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The dates for BlizzCon 2014 have been announced! On Friday, November 7 and Saturday, November 8, 2014, the halls of the Anaheim Convention Center will open to the sounds of Blizzard franchises coming together for a weekend of excitement.

Tickets for the event will be available in two batches, one on Wednesday, May 7 at 7 p.m. PT and the other on Saturday, May 10 at 10 a.m. PT through this online ticketing service. Tickets to the exclusive pre-BlizzCon Benefit Dinner will also be available through the same service on Wednesday, May 14 at 7 p.m. PT. As always, if you are unable to make it to the Anaheim Convention Center, you can always purchase a virtual ticket to watch the BlizzCon livestream right from home. There is also a helpful page on the BlizzCon official site, which explains how tickets work, how much they cost, when they are available and more, which you can view here.

For more information, you can check out the press release, or the associated official news post. We're looking forward to covering all the amazing news that will be at BlizzCon, so be sure to stick around!

Sources:
Battle.net - BlizzCon 2014 Conquers Anaheim November 7 and 8
Blizzard - BLIZZCON 2014 DETECTED

As many people are probably aware, the recently-renamed Heroes of the Storm is being shown off at BlizzCon 2013. With playable demos and related panels occurring all throughout the event, there's a lot to cover. But first, here is StarCraft: Legacy's coverage of the first Heroes of the Storm panel, called "Heroes of the Storm Overview".

Dustin Browder comes out, followed by Alan Dabri, Sam Didier, and Chris Sigaty. They take their seats, and Dustin Browder stands up to start the panel.

He starts by listing some of the core philosophies of the game: it's about teamwork, playing with your friends, working as a team, playing on different battlegrounds, using new strategies on new maps, and it's about paying homage to the community, which spurred the fighter-brawler genre back in the days of Warcraft III.

Chris Sigaty then takes the mic to talk about how the genre began. The powerful editor that was in Warcraft III allowed players to use the massive number of Blizzard-created assets to design their own games, such as Defense of the Ancients, and then allow other players to experience vastly different experiences to the base Warcraft III game. Alan Dabri comments that Blizzard realized that the editor was capable of incredible potential, and made improvements upon the Warcraft III editor and then went on to create an even more powerful StarCraft II editor.

The talk transitions back to Dustin Browder, who noted the nervousness that was felt at Blizzard that the StarCraft II editor might not be powerful enough for the fans, but was relieved to see that that was not the case. Changing the topic to Heroes of the Storm specifically, he mentions that he felt confused during the early years of development. He voiced concerns that everything didn't fit together, that the different franchises clashed with each other. At the time, he went to Sam Didier to ask how in the world everything was supposed to fit together, and Sam Didier showed him an art piece for a previous BlizzCon, with heroes and villains of each franchise posing together, and how well they meshed together.

In the end it was decided that BlizzCon would be the "world" in which Heroes of the Storm takes place; BlizzCon has always been the event that combined the spirit of every franchise into one entity. Dustin Browder says that the BlizzCon experience was really inspiring for the development of the game. With regards to inspirations for the game, Chris Sigaty comments that Hearthstone was very inspiring because it represented a mixture of themes that, ultimately, led to a great game, and that it also represented Blizzard's ability to make great games in an already-crowded market. Dustin Browder agrees, and adds that Hearthstone looks simple and easy at first glance, but as a match progresses, players get sucked into the intensity of struggling to survive those crucial, upcoming turns in order to win. He wanted this "easy to learn, difficult to master" mentality to permeate Heroes of the Storm as well.

Dustin Browder passes the conversation over to Samwise Didier, mentioning that the art team has toiled over the development of the game to fit all the characters into one setting. Commenting specifically on Warcraft and Diablo, Sam Didier says that meshing the two art styles wasn't much of a stretch because of their fantasy-genre roots. He does say though that the art style of Diablo and StarCraft characters were changed to have a more comic-book aesthetic in order to mix appropriately with the Warcraft art style.

