While I understand it isn’t the major event BlizzCon has come to be, I’m rather happy that I was able to join in this years BlizzConline event. This year being Blizzards 30th anniversary and last years BlizzCon being cancelled, I figured they wanted to do something for their community that everyone could attend. I’m rather thankful for that as I’ve never been to a BlizzCon nor payed for the virtual event. So much nicer to see the announcements first hand. On that note, if you missed the event and would also like to watch it first hand, you still can! Much thanks to Blizzard for not locking this out. Just head to the BlizzCon Schedule page or their Blizzard’s YouTube channel, and you can watch everything.
Now onto what grabbed my attention the most, Diablo. In my honest opinion, this was Blizzards biggest focus. Yes, they talked about where they are going next with the latest World of Warcraft expansion and Classic; yes, they talked about what’s next for Hearthstone; and yes, they shared more details about Overwatch 2. However, Diablo alone had three different games covered, Diablo IV, Diablo II: Resurrected, and Diablo Immortal. There was so much Diablo to go around!
First things first, Blizzard announced the return of the Rogue class to Diablo IV. Not since the very first Diablo game, has there been a Rogue specific class. Diablo II had the Amazon and Assassin classed there were the closest; and Diablo III had the Demon Hunter. This is a return to form of the original Rogue class. If you haven’t already, check out the brutal announcement trailer below. Fair warning, while not as extreme as the original Diablo IV announcement trailer, it has it’s cringe worthy moments.
Very much looking forward to giving Rogue class a go in Diablo IV. They also touched on some new Diablo IV game mechanics such as clearing out overrun settlements to allow NPC’s to rebuild them. This one really has me excited as I’m always for dynamic content that expands as you progress. They even mentioned that some of these settlements will get new vendors and waypoints as they are being rebuilt. So cool. They also touched on how Diablo IV is going to have a much more open concepts then previous titles, helping to explain why Diablo IV is going to introduce mounts. Mounts in an ARPG. To top that off, you can even attack off of your mount into a cluster of enemies as shown by the Rogue leaping off her horse and launching a rain of arrows onto her enemies before touching the ground. If you want to hear more, I recommend checking out the Diablo IV: What’s Next panel.
Next up, Diablo II is getting resurrected in full remake that releases this year, Diablo II: Resurrected. Just to be clear, this isn’t just a remaster where they just try to clean up the existing art and sound, this is a full remake with the game being almost completely rebuilt. Blizzard has teamed up with Vicarious Visions (studio behind the Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy and Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 + 2 remakes) to make this possible. While I say the game is being rebuilt, Vicarious Visions is doing everything they can to maintain the exact same look, feel, and gameplay fans of Diablo II have come to expect while giving it a more current gen look and introducing some quality of life improvements (they are adding a freaking shared stash, oh happy day!). If you want to get a better idea of how the remake is getting made, definitely recommend checking out the Diablo II: Resurrected Deep Dive panel. In the meantime, here is the announcement video.
Last but no least, we got to hear more about Blizzard’s newest mobile game, Diablo Immortal. Outside of this being a mobile game that helps bridge the gap between Diablo II and Diablo III, I’m not quite sure how to feel about this one. I’m not a huge mobile gamer, but I’d be lying if I didn’t say this game had me slightly interested. To be honest, when watching the gameplay, I had to keep reminding myself it was a mobile game, so they are definitely going all out graphics wise. They are also fleshing out the story and lore for this one as well to make sure it feels like a Diablo game that fits into the series. Definitely not getting that shallow mobile game vibe. Unfortunately, no release date yet; but they have my attention with this one. If anything, I’ll definitely give it a try. If you want to hear more about it, recommend checking out the Diablo Immortal: Alpha and Beyond panel.
So, all in all, I definitely feel like this is the year of Diablo. Granted, only Diablo II: Resurrected has been officially announced to release this year. I still think there is a chance we get release dates for Diablo IV and Diablo Immortal before the year is over. Maybe Immortal will also be released later this year? If you are a Diablo fan, this years BlizzConline definitely delivered in my opinion. Having just recently beat Diablo III and gotten all this new Diablo news I’m ready for more Diablo. Guess I’ll just start up a few more characters in Diablo III and maybe even re-install classic Diablo II to help get ready for Resurrected. Diablo, we will meet again.