BlizzCon 2023 turned out to be one of the biggest BlizzCons ever with huge reveals for Diablo IV, World of Warcraft, Overwatch 2, and more. The opening ceremony and subsequent panels covered upcoming expansions, new titles, gameplay updates, and much more.
Let’s recap everything Blizzard announced for their catalog of games at BlizzCon 2023.
Diablo IV News from BlizzCon
Diablo IV is shaping up to be the darkest and most expansive Diablo game to date. Here are the major Diablo announcements from BlizzCon 2023:
Vessel of Hatred Expansion Unveiled
The first major expansion for Diablo IV, called Vessel of Hatred, was officially unveiled. This premium expansion will introduce a new playable Necromancer class, three entirely new zones, new World Bosses, additional story campaigns, and raise the level cap.
Zones: Named Azj-kahet, Isle of Dorn, and The Ringing Deeps. These expansive, randomized regions will feature new quests, events, dungeons, and hundreds of legendary items to discover. Environment themes range from deserts to volcanic islands to subterranean worlds.
World Bosses: Three new open world Bosses were revealed including The Infernal Machine, Abyssal Scourge, and Kyrilliak, Overseer of Hatred. They serve as formidable challenges for level capped characters.
Campaign: Continue Diablo IV’s dark story in Vessel of Hatred with new chapters directly involving the Necromancer character. Face off against The Triune cult and their apostles.
Level Cap Increase: The max character level will be raised to 60 once the expansion launches so players can progress further in their demon hunting journey.
While a firm release date wasn’t confirmed, Blizzard is targeting 2024 for the Vessel of Hatred expansion launch.
Necromancer Class Joins Diablo IV
The fan favorite Necromancer class from Diablo II and III makes its return in Diablo IV via the Vessel of Hatred expansion! This master of the dark arts can summon undead minions and manipulate blood and shadow magic.
Necromancers primarily wield scythes and sickles as melee weapons. They possess a unique resource called Essence which fuels their blood and bone spells. Signature abilities include:
- Raise Skeletons – Summon undead warriors to fight by your side
- Bone Spikes – Impale enemies from afar with sharp bone fragments
- Grim Scythe – Slice through hordes of enemies with your deadly scythe
- Blood Nova – Damage groups of enemies with an exploding sphere of blood
With pets, powerful spells, life draining attacks, and more, the Necromancer brings a fresh new playstyle to Diablo IV.
Early Access Beta Testing Confirmed
Blizzard confirmed that fans who pre-order Diablo IV will get Early Access to the closed beta test sessions leading up to launch.
Beta testing is expected to begin by late 2023 and will be crucial for balancing, stability, and scaling testing before Diablo IV hits live servers.
Players in the beta will be able to experience Act 1 and 2 of the campaign, experiment with skills and runes for each class, and give feedback to directly inform final game tuning.
While an open beta wasn’t announced, Blizzard hinted millions more players will get beta access via giveaways and opt-ins over the coming year.
World of Warcraft: The Wondersoul Saga
Blizzard unveiled an epic new multi-expansion storyline for World of Warcraft dubbed The Wondersoul Saga. The interconnected narrative will unfold over three expansions:
War Within Expansion Announcement
The first chapter in The Wondersoul Saga will be the War Within expansion launching in 2024. War Within takes players beneath the surface of Azeroth into the subterranean kingdom of the Dwarves.
However, this underground region has fallen under siege by the endless forces of the Void. Players will need to help the Dwarves reclaim their kingdom in fierce faction warfare against the void armies.
- Beautifully crafted Dwarven zones and architecture
- New abilities tied to Rune Magic
- Group Torghast-inspired instances
- Mythic+ deep dungeons with procedural generation
- Gear upgrades through Runecarving system
Midnight Expansion Teaser
The second expansion, Midnight, will focus on the Night Elves and their connection to Elune, the moon goddess. Elven paladins will be a playable class.
