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BlizzConline 2021 Predictions - Shadowlands Patch 9.1, TBC Classic, Wandering Ancient Mount
06.02.2021 в 10:10
BlizzConline takes place February 19th and 20th, 2021. Here's our predictions for what will be announced, including the next phase of Shadowlands content, Burning Crusade Classic, and the Wandering Ancient mount.
Warcraft - Shadowlands
Normally at this point in an expansion's cycle, we're well underway with PTR datamining and official reveals for the first major content patch of an expansion. We are nearly three months into Shadowlands with no sign of what comes next. We've seen a
hint of Shadowlands' first minor content patch
on the WoW Vendor CDN, which is intriguing as historically Blizzard drops the small .5 patches later in the expansion. We don't expect the PTR to open before BlizzConline, but we do expect datamining to start shortly after the event takes place.
Blizzard will likely announce what is coming in the first major content patch of Shadowlands, like flying, new raids, loot improvements. and new zones, with vague teasers for the rest of the expansion. We don't think they'll highlight all future patches in great detail, as they're still working from home which caused unexpected delays with Shadowlands. By keeping upcoming development vague, it doesn't set Blizzard up for unrealistic deadlines that may be difficult to keep due to pandemic challenges.
In addition to announcing the first major patch of Shadowlands, they'll likely explain what is coming in this early .5 patch. Historically we don't see .5 patches until the first major content patch has dropped, but perhaps Blizzard is switching things up due to the pandemic, giving players some minor content to tide them over between large patches. Usually .5 patches include content like the Brawler's Guild, Heritage Armor, Timewalking dungeons, and model updates which all make sense for Shadowlands. Allied Races, content considered an expansion feature unique to BFA, have also dropped during .5 content patches so it would be quite the surprise if some were announced for Shadowlands!
BlizzCon is also the perfect time to drop a new cinematic, so we could see a new patch content trailer unveiled as well as the continuation of Anduin's conflict with the Jailer and Sylvanas rendered in the realistic style of the "Old Soldier" cinematic.
We were also promised the free Wandering Ancient mount in Q1 2021, and BlizzConline would be the obvious time to reveal the mount's model and award it to all players. We've even seen the
in the BlizzConline pre-show.
Finally, an Arthas "mic drop" moment at the end of the Warcraft presentation would be epic, similar to the
surprise Argus teaser
at BlizzCon 2016. We've seen lots of Arthas foreshadowing so far in Shadowlands, with many characters from his past making appearances, clear parallels between Anduin and Arthas, more lore behind Frostmourne and the Helm of Domination, and even hints that
the Jailer shaped Arthas' fate
. Knowing Arthas will return in the future would keep players hype for Shadowlands, even if details on future patches reman light.
Warcraft - Burning Crusade
Classic Burning Crusade feels heavily telegraphed by Blizzard due to
surveys sent out by Blizzard
asking for opinions about TBC Classic, Blizzard reviving the
Classic Beta category
on the Battle.net app, and some
that weren't originally fixed until Burning Crusade. The
being an obvious throwback to the TBC Collector's Edition pet further cements this prediction.
A Classic Burning Crusade expansion announcement would likely entail a cinematic, release date, beta information, and specifics on how Classic character progress would be handled.
Classic WoW started strong but ended up in a bit of a weird place due to
World Buff dilemma
, so hopefully we'd hear some news about improvements to Classic structures to help the overall health of the game. There are even hint with the
recent spell batching change
that we could see Classic Fresh servers announced too, allowing players to experience the entire game from scratch, starting from Phase 1, without any spell batching.
Diablo - 4, Remastered, Immortal
Q4 earnings call
, we learned that Diablo 4 wasn't expected until 2022 at the earliest. While we're likely not getting a Diablo 4 release date, we could get a hint on the alpha starting later in the year, as well as the usual content deep-dives we've come to expect from the 2021 quarterly updates.
did reveal that Diablo Immortal was launching later this year, so BlizzConline could be a good time to announce the release date. The earnings call also teased remastered content on the way, which could lead to a Diablo 2 Remastered announcement, especially in light of the
news that Vicarious Visions
, a studio newly-merged into Blizzard, was working on such a remaster.
Hearthstone historically announces their annual theme at the start of the year, revealing major gameplay and content updates like the first expansion.
Year of the Phoenix
was announced on March 17th including
Ashes of Outland
and the Demon Hunter class, so the timing of BlizzConline fits perfectly with a new content update. Hearthstone has also been playing with WoW lore from recent expansions, so perhaps we could see some Shadowlands references this year !
We also learned from the
Q4 earnings call
that Overwatch 2 was not expected until 2022 at the earliest. Sadly, news might be light on the Overwatch 2 front as a result, with Blizzard highlighting smaller updates for Overwatch 2 and esports updates for Overwatch at BlizzConline. Historically, new cinematics diving into a character's past have also made their debut at BlizzCon.
Classic Games Division
With the news that the
Classic Games Division
was dismantled and Vicarious Visions brought on to handle development, we likely won't hear too much about Warcraft III Reforged or Heroes of the Storm, although it would be a good time to announce a new hero.
Blizzard's 30th Anniversary
With BlizzConline branded as a celebration of Blizzard's 30th anniversary, we will likely see some online content dedicated to celebrating the company. While Blizzard has
not posted a schedule yet
, we know that six different content channels are planned for the event. Five could easily correspond to Shadowlands, Classic, Diablo, Hearthstone, and Overwatch, leaving the sixth a bit of a mystery. Perhaps it would end up as a general Blizzard channel, highlighting the anniversary and new merchandise reveals. We already know that the
Helm of Domination replica
will go on sale immediately after the opening ceremony.
We've shared our predictions and now we'd love to know what you think Blizzard will announce at BlizzConline 2021!
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