Giving an example of a playable character in the game, they bring up a screenshot of Arthas, and Dustin Browder says that players should feel like they are controlling the deadliest of villains when controlling Arthas, because the deadliest of villains was the essence of Arthas and especially of Heroes of the Storm Arthas. Arthas is explained to be a slayer, a powerhouse, a killer that roams the map looking to slay enemies across the battlefield. An idea being played around with in development is the idea of allowing players to choose their own "heroic powers" for each hero, what are called "ultimates" in other MOBAs and brawler-fighter games. This allows Heroes of the Storm Arthas to either summon an ice drake onto the battlefield or summon undead minions to form an army.

Skins became the next topic, with Sam Didier saying that, art-wise, characters can have skins of how they looked in the past, such as Arthas back when he was still princely and blonde. The Elite Tauren Chieftain is mentioned to appear in the game as well, as a playable character with high mobility, self-healing, and several fun abilities that suit the style of the Elite Tauren Chieftain. Abathur also makes an appearance, and Dustin Browder explains that his role is to stay back away from the fighting and help allies by "infesting" them and firing abilities off of them like a form of long-range caster. Since Abathur is terrible at fighting enemies head-on, he relies on teammates to make the moves, and instead waits for opportunities to support the team. The design philosophy for characters is specifically stated to be making each character feel different from one another, as different as possible. An Abathur gameplay video is shown, where Abathur's team gains control of key objectives thanks to his great map control capabilities.

Going back to skins, several variants to characters are shown: there is a Vampire Hunter skin for the Diablo III Demon Hunter, a Murloc skin for Diablo, a "Glamrock" Elite Tauren Chieftain skin, a Terran Medic Uther skin, and a Judgment Armor Uther skin. Sam Didier reminds everyone that these skins have no lore basis; they are in Heroes of the Storm because they are fun skins, and they feel that Heroes of the Storm is a great place to let loose with the crazy non-lore ideas. Heroes of the Storm is, in essence, where anything can happen.

Dustin Browder takes the mic to go over how matches of Heroes of the Storm will feel. Having fun with friends is the main goal of Heroes of the Storm, with design decisions that allow players a chance to play with buddies in fun, interesting superhero teams and battle the enemy. The game is designed so that each game averages ten to fifteen minutes, so that a losing game isn't an extremely long experience, and to allow players to wait only a few minutes for a friend's game to end so that they can play together. Another game mechanic that really supports the idea of "playing together" is that there are team levels; each team has a level that is the level of every character on that respective team. Support heroes don't have to worry about stealing kills, or trying to catch up on levels; there aren't games where one player just one-shots the entire enemy team, and every other player in the game sits around for twenty minutes for the game to end; specialist heroes don't need to be on the frontline to become strong or be strong, they just have to help the team win. These are the elements of Heroes of the Storm that motivate teamwork over "carrying".

With the massive fan desire for interact-able maps that arose from the Wings of Liberty Campaign, Dustin Browder says that Blizzard felt it was fitting to have changing, alterable elements in Heroes of the Storm. After hearing players ask for multiplayer versions of dynamic maps like the ones seen in the Wings of Liberty Campaign, the maps of Heroes of the Storm will incorporate objectives and areas that play a central role to how the battlefield plays out. Sam Didier explains that the world of Heroes of the Storm is "the Nexus", a place where all three Blizzard franchises could coexist. This means that the battlegrounds, aka maps, could have any theme, any objectives, and any mechanics that came from any of the three franchises. Making teamwork-focused challenges and mechanics was their main goal while creating these battlegrounds, and each map was designed to be different from one another so as to provide variety. In addition, the map pool could be altered and changed over time, much like the StarCraft II ladder map pool, when needs or game changes arise.