Zones will be based in Azeroth’s Quel’Thalas region with a moonlit aesthetic. Night Elf lore will be central to the story.
The Last Titan Expansion Hints
Finally, the third expansion titled The Last Titan will close out the saga by bringing players back to Northrend. We will likely see the return of classic Titan characters from Wrath of the Lich King.
Not much was revealed about the third expansion, but expect epic world-ending stakes with the fate of Azeroth hanging in the balance.
Clearly, Blizzard is going all out with this Warcraft storyline spanning three expansions over likely 5+ years. The Wondersoul Saga represents a new era for WoW.
Overwatch 2 News from BlizzCon 2023
Despite launching just months ago, Blizzard is already preparing major updates for Overwatch 2:
Magua Hero Announced
The biggest reveal for Overwatch 2 was Magua, a formidable new Tank hero who will soon join the expanding roster. Magua dual wields incendiary chainguns and specializes in high damage and disruption.
His abilities include:
- Incendiary Chaingun -Primary fire that ignites enemies over time
- Volatile Chaingun – Secondary fire causing bonus damage to ignited enemies
- Berserk – Passive healing when scoring critical hits
- Overrun – Charge forward, knocking enemies back
- Cardiac Overdrive – Boost damage resistance and healing for allies
- Cage Fight – Ultimate that traps enemies and enhances Magua’s firing speed
Magua is positioned as a deadly close-range Tank who provides both offensive damage and defensive utility through his area buff. He will certainly shake up the meta upon release.
New PvP Mode – Push
A brand new PvP mode named Push was announced. Push has teams battling to escort a robot deeper into enemy territory. The first team to either hijack the robot or push it all the way into the enemy team’s base wins the round.
Push combines elements of escort and tug-of-war style PvP. It also introduces a neutral objective both teams need to interact with.
Along with the new hero and mode, Overwatch 2’s post-launch content roadmap includes additional heroes, maps, cosmetics, seasonal events, and quality of life improvements coming in 2023 and beyond.
Hearthstone Reveals from BlizzCon 2023
Blizzard’s collectible card game Hearthstone also had big announcements at BlizzCon:
New Showdown in the Badlands Expansion
The next Hearthstone expansion will be called Showdown in the Badlands. It introduces a fresh new card type – Outlaws.
Over 50 new Outlaw cards portray rogue fantasy characters like Bandits, Gunslingers, Swashbucklers, and Mercenaries. Outlaws have synergistic abilities when you control specific combinations of them.
Showdown in the Badlands also brings impactful new Legendary weapons like Blastplinter – a Demon Hunter rifle. Dual-class cards will also let you maximize certain Outlaw crew member abilities.
The expansion launches in August 2023 along with a new game mode called Territory Control where you fight for dominance over a real-time strategic map.
Classic Mode Announced
Hearthstone Classic Mode will also launch, allowing players to experience the original launch card set before any expansions or rotations. It’s a nostalgia trip for veteran players.
Classic Mode has no sets rotating out over time. You’ll be able to play the pure original Hearthstone from 2014 permanently.
Both announcements got fans excited for a shake-up of the Hearthstone meta in 2023. The Outlaw theme and Classic Mode provide something for players new and old.
StarCraft II Updates Revealed at BlizzCon
Although StarCraft II is over a decade old, Blizzard showed it’s still committed to supporting the competitive RTS with these BlizzCon announcements:
Development Update Panel Recap
During a StarCraft II development update panel, the team discussed their plans for balance changes, co-op commanders, bug fixes, map pools, and more over the next year.
- New balance patch coming in December 2023 to improve faction diversity.
- Continued work on matchmaking and competitive ladder improvements.
- New co-op missions and Prestige levels for existing commanders.
- Quality of life upgrades like Widescreen support and UI/hotkey enhancements.
- More War Chest cosmetic rewards to support esports prize pools.
While no new expansion was announced, Blizzard reiterated StarCraft II will keep receiving support and improvements moving forward.
