Live: BlizzCon 2013 Opening Ceremony Finished

After a hiatus last year, Blizzard's big California fan convention is back this weekend and we'll be reporting live on the opening ceremony from 7pm GMT this evening. Although Blizzard charges for Virtual Tickets to watch the stream of every panel over the weekend, you will be able to watch the opening ceremony (as well as the StarCraft 2 World Championship Series matches) for free over at the BlizzCon site.

Oli Welsh, who is definitely fine with the fact that the next-gen console launches mean he isn't able to go to BlizzCon this year, will be joining you to watch the stream and offering live commentary below. Oli and other members of the Eurogamer team have Virtual Tickets so we'll be able to report from the later panels, while noted World of Warcraft expert and EG contributor Richard Cobbett is our man in California. He'll be soaking up the atmosphere, interviewing developers, getting hands-on time with the games and taking furious notes at panels to bring you a series of in-depth reports after the show has wrapped.

So what do we expect this year? Blizzard's next MMO Titan is rumoured to have gone back to the drawing board, so that's off the table, but even setting that aside, the developer has never been busier. The fifth World of Warcraft expansion - probably Warlords of Draenor - is a dead cert to be shown, and will be the big reveal of the show.

Diablo 3's first expansion, Reaper of Souls, was revealed at Gamescom back in August and we're sure to hear more details on that. Meanwhile, Blizzard's push into the console market continues with the PlayStation 4 version of Diablo 3 - also likely to put in an appearance. Will we get release dates for either?

The real story, though, is arguably Blizzard's move into free-to-play. The closed beta test for trading card game Hearthstone is red hot right now, and it may be going into open beta very soon indeed. And after two years of silence, we're going to get a proper look at Blizzard's rebooted rival to League of Legends and Dota 2, Heroes of the Storm (formerly Blizzard All-Stars, which was formerly Blizzard DOTA).

All this, and for the first time Blizzard is making its ambitions in e-sports clear by hosting the actual WCS StarCraft finals, as opposed to the usual invitational matches.

It looks like being a fascinating couple of days. Join us at 7 for the kick-off!

Latest comments (33)

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  • Skyrant 9 months ago

    Yawn! When was the last time Blizzard had an original idea...oh right, NEVER!
  • spamdangled 10 months ago

    Hearthstone on my iPad is going to destroy my free time...
  • dingo75 10 months ago

    http://media.mmo-champion.com/im
    ages/news/2013/november/bconOpen
    ing46.jpg
  • Kilboy 10 months ago

    Flashed up on the screen level 100
  • dingo75 10 months ago

    Oli you did: Level cap 100 in the trailer.
  • Oridan 10 months ago

    This gameplay reminds me of how much I want Warcraft 4
  • dingo75 10 months ago

    Maybe Xbone is harder to code for or there wasn't enough 3rd party developer support for Blizzard.
  • mornegroth 10 months ago

    Here we go, CGI epicness
  • spamdangled 10 months ago

    I think it's possible, but so far Sony is the only confirmed platform - might be some sort of times exclusive now they have a partnership with Sony.
  • BrokenSymmetry 10 months ago

    Or will the PC version get controller support?
  • BrokenSymmetry 10 months ago

    No Diablo expansion on Xbox?
  • spamdangled 10 months ago

    @BrokenSymmetry

    Depends on accent. I pronounce it "Harth", but "herth" is equally correct.
  • BrokenSymmetry 10 months ago

    What is the correct pronunciation of "Hearthstone"?
  • Oridan 10 months ago

    Seems like the WoW expansion leaked a few minutes early, mmo-champion has a picture of the logo. I won't link 'cause I don't want to "spoil" the reveal for anyone. You'll have to seek it out on your own!
  • ErinFCulbert 10 months ago

    Im making over $7k a month working part time. I kept hearing other people tell me how much money they can make online so I decided to look into it. Well, it was all true and has totally changed my life. This is what I do,.....goo.gl/uZpmvQ
  • karlo87 10 months ago

    Dead Horse Island, coming 2014
  • Daniel_Spencer 10 months ago

    woops, I meant to say fairly casual dungeon crawler.
  • Daniel_Spencer 10 months ago

    @acidogio I do! On console though. It's not as bad as people have made it out to be. It's a very enjoyable dungeon crawler and is a fairly casual but hopefully the upcoming expansion will rectify some of the boring loot problems.
  • warburni 10 months ago

    I was a tank for my guild and hadn't pugged since TBC. The pug's I had in MoP either said nothing but gogogogo or just spammed meters and insults at each other. A huge difference from the fun I'd had with guildies. Wasn't for me but glad it works for you.
  • spamdangled 10 months ago

