Oli Welsh is here and the conference is underway. He's sorry for the holdup! Let's jump straight in...
The BlizzCon 2009 opening ceremony has finished and two dazzling announcements have been made.
They are the revelation of the fearsome and devastating Monk class in Diablo III and, of course, World of Warcraft expansion Cataclysm.
Read on for MMO editor Oli Welsh's full coverage of the event, direct from the Anaheim Convention Center in Anaheim, California. Excitable bunch.
Chief exec Mike Morhaime's making his opening remarks.
Morhaime just joked that everyone here's waiting for something cataclysmic to happen.
He's also said hi to everyone watching from gamescom, and noted that StarCraft II won game of the show.
The show sold out "even faster than ret paladins can storm the forums after a nerf".
Uproarious laughter. There are 20,000 people in here. The noise is incredible.
Morhaime thanks servicemen and women around the world watching on the pay-per-view feed. The touch of patriotism goes down a storm.
They put the house lights up and we all wave for the PPV viewers and cheer.
Video of past BlizzCon highlights now. There's a tangible atmosphere of excitement here.
A friend of Eurogamer spoke with Morhaime and Blizz's art director Sam Didier yesterday and says we've got plenty to look forward to today.
Another friend of Eurogamer reckons it won't all be WOW's show, too. Diablo III apparently has something up its sleeve.
The hall's buzzing with word that a Korean Blizzard site accidentally broke that news... but let's see what the horse's mouth has to say.
Morhaime's sporting quite a full salt-and-pepper beard. It suits him.
He's just mentioned the upcoming faction transfer option to catcalls and boos. "Or as it's called in politics... flip-flopping."
"Even more exciting than looking back... is looking into the future."
The five year anniversary is coming up, and they're revamping Onyxia.
Next year, they'll be shipping StarCraft II with the revamped Battle.net. We'll hear more about Battle.net at a panel later today.
Sam Raimi, as we know, is to direct the WOW movie. He was at BlizzCon last year and expressed an interest then, apparently.
It doesn't mean that Bruce Campbell will be plaing Leeroy Jenkins... "but now that I think about it, it's not a bad idea".
StarCraft II single-player will be hands on. Unlike anything you'll have seen in an RTS, apparently.
They're even doing WarCraft II tournaments here. Old school.
He's getting heckled about the contents of the goodie bags now. We all get a exclusive collectable figures to remind us of BlizzCon... "or to sell on eBay for the price of a small car. But I know that none of you will do that."
Little Mike Morhaime's gamely going for stand-up and it's working. He's been taking lessons from returning compere Jay Mohr I reckon.
He's running through some of the other attractions - costume contest, Ozzy Osbourne!
Quick blast of Ozzy on the screen. Another of those Friends of Eurogamer saw his rehearsal yesterday - he's in amazingly good voice for the state of him, apparenlty.
"Slash cheer like you mean it," says Mike. 20,000 people comply.
Chris Metzen, Blizzard's story guru, comes on to the WOW theme.
Country and Western shirt, tinted glasses, bling. The man is geek turned rock star.
He's apologising for how long it takes them to make games. And game announcements. Get on with it!
He wants us to give Blizzard employees high fives and "love". Intimate.
"We've got a couple of trailers to show you and things to announce."
He wants to ask us - where's the Alliance at?
Where's the Horde?
Crowd warm-up is easy when you're Blizzard.
This is why game companies should always reveal games in front of fans. Beats a bunch of cynical games journos.
Metzen wants WOW players to "just hang out" while he talks about Diablo III.
They've shown us three classes based on classic fantasy archetypes... Barbarian, Witch Doctor and Wizard.
The new class we're about to see is the same... The Monk!
"Open-handed, tiger-strike fury!"
Trailer time. Game engine but beautiful. Really beautiful.
The Monk has a bald head and a spade beard and wields a long club. He wears Buddhist orange.
He's facing off with enemies in sand-blown desert ruins.
Demon, fireball, massive fight.
He prays, drop the club, punches the demon in the chest kung fu style and rips off its arm.
That's it for Diablo III. The crowd is delirious. Now we get to watch actual gameplay.
So it's not it for Diablo III at all, you will notice.
The Monk has a super fast dash that's almost a teleport.
Looks like massive single-target damage. He's ripping enemies apart.
More from the panel later today. What's next?
"So Alliance and Horde, you've all been very patient." There's been rumours on the internet. No kidding, Chris.
"The wait is over."
We're about to see the first gameplay trailer of the new expansion!
It's a "doozy". Don't say "doozy". Not even in front of 20,000 adoring fans.
Here we go.
"An expansion set that will be nothing less than earth-shattering. That will very literally change the face of Azeroth as you know it."
"World of Warcraft: CATACLYSM!"
Trailer. There can be no peace when the world is devoured by rage.
Footage of familiar environments wrecked by lava and explosions. An ancient evil has arisen.
New conflicts erupt as old enemies vie for control of the world's diminished resources.
The Maelstrom churns.
The Goblin refugees are shipwrecked... They have found new allies in the Horde!
The rumours are all true, looks like.
Gilneas... regular human architecture... but they've become the new Alliance race: the Worgen!
Now classes... Troll Druid, Tauren Paladin.
This is SO LOUD. I can't hardly think, let alone type.
New profession - Arhceology!
New character progression - Path of the Titans! What's that?
Deathwing has returned... And there's a huge explosion that makes me jump out of my seat.
Apparently I missed out guild levelling and achievements. Thanks, Friend of Eurogamer.
Also there was something about ranked play in Battlegrounds that got a huge cheer... presumably they're bringing the Arena system across.
The Worgen looked very, very cool. Horde players are going to be sick with jealousy.
I know I am.
There will be more new class/race combinations than that, obviously.
So it seems to be exactly as it was rumoured earlier in the week - including the level cap of 85 which I missed in the torrent of info - but there are a few things we didn't know about: Archeology, new guild features and new character progression.
That's it for the opening ceremony. The rest of today is wall-to-wall panels on WOW, Diablo III, StarCraft II and the new Battle.net.
Watch out for more updates from us over the weekend, and detailed coverage of the games next week.