Celebrating Over a Decade of Esports
A separate panel celebrated StarCraft II’s legacy as a pillar of esports over the past decade. Well-known commentators and pro players spoke about SC2’s impact on competitive gaming.
They also highlighted iconic moments and matches throughout SC2 history including MarineKing’s heartbreaks, Mvp’s dynasty, soO’s resilience, Serral’s dominance, and more.
Blizzard reiterated their commitment to continuing StarCraft esports by supporting prize pools and tournaments like GSL vs The World into the future.
It was great to see Blizzard paying tribute to StarCraft II’s sustained popularity as an esport, even 11 years after launch. The game clearly still has a devoted following.
BlizzCon 2023 Recap and Thoughts
In summary, BlizzCon 2023 managed to exceed expectations with huge updates planned for virtually every Blizzard franchise:
- Diablo IV is primed for dominance with the meaty Vessel of Hatred expansion and beta testing right around the corner.
- World of Warcraft kicks off an exciting new era with the three-part Wondersoul Saga storyline starting in 2024.
- Overwatch 2 continues to expand with the intimidating Tank hero Magua and new Push competitive mode.
- Hearthstone evolves in 2023 with the Outlaws-themed Showdown in the Badlands expansion and nostalgic Classic Mode.
- StarCraft II shows no signs of slowing down with more improvements and celebrations of its esports legacy ahead.
After mixed reception for games like Warcraft III: Reforged and Blizzard’s scandal-plagued couple of years, BlizzCon 2023 felt like a true return to form with substantial, fan-pleasing announcements.
The roadmaps laid out for Diablo, WoW, and Overwatch in particular should have fans of those franchises ecstatic. Of course, the proof will be in the execution, but the ideas and vision presented at BlizzCon seem promising.
With new leadership in place and reinforcements from Microsoft on the way, Blizzard appears reinvigorated and ready to deliver the quality content their fanbase expects across both classic and new titles.
If BlizzCon 2023 is indicative of Blizzard’s future, the studio that defined gaming in the 2000s may be poised for a triumphant comeback in the next decade.
Frequently Asked Questions About BlizzCon 2023’s Major Announcements
BlizzCon 2023 took fans by surprise with huge reveals across Blizzard’s biggest franchises. Here are answers to some commonly asked questions:
Q: When does Diablo IV release?
A: No firm release date was announced but Blizzard is targeting 2024. The closed beta will happen in late 2023.
Q: Do I need to buy Diablo IV to play the Necromancer class?
A: Yes, the Necromancer class is only available in the Diablo IV base game if you purchase the Vessel of Hatred expansion.
Q: How much will the Diablo IV expansion cost?
A: Full pricing details weren’t revealed yet. But expect the Vessel of Hatred expansion to cost around $40-60 based on previous major Diablo expansions.
Q: When does the first World of Warcraft: Wondersoul Saga expansion launch?
A: The 1st expansion War Within is slated for 2024. The 2nd and 3rd expansions Midnight and The Last Titan will follow over subsequent years.
Q: What is Overwatch 2 hero Magua’s release date?
A: Magua’s release date wasn’t confirmed but new Overwatch 2 heroes typically release within 1-2 months after announcement. Expect him by early 2023.
Q: How much will Hearthstone’s Showdown in the Badlands expansion cost?
A: As with past expansions, it will likely cost around $50 for the full bundle and $20 for the tavern pass battle pass version.
Q: Does StarCraft II’s new balance patch affect campaign and co-op?
A: No, StarCraft II’s December 2023 balance patch will only affect multiplayer units, stats, and abilities – not PvE modes.
Q: Where can I rewatch BlizzCon 2023 announcements and panels?
A: All BlizzCon 2023 panels and the opening ceremony will be uploaded to Blizzard’s official YouTube channel shortly after the show.
Hopefully these FAQs help summarize the biggest game announcements from BlizzCon 2023. It was an action-packed show filled with exciting revelations!