BlizzCon 2023 Opening Ceremony recap

BlizzCon 2023 Opening Ceremony recap

BlizzCon 2023 opened its doors today, and set the stage for the publisher’s road ahead. From an acquisition to new heroes and expansions, there’s a quite a few things to recap from the BlizzCon 2023 Opening Ceremony.

This year’s ceremony certainly had a big ring of roping old fans back into the fold. But the star of the show was certainly World of Warcraft, which saw the reveal of a Classic Cataclysm and a new structure for its story and expansions moving forward, under the Worldsoul Saga moniker.

Here’s everything Blizzard announced at the BlizzCon 2023 Opening Ceremony.

Overwatch this

While the Overwatch 2 hero leaked a little early, Mauga still took center stage for Overwatch 2‘s news. The new hero wields dual chainguns and is playable this weekend.

Though that surprise got a little spoiled, game director Aaron Keller teased a few more reveals. A new game mode, Clash, is coming to Overwatch 2 and sounds like a familiar kind of tug-of-war mode. A competitive rework and two other heroes—Venture and Space Ranger—are being teased too, with more info coming in the “What’s Next” panel for Overwatch 2 this weekend.

Diablo 4 gets a new expansion

The first expansion for Diablo 4 is called Vessel of Hatred, and it arrives sometime in late 2024. Alongside new demons to demolish, there’s also going to be a new class, one completely new to the series. No word yet on class details.

Additionally, Blizzard ran down the list of quality-of-life updates that they’ve issued, and are continuing to patch into, Diablo 4. Season 3 will add leaderboards, and later Season 2 will see an Enchanting preview heading to the Occultist and more Seasonal Events on the way.

Draw yer cards, partner

Hearthstone‘s next expansion heads to the wild, wild west with Showdown in the Badlands on November 14. It’s got some obvious Western themes, including a jail mechanic, which looks fun. It was already revealed a while ago, but today’s cinematic really sells the vibe.

Additionally, Hearthstone is getting “Catch-Up Packs,” which are big packs of collected cards from the last two years of Constructed play. Every player who logs in can get some, and get more through upcoming bundles, in an effort to “catch up” with the Hearthstone meta.

For autobattler fans, Hearthstone Battlegrounds is getting a co-op game mode, Duos. It’s a smart update that other auto-rumbler games, like Teamfight Tactics, have implemented. These updates do feel like Hearthstone is trying to reignite interest, but they seem like a pretty solid set of additions to do so.

Rumble time

If you hadn’t already downloaded it, Warcraft Rumble is out now on mobile devices. The Clash of Clans-adjacent line battler went fully live with Season 1 today, and it’s adding Sylvanas as a mini-fig today.

Additionally, Raids and more are on the way. More of that is getting discussed at the panels throughout BlizzCon 2023 after the Opening Ceremony concludes.

The end of the World (of Warcraft)

Yes, Cataclysm is coming to World of Warcraft Classic. The apocalyptic expansion is making its way to the throwback experience with some changes in the first half of next year.

It’ll be interesting to see how the team handles the world changes of Cataclysm, when it feels like a big appeal of Classic is touring the old haunts. New seasonal servers, Season of Discovery, is also teasing some new content. Season of Discover will start with a Level 25 cap which will increase as time goes on. There will also be new content to explore.

The Season of Discovery will not Public Test, and instead heads to WoW Classic on November 30.

The Worldsoul Saga

For modern WoW players, Guardians of the Dream goes live very soon. But Chris Metzen took the stage to reveal something much larger in store: the Worldsoul Saga.

Billed as a story spanning several expansions, Metzen intimates this will have a pretty massive scope. And instead of debuting one expansion by itself, Blizzard showed a glimpse of the next three expacs.

First up is The War Within, with earthen and Nerubian enemies. Players will be called in to “dispense indiscriminate justice upon all those who got it coming,” as Metzen says. Then comes World of Warcraft: Midnight, with a dark-versus-light motif. Which, hey, that should be pretty interesting.

Finally, World of Warcraft: The Last Titan heads north to see the titans return to Azeroth. A “vast conspiracy” will be uncovered, challenging “everything you think you know” about Azeroth.

The War Within

A teaser for The War Within showed Anduin and Thrall talking about ominous portents. It’s a strong trailer, and definitely one that seems like it could reignite the spark for WoW players. This first expansion is set to arrive in Fall 2024.

Warbands, Delves, and more are on the way. You can get a deeper look from a World of Warcraft fan in our write-up of the news here, but it certainly seems like Blizzard is gearing up for big things in WoW.

That’s everything to recap from the opening ceremony at BlizzCon 2023, but there’s even more in store this weekend at the panels and talks. You can follow the schedule here.

Eric Van Allen

Senior Editor – While Eric’s been writing about games since 2014, he’s been playing them for a lot longer. Usually found grinding RPG battles, digging into an indie gem, or hanging out around the Limsa Aethryte.

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