Big Announcements of Blizzcon 2011: Our Thoughts

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Everyone in gaming knows that Blizzard is pretty damn good at keeping their cards quite close to their chests. If they want to keep something under wraps then you’d better believe that the gaming public won’t hear about it until Blizzard want them to.

Therefore, armed with nothing other than guesswork and a love of speculation, here’s our predictions on what major news we could see break at Blizzcon 2011.

Diablo 3 release date

Naturally, this is the big one that people want to hear. Blizzard are notorious for not announcing a game’s release date until they are perfectly happy that they can deliver on it. This creates the double-edged sword situation for us gamers where we don’t hear about a game’s release for literally years but once the announcement is made, you can rely on it.

In the previous Blizzcon’s running up to this one, the major Diablo 3 announcements have revolved around the introduction of the game’s different classes. However, all 5 classes have been revealed, along with the real-cash Auction House and other major features of the game.

With the Diablo 3 beta live and running, there really is very little left to announce other than the big day itself.

StarCraft 2 Heart of The Swarm tidbits

Late July 2010 saw StarCraft 2: Wings of Liberty melt faces and expectations as the long awaited sequel to the 1999 RTS classic rocketed forth from Blizzard to become an instant global triumph.

Blizzard’s decision to split StarCraft 2 into three component parts, one for each of the game’s factions, caused a lot of grumbling as some fans thought they were being strung out for 3 purchases when one would have sufficed. However, after the Wings of Liberty release, few of the grumblers could maintain their protest that the game had short-changed them, not with a straight face anyway.

Now, almost 15 months down the line, we’re ready for round 2 with the Zerg orientated chapter:StarCraft 2: Heart of The Swarm. As usual with Blizzard, details are sparse, with little known of the single player campaign’s overall plot and the units we can expect to lead into battle.

While I’m not predicting a release date to drop into our laps, it would be great to expand on our knowledge of the game, leading on from the teasers and short previews that have kept StarCraft 2fans on a slow drip-feed of information.

Next World of Warcraft Expansion

Though you never can tell how long it will take for Blizzard to release a product, one area that carries a little more predictability is World of Warcraft. Each expansion has followed the pattern of being announced at Blizzcon in order to be released approximately one year later.

The Burning Crusade was announced in October at Blizzcon 2005 for a release just over a year later in January 2007, Wrath of the Lich King was announced at Blizzcon 2007 in preparation for a November 2008 release and finally Cataclysm was announced at Blizzcon 2009 and was released in December 2010.

Therefore, it doesn’t take a mage buffed with arcane brilliance to guess that the next expansion should logically be announced at Blizzcon 2011 in order to lay the ground for a late 2012 release date.

While this is by no means certain, it’s about as good a guess as you can get with the Blizzard development cycle.

Project Titan Will Stay Secretive as Hell

Ah, the elusive Project Titan! Blizzard’s next major MMO has now been in the works for a couple of years, but almost nothing is known about it outside of the rumor-proof bunker that is Blizzard HQ.

All we know is that Project Titan is “Blizzard’s most ambitious project to date” and that a number of senior guys from the World of Warcraft team have been moved over to its development. Pretty thin stuff, even for Blizzard.

Unfortunately, I doubt that this state of secrecy is going to change any time soon. With World of Warcraft still performing well, there’s really very little pressure for Blizzard to generate any kind of hype for a new MMO yet, especially since Titan’s release is likely to be several years away.
Have Fun, Blizzard Fans

For you lucky few who will be attending Blizzard’s blowout yearly convention, I hope you have an absolute blast this weekend.

Even for poor mortals like myself who can’t be at the actual event, the handy-dandy e-ticket means that we can still catch the action and big announcements as they happen. So I’ll be frantically trying to write up posts on the highlights of Blizzcon 2011 while watching it unfold across Anaheim, so tune in to Gnews this weekend for that.

The beauty of Blizzcon is that you never quite know what Blizzard will pull out next, but you can bet that it will be good. With only days to go before the gates of Anaheim are swung wide open, let us know what your predictions for the big Blizzcon announcements.

 

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