They're letting me handle the livetext for this year's Blizzcon, which is very exciting.
Hello! We're just a few hours away from Blizzcon 2016's opening ceremony - it begins at 6pm UK time - and finding out which of his nice bowling shirts Mike Morhaime will be wearing to mark the occasion.
But that's not the only big news we're expecting from this year's show.
After literally decades of teasing and a severely overwrought ARG we should finally see the reveal of Overwatch's next hero: Sombra. The question at this stage is how exactly she'll be unveiled to the world. Please don't hack the stage. Please don't hack the stage. Please don't hack the stage.
This year marks the 20th anniversary of the Diablo franchise and rumours suggest a Necromancer-themed expansion might be on the cards. I've been offered an interview with the Diablo team tomorrow afternoon, so they better announce SOMETHING.
We tend to see either a new Hearthstone adventure or expansion during Blizzcon, so expect something along those lines. Probably a full expansion, given that A Night in Karazhan launched back in August.
Heroes of the Storm will inevitably see more hero reveals. Seriously, they produce them at an unbelievable rate.
And perhaps something about the future plans for StarCraft 2, unless they're saving that for the panel later on today.
Finally, with Blizzard story man, Chris Metzen having announced his retirement just a couple of months ago, I'm hoping he'll pop up to say his goodbyes to a community he's had a big hand in creating. Here's to you, Metzen!
I'm not heading into the show for another couple of hours, but I'm going to dash over and grab some pictures of the entrance itself. It'll be like you're right there with me.
Last night I went to a Blizzcon party hosted by Wowhead, the largest World of Warcraft database on the Internet.
Let me tell you, things got PRETTY wild.
Ugh, I'm actually a Horde player.
What can I say? The Alliance had better props on offer.
erm... Am I missing something or does this not actually say when it starts?
The opening ceremony kicks off in about 3 1/2 hours.
So that's 6PM GMT.
I'll update the post now.
Nice to see Grandma Overwatch getting pride of place in this year's Blizzcon artwork. As is only right.
Alright, I've been to the entrance! Here's what that looks like.
Do you think all of these people are here for Blizzcon too?
Right, I'm off for some breakfast. Don't break anything.
Alright, I'm in. Had to fight my way through a lot of very enthusiastic Blizzard fans, but I've got a seat for the opening ceremony.
By which I mean, have you seen Metzen anywhere?
Not yet! Hoping he gets a nice send off during the ceremony. Seems a nice man.
I know, in my heart of hearts, that Diablo 4 isn't going to happen, but...I want to believe!
If they reveal Diablo 4, I'll eat my press pass.
We're still an hour away from things kicking off. Not sure what I'm supposed to do for the next 60 minutes...
Anyone fancy a game of Overwatch?
30 minutes! Are you guys still watching a WOW Arena stream?
Oh, we've got action here. Pre-show trailer!
A giant Reinhardt just walked past. My kind of people.
Looking back at Blizzard's 2016. It's been an alright year for them, hasn't it?
Someone next to me just shouted "For the Horde!"
I mean, I agree with him, but I'm trying to look like a serious games journalist here.
Did they just call their sofa the 'BlizzCouch'?
A nice little preview of Mike's bowling shirt this year. Looks to be his WOW Legion number. Nice.
Roughly 10 minutes until we see him in the flesh.
HIYAAAAAA HAPPY SOMBRA
Alright, here we go. Hopefully some surprises in store, despite the leaks.
Hey guys. I wonder if they might reveal a new Overwatch hero. That'd be neat.
And my WiFi died! Amazing timing.
10 years of Blizzcon! :')
A montage of Blizzard from roots to present day - a history lesson! Who's actually been to BlizzCon apart from Bratterz? The bloody show off.
That D4 die...
Professionalism has gone out of the window here. I've got a massive grin on my face.
LOVELY MIKE MORHAIME!
Back at it again with his WOW Legion bowling shirt.
Is that Thrall's voice doing the announcing?
It seems I'm a little ahead of the stream. Look down here for EARLY ANNOUNCEMENTS.
The stream glitches a bit for me... Skips back sometimes. Not like real-life... normally.
The first Blizzcon hosted 4000 attendees. Now that number is more than 25,000.
Allen Adham is rejoining Blizzard. He has decided to be "unretired"! He co-founded Blizzard with Mike Morhaime and Frank Pearce.
The next content update for WOW is in development. "It is going to be an awesome 2017 for the Alliance..." says Morhaime, to boos and cheers. Long pause. "And, for the Horde!" What a troll!
