BlizzCon 2021 is going ahead this year, though it’s going to look a bit different than what we’re used to. Formally called BlizzCononline 2021, this year Blizzard’s annual convention will exclusively take place virtually due to Covid-19 restrictions.
Whether this year’s BlizzCon happen at all remained uncertain for a period of time. The publisher cancelled BlizzCon 2020 last May, citing health and safety concerns as the main reasons. But, instead of cancelling Blizzard 2021 event, the company has opted to host the event online instead, promising fans an “all-digital celebration and exhibition of Blizzard games and universes”.
Want to know more? Then read on for everything we know so far about BlizzCon 2021 and what we’re expecting Blizzard to showcase.
What is BlizzCon?
BlizzCon is the annual gaming convention held by publisher Blizzard to celebrate and promote its franchises, which includes the likes of Diablo, Overwatch, Hearthstone, World of Warcraft and Starcraft.
While BlizzCon is largely a community event that allows fans to come together to celebrate their favorite Blizzard games, the publisher also uses the week to reveal a host of news and announcements on its current and upcoming titles.
That’s exactly what we saw at the last official BlizzCon in 2019: Blizzard officially announced World of Warcraft: Shadowlands, Overwatch 2 and Diablo 4. This year, we’re hoping for big updates on some of these previously confirmed games and maybe even reveals of a few more titles rumored to be in the works at Blizzard. Scroll down for our full BlizzCon 2021 predictions.
Is BlizzCon 2021 canceled?
Nope! While BlizzCon 2020 was canceled due to Covid-19, Blizzard is going ahead with BlizzCon 2021. However, rather than an in-person event, the convention will take place entirely online.
BlizzCon 2021 schedule and how to watch
You’ll be able to watch the entirety of BlizzCon 2021 for free online, with Blizzard offering six channels of content covering its biggest games. Coverage kicks off on February 19 at 2pm PT / 10pm GMT / 5pm ET (or February 20 at 8am AEST) and you can watch the action live via the BlizzCon website, Twitch or YouTube. Those who miss the action live will be able to catch up later via the BlizzConline video archives.
Blizzard has already laid out a rough schedule for the convention dates, which you can check out below, though a more detailed schedule is set to be revealed in the coming weeks:
BlizzCon 2021 Day 1: February 19 at 2pm PT / 10pm GMT / 5pm ET (or Feb 20 at 8am AEST)
The first day of BlizzCon kicks off with an opening segment that is set to include a “first look at some of the latest game content the development teams have been working on”. Following this opening segment, for the next three-plus hours, fans can tune in to the six themed channels on offer at their leisure.
BlizzCon 2021 Day 2: February 20 at 12pm PT / 8pm GMT / 3pm ET (or Feb 21 at 6am AEST)
The second day of BlizzCon 2021 will once again see fans being able to peruse the size themed channels of content, with the streams ending later that afternoon. Blizzard has said that throughout this second day it will “be shining a spotlight on the global Blizzard community”.
BlizzCon 2021: what to expect
Given that Blizzard has already announced a handful of titles it has in development, we have a good idea of what we could see showcased at this year’s event – here’s what we expect from BlizzCon 2021.
World of Warcraft
World of Warcraft: Shadowlands released in November 2020, after being announced at BlizzCon 2019. Considering the latest expansion for WoW has only been out in the wild for a few months, we’re not expecting any major news but we could see the announcement of a new update that could bring new raids, quests and items.
While World of Warcraft may not see any earth shattering news, we are expecting a big announcement for World of Warcraft Classic: confirmation that The Burning Crusade is on the way.
There have been rumors for some time that World of Warcraft Classic: The Burning Crusade is on the way, following the release of phase six content patch in December 2020, including the Vanilla release’s final raid, Naxrammas. World of Warcraft streamer “StaySafe” claims multiple sources confirmed the launch of some form of World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade servers as soon as May 4 (via Wccftech). Obviously, without any official confirmation or announcement, such “leaks” and rumors need to be taken with a grain of salt.
Still, a May 4 release date does make some sense. With BlizzCon 2021 running from February 19-20, an announcement at BlizzCon could be followed with a closed beta period or a couple of months, which would put an official launch around the beginning of May. However, while we expect we could see The Burning Crusade announced at BlizzCon 2021, it’s worth noting that Blizzard hasn’t confirmed the expansion is in the works.
We’ve not heard a lot about Overwatch 2 since it was officially announced at BlizzCon two years ago, but we’re hoping Blizzard will give us a hefty update at BlizzCon 2021.
Overwatch 2 is the sequel to Blizzard’s team-based shooter and is set to include new PvP modes, new maps, cosmetic items and characters. In addition, the sequel will bring the addition of story and hero missions which will allow for “highly-repayable” cooperative play with up to five friends – a first for the Overwatch series and likely to bring a feeling of freshness to proceedings.