    @xuiton It's a press pass thanks, I have it for work purposes.
  • acidogio 10 months ago

    is anyone actually playing Diablo 3 anymore?
  • xuiton 10 months ago

    @darkmongo ofc you have your virtual ticket. what else would you be doing this eve?
  • spamdangled 10 months ago

    @warburni

    I don't actually find pugging that bad. You get plenty of dicks, but that's to be expected in any community. On the whole I'd say my experiences have been largely positive.
  • spamdangled 10 months ago

    Looking forward to this, I have my virtual ticket so I'm patiently waiting for 7pm to roll around.
  • warburni 10 months ago

    Not played wow since early MoP (mainly because 99% of my guild stopped logging in and the pug community is toxic). I'll probably get the xpac for the levelling experience (which I enjoy but many don't). Then I'll likely unsub again.
  • podgek293 10 months ago

    geez robo-jerry 216 hours worked by ur neighbours aunt impressive stuff... hope she paid all the tax on it
  • warburni 10 months ago

    Cheers robo-Jerry, if the new xpac doesn't appeal, I'll try your new grindy game out
  • Oridan 10 months ago

    Isn't Falstad dead?
  • lukejones 10 months ago

    This is OFF THE HOOK.

    Something something.
  • Sharzam 10 months ago

    Interested in heart of the storm, simply because blizzard do have a knack for refining genres. Love dota but always room for new ideas.
  • Dowr 10 months ago

    I hope that red shirt guy makes a return.
  • xuiton 10 months ago

    wow another wow expansion
  • Pulford 10 months ago

    my boner is ready

Our live coverage has now ended. Here's what you missed: Updating...

18:52 By Oli Welsh

Hi everyone! I'm in my home office, watching the stream and desperately convincing myself that this is as exciting as being in Anaheim. I've thrown blue T-shirts over all the lamps for that authentic BlizzCon show floor atmosphere. (As an EG employee I have an infinite supply of blue T-shirts.)

18:53 By Oli Welsh

Our man at the show Rich Cobbett has so far only filed a report about the chocolate cake he ate last night. I hope his work improves.

18:57 By Oli Welsh

Geoff Keighley, video gaming's own Ron Burgundy, is doing his thing on the Virtual Ticket stream. He's having trouble saying the word Hearthstone for some reason.

Oridan says:

Seems like the WoW expansion leaked a few minutes early, mmo-champion has a picture of the logo. I won't link 'cause I don't want to "spoil" the reveal for anyone. You'll have to seek it out on your own!

19:00 By Oli Welsh

Here we go!

19:01 By Oli Welsh

Blizzard execs are waxing lyrical about the community. Chris Metzen is such a hunk.

19:02 By Oli Welsh

To be fair, I've been to enough of these shows to know that they really mean it. Only CCP's Fanfest matches it for genuine dialogue between developers and fans. The panels are surprisingly frank affairs.

19:03 By Oli Welsh

The video showreel shows us marriage proposals and hot lady troll cosplayers. Standard.

19:04 By Oli Welsh

President Mike Morhaime's here, accompanied by deafening thrash metal, to kick things off. He's a bass player don't you know.

19:04 By Oli Welsh

Aw, no bushy beard this year. Mists of Pandaria bowling shirt present and correct.

19:06 By Oli Welsh

He's thanking the fans for 22 years of support. BlizzCon is their way of saying thank you (and getting loads of coverage and selling virtual tickets, but hey. And I understand they only break even on the event itself.)

19:09 By Oli Welsh

Mike's talking about the eSports line up. The big deal this year is the finals of the StarCraft 2 World Championship Series - previously BlizzCon only hosted invitationals, while the main events took place in Korea.

19:10 By Oli Welsh

The atmosphere at the invitationals was always amazing, so I can only imagine what it will be like tomorrow.

19:10 By Oli Welsh

Now onto upcoming games. Diablo 3: Reaper of Souls is playable on both PC and PlayStation 4.

19:11 By Oli Welsh

Mike wants to talk about getting rid of the Diablo 3 auction house. Humble pie time.

19:11 By Oli Welsh

It took away the joy of finding loot, Mike admits. It shouldn't have happened.

19:12 By Oli Welsh

Now he's talking about the improvements: new endgame, new loot.

19:13 By Oli Welsh

Now it's on to World of Warcraft players - saving you for last, he says. You're going to hear about plans for the future very soon. And Duncan Jones, director of the Warcraft movie, will be making a presentation tomorrow.

19:13 By Oli Welsh

Blink 182 are doing the closing ceremony. They're still together?

19:14 By Oli Welsh

"We do have a couple of new things to show you this weekend."

