Blizzard Entertainment has unveiled the BlizzCon 2014 schedule and map with a strong tournament presence spanning World of Warcraft, StarCraft II and Hearthstone throughout Hall B, Hall C and the Arena stage.
BlizzCon 2014 is almost here! Whether you’re joining us at the Anaheim Convention Center in person or viewing from home with the BlizzCon Virtual Ticket, we’ve got a lot of activities and events lined up for you.
To help you form a plan of attack, we’ve just posted a schedule of the panels, eSports tournaments, and other activities happening at BlizzCon on Friday and Saturday. You can also check out the floor map to get a lay of the land.
If you’d like to watch online, the BlizzCon Virtual Ticket grants you access to the events on the Main and Panel stages, along with this year’s in-game goodies. We’ll also be broadcasting the opening ceremony and this year’s eSports tournaments—including the StarCraft II WCS Global Finals, World of Warcraft Arena World Championship, and Hearthstone World Championship—for free at www.blizzcon.com. Stay tuned for more information.
Analyzing the BlizzCon 2014 schedule, one can’t ignore the big empty slot on the Main Stage and Hall A (Friday) from 11:45am to 2:15pm. Taking off 15 minutes of rest on each side of that time-frame, that’s two hours of empty slots on both stages.
Here are three possible explanations:
1. Either … Blizzard has no new games to announce this BlizzCon and thus Blizzard wants the fans to enjoy the tournament on Hall B, Hall C and the Arena before they head back to the Warcraft Movie Presentation Panel at 2:15pm; or …
Medievaldragon: Last BlizzCon was so packed with panels that a large portion of the fanbase was culled from the tournament halls. It would make sense to a degree to let fans experience some of the tournaments by having empty slots there without panels.
Update: Josh Mull (PvP Live) says: “That’s a 2 hour block of solid esports on three other stages. Good time for panel goers to experience the excitement!”
After all, this might be the reason for the no panel pause. I have never personally attended tournaments before, but I visited the Hammerstein Ballroom last October 4th to see the Hearthstone World Championship Americas Tournament till the end. I had an appointment next day, on the 5th, but I arrived in the afternoon until the tournament ended. Obviously, there is something with tournaments that excites and makes you come back for more. Maybe that’s the strategy with allowing fans some spare time at BlizzCon to enjoy any of the three tournaments.
2. Either … Blizzard might have something to announce.
On the other hand, if Blizzard Entertainment had anything to announce they would remain silent about it until the very last moment. Each panel usually lasts about one hour. This Friday schedule shows 2 empty hours on the Main Stage; plus an equally empty 2 hours on Hall A.
To me this spells there is potentially two new projects Blizzard might be planning to announce.
New Game Announcements?
At this point we know that production of the Next-Gen MMO (codenamed: Titan) has been cancelled.
However, for those of us who have kept track of job postings these past few years, Blizzard Entertainment also had openings for a “Unannounced Game”. I am not making that up. The image below shows today’s Blizzard Careers page.
That might be a possible game to announce, and from past experience we know that it takes Blizzard at least a couple of years to launch it.
However, there are two stronger candidates for announcement at this point:
1. StarCraft II: Legacy of the Void
StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm shipped on March 12, 2013. However, development was announced at BlizzCon 2011. It would make sense to announce StarCraft II: Legacy of the Void at BlizzCon 2014 to see it shipped in 2016 (at the latest).
2. Hearthtone: Unannounced Adventure
Hearthstone has been an astonishing surprise for Blizzard Entertainment. Returning to its roots, a small team of developers was assigned to develop a game that has surpassed 20 million players worldwide on PC, and mobile devices.
Hearthstone was originally announced at PAX East on March 2013, and it was launched on March 2014. The first adventure, Curse of Naxxramas, was released on July 22, 2014 adding 5-wings (unlocked over the course of several weeks) and added 30 new cards to the online card game.
Think about it … this team was capable of deploying a new adventure barely 4 months after Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft launched. When BlizzCon 2014 goes live on November 7-8 it would have been 4 months since the launch of Curse of Naxxramas.
It would make sense for Blizzard to announce a Hearthstone adventure or other type of Hearthstone gameplay in that time-frame.
3. World of Warcraft expansion?
On a lesser possible degree, a new expansion when Warlords of Draenor hasn’t shipped yet could be surprising. We have heard for years that Blizzard would like to ship World of Warcraft expansions more often; but unless we see it happen any speculation would have to be held with a grain of salt.
Whether Blizzard Entertainment announces one or more games, expansions or adventure packs at BlizzCon 2014, or none at all, fans will certainly have a lot of fun with the World Championship tournaments, and a sense of discovery with the Warcraft Movie Presentation panel and the Warlords of Draenor, Diablo III, Heroes of the Storm and Hearthstone panels.
Note: This article is more an opinion piece based on speculation of different potential possibilities rather than a prediction.