It's BlizzCon 2023 Predictions time. With BlizzCon back this weekend, let's take a look at what I think we will see.
BlizzCon 2023 is an interesting year for Blizzard. It's a chance for everyone to get together once again, but it comes at a weird time for the company. With Blizzard recently purchased (alongside Activision and King) by Microsoft, there's a fresh feeling about the company. Though, as acquisitions often do, there's also a bit of nervous energy around Blizzard's communities about what might happen to their favourite franchises going forward.
BlizzCon 2023 Predictions
WoW Next Expansion
Let's start with an easy one, we will see a new WoW expansion at BlizzCon. We've already had some leaks in this regard, but most of those look to be fake, though the destination of the leaks is probably true. Right now, it's very likely that we'll be heading to “The West”, a land often talked about but one that isn't possible to get to. As always with WoW, there's some sort of veil or fog etc that we can't cross. From what we know, it'll be some sort of ancient Dwarf-like race that is afflicted by “the curse of flesh”.
We could get something completely different, of course, but, it's very likely we see Blizzard expand on the Dragon Riding feature and bring it over into the next expansion. Some other ideas; we've had a rumour of the South Seas expansion for years, but that looks like a pipe dream for now. It would be nice to get some sort of resolution to some of the open stories in WoW, such as the Forsaken, Gilnaes etc. But, we'll probably head somewhere new.
WoW Classic Plus
One thing we know is that BlizzCon will feature two live demo spaces for WoW. So that's one for Retail, 11.0, and one for Classic. Sure, it might just be Cataclysm Classic. But, what if it's something new? WoW Classic has been incredibly popular, and with Hardcore and Season of Mastery, we've seen Blizzard dip back into the OG Classic twice already. Now, we could just see a new Season of Mastery, though we think Blizzard might look to double down and with Wrath Classic coming to an end people will want something to be excited about.
So, let's assume this has been in the work for a while, we'll get the new retail expansion next Winter, so why not start the year with an entirely new way to play Classic? Here is what we'd like to see:
- Start with OG Classic, but, include the changes to the 1-60 leveling experience that we got from TBC and Wrath. Increase the quests, and make those dry stretches a little wetter…
- Get Draenei and Blood Elf in Classic from the start. We can either gloss over the lore implications or we can add content to explain it.
- Launch with all endgame content open. Treat 1-60 as a 6-month window, let it play out, let people settle and then let us get ready for what comes next…
- No TBC or Wrath. We start fresh, new stories, actual new content. Obviously, if we want, let's get DK in from the start or whatever, but we do it differently. What if the portal never opens, the legion never floods into Azeroth, what other evil could cook up a plot to take Azeroth? Let's head to the Southseas, and find out what the pirates are up to, without the threat of the Legion maybe the Buccaneers attack Booty Bay and take it over. They could also do a similar attack on Ratchet as we fight on two fronts.
- Bonus to this, maybe none of the Classic raids are even live, but, those raids get a use out of future expansions. ZG becomes a raid later on, but the Buccaneers we mentioned earlier are working with the Troll to finish the ritual. Without us getting involved, the Scarlet Crusade are able to arm up and fight us in the Plaguelands
- Also, we need class changes and balance. No PTR, no planning of this stuff. Make all tanks viable, tweak DPS numbers, and give Alliance Shamans and Horde Paladins. Make it happen, or just hire me.
Overwatch 2 Esports
With the Overwatch League now dead, Blizzard will announce something soon for the future of Overwatch Esports. With the Overwatch World Cup officially the final esports event on the books, it would be a good time to do something. But… Blizzard has to let this one be organic. Franchising does not work, and the OWL proved it. go back to basics, let third-party organisers run events, but host your own ones as well and help those smaller events get started. Use the Overwatch store to support teams/events and let the scene flourish.
Warcraft 4/StarCraft 3
The RTS world has been ignored for too long, so it's about time someone stepped back in to save the genre. Warcraft 3 Reforged was… terrible, so Blizzard could really do with a win. StarCraft 3 is probably the safer bet, especially as Warcraft 4 would be weird from a story point of view.
Diablo 4 Expansion and Season 3
We'll probably see Season 3 content or some sort of tease, but Season 4 will bring the first expansion and the game's first new class to play. There's not much else really to say, but we suspect Blizzard will want to ride that wave and also get some big news out ahead of POE 2's release.
Blizzard Survival Game
It's been a while since we heard about this game, in fact, it's been a year to the day that we heard about new hires for the role. So, that game has probably been cooking away for a year or so now maybe it's time we saw some more. Plus, with Xbox and Game Pass it would probably be an ideal game to go “Hey, look, we're on Game Pass day one”.
Blizzard Games coming TV/Cinema
We heard a rumour a while back that Netflix was working on both a Diablo and Overwatch animated series. We've not heard anything since the original post, and we do worry that the fallingout between Activision and Netflix has something to do with it. Regardless, we'll probably see streaming services look to gaming IPs more sooner or later.
That's it for our BlizzCon 2023 predictions, maybe Blizzard will drop a few extra surprises at their annual fan gathering.