Friday, June 27, 2008

Baseless Speculation: 2008 Blizzard WWI Announcements

In about 12 hours, Blizzard's Worldwide Invitational event will kick off in Paris. They appear to have been working pretty hard to turn this thing into Blizzcon International, compete with developer panels etc. Last year's WWI saw the announcement of Starcraft 2, and this year they have a splash screen that numerous sites I trust claim is for Diablo III. So, we're just in time for me to write down some predictions that will be disproven before most of you have the chance to read this. :)

Mystery Splash Screen Announcement: Diablo III.

- I don't believe that beta dates for either Wrath or SCII justify the week-long build-up.
- Will not be playable on the show floor.
- They may or may not announce the total number of classes, but they won't announce all of them. (I.e. if the number is 9, expect something more like 2-4.) The announced classes will include at least one new class and one class from DII.
- The actual game will be set up like Guild Wars. Money for the game, but no subscription fee, online only, with everything instanced.

Starcraft II and Wrath (Both previously announced to be playable on the show floor)

- Betas to start soon (tm), possibly this summer, but no hard dates set.
- SC II will see new units unveiled, and details on the single player campaign.
- Wrath will see new info on inscription, the barber shop, vehicle combat, and possibly achievements. There will be info on Death Knights, but it won't be news to people who have read the alpha leaks.
- Announcement of WoW's Patch 2.5 to build things up for the expansion, possibly with an updated version of the Scourge Invasion.
- No big ticket bombshell announcements for either game. (I.e. major features like new races/classes, or big changes like 10-man versions of every raid.)

That last one may seem unambitious, but the feature list on Wrath looks pretty similar in length to the list for TBC. And hey, if I'm wrong in the morning, at least there'll be new information to be excited about. Realistically, though, I expect this event isn't going to live up to the hype. People seem to be getting their hopes up, but generally these events have featured a 1-2 page list of bullet points, which will be repeated between the keynote, dev panels, and interviews for the sites that were big enough to land them.

Check back over the weekend to see how terribly, terribly wrong I was. :)

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