Blizzard DOTA, Pandaren Monks, & Free Copies of Diablo 3!
Blizzcon 2011, the annual event to celebrate all things Blizzard, kicked off last night in Anaheim, California with some huge announcements that are sure to turn some heads (even if you aren’t a current player of any of their games.)
Co-Founder Mike Morhaime greeted the 26,000 attendees at the opening ceremony (and 64,000 watching online) with major announcements regarding all of Blizzard’s franchises. First up was the announcement of the Collector’s Edition for Diablo 3, which along with the usual collection of art books, soundtracks, and behind the scenes material, players will get in-game goodies for all three of Blizzard’s franchises, and it will also come with a 4gb USB drive shaped like a Soulstone that comes with Diablo 3 pre-installed, housed in a replica of Diablo’s skull.
But that’s not all!
Morhaime announced to the crowd that World of Warcraft subscribers that take advantage of the new Annual Pass (a discounted subscription package) will get a free digital copy of Diablo 3 when it launches next year. Additionally, those who take advantage of this offer will get a special in-game mount, and they will get a guaranteed spot in the beta test for the upcoming WoW expansion (which we’ll get to shortly.)
That’s still not all!
The always-excitable Chris Metzen, Vice President of Creative Development (and voice of Thrall), took to the stage to announce even more surprises to the crowd. First up was the first look at Blizzard DOTA, which will bring the main characters from each of Blizzard’s franchises together along with a comical twist to the competitive RTS series. Thrall and Kerrigan fighting side by side? Oh, it’s happening.
And that’s STILL not all!
Metzen was also given the duty of unveiling the truth behind the “Mists of Pandaria” trademark Blizzard applied for earlier in the year; it is the title of the new World of Warcraft expansion set. Bringing one new race to the game, the titular Pandarens, along with the new hybrid class of the Monk, players will be able to decide which faction to join with their new characters, meaning we’ll be seeing giant pandas in both the Alliance and Horde ranks. No new big bad guy to punch in the face this time around; this expansion will be focusing on the continuing gankfest war between the two main factions of Azeroth.
New talent trees, a raise of the level cap to 90, new PvE scenarios, challenge mode dungeons, and a pet battle system (that will no doubt have people screaming “IT’S SUPER EFFECTIVE”) were also announced for the upcoming expansion.
Other highlights include cinematic teasers being shown for the StarCraft II expansion Heart of the Swarm and Diablo 3. Considering last year’s Blizzcon didn’t have much in the way of big announcements, it looks like Blizzard has gone out of their way to deliver the goods this year. The event continues today, with live raids, e-sport finals, and ending in the early hours with a closing ceremony headlined by rock band Foo Fighters.