Some examples of playable battlegrounds are given, such as Blackheart's Bay, where players collect cursed doubloons from chests and creatures around the map. The players then bring these doubloons to Blackheart the pirate to try and earn him as a temporary ally. When players meet enemies that are carrying doubloons, those enemies can be beat up, thus forcing them to drop their doubloons. Another battleground is the Haunted Mines; players venture underground to collect skulls, which then are used to summon a giant Grave Golem that marches towards the enemy base. Each team gets a Grave Golem at a specific point in time, but the number of skulls collected for your team determines your team's golem's strength and size. These golems are able to be killed, but when the time comes again, they will revive at the same location they died, creating a tense tug-of-war feel. 

To wrap up the panel, two example fights are shown and shoutcasted by Dustin Browder, which show the importance of capturing objectives and ambushing enemies as they capture objectives. Afterwards, the panel starts its Q&A.

Today is the day. The day BlizzCon 2013 begins, where new information about Blizzard franchises are revealed, and where playable demos, panels, and trailers of upcoming games shower the weekend with fun. In preparation for the event, this post will include info on the StarCraft II panels throughout BlizzCon 2013.

Sadly, there are only a few StarCraft II related panels this year: first is the StarCraft II Update Panel, which is to be "an overview of the improvements coming to StarCraft II with the impending Patch 2.1". This panel will take place between 1:15pm and 2:15pm PDT, November 8th on the BlizzCon Panel Stage. Anyone interested in current balance and planned changes should definitely check it out.

Next is the WCS Global Finals; these take place over two days, with the RO16 and quarterfinals taking place 12:15pm to 9:15pm PDT on November 8th on the StarCraft II Stage. The finals will take place 10:00am to 5:30pm PDT on November 9th on the StarCraft II Stage. Be sure to catch the matches on the free version of the BlizzCon stream, which allows anyone to watch the WCS finals for free.

Last up is the Community Booth. StarCraft Community Managers will be present at the booth to chat, as well as community personalities that may drop by to say hello. It'll be a good place to visit whenever you have a break from the other panels, and the booth will be around on both days, between halls B and C. Presumably, the booth will be open for the entirety of both days, and seems like it will be a sort-of meeting place for various celebrities and community members.

Those are all the StarCraft II panels taking place at BlizzCon 2013, but don't forget: Heroes of the Storm (aka. Blizzard All-Stars (aka. Blizzard DotA)) will show off its new form, a playable demo, and several panels as well! We can hope to see some StarCraft characters showing off their moves and unleashing their fury upon other characters, potentially Diablo, or maybe Thrall.

The Heroes of the Storm Overview panel takes place between 4:45pm and 5:45pm PDT on November 8. The Heroes of the Storm "Deep Dive" panel takes place from 12:30pm to 1:30pm PDT on November 9, with the Heroes of the Storm Live Matches taking place 2:00pm to 3:00pm PDT on November 9. If you're into MOBAs, check these panels out. They're sure to contain truckloads of new information.

For the full event schedule click here. If you want more info straight from the BlizzCon floor, follow SC:Legacy on Twitter, where tweets from SC:Legacy staff attending the event will be gathered. BlizzCon is going to begin soon, so be excited and don't forget to check back for more updates!

Sources:
Battle.net - StarCraft II Update Panel at BlizzCon 2013
BlizzCon - Visit the Community Corner
BlizzCon - Event Info

Blizzard has released the schedule and floor map for this year's BlizzCon. Less than a month away, BlizzCon will be hosted during the weekend of November 8th and 9th from 9am to 11pm. This year's event will feature a dominant WarCraft theme with the expansion of Diablo III, Reaper of Souls, still in development and the final expansion of StarCraft II, Legacy of the Void, still unannounced. Among the main events that will take place this year are:

 


-World of Warcraft: What's Next
-Hearthstone: Fireside Chat (origins of Hearthstone)
-Diablo III Reaper of Souls Preview
-Heroes of the Storm Overview (formerly known as Blizzard's All-stars)
-StarCraft II Update (Features, Arcade and Multiplayer)
-World of Warcraft Raids, Gameplay, Questing, and More (Updates to come)
-Warcraft Movie Presentation

 

While StarCraft won't be the center of attention this year, the WCS Global Finals will be hosted for all the StarCraft II enthusiasts that want to see their favorite players battle for victory.

