Blizzard Entertainment rallied the faithful last week at its fourth BlizzCon 09 conference, wowing enthusiastic gamers with promised updated to its long-running Diablo and Starcraft franchises, along with taking the wraps off World of Warcraft: Cataclysm, an upcoming expansion pack for its widely popular MMORPG game.
First up: Cataclysm. Blizzard promises the third expansion pack for its World of Warcraft MMORPG game will turn Azeroth on its head as the dragon Aspect Deathwing sudden bursts forth from a long underground nap and begins laying waste to the face of the world. The emergence of Deathwing promised to alter the balance of power in the Azeroth universe, and create new opportunities for heroes—and villains—to emerge. As with previous expansion packs, Cataclysm will introduce new elements to the game, including two new races (goblins and worgen), the ability to advance all the way to level 85 (remember when level 60 seemed unachievable?), and massive alternatives to classic game zones in the wake of Deathwing’s destruction. The expansion pack will also introduce new lands (including a sunken city), offer new player-versus-player and battleground zones, enable new race and class combinations, and introduce a new profession (archeology—watch out, Indiana Jones!) But when will Cataclysm be available? Blizzard hasn’t said yet, but it’s a good bet they’d like to have it available in time for the end-of-year holiday buying season.
Blizzard also updated fans on the forthcoming Diablo III, which will mark the company’s first update ot the combat franchise in more than a decade, unveiling a fourth character class—the monk—in addition to the barbarian, witch doctor, and wizard. Blizzard also showed off Diablo III’s new 3D graphics, but did not offer a release date for the game…some industry watchers aren’t expecting it until 2011.
Blizzard also showed off the upcoming Starcraft II: Wings of Liberty real-time strategy game—another franchise loyal fans have been anticipating for years. Blizzard announced StarCraft II will offer infinitely re-playable single-player campaigns that don’t just serve as a training ground for multi-player campaigns—which might be a good thing since Blizzard recently revealed that Starcraft II will not support LAN play, and will instead rely on its own Battle.net online multiplayer service.