The best weekend of the year now dawns upon us! Blizzcon 2018 has finally arrived and with it comes a smattering of panels, showings, demos and reveals for the greatest games we’re expecting this year. For Virtual Ticket Holders, this year not only do we get exclusive content before the Convention starts, but we also have a demo available for World of Warcraft – Classic, featuring the Barrens for the Horde and Westfall for the Alliance. While we’re saving our impressions of the demo for next week, this week we’ll be giving you the best tips and directions to make the most out of your Warcraft experience at Blizzcon this year!
For those of us possessing a Virtual Ticket, there is already a smattering of content for us to enjoy! Several games of the 2018 Arena World Championships have already been played, up to the Upper Second Round. Those with a deep appreciation for Arenas may want to watch these prior to the finals, as this is where some of the fiercest competition lies between combatants. There are a number of exclusive pieces, including Faces of War, a behind the scenes video showing the process for creating the main cinematic for Battle for Azeroth, and The Vault, showing off some of Blizzard’s old merchandise and WoW Relics.
World of Warcraft – Classic is also now available for pre-download and will remain playable throughout Blizzcon for those wanting to step back into the past of Azeroth! For those attending Blizzcon in person, World of Warcraft – Classic will be available to demo throughout the facility. Demos will feature leveling between 15-19, and players can make any race/class combo from Classic they wish! While sessions of the demo will be time locked, progress will be saved for players so they can continue on their next login. As Battle.net integration will be included as of Day One, players can still engage with their friends across Battle.net, but Dungeons and Zoned Battlegrounds will not be accessible. Reportedly all of Classic will be developed during Patch 1.12, Drums of War, and will feature all content released to that point at launch.
Blizzcon opens up live on Friday, November 2nd, with the Opening Ceremony being streamed from all available stages at 2 PM EDT! This will feature planned action from all of this year’s competitions as well as several previews of what’s to come that day on each stage. The Arena World Championships then continue with their lower brackets in Hall C and will continue throughout the weekend.
The first major Warcraft panel begins at 5 PM EDT. Voices of War: Horde vs. Alliance is one of Battle for Azeroth’s mainline panels this year in North Hall, and features several of the mainline voice actors for World of Warcraft. This panel will specifically be focusing on the performance aspects and development of the actors as they worked throughout Battle for Azeroth and how they shaped the game around them.
Starting up at 6:30 PM in Hall D, World of Warcraft: What’s Next will begin featuring the next major pieces of content for its Battle for Azeroth expansion. With Patch 8.1, Tides of Vengeance on the horizon its far more likely that instead of content for the next major content patch we will probably see content being designed for Patch 8.2 and beyond. If I had to hazard an educated guess, attendees will see the panel will more than likely feature developments in the Azerite system and future Warfront integration.
Launching right afterward at 7:15 PM in the North Hall is Battle for Azeroth Cinematics: Expanding the Narrative. Featuring members of the Story and Franchise Development team, this panel will go behind the scenes of developing the story for World of Warcraft and expanding it in the world of Azeroth through its in-game cinematics.
Starting up on Saturday at 12:30 pm, the 2018 Mythic Dungeon Invitational will play out in Hall C. Featuring some of the greatest Mythic+ Teams in Azeroth, the Invitational will feature a race against time and each team to determine who is the best team in the World.
Shortly after at 1 PM begins Immersive Sounds of Azeroth in the North Hall. Featuring the Warcraft Sound Team, this panel will deep-dive into how music and sound shaped the player experience and storytelling in Drustvar. Following that, David Arkenstone and his Tavern Band will be playing a live performance of several pieces from the Battle for Azeroth score!
Opening up at 2:45 pm is Build A Panel: World Creation In WoW. Headed by members of the World Building and Level Design Teams, attendees will get to witness how the zones of Azeroth are put together throughout the entire design process. This panel will build a zone for its onlookers from starting concepts to its completion.
Beginning at 4:30 pm is the World of Warcraft – Classic panel, Restoring History. Here developers will recount their stories and struggles in redeveloping the world of Azeroth from the ground up for Classic.
Resuming again in Hall C, the final rounds of the Arena World Championship start up at 5:15 PM, and will last until the finals later that night.
Returning for another year, the always anticipated World of Warcraft Q&A begins at 6:30 PM in Hall D. Here members of the community will have the opportunity to ask the heads of development all their questions about the fabulous world of Azeroth.
Last and certainly not least is Artist at Work: Creating World of Warcraft Art at 7:15 PM in the North Hall. Joined by members of the artistic time, developers will showcase the creative process behind Battle for Azeroth’s visual design, ranging from the beginnings of concept art to model and world texturing, and even the final stages of the 3D art design process.
To close off the weekend, Blizzard has one of the largest closing ceremonies yet to be featured at the convention. Beginning at 8:30 PM, artists, and musicians from across the world will play on several of the E-Sports stages throughout the evening. This year Blizzcon features Train, Kristian Nairn of Game of Thrones fame and YouTube Violin Sensation Lindsey Stirling.
Blizzard Entertainment opens its doors to the world in Anaheim this weekend, from November 2nd to 3rd.
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