BlizzCon 2019: Watch the opening ceremony here at 11AM Pacific

New games and potential controversies are in store for BlizzCon 2019

BlizzCon arrives at the end of October, and fans from all over the world will be traveling to Anaheim, California to celebrate their love for the many popular series made by Blizzard.

If you’re someone who can’t attend the festivities in person, you can participate in the fun remotely by purchasing a Virtual Ticket which grants you access to all the panels and announcements. Whether you’re going in person or watching from home, you’ll want to know what to expect this year at BlizzCon 2019.

How to watch BlizzCon 2019

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Blizzard will be making a selection of content at BlizzCon 2019 available to watch for free, regardless of whether or not you purchased a Virtual Ticket. This includes the opening ceremony, where Blizzard usually announces new projects, as well as a selection of panels.

Blizzard’s official YouTube channel has featured BlizzCon content in the past. You can also check out our schedule to see when your favorite panels are happening, and use the official Watch page on the BlizzCon website to see a selection of live events.

Buying a virtual ticket

For everything else, including full panels and a selection of digital goodies, you’re going to need to buy the BlizzCon 2019 Virtual Ticket. Available for $50, the Virtual Ticket gives you the All-Access Channel, where you can see full developer interviews and “guided tour” of all main content for November 1 and 2. You will also get access to all panels, including behind-the-scenes looks at the development process for games.

On Friday, you will be able to watch the Community Night celebration, which includes costume, art, movie, and talent contents, as well as a cosplay exhibition. The following night, there will be a concert performed for the closing ceremony. Big names have been featured during the ceremony in the past, including bands such as Linkin Park and Metallica.

Alongside the video content, you will also get in-game rewards for several of Blizzard’s games. These include:

  • World of Warcraft: Wendigo Woolies transmog outfit and Murloc faction leaders
  • Overwatch: Illidan skin for Genji and Tyrande skin for Symmetra
  • Hearthstone: Commemorative card back and special legendary card revealed at BlizzCon.
  • Heroes of the Storm: Commemorative spray and portrait, as well as Celestial Deepcrawler mount.
  • Starcraft II: Brood War skins and portraits, Classic Battlecruiser, Classic Ultralisk, and Classic Carrier.
  • Diablo III: Special wings

What to expect

We have heard rumors and reports of multiple game announcements planned for BlizzCon 2019, and they’re for some of the biggest games Blizzard has ever developed. Below, we’ve broken down what to expect, including new games as well as updates to existing titles.

A statement on company ethics

Hearthstone player Chung Ng Wai
Hearthstone player Chung Ng Wai

Perhaps more important than any game announcement at the moment is a potential statement from Blizzard on its company ethics and values. In early October, a professional Hearthstone player named Chung “Blitzchung” Ng Wai was suspended from competitive play and was temporarily forced to give back his prize earnings after making a statement in support of Hong Kong’s pro-democracy protestors during a broadcasted event.

The two interviewers present at the event were also terminated. Since then, Blizzard has done a poor job of handling the situation, with Twitch viewers who mentioned Hong Kong in chat reportedly being banned as the company appears to struggle between a commitment to the themes in its games and the financial support of China.

Blizzard needs to make a big statement about this conflict during its opening ceremony, and it needs to unequivocally come out in support of the Hong Kong protestors. Failure to do so could result in all other news from the ceremony being overshadowed — Blizzard even canceled a planned launch event at the Nintendo store in New York City as public opinion toward the company soured, and a bi-partisan letter from the U.S. Congress expressed concern over its current position. 

Diablo 4

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All but confirmed for BlizzCon 2019 is Diablo 4, which was a disappointing no-show from last year’s event. An advertisement for an official Diablo franchise artbook mentions the unannounced game by name, and it has been more than seven years since the release of the previous title.

Diablo 3 is available on everything from the PC and Mac to the PlayStation 4 and even Nintendo Switch, and with the free-to-play Diablo Immortal also in development, it seems like the perfect time to release the next major entry in the franchise. What the game will look like remains unclear with more version of the game reportedly resembling Dark Souls before it was rebooted.

Overwatch 2

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Another game we fully expect to see unveiled at BlizzCon 2019 is Overwatch 2, with reports from Kotaku saying the game was created after Blizzard shifted resources from a potential StarCraft shooter.

Streamer Metro claimed that the game will be announced at BlizzCon 2019 with a short video, and it appears the game will be quite different from its predecessor. There will apparently be competitive modes as well as player-versus-environment modes, and a progression system used to enhance characters’ abilities.

World of Warcraft

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There is less clear evidence to back this one up, but conventional wisdom says Blizzard will be announcing the next World of Warcraft expansion during BlizzCon 2019. It has been over a year since Battle for Azeroth launched, and Blizzard has been sticking to a two-year development cycle for the games dating back to Wrath of the Lich King and Cataclysm.

With Battle for Azeroth underwhelming some players and Blizzard’s other game franchises in the spotlight at the moment, the company will certainly have to deliver something impressive during BlizzCon 2019.

Hearthstone

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The Hearthstone development team releases expansion content for its digital card game on a fairly regular basis, with the most recent addition coming in August, but it has also had several expansions arrive in December over the last few years.

This gives Blizzard a great opportunity to unveil the next expansion during BlizzCon 2019, possibly pairing it with any World of Warcraft expansion news it has planned.

Cosplay

Blizzcon 2018 Best Cosplay
Felicia Miranda/Digital Trends

Blizzard fans love to cosplay as their favorite characters from across the company’s roster of games, and you can expect to see plenty of people in full armor while walking the show floor.

Look for Overwatch and World of Warcraft characters in particular, and during the Community Night celebration, there will be a cosplay exhibition and a costume contest. Only 25 people will be in the latter category, meaning you’ll see some of the best Blizzard costumes ever created.

Charity

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Blizzard will be hosting a benefit dinner on Thursday, October 31, with tickets costing $750 each and all proceeds going to CHOC Children’s network. Blizzard will then double the net proceeds from this event for the final donation total.

During this charity dinner, guests will be able to talk with key members of Blizzard’s staff, including company executives as well as the developers behind their favorite games.

Esports

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Competitive gaming remains a key part of BlizzCon 2019, and there is no shortage of esports events you can watch during the convention. These include:

  • World of Warcraft Arena World Championship
  • World of Warcraft Mythic Dungeon International
  • Starcraft II World Championship Series Global Finals
  • Overwatch World Cup 2019
  • Hearthstone Grandmasters Global Finals

Events run over several hours, taking place on November 1 and November 2. To find the time-slots for individual rounds of the tournament or finals in question, you can use Blizzard’s interactive guide. Be aware that esports finals can occur at the same time as panels or other events you may want to watch.

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