19:15 By Oli Welsh

Dustin Browder - lead designer on StarCraft 2 - is next up to talk about Heroes of the Storm, formerly Blizzard All-Stars / DOTA.

19:15 By Oli Welsh

Trailer time!

19:15 By Oli Welsh

It's Jim Raynor in his space marine gear - and Diablo! And Kerrigan! And Tyrael!

19:16 By Oli Welsh

Hot crossover action. Arthas the Lich King versus StarCraft's Ghost.

19:16 By Oli Welsh

The crowd laps it up.

19:18 By Oli Welsh

Heroes of the Storm is an "homage" to the player mods, says Dustin - including, of course, the original Defence of the Ancients.

19:18 By Oli Welsh

"Our community created this genre that has gone on to dominate all of gaming." And Riot and Valve walked away with it. (He didn't say that.)

19:19 By Oli Welsh

He's referring to the Blizzard DOTA map, an official mod, that they showed three years ago, and again two years ago.

19:19 By Oli Welsh

They wanted to do even more with it, they said, which is why it's changed its name a couple of times. At one point, it was just a map. Now it's a full game, he says.

19:20 By Oli Welsh

Alpha version gameplay video!

19:20 By Oli Welsh

Aw, it's nice to see Warcraft art assets in that top-down RTS perspective again.

19:20 By Oli Welsh

"Unique battlegrounds" - that implies more than one map to me.

19:21 By Oli Welsh

It looks slick, even by Dota 2 standards.

19:22 By Oli Welsh

I can see characters from Warcraft, StarCraft and Diablo, but all the environments seem very Warcraft themed.

19:22 By Oli Welsh

"Heroes of the Storm is Blizzard the game." Arthas, Kerrigan, Diablo, all playable.

19:22 By Oli Welsh

But it's not enough just to pay homage to their own games, says Dustin. They have to challenge the MOBA genre and show what it can become.

19:23 By Oli Welsh

The battlegrounds are not just maps - they're worlds with their own characters and stories. Black Hearts Bay sees you collecting treasure for a pirate lord.

19:24 By Oli Welsh

Another battleground is the Haunted Mines - where skulls create a massive golem. Another sees you taking obelisks to create a dragon knight. All three maps playable at BlizzCon.

19:24 By Oli Welsh

The game devs are going to play each other in a live match - and beta sign-ups are live today!

19:26 By Oli Welsh

"This is going to be Blizzard's next big game" - pretty unequivocally not part of StarCraft 2 any more, I'd say. Although it is being made by the StarCraft team. (Where does that leave Legacy of the Void?)

19:26 By Oli Welsh

More thrash! Now it's Rob Pardo taking the stage. Chief creative officer, I think Dustin said, but he's basically the head of game design there. He's going to talk Hearthstone.

19:27 By Oli Welsh

Hearthstone was an experimental stealth project at Blizzard made by a small team. There was a lot of scepticism internally. Would card games appeal to a broad audience? LOL.

19:28 By Oli Welsh

A year ago, Blizzard tested the game internally - and had 5000 hours of play in three weeks.

19:28 By Oli Welsh

The beta is huge. Having hosted a key giveaway here a couple of weeks back, we can vouch for that.

19:29 By Oli Welsh

Hearthstone is a lot of firsts for Blizzard: a tablet game, a free to play game, and a game announced and released to the public in the same year.

19:29 By Oli Welsh

Open beta is next month. "But in Blizzard speak, that might mean January."

19:29 By Oli Welsh

The tablet version is playable at the show.

19:30 By Oli Welsh

Attendees get a special Hearthstone card - the Elite Tauren Chieftain (a reference to Blizzard's house rock band).

19:31 By Oli Welsh

Playing the golden card triggers heavy rock riffs in the game - cute!

19:32 By Oli Welsh

They're also working on golden versions of the hero characters - like the collectable golden cards they'll have special animations. You'll be able to earn those in ranked play.

19:33 By Oli Welsh

They want ranked play to be as much fun as arena play.

19:33 By Oli Welsh

One more piece of Hearthstone news; at Blizzard they prefer to play it on tablet. But not everyone has tablets.

19:34 By Oli Welsh

iPhone and Android phone versions are in development.

19:34 By Oli Welsh

Probably out in the second half of next year.

19:35 By Oli Welsh

The Warcraft movie was announced in 2006 - "that's a long development schedule, even for us," jokes Pardo. The special effects director did Life of Pi - and more importantly he's been playing WOW since the start and has a level 90.

19:36 By Oli Welsh

This month is going to be World of Warcraft's ninth birthday. I've been working on or playing it most of my adult life, says Pardo. It reminded him of getting his first game design experience playing D&D.

