Day One of BlizzCon 2017 is officially in the books and with it the expected slew of announcements for some of the developer's biggest games. The unveiling of a new hero and map for "Overwatch" came as no great surprise considering the hero shooter has become one of Blizzard's biggest properties since its release in May last year. But the company didn't forget its long-time fans, and the announcement of a classic "World Of Warcraft" (WoW) server allowing players to campaign in pre-"Burning Crusade" Azeroth was received rapturously by sections of the crowd at the conference in Anaheim.

"WoW" players will also have a major new expansion to look forward to in the near future, while "Hearthstone", "Starcraft II" and "Heroes of the Storm" players were treated to a raft of unveilings, including new characters and expansions. If you couldn't attend BlizzCon, here are some of the major announcements from Friday.

'World of Warcraft'

The big news of the day was the announcement of a massive expansion for the venerable MMO. "Battle for Azeroth" promises an epic campaign on previously uncharted islands featuring six new playable Allied races. Blizzard said the expansion will reignite WoW's core conflict between the Alliance and the Horde, as players race to explore each island and collect its resources before the enemy.

A new PVE gameplay mode, Warfronts, will see 20 players band together to tackle major encounters that the developer says will feature strategic elements drawn from its real-time strategy game Warcraft. The campaign, WoW's seventh main expansion, also comes with a new level cap of 120 and a new crafting resource, Azerite. No release date was set, but we'd expect Battle for Azeroth to arrive sometime before 2018.

There's also no word on when to expect the vanilla WoW server – which will be called "World of Warcraft Classic" – to go live, although developers said work on the project was still in its early days. Blizzard's executive producer J. Allan Brack told Eurogamer there were still a lot of unanswered questions as to how classic WoW would play to a modern audience.

“Our goal is to recreate that classic 1-60 gameplay,” he said.

“Some things changed as time went on, with different patches. How does that get manifested? That's one of the outstanding questions. But yeah, the goal is to recreate that exact experience, for better or for worse.”


After the seemingly endless debate surrounding Mercy's rework – and subsequent re-re-work, no-one would have been surprised if Blizzard had downplayed the new character unveiled on Friday. But game director Jeff Kaplan proved himself to be a man who likes to court controversy as he introduced Moira, Overwatch's 26th hero, by joking her name was spelled “OP AF”. Moira was described as a geneticist who works for Talon and she looks to be somewhat of a hybrid healer / damage dealer.

With abilities including a long-range beam that siphons opponents' health and a short-range teleport, Moira has serious potential to be a formidable support character and a pain to play against. Again, no official release date has been set but PC players will get their hands on Moira ahead of her console release.

The day's other "Overwatch" reveal was a new map, Blizzard World. Set in a massive theme park, the map will feature areas based on Blizzard properties including "WoW" and "Hearthstone". The map will be available next year.

'Starcraft II', 'Hearthstone', 'Heroes of the Storm'

The major announcement for "Starcraft II" players is that the game will be going free-to-play on November 14. Those who already own the game, meanwhile, will be able to download the 2013 expansion "Heart of the Swarm" for free.

"Hearthstone" players can look forward to a new, free, expansion titled "Kobolds and Catacombs", described by developer Ben Brode as the games “most replayable single-player content ever”. "Kobolds and Catacombs" promises a return to the game's fantasy roots and brings with it a new single-player mode called dungeon run.

Finally, two familiar heroes are coming to Heroes of the Storm. WoW's Alexstrasza is a long-range support character who can transform into a mighty dragon, while Overwatch's Hanzo brings his Storm Bow to the fray as a sniping damage-dealer. Both characters will be introduced to the game sometime next year.