By Adrianna Burton
Blizzcon 2018, Blizzard Entertainment’s annual gaming competition, announced an exciting list of new and soon to be released content. Yet, the overwhelming amount of speakers, guests, cosplayers, and panels stole the show at the convention, held at the Anaheim Convention Center from Nov. 2 to Nov. 3. As anticipated, Blizzcon had lines long enough to rival amusements parks with their Blizzard store featuring con-only items, like a mini backpack in the style of Overwatch’s Mercy, and filled lines for halls with panels starring prominent voice actors like Matthew Mercer. Blizzcon 2018 had plenty of activity for anyone in attendance in person or online via a virtual ticket.
Starting off the massive list of announcements was the most useful for any players looking to get into Blizzard games: Bungie and Activision are giving away Destiny 2 for free to players on Blizzard Battle.net through Nov. 18. If you already own the game, you’ll get an in-game emblem in December commemorating the one-year anniversary of Destiny 2’s release on Battle.net. Further satiating starving fans, Blizzard released a barrage of announcements this past weekend, including:
- Diablo Immortal, a new Diablo experience, began the string of game additions and creations. This MMO Action RPG (MMOARPG) helps Diablo fans explore the world of Sanctuary with fellow demon slayers online any time.
- Warcraft III: Reforged is an immersive experience that explores the origin stories of fan favorite Warcraft characters, which will include new art and animations, updated in-game cutscenes with voice-overs, a repackaged World Editor, and Battle.net integration.
- Rastakhan’s Rumble, a Hearthstone expansion that features players’ favorite troll: King Rastakhan.
- Rise of Azshara, World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth’s second massive content update, rounded out the updates to well-loved games. The Alliance and Horde rally to Nazjatar, home of the naga, where you’ll get to battle Queen Azshara herself.
- The release of Ashe, Overwatch’s newest hero, leader of the outlaw Deadlock Gang, and a versatile damage dealer with a lethal bag of tricks was a smash hit at Blizzcon, especially with their official cosplayer taking shots and walking around on Day 2.
- Another new character released was Orphea, the first Nexus native joining Heroes of the Storm. As child and heir of the Raven Lord, Orphea is a talented assassin with a high skill-ceiling that controls ancestral magic with a rhythmic playstyle.
Fans lined up to watch the epic showdowns in several esport tournaments, where the convention crowned numerous winners. Joona “Serral” Sotala was the first non-Korean winner of the StarCraft II World Championship Series, Gen.G won the Heroes of the Storm Global Championship, China’s team celebrated a win at the Hearthstone Global Games, and Method Orange reigned victorious at the World of Warcraft Arena World Championship. Free Marsy took home the gold in the Mythic Dungeon Invitational All-Stars, and South Korea asserted their superiority at the Overwatch World Cup. GG to all the competitors and avid gamers watching on.
Not only were this year’s esports competitions legendary, but the convention’s Community Night featured insanely impressive cosplays, art pieces, movies, songs, and anything else imaginable. This year’s winners featured: The Egg Sisters for Cosplay, Individually Crafted; Pink Spear Tribe for Cosplay, Group; Aoki for Cosplay, Large Fabrication; Narga for Cosplay, Artisan; and Kelton Ching for Cosplay, Overall. Michigan’s Have No Fear took the Talent competition with an upbeat anthem that kept the audience wanting more. For the Art contest, Rui “Linxz” Zhang won with “The Council of Three Hammers,” a beautiful portrayal of a life-altering moment in the history of the dwarves of Azeroth.
Blizzcon 2018 echoed with the roars of happy and sleep exhausted crowds. Many fans were overwhelmed by epic cosplays, like the group from Project Ebonblade, and the opportunity to meet the voices behind their favorite video game characters. While we have to wait a year for the next Blizzcon, UCI has one of the most prestigious esports scenes. Our teams are great and our community is equally amazing, providing students and fans a way to meet fellow Blizzard enthusiasts in preparation for a busy Blizzcon 2019.