BlizzCon 2013 Opening Ceremony Roundup

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“To me, BlizzCon is about… community,” said Chris Metzen. The BlizzCon 2013 Opening Ceremony kicked off with footage of the devs discussing the importance of community, and how BlizzCon is a celebration of the fans and their passion.

“Watching a full hall with cheers and moans… it’s the best thing ever,” said Mike Morhaime, referring to eSports fans watching live, competitive StarCraft 2 action at the convention.

Morhaime — in the flesh — then came out to welcome everyone to BlizzCon 2013. The Blizzard president thanked the fans for their many years of support of Blizzard and its games. “BlizzCon is our way of saying ‘thank you,’” he said.

BlizzCon 2013 is the seventh of Blizzard’s conventions, with the first dating back to 2005 and only seeing 4000 fans in attendance. Today, more than 20,000 fans were in attendance at the Anaheim Convention Center, with countless more watching on DirectTV and online.

Morhaime introduced a promotional video for the StarCraft 2 World Championship Series global finals, in which eight months of competition will culminate in an epic struggle for the grand prize this weekend.

On the Diablo front, Morhaime reaffirmed Blizzard’s stance on wanting to transform Diablo 3 into the game it should have been and reiterated the big announcements of the removal of the Auction House and the new loot system. He admitted the unintended consequences of the Auction House on the game — taking away the joy of the loot hunt.

Game Director Dustin Browder hit the stage next to discuss Heroes of the Storm, Blizzard’s upcoming MOBA game. A cinematic showcased an epic — but tongue-in-cheek — battle that saw Jim Raynor squaring off against Diablo, Tyrael taking on Kerrigan, and Nova tangoing with the Lich King. The ultimate Blizzard geek fanfic video, it is impossible for a Blizzard fan to watch that cinematic without grinning.

Browder discussed how the Blizzard modding community created the tower defense and MOBA genres via the in-game editors of its RTS titles — it’s only natural that Blizzard would want a piece of that pie. He went on to discuss the evolution of Heroes of the Storm, the iteration the game underwent from BlizzCon to BlizzCon, how it grew from one map to many, and proudly unveiled alpha footage.

“Heroes of the Storm is Blizzard: The Game,” Browder said.

Chief Creative Officer Rob Pardo was next to come up to talk Hearthstone, the first game for Blizzard to announce and get out to the public in the same year. His December open beta announcement was met with polite cheers. “But in Blizzard speak,” he added, “that may mean January.” Pardo then revealed the special BlizzCon 2013 card: the Elite Tauren Chieftain, and announced the iPhone and Android versions of the game in development, which will hopefully be out to the public in the second half of 2014.

Pardo then began what would become a drawn-out discourse on the history of World of Warcraft and Warcraft itself, from the game to the lore — a discourse so drawn out that it continued on when Chris Metzen took the stage.

Metzen spoke about the roots of Warcraft: Orcs and Humans, Tides of Darkness, and Beyond the Dark portal. “It’s where the DNA of Warcraft has always come from,” he said. Many WoW players never engaged with those story lines, and that’s what led Blizzard to create World of Warcraft: Warlords of Draenor, the new WoW expansion revealed on stage (though leaked earlier).

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