chance. The first tournament is the Korean Global StarCraft League finals and the second is the BlizzCon Invitational.
Diablo 3 will be the baby of BlizzCon this year. With the closed beta already in the hand of many fans, I fully expect that we'll learn of the Diablo 3 release date at this year's BlizzCon. My guess is that the game will come out on or around January 13-16. This holiday weekend (in the US) is when World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade came out back in 2007 and it fits in the "early 2012" release window that we keep hearing about.
We can also expect the dreaded "Diablo 3 is coming out on the PlayStation 3 as well as PC" announcement at BlizzCon. It's truly expected at this point that the game is going to be coming to consoles based on all of the rumors, and with the release date rapidly approaching, this is the time to announce it. You'll have to cover your ears when they announce this though, as the groaning in that convention hall will be ridiculously loud.
Aside from these two announcements, Blizzard has already covered most of the new improvements coming to Diablo 3. There are no new classes or features to reveal, so all we have left is to know when it's coming out!
With Diablo 3 and StarCraft 2: Heart of the Swarm hitting in 2012 I honestly doubt that Blizzard will talk about their unannounced MMO Titan at all. Sure they'll tease it in the opening speech but with no panels surrounding the game I wouldn't expect to learn much of anything about it at this year's convention.
With that, I must admit that BlizzCon is my absolute favorite convention of the whole year. You can check out my feature on my first trip to BlizzCon last year and about how amazing it was. I love conventions like this where everyone gets together to learn about their favorite things and we're all on the same page. If you see G4 at BlizzCon this year, make sure to stop by and say hi! And if you can't attend the show, be sure to keep your browser on G4TV.com as we'll be on the show floor running around getting you the best coverage possible, including another Girls of Blizzcon photo gallery!
What are you expecting to see this year at BlizzCon 2011? Let us know!