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What we expect from Blizzcon 2016

Sombra? Hearthstone expansion? More?

This year's Blizzcon schedule has been revealed, giving us some idea of what to expect from Blizzard's big ol' knees up come the start of next month.

I mean, let's be honest, nothing's a guarantee here (aside from Mike Morhaime turning up in a lovely bowling shirt), but we think there are a couple of safe bets.

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Epic.

For a start, it seems pretty likely that we'll see the reveal of Overwatch's next playable hero. We've been talking about the possibility of a character called Sombra being introduced since June, with things really ramping up just after Gamescom, as Blizzard released a series of cryptic puzzles that led to a countdown.

That countdown is almost over.

Really, the big question is how exactly she'll be revealed. Given Sombra's history of hacking things both in and outside of the game, I'm expecting her to take over the Blizzcon stage at some point during the opening ceremony. This will either be a wicked cool visual spectacle, or just a bit awkward to watch. I can't wait!

Outside of the opening ceremony, I was surprised to see Hearthstone will be first out of the gate with its "What's Next?" panel. With Overwatch having been released this year, I'd sort of expected the shooter to take this slot.

But yes, that does suggest some relatively big news for Hearthstone. If we look back at the last couple of years, we've always seen either a new adventure or expansion unveiled at Blizzcon and with One Night in Karazhan having been introduced in August, it looks like an expansion is on the cards.

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With World of Warcraft: Legion having just landed, we'll be expecting to hear plenty about what's next in terms of upcoming patches. As game director, Tom Chilton, told us back at Gamescom: "We don't feel like we did a good enough job at delivering content past Warlords of Draenor, we feel like we need to better than that".

Interestingly, Chilton announced last night that he's stepping down as WOW's game director and will be moving to another project within the team. They'll need to address that, alongside the retirement of story man, Chris Metzen last month.

There's also a couple of panels for both Heroes of the Storm (new heroes!) and StarCraft 2 (still has plans!), but Diablo is looking a little quiet this year.

It is almost the game's 20th anniversary, which is bonkers, so I'm sure Blizzard has some kind of celebration planned. But as for new announcements, perhaps not?

Right, I'm just going to say it. I think this might be a quieter year for Blizzcon when it comes to big reveals, but that's okay. As long as Mike turns up with his nice shirt and they finally, finally introduce Overwatch's next hero, I'm happy.

And we'll be there, so of course, you can expect us to tell you exactly how many of this year's statues are using real, human hair.

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