In an end-of-year developer update posted in December 2020, Overwatch 2 director, Jeff Kaplan, confirmed that after much silence there will be an update on Overwatch 2 during BlizzCon 2021.
Kaplan also tried to manage expectations about the game in the update, saying that while the team is focused on developing Overwatch 2, it still has “a ways to go”.
While we’re hoping for plenty of juicy details about the sequel’s gameplay, it doesn’t seem likely we’ll get a firm release date given that Activision recently announced in an earnings call that Overwatch 2’s release date has now slipped beyond 2021.
Unlike Overwatch 2, we know a fair bit about Diablo 4 as Blizzard has been posting quarterly updates on the game’s development.
At the moment, we know that the next core Diablo game is an isometric action role-playing game (RPG), which sees the return of Lilith, the daughter of Mephisto. We also know that the game will feature an open-world map and a non-linear campaign with five customizable classes to choose from, three of which are already announced. What’s more, it’s being designed in a brand-new engine for PS4, Xbox One and PC. Given Sony and Microsoft have now launched the PS5 and Xbox Series X, it seems likely that the game will also be available on these consoles, too.
We also know that we’ll be getting a “chunky” update on Diablo 4, at BlizzCon 21. In December’s Diablo 4 Quarterly Update, game director Luis Barriga wrote that the game’s development progress is continuing “at a steady clip” and that fans will get their next big Diablo 4 update at BlizzCon 2021.
“We’ve read speculation about what it could be and want to ensure you that it is something chunky indeed,” Barriga wrote. “Without spoiling the surprise, Iet’s just say it involves a new version of the campfire scene we showed you last BlizzCon.”
What we’ve gleaned from Barriga’s tease is that a new class may be revealed at Blizzcon, as the campfire scene he is referring to seems to be the game’s class selection screen. Blizzard has previously confirmed that Diablo 4 will have five classes but, so far, we’ve only had three classes confirmed: barbarian, sorceress and druid.
Unfortunately, however, it doesn’t look likely that we’ll get a firm release date for Diablo 4 either as it, alongside Overwatch 2, has seen it’s release date slip beyond 2021.
There was some controversy that the hugely popular demon-slaying franchise would be coming to smartphones after Diablo Immortal‘s reveal in 2018, with hardcore fans not entirely behind the idea. We aren’t entirely sure where we stand yet but after a select number of publications were given access to an early alpha version of the game in early 2021 our hopes have certainly grown. According to IGN, Diablo Immortal is “great – a proper new entry in the series, and not – as some feared – a watered-down mobile lookalike.”
With these first tests now complete, we’re hoping that we’ll hear more solid details on Diablo Immortal at BlizzCon 2021. Unlike Overwatch 2 and Diablo 4, it’s possible that the Diablo Immortal release date could be in 2021 given the game is already in testing – although an official release window remains unconfirmed – so we’re hoping that Blizzard will confirm the release date and give us a closer look at the mobile game at BlizzCon 2021.
Diablo 2 Remastered and Resurrected
Unlike the games above, a Diablo 2 remastered edition is unconfirmed by Blizzard – though rumors the so-called ‘Diablo 2 Resurrected’ remake have been gaining more traction recently.
Rumors of a Diablo 2 remake have been circulating for years – many hoped that it would coincide with the games 20th anniversary in 2020, but that came and went with Blizzard focusing on Diablo 4 and the Diablo: Immortal mobile game instead. However, recent reports suggest that the remake is far from dead, and that a shake up at Blizzard is what’s at the heart of the prolonged development.
According to a Bloomberg report, Blizzard’s ‘Team 1’, which worked on Warcraft 3: Reforged, was originally tasked with reviving Diablo 2 but Activision got cold feet following the game’s poor reception and disbanded the team. The report went on to indicate that Activision then brought in its former subsidiary Vicarious Visions, merging it with the development operations of Blizzard, and (as we reported last year) apparently tasking it with taking on the Diablo 2 mantle.
While Diablo 2 remastered remains unconfirmed, we’re hoping that Blizzard will officially announce the HD remaster during BlizzCon 2021.
BlizzCon 2021 virtual tickets: where to get a virtual BlizzCon ticket and how much they cost
While BlizzCon tickets typically cost a pretty penny, this year the entire virtual event is free. Fans can watch all of BlizzCon 2021 for free, without the need to purchase a virtual ticket.
BlizzCon 2021 rewards
Blizzard hasn’t announced any rewards for tuning into BlizzCon 2021, however, to celebrate the publisher’s 30th anniversary, Blizzard is offering commemorative in-game goodies for sale as part of three Celebration Collections. You can find out more about these collections here.