people clamoured outside the Anaheim convention center today in eager
anticipation of what Blizzard Entertainment may announce this year at
Blizzcon 2009. The crowds swelled, wrapping well around the entire
convention center, and the line-up to get into the front doors seemed
to go on for miles. With no exaggeration, this event has already
rivalled large sporting events in terms of dedicated fans and sheer
volume of excited badge-holders. Mike Morheim, CEO of Blizzard
Entertainment informed the crowd today that if you didn’t get
into the queue to buy a Blizzcon ticket within 30 seconds of the ticket
sales site going live, you didn’t get a pass.
As the convention center filled with gamers and press, the excitement
was palpable. Rumors
have been circulating around the internet quickly about World of Warcraft
newest expansion, Cataclysm, and it was clear from the start of the
epochal event that the rumors would be put to rest, and MMO gamers
worldwide would have appreciable materials to satiate their thirst for
all things Blizzard.
Hall D, the chosen venue for the opening ceremony was populated
quickly, and finding a seat was akin to finding a Furby for Christmas
in 1998 – you just couldn’t get one. Even the press
box was full, so to our readers who think a Press Badge gets you
everything – think again!
Gary Platner, lead artist for World
opened the ceremonies and was met with an
emphatic welcoming ovation from the attendees. He warmed up the crowd
almost instantly with a humorous glance at a recent forum post entitled
“Pet Peeves of Blizzcon.”
crowd didn’t need much warming up though, and soon, Gary
segued the ceremonies into an introduction of Mike Morheim.
Morheim then earned more applause and energetic audience response by
announcing StarCraft II
newest award of “Best Game of Cologne Gamescom.”
Also of note, World of
has been brought back to China. After some
with The9, WoW is now going to be distributed by NetEase in China, and
beta for the re-release of the game under the new distributer will
begin shortly. Crowd response to this news was a somewhat unhurried
acknowledgement, perhaps due to mixed feelings about the
game’s presence in the East and its potential implications of
After a brief glimpse back to some highlights of last year’s
Blizzcon, Morheim announced that World
will be celebrating its fifth anniversary come
November. As part of the celebratory milestone, the dungeon of
Onyxia’s Lair will be revamped to give players an even bigger
challenge than they’ve experienced before.
The hot announcements didn’t end there. Also confirmed by
Morheim is that
will be shipped next year along with the new
Battlenet platform. Details of the new Battlenet will be available at
the convention, and we’ll be sure to keep you up to speed as
the particulars are unveiled. StarCraft 2’s first single
player campaign is also playable in its entirety this weekend at the
convention, and we intend to send staff writer, Adam Stow, in for some
hands on impressions.
200,000 dollars in prizes are being fought for this weekend as some of
the top professional gamers of the world compete in the various
competitions held at Blizzcon. This brings Blizzard’s prize
money total given away this year up to $340,000 USD.
The murloc marine pet isn’t the only thing Blizzcon attendees
will take home with them this year. Included in the swag bag was a
Blizzcon-exclusive N00BZ Figure that will not be reproduced ever again.
Collectors will be certainly racketeering to get their hands on these
limited edition collectibles.
At this point in the opening ceremonies, Morheim then gave the floor to
Chris Metzin, the VP of Creative Development.
Metzin opened his part of the ceremonies by uncovering the Monk Class,
Diablo III’s newest class addition. You’ll be able
to find the gameplay trailer of the Monk here on Ten Ton Hammer.
Always sensitive to maximizing sensationalism, the best was saved for
Cataclysm was announced. Putting to rest the
rumors, this new expansion quite literally will change the face of
Azeroth. Old zones will be changed, and new zones will be added alongside
a playable goblin race for the Horde, and the Worgen race for the
Alliance. New conflicts for Azeroth’s limited resources will
spring forth as players and factions vie for control. Flying Mounts
will be able to be used in the “new old” zones and
classic classes will be available to more races for more variety. The
level cap is being raised to level 85, Archaeology is being added as a
profession, and guilds will now have levels and achievements they can
earn. Old dungeons are being revamped for a new experience and
Deathwing has returned.
The crowd roared. The Cataclysm is about to begin.