Visit BlizzCon's Site in order to see the full schedule for this year

Floor Map:

 

Source:
Heroes of the Storm
Battle.net - BlizzCon 2013 Map and Schedule

The BlizzCon store online sale has just begun, exclusively for BlizzCon attendees and purchasers of the Virtual Ticket. There are items on sale such as the Zergling/Baneling transformable plush, the baby Pandaren plush, and the Diablo III Reaper of Souls lanyard.

 

This sale runs until November 9th, so grab the exclusive merchandise before time runs out!

Source:
BlizzCon - BlizzCon Store Online Sale Open Now Through November 9

The virtual tickets for BlizzCon 2013 are now on sale, for $39.99 USD!

The BlizzCon Virtual Ticket will give you live online HD coverage of the event, taking place Friday, November 8 and Saturday, November 9 at the Anaheim Convention Center. You’ll get access to both days of the show via two exclusive channels, including the developer panels, exclusive interviews, community contests, and the closing ceremony, along with on-demand replays and DVR functionality. Note that Virtual Ticket coverage will be available in English language only, so keep that in mind before you purchase.


Everyone who purchases a virtual ticket will also receive various in-game goodies exclusive to this year's BlizzCon! The in-game goodies are for World of Warcraft, StarCraft II, Diablo III, and Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft, and the details of what these goodies are and how to redeem them will come at a later date.

As a purchaser of the virtual ticket, the exclusive limited-time online pre-BlizzCon merchandise sale will be accessible! This sale will be available for five days leading up to BlizzCon, followed by a public sale that has a limited selection of merchandise. The details of these sales will be announced soon.

To buy a virtual ticket, head on over to the BlizzCon Virtual Ticket page!

Source:
BlizzCon - BlizzCon 2013 Virtual Ticket On Sale Now

Blizzard's schedule for the upcoming 2013 San Diego Comic-Con is up on Battle.net. You can see the full schedule here.

Source:
Battle.net - Blizzard 2013 San Diego Comic-Con Schedule

Comic-Con is just around the corner, and Blizzard is bringing some exclusive merchandise to their booth. The merchandise being sold include transforming Zergling/Baneling plushies, mini Sylvanas, Shadow Illidan figurines by Funko, hardcover Udon World of Warcraft Tribute Books, Epic Purple Lanyards, and MOMOT papercraft products. To see the descriptions and images of these items, check out the full article on Battle.net.

Source:
Battle.net - Exclusive Blizzard Merch at San Diego Comic-Con

BlizzCon, the annual Blizzard convention, is currently taking submissions for its original art contest and movie contest. Winners will have their submission(s) shown on the BlizzCon stage, and will also receive a ticket to BlizzCon and hundreds of dollars in cash.

For the original art contest, submissions have to be original works of art that features the StarCraft, Diablo, and/or Warcraft universe and is in a high-resolution JPEG format. The movie contest is similarly taking submissions based on Blizzard's game universes. The submissions may use any mix of live-action, animation, or game footage that is no longer than three minutes in length.

Submissions must be entered before August 23, and you can check out the full contest details for both contests on this page.

Sources:
BlizzCon - Enter the BlizzCon 2013 Original Art Contest
BlizzCon - Enter the BlizzCon 2013 Movie Contest
BlizzCon - Event Information

Blizzard has just announced that it will be attending this year's San Diego Comic-Con. Several Blizzard employees will be there to give signatures to anyone visiting their booth.

Information about the products they'll sell at the booth and schedules for the event will be available soon.

Source:
Battle.net - Blizzard Entertainment Is Going to San Diego Comic-Con 2013

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