Blizzard announces Diablo IV, Overwatch 2, and more at BlizzCon 2019
Blizzard opened its annual convention this year with multiple big announcements, including new numbered sequels to some of its biggest franchises.
Following an apology for its messaging related to banning esports players for supporting the Hong Kong protests issued by Blizzard CEO and President J. Allen Brack, the opening ceremony wasted no time in announcing the long-awaited Diablo IV for PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One. They also snuck in an update and new gameplay trailer for the upcoming mobile MMO Diablo Immortal.
Blizzard kept the announcements going with the latest World of Warcraft expansion, Shadowlands. The expansion focuses on events that "threaten to upset the cosmic balance between life and death," with the titular Shadowlands being a new world for players of the massively multiplayer role-playing game to explore.
Two major announcements for Blizzard's competitive digital card game Hearthstone were made. The first was the game's latest expansion, titled Descent of Dragons. This expansion will feature more story and cards for the game that users know and enjoy. The second announcement was a new kind of playstyle for the IP and is titled Hearthstone Battlegrounds. Battlegrounds is a not-so-subtle Auto Chess spin-off mode of the main Hearthstone game to compete with the likes of Auto Chess and its competitive equivalents within Dota 2 (Dota Auto Chess) and League of Legends (Teamfight Tactics).
The conference ended with a numbered sequel for the popular competitive first person shooter Overwatch. Overwatch 2 will feature a new story-based cooperative player-versus-enemy NPC campaign alongside a complete graphical upgrade and a new competitive PVP multiplayer mode called Push. Despite these upgrades, existing Overwatch players will keep their in-game achievements and loot (such as skins and sprays). Additionally, all Overwatch players will receive Overwatch 2's new heroes and maps, with both games sharing a competitive multiplayer tool. Functionally, this leaves Overwatch 2 seeming more like a coop and PvE-focused expansion, though Blizzard is portraying and treating it as a full fledged sequel.
As far as when players will be able to get their hands on all of the announced titles, here's what we know: The Hearthstone: Descent of Dragons expansion will be available on December 10th, 2019 for PC, macOS, Android, and iOS. World of Warcraft: Shadowlands will be available some time in 2020. Diablo IV, however, will not be available for some time. "[Diablo IV is] not coming anytime soon, not even Blizzard soon" said the development team at BlizzCon when they were asked about release timing. Overwatch 2 was not given a release date either, with no comment given to how far it is in development as of this news post. That said, the game will be available for all of the platforms Overwatch is currently released, including PC, PS4, Xbox One, and the newly released Nintendo Switch version.