BlizzCon 2023: New Adventures, the Ukrainian Art Triumph

Vasyl Grygoriev
Lizard Soft GM

BlizzCon 2023's opening ceremony included some big announcements. In particular, Diablo 4 received an expansion called Vessel of Hatred. World of Warcraft is launching a new storyline, The Worldsoul Saga, and three new expansions for it. Overwatch 2 has a new hero – the first Samoan game character, a heavy assaulter named Mauga.

Another significant event of the ceremony was the triumph of the Ukrainian artist Olga Hyshchak in the Blizzcon Art Contest.

Despite high expectations, little was learned from the opening of BlizzCon 2023 – more details were promised later. Now we know the following:

Diablo 4's first expansion will be called Vessel of Hatred. The events of the game will take place in the Nahantu region: there, Mephisto will implement his plans for the Sanctuary.

• For World of Warcraft they announced the «culmination of the first 20 years of our storytelling» that will «vector us into the next 20 years of adventure.» Such an epic continuation of the franchise will become a new large-scale story, The Worldsoul Saga.

Among its three expansions announced by the Blizzard studio, the first is expected already in 2024: it will be called The War Within. The events will take place in the subterranean kingdoms of Azeroth, where an internal war continues.

The second expansion, Midnight, will bring players to the Old World of Azeroth. There, in Quel'thalas, the forces of the Void penetrated. They will try to destroy the Sunwell and plunge the world into eternal darkness.

The third expansion is called The Last Titan. The storyline also takes place in the Old World, but in Northrend, which served as the setting for the events of Wrath of the Lich King.

The War Within Official Teaser. Credit: World of Warcraft

• The Cataclysm expansion for World of Warcraft: Classic is in the works. In it, players will be able to return to the adventure that changed Azeroth and entire regions in such a crucial way that old questlines and stories became inaccessible. It was in Cataclysm that the huge Deathwing dragon showered players with fire. There, Worgen and Goblins became playable races, and Archeology was added for the first time as a secondary profession offered to players to enjoy their spare time.

• From November 30, Classic's Season of Discovery, which is called «Vanilla World of Warcraft with a twist», starts. There, players will be able to create new heroes and bring them up to a level cap of 25 which is the maximum possible.

Overwatch 2 adds a new hero, the first game Samoan, a heavy assaulter named Mauga. He can race unstoppably through the battlefield, destroying everything around him. Mauga's attack is called Overrun. In addition, the hero possesses several types of heavy weapons, some of which such as his machine guns he even named Gunny and Cha-Cha.

Overwatch 2 Official Teaser. Credit: PlayOverwatch

Hearthstone's major expansion: Showdown in the Badlands has also been announced. This card game takes place in the Wild West of Azeroth. On November 14, players will head out into the wasteland and immerse themselves in the atmosphere of the Wild West with Reno Jackson and Elise Starseeker. They must save the Badlands from a nefarious mining operation. As part of the expansion, the game will feature new cards and a new type of pack where players can get up to 50 cards from a single pack to help grow their collection faster.

Diablo Tabletop RPG: At the opening of BlizzCon 2023, Blizzard Entertainment, in collaboration with Glass Cannon Unplugged and Genuine Entertainment, announced the release of a tabletop RPG adaptation of Diablo. The core book is expected to be released within a year, in the fall of 2024, while the Diablo TTRPG is expected to be released via a Kickstarter pre-order campaign.

The authors promise that the game «will further explore the overworld and underworld of Sanctuary, embarking on adventures above and below with fan-favorite mechanics torn straight from the screen.»

One of the surprises of the event was the unexpected appearance of Phil Spencer, Microsoft Gaming CEO. It is noteworthy that this ceremony was the first event of this level since the acquisition of Activision Blizzard by Microsoft.

Phil Spencer, CEO of Microsoft Gaming

«Throughout Blizzard's history, they've pioneered and refined so much across the gaming industry and many of you today have been a part of that journey,» Spencer said on stage. «Think of Diablo – it propelled the action RPG genre forward. StarCraft spawned the foundation for what esports would eventually become, and StarCraft 2 was a major catalyst for the evolution of games as live entertainment.»

«World of Warcraft changed not only how people developed and supported games, but, really, it introduced a much wider audience to the concept of online communities,» he went on. «And Overwatch not only reimagined gameplay but also the representation possible in class-based shooters.»

In conclusion, we gladly draw attention to the victory of Ukrainian art in the Blizzcon Art Contest, an annual fan event dedicated to the worlds and heroes of Blizzard. The task for the participants was to create a completely original piece such as art, video, or cosplay in honor of the studio's 30th anniversary.

The victory was won by Ukrainian artist Olga Hyschak for her illustration named Teambuilding, an image of the legendary World of Warcraft characters Illidan, Tracer, Thrall, D.Va, and others watching TV. Olga's work was showcased on the main stage right during the BlizzCon 2023 livestream.

The winning Teambuilding art by Olga Hyschak. Credit: the author's social networks

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