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SYFY WIRE World of Warcraft

BlizzCon 2021 pulls back the curtain on Diablo's future, Overwatch 2's heroes & more

By Justin Carter
Overwatch 2

Blizzard Entertainment's annual personal victory lap, BlizzCon, began this evening. As it's been with previous iterations in the past, the event began with an opening ceremony running down what the company plans to release in the near future for both this year and (hopefully) 2022 at the latest.

Let's get into it... 

World of Warcraft Straddles the Line Between Past and Future

The long running MMO released the Shadowlands expansion late last year, and now it's getting its first major update. Patch 9.1, aka Chains of Domination, will see players confront the Banshee Queen Sylvanas and explore a new zone called Korithia, home of the Jailer. Chains will also feature flying, along with a new 10-boss raid and a new Mega-dungeon. Chains of Domination is expected to release later this year.

Along with Shadowlands, Blizzard confirmed that WoW's old school revival will be getting its first expanion, The Burning Crusade. Released originally in 2007, players will have the option to choose if their individual characters will move to Crusade's Classic servers or stick with Vanilla Classic seemingly "forever." It too will release later this year. 

Diablo Gets Resurrected, Immediately Goes Rogue 

Try to be surprised: Blizzard is remaking Diablo II. Regarded as the best entry in the series and one of the best games ever made, the new Resurrected version will feature the "Lords of Destruction" expansion updated visuals similar to 2012's Diablo III, remade cinematics from Blur Studios, and quality of life improvements. The best news, though? All systems will support cross-progression, so you can take your heroes' journeys on whatever systems you have. 

Diablo II: Resurrected will hit PC, Playstation, Xbox, and Nintendo Switch later this year. 

That wasn't the only piece of Diablo news the studio dropped. The company's been hard at work on the upcoming Diablo IV, and had some juicy information to share on the game: the return of the Rogue. Last seen in the original Diablo all the way back in 1996, the bow-wielding character will join the Barbarian, Druid, and Sorceress in the fight to defeat the demonic Lilith. The Rogue will be able to switch between a bow and arrow like a ranger or sticking to the cover of darkness like a thief. Can never go wrong with a rogue in the party. 

Beyond PC, it's not clear what other systems will receive Diablo IV, or when it will release. 

From Characters to Maps, Overwatch 2 Wants to Get Bigger 

Did Overwatch 2 get a release date or open beta announcement? No, and no. But what it did get were some updated looks for its heroes and a glimpse at what awaits the heroes and villains of the cartoony shooter. 

When the game was first revealed at 2019's BlizzCon, several members of the cast got all new looks; cyborg ninja Genji was now wearing actual clothes over his armor, while beatboxing vigilante Lucio sported a green and purple bodysuit. Today, Blizzard used a new development video to reveal new looks for four heroes: the shotgun-toting Reaper, spy sniper Widowmaker, cowboy McCree, and the jetpacked Pharah. 

Blizzard wants the sequel to be the "next big step in the Overwatch universe," and one of the ways they want to make that happen is with the inclusion of a story mode. To that end, they're including Hero Missions, wherein four players will drop into a location and work together to achieve specific goals.

If you've played the first Overwatch, this'll sound familiar to their yearly events, but with some add-ons to make it feel more substantial. Variety comes through multiple ways, be it the different objectives and locations or the makeup of your team, in addition to being able to level up each hero with new skills and talents. (One developer joked that you could make the explosives expert, Junkrat, wield two grenade launchers rather than one, if you put points into the right skills.) And that's just with the first game's 32 heroes, not counting the sequel's new characters like Sojurn or whoever else is waiting in the wings.  

Overwatch 2 is expected to release for PC, PlayStation, Xbox, and Switch, though a release date hasn't been announced.