Hello! Not long to go now. Remember, we're almost certain of a World of Warcraft expansion reveal, but Blizzard has ruled out any major Diablo reveals, sadly.
Join us from 6pm UK time for Blizzard's annual Blizzcon opening ceremony celebrations.
We're expecting news on the new World of Warcraft expansion, this year's final set of Hearthstone cards, more new characters for Heroes of the Storm, and something fresh for Overwatch, too.
Watch with us here in the UK, where Oli will be shoutcasting in text form, with special guest appearances from Chris "Bratterz" Bratt in the audience over in Anaheim, California.
We've also already had one BlizzCon 2017 leak: Hanzo and Alexstrasza are heading to Heroes of the Storm.
With Blizzard pushing the Overwatch eSports overhaul hard, it's tough to imagine what else there will be to show. A new animated short?
Talking of animated shorts, there may well be another one for HearthStone, as per Blizzard's new animation plans announced at Gamescom.
I'm here in Anaheim! There's a LOT of people and they're VERY excited. Must be a Blizzcon.
We're already in the main hall, ready for the opening ceremony. It doesn't kick off properly for an hour and 40 minutes though.
I wish I'd brought sandwiches.
What are you gonna do for an hour and 40, Chris?
There'll be a preshow at some point, so, erm... maybe I'll go find those sandwiches.
Jaina Proudmoore features pretty heavily in this year's keyart, fuelling rumours that she's going to be a big player in the next WOW expansion.
People keep saying there's going to be boats too. So there's your latest rumourwatch from Eurogamer: Jaina and boats.
A booming announcer just asked us to cheer for the Alliance and then roar for the Horde. I love this daft show.
The Horde were much louder. All is well.
I'm more interested if the datamined "race-variations" thing they dug up on Tauren will happen. Mostly because Tauren are easy... everything else would be considerably more work.
Yup, sub-races look like they might be happening!
Red Shirt Guy himself broke that news!
Lucio's voice actor just showed up during the preshow, interviewing some Overwatch fans. Gosh, he's infectiously excited.
What do we think about a new Overwatch hero being revealed? The game desperately needs it, particularly a Support.
And their What's Next panel is an hour long. They must have something to talk about...
They've packed out the main stage. Thousands of people eagerly await some lovely words from Mike Morhaime.
Oh and some video game announcements too, I suppose.
The pre-show just opened with:
"Are you ready to get Blizzy?"
I don't know about you, but I most certainly am.
Almost there! I think Oli will be joining me for the ceremony itself.
I'm enjoying this Overwatch World Cup interview because they're having to pretend that South Korea aren't guaranteed favourites.
The UK team went 15-0 on their way into this competition, but let's be serious here, pals...
I'll be talking you through tonight's opening ceremony but fair warning - I only really play WOW and Diablo, so I might need your help on the other stuff.
There are 30,000 attendees here today. Oosh.
They just said they're extending the Anaheim convention center. Jesus. That place was cavernous enough already.
I'm more eager to see details of this WOW expansion than I have been the last few. I enjoyed Legion SO much.
Here we go! Are you ready to get Blizzy, Oli?
How you build on it is quite a difficult question to answer (especially Artifact weapons, as one of you guys just pointed out) - but that only makes this more interesting.
Not Diablo 4 interesting, but still.
Here we go!
I've been Blizzy all day, Chris.
What were your first Blizzard games? Warcraft 3 for me.
I'm a regular Blizznessman.
Vanilla WOW was my first. I played it for half a day and wasn't convinced. And then I looked up and it was six months later and I was still in my dressing gown.
I'm falling for Blizzard all over again right now. The Blizzcon reset.
Lovely Mike Morhaime takes to the stage!!
And he's NOT wearing a bowling shirt?!
Super inclusive and sentimental reel of players emoting about Blizz games there. But the thing is, if you ever go to this show, the community feeling really is unbelievably strong. It's truly uplifting.
Was me Oli. NOTICE ME SENPAI!
What up Kami!
This was a lot quicker when it was just Horde and Alliance for cheers...
Just realised it's 10 years since my first BlizzCon. Though it was in the summer then if I recall correctly.
It was the Wrath of the Lich King reveal and the whole thing leaked a day early and Frank Pearce (Blizz founder) looked really, really cross. And he is a terrifying man.
God, yeah, I wouldn't want to upset Frank.
Mike's Overwatch polo shirt is very restrained and tasteful compared to the old WOW bowling shirts.
I suppose that's a good thing but I'm kinda sad about it. Vile lime green and black bowling shirts on every staff member up to and including the CEO are a BlizzCon tradition.
Desinty 2 just got a shoutout at Blizzcon. It's not right. It's just not.
Metzen never wore them though. Maybe that's why he had to go.
Bungie have been Blizzard fanboys for so long, that must have made their day Chris.
Esports reel. Sped-up drone footage of central European cities. Dry ice jets. Crying men in headsets. A team called 'Heroes of the Dorm'.
I'm so close to the big man.
Mike Morhaime's reverb has more depth than Destiny 2.
I like Destiny 2, as it goes, but I'm so up for Blizzard fans condescending to the new boy.
StarCraft 2 is going free-to-play!!
From November 14th, you'll get the Wings of Liberty campaign for free. If you already own WoL, you'll get Heart of the Swarm instead.
