The COVID-19 Pandemic has resulted in nearly every single convention and event being either canceled or postponed. Blizzard Entertainment’s BlizzCon is no exception, as they announced earlier this year that the 2020 iteration of their annual celebration was officially canceled. They recently unveiled its temporary replacement, BlizzConline, an online-only event with similar facets of the beloved convention. However, the big question on everyone’s mind was ‘would Blizzard charge people to watch this event?’ Well, that question has now been answered as President J. Allen Brack revealed on a fireside chat video that BlizzConline will be completely free for everyone to watch when it commences in February 2021.
— Blizzard Entertainment (@Blizzard_Ent) November 2, 2020
This is fairly significant due to the fact that in previous years if you weren’t attending in person, you’d still have to pay to watch any panel, esport events, and other happenings with the Virtual Ticket. This will be the first time that any of these videos, live or not, will be made readily available to everybody right off the bat. BlizzCon is famous for announcing brand new IP’s and updates to existing ones in the Opening Ceremony, the very first part of every BlizzCon. While it’s not entirely clear that we’ll be getting the same thing in BlizzConline, we’ll hopefully get some much-needed updates to two highly anticipated titles that we got to play at last years event, Diablo IV, and Overwatch 2.
Brack also touched on some other interesting statistics in the video. He mentioned that more than 95% of the Blizzard global workforce is now working from home, an impressive feat to be sure considering the ongoing pandemic. He also stated that there have been more than 100 million characters created in World of Warcraft, and reached more than 1.5 billion levels, which is an absolutely amazing achievement. World of Warcraft: Shadowlands was delayed from its October 27 date and moved to November 23, although the pre-patch has been in play for over a week now.
Some other interesting tidbits that Brack went over include the newer reporting system that has been in place for competitive online games such as Heroes of the Storm and Overwatch. Brack revealed that they implemented this system for World of Warcraft, which Brack states has been very successful thus far. Brack also mentions that the Overwatch profanity filter has been changed into three different tiers, which the player can alter when they so choose to. Brack stated that making the video games safe and fun “will always be an ongoing effort” which is an understatement when it comes to online play.
Speaking of ongoing, the very same month that BlizzConline takes place is also the 30th Anniversary of the company itself, Blizzard Entertainment. It’s more than likely that this will play into the actual online event, but what will actually happen remains to be seen. Either way, we’re very excited and looking forward to it. BlizzConline will take place from February 19-20, 2021, and will be completely free to watch.