19:37 By Oli Welsh

We're going to look back at the history of the game. Pardo references the epic scraps in WOW's "first battleground" - the eternal scrum of the Hillsbrad Foothills. Ah, nostalgia. (I hated it.)

19:38 By Oli Welsh

Now we're reminiscing about raiding Onyxia with 40 players, and heading through the Dark Portal to Outland.

19:39 By Oli Welsh

He's apologising for the swooping gank introduced by flying mounts. And recalling the epic world event of opening the Gates of Ahn Qiraj (sorry I forgot how to spell it).

19:40 By Oli Welsh

He apologises to the server engineers for that one. Then he recalls the first virtual world pandemic sparked by Zul'Gurub.

19:40 By Oli Welsh

Here's the theme: even when they mess up, they create shared memories. Just like back in the day with D&D.

19:41 By Oli Welsh

More talk about the fuzzy joy of the BlizzCon community. HUGS. "Thank you for letting us be your dungeon master all these years."

19:41 By Oli Welsh

Now here's Chris Metzen to introduce the next chapter in World of Warcraft!

19:42 By Oli Welsh

He's got a Blizzard track top. Pardo had a Hearthstone T-shirt. Poor Mike, nobody wants his bowling shirts any more.

19:43 By Oli Welsh

With all the stuff they have in development - the movie, Hearthstone - they've been thinking about what makes Warcraft tick. They've been thinking a lot about the early days - Orcs & Humans. Tides of Darkness. Beyond the Dark Portal. The original trilogy of RTS games.

19:44 By Oli Welsh

Those events predicate the world of modern WOW, and the roots of the Alliance and Horde factions.

19:44 By Oli Welsh

I'm guessing this means a time travel plot...

19:45 By Oli Welsh

There are so many WOW players who never knew those events or characters, Metzen says.

19:45 By Oli Welsh

The modern story of Warcraft begins about 30 game years ago, when the Dark Portal was opened between Azeroth and Draenor.

19:47 By Oli Welsh

He's referencing the "baddest dudes ever" of the Warcraft franchise who invaded Azeroth through the Dark Portal if the cultures of Azeroth hadn't banded together against them.

19:48 By Oli Welsh

The Alliance. "The Captain America faction," says Chris.

19:49 By Oli Welsh

Following the Siege of Orgrimmar (the last patch), the Alliance remains the standing superpower.

19:49 By Oli Welsh

All that history, all that context - "We asked ourselves, what if those dark days could come again? What if a pantheon of the most vicious villains of Warcraft could threaten again?"

19:50 By Oli Welsh

The conflict coming will be the Alliance's finest hour, he says. (Where's the Horde in all this?)

19:51 By Oli Welsh

Oh, here we go. Man, this guy loves to set a scene.

19:52 By Oli Welsh

The Horde had to live with Thrall's choices and the consequences of Garrosh's reign of terror. Now, under Vol'jin - the new troll leader installed by the latest patch - they have a chance of a new start.

19:52 By Oli Welsh

They have to confront the ghosts of the past in the coming adventure, he says.

19:52 By Oli Welsh

Right, finally, here we go.

19:53 By Oli Welsh

Blizzard is proud to present... Warlords of Draenor! Trailer time.

19:53 By Oli Welsh

"When past and present collide, the fate of all worlds hangs in the balance."

19:54 By Oli Welsh

We're seeing the characters of Draenor before it became Outland - the Draenei and original orcs at war with each other.

19:55 By Oli Welsh

New character models!

19:55 By Oli Welsh

Boost immediately to level 90!

19:55 By Oli Welsh

Garrisons!

19:55 By Oli Welsh

And all the usual - new PVP, quest and dungeon content.

19:56 By Oli Welsh

Did I miss the part where they said there was a new level cap? I don't think I did...

dingo75 says:

Oli you did: Level cap 100 in the trailer.

19:58 By Oli Welsh

Phew. Thanks for that.

19:59 By Oli Welsh

That's more or less as expected, then. A lot of detail still to come, though.

20:02 By Oli Welsh

Here's the trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OYueIdI_2L0

20:04 By Oli Welsh

Draenor is "a new world', so I guess it won't replace Outland and there's an alternative timeline plot.

20:05 By Oli Welsh

Interesting, but if you ask me, Heroes of the Storm was the most exciting new prospect there.

20:05 By Oli Welsh

And iPhone Hearthstone is going to ruin Wes' life.

20:07 By Oli Welsh

Thanks for watching with us! We'll bring you much, much more from BlizzCon over the next two days and int he coming weeks.