It remains one of the greatest singleplayer RTS campaigns you can play. That's great!
yes Oli what the internet and online gaming has been missing is people being condescending to one another
I know, it's awful. This event brings out my inner fanboy.
"There are no strangers at Blizzcon, just friends you haven't met yet"
Mike, once again, asking players to be nicer to each other. If only they'd listen!
StarCraft 2 going free is big. Interesting that it includes the campaign. Pushing the multiplayer would have been the easy option, but this is a better way to build a more inclusive community around it. That said, it's a sure sign that the game doesn't have enough players and the SC2 esports scene is flagging.
Heroes of the Storm up first. Time for those new hero reveals.
Yup, there they are: Alexstrasza and Hanzo.
Look at it this way: for how much people ignore HotS, Blizzard are ignoring Diablo more
I believe they've reduced D3 support to a minimum because the team is fairly serious production on Diablo 4 now.
Doesn't mean it's not still years away, mind.
Say something about dragons, Hanzo! Go on!
I'm hoping D4 takes more from D2 than it does D3. I'm a terrible person.
I prefer D3's combat and structure, but a 50/50 mix would be quite something.
Or something new!
I thought the Dragon Aspects are done now since the end of Cataclysm. It's all so confusing! We need red shirt guy!
This is in the Nexus though, where any retcon is possible.
Anyway, we're spoiling the HOTS reveals with Diablo talk.
If I could play any MOBA (I am far too old and rubbish to play one), it would be HOTS. Not just because I'm a Blizzard fan. 20-minute matches sound good to me, and last hitting is stupid. You heard.
I'm pretty into this double dragon vibe, but HOTS remains a blind spot for me. I like seeing what they can do with the Overwatch character builds, but it's never properly grabbed me.
Ben Brode and his excellent voice now take to the stage (a different stage to the one I'm sitting in front of).
That's because you're a Dota snob, Chris.
I dunno about this jumping to different stages thing. I fear change.
Hearthstone's expansion arrives next month and it's called...
Kobolds & Catacombs!
Oh my god, he's doing a Choose Your Own Adventure. I love this man.
This is such a great way to talk about a card game expansion.
The expansion's first card is being given to players for free on Monday.
Imagine Ben Brode was your DM.
wish I could get into HS. seems quite pleasant.
A new singleplayer mode called Dungeon Run is being cited as the reason for Brode's presentation. I don't believe that's the real reason. Not for a moment.
Over to Overwatch!
Kaplan has been critical of the toxicity within his game's community recently. I wonder if he'll have anything to say about that?
Jeff is not wearing Blizzard branded clothing! Something is wrong. This is like McCartney's bare feet on the Abbey Road cover.
Overwatch is getting a Blizzard theme park map?! I'M BACK IN, PALS.
"Theme park." The lawyers told him not to say Disney, didn't they.
Oh my goodness gracious me, this is such a wonderful thing.
This is both a cool map idea and a useful concept exercise for something that is definitely going to be built one day.
And there's a hero!!!
She's Overwatch's shadowpriest.
We really needed that, I think. Another genuine Support Hero.
Jeff Kaplan can say whatever the hell he wants. I love this. He's having fun.
"In case you're wondering how to spell Moira, it's spelled O P A F, just in case you're wondering."
Reinhardt just turned up. I'm almost in tears.
All professionalism just went out of the window.
"Crying is my ultimate. I will cry!"
And yes, he's there for a reason. Here's a new Reinhardt short.
This is going to be a sad one, isn't it?
Ahaha, he's being a crap Reinhardt tank. Rushing ahead, leaving the team. We've all been there.
This is what happens when you go for kills with Reinhardt. I hope we're all paying attention.
Well, unsurprisingly, that was an excellent watch.
Sentiment and on-the-nose gameplay advice wrapped into one.
And J Allen Brack is representing with a truly horrible bowling shirt. Respect.
Great showing for OW. Hope it's the shot in the arm we needed. Now, it's time for a WOW expansion.
Oh. My. God.
OLI IT'S HAPPENING
CHRIS HOLD ME CHRIS
I can't believe I didn't see where that ice cream thing was going.
The crowd here is going nuts. Finally, it's happening, Vanilla WOW returns.
Me neither! I thought he was building up to say something about Ice..Crown?
WOW classic. It's what we've all begged for.
This is no small deal. It means supporting basically a whole other game.
"The classic game experience - not the actual launch experience." And "It's going to take some time."
I still can't believe how good that setup was.
I hope it has the new models as an option.
I sort of want it to be OG all the way. (Apart from the server stability.)
Kul Tiras is the home of the next expansion, as rumoured. The Horde and Alliance aren't getting on so well.
World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth
Allied races! Hmm, what's that?
One more thing!
Not much info on those new features - we'll have to wait for the WOW panel to find out more.
Oh hello, we're getting the intro cinematic too.
What a show this has already been.
Anduin is OP. Blizz pls nerf.
My god, we say this every time, but Blizzard's cinematic team are truly exceptional.
And that brings the opening ceremony to a close. I better rush off to my interviews. One of my favourite openings, easily.
Well that was kind of overshadowed by the WOW classic announce, but still.
I actually like how they've swung away from a single uber reveal to a broader spread of entertaining stuff. That Hearthstone reveal was beautiful.
That's a wrap. Chris will be bringing you more from the show on the site and our YouTube channel over the weekend. Have a good one and thanks for joining us!