Mischief, a Fell Kitty pet, is coming. Hardly Sombra, is it? But now he's talking Overwatch!
Oh no. It's HAPPENING.
THE STAGE IS BEING HACKED.
And there we are! The inevitable Sombra reveal. This is actually, dare I say it... quite fun?
Sombra, Reaper and Widowmaker working together. Overwatch pals.
She uses an SMG, has a stealth ability and... hacks things?
AND A TELEPORT. Perhaps her Ultimate?
Yeah, I'm a fan.
"I'm sure nobody saw that coming," says Morhaime.
Playable at Blizzcon! Expect impressions later on today.
There's another couple of maps on the way, plus a brand new Arcade mode.
Over to StarCraft 2, which is still seeing continued support from Blizzard. More co-op missions planned, plus a new co-op commander.
Right, now we're talking advanced AI research? Okay, let's see where this goes.
There's a fella from DeepMind on stage. He's really into artificial intelligence. That's his thing. Loves AI.
Collaborating with Blizzard to "open up StarCraft 2 to AI research around the world".
This will almost certainly lead to humanity's demise.
From a neww Overwatch hero to complicated AI research. Where can we possibly go next?
Overwatch seeing its first Blizzcon tournament this weekend. The UK got knocked out, didn't they?
They should have asked me and Bertie to give it a shot. Sometimes we even use our ultimates at the same time!
Esports as far as the eye can see.
Blizzard are launching the Overwatch League, promising guaranteed salaries, contracts and loads of official support.
Bertie, you fancy it? This games journalism thing isn't going to last forever.
Oh yeah. Weird Al Yankovic will be closing out the show. Blizzard are such massive, massive dweebs.
"Let's remind the world what matters most is not winning, but how we are with each other," says Lovely Mike.
But what about Diablo!
Looks like I won't be eating my press pass after all...
Right. Heroes of the Storm.
I wonder if they might reveal some new heroes. I think they might reveal some new heroes.
The cheers are noticeably quieter for this game. You've got to wonder how big its playerbase actually is right now, compared to the likes of WOW, Overwatch & Hearthstone.
They are, in fact, revealing a new hero.
Varian Wrynn, off of World of Warcraft.
As Alliance characters go, he was alright. Watch that pre-Legion cinematic, if you haven't already.
Sombra abilities now livehttps://playoverwatch.com/en-us/heroes/sombra/
Hang on, Varian is fighting Ragnaros. Both confirmed as upcoming heroes.
Oh my goodness, Sombra's ultimate sounds INCREDIBLE.
"EMP: Sombra discharges electromagnetic energy in a wide radius, destroying enemy barriers and shields and hacking all opponents caught in the blast."
Sorry, back to HOTS. Both heroes are playable at Blizzcon and Varian is coming to the live game real soon.
If you play 15 games of HOTS with a buddy, you unlock a Genji skin for Overwatch. I mean, that'll probably work.
That's Bertie and me playing 15 games of HOTS next week.
Here comes the next expansion reveal?
Hearthstone's Gadgetzan is a...shady, crime town?
YES. Another Hearthstone song. Now it's a party.
'Mean Streets of Gadgetzan'
The first of the town's notorious crime families is called..... 'The Grimy Goons'. That's a rubbish name for a crime family, isn't it?
'The Jade Lotus'. That's better, but I mean, they seem to be mostly Pandaren.
Holding out for the third family.
Each family adds a new tri-class card. Huh.
Where is Ben Brode? This guy is not fun.
Having a baby, I think. I like this guy though!
There's an amusing delay when each card is revealed, as the crowd rushes to read and understand its abilities.
Mean Streets of Gadgetzan set for early December.
Next up: Diablo 3!
Considering the Sombra leak was legit, that Necromancer artwork seems promising.
The original Diablo is being recreated in Diablo 3 to celebrate its anniversary. OKAY. YUP. THAT'LL DO IT.
"Special graphics filters to make the visual pixelated and grainy."
The anniversary patch will be on the PTR next week!
POLITICAL JOKE #2.
Two new zones being added to the game next year, if you have Reaper of Souls. Accessed via Adventure Mode.
And yes, there we are, the Necromancer!
The crowd seemed to enjoy that one, surprisingly.
Will be sold as part of a character pack next year.
And that's a wrap, Blizzard pals.
Sombra and the Necromancer both looks ace, despite not being huge surprises. Good show.
I'm off to try and hug Mike Morhaime.
See you soon, with some Sopmbra hands-on impressions!
Thank YOU, Jack.