I still find it impressive that a gaming company can put on their own convention and have such a massive turnout. Tennocon and EvEfest are similar comparisons, but a much smaller scope. The whole point of these things is to collect money from the most die hard fans. Fans who should, with minimal push, throw the loudest cheers at the simplest of things (see Apple fans).
Last year’s Blizzcon… not so much.
This year, quite a few things. Overwatch 2, Diablo 4, WoW v9 (Shadowlands), a new Hearthstone expansion (or rather, a date for it) and an auto-battler. The only bit thing with a release window is WoW (2020), while everything else is TBD. Fully in line with previous Blizzcons, but will certainly conflict with Activision’s mandate to have more games out the door.
The elephant in the room is the Blitzchung ban for the pro Hong Kong statements. J Allen Brack started the whole ceremony off with an apology of acting too quickly and taking too long to respond to criticism. Not that they took the wrong path, or that their rules are too vague. Not that they support free speech (in all forms), or that they put players ahead of corporate values. Just that they acted at the wrong speed.
I will say that the fact that they didn’t take any action on protesters, and simply let people speak out, is certainly the right path. Now, I would like to hear anyone argue that there was any other option but this approach. Gamers are notoriously fickle, so by letting everyone say their piece, this will likely blow over.
As for the games themselves, more of a meh. Overwatch 2 seems more like an expansion. D4 seems a rebuild of D2 (which is what Path of Exile does well). Auto-battlers seem more of a fad, but perhaps a quick income stream for Hearthstone. And WoW is a pack of promises waiting to be cut (‘cept the noted level squish). Every expansion they say they will reduce the grind and RNG, every expansion they find a way to make it worse. So again, meh.
I do think this was as good as Blizcon could go, given the circumstances. No large fires, plenty of fan-friendly announcements, and a general sense of capitulation to the madness of a conference. They should be treating this as a win, all things considered.
Now the actual hard part. Delivering.