As we announced earlier, BlizzCon tickets are on sale. Sort of. Kind of. If you can fight past the store servers. I know I've been getting nothing but the fail murloc pretty much all day. Still, I and the rest of WoW Insider's crack live team will be there come hell or high water, and we'll bring you the news you need to know. In the meantime, we're stuck here refreshing the Blizzard Store. To pass the time, we did a bit of speculation about what we might see in Anaheim on October 10th and 11th. Here's what we decided:
What we're sure to see
The Wrath of the Lich King Cinematic: Though we still have no solid announcement, Blizzard's already stated that they want to get Wrath out before 2008 is up. Considering that, they must have the opening cinematic pretty close to done. I would be surprised if we don't see it open the opening ceremony, to be completely honest. I'm expecting Arthas and/or a "rebel" Human Death Knight to feature prominently, as well as our first cinematic Gnome shot.
More Wrath of the Lich King features: We've got a lot of sweet info off the Beta servers so far, but there's more stuff to come for sure. For example, we haven't seen hide nor hair of the promised dance studios. It's probably a safe bet that they're saving one or two final Wrath features to wow us with at BlizzCon. The dance studio is probably the most likely candidate. I'm also guessing we might see a preview of Naxxramas and an as yet unannounced raid dungeon in the Caverns of Time.
Starcraft II: It's been announced for a while, so we expect it's getting along. Playable demos will probably be in abundance, maybe even with all 3 "classic" factions in some playable form. We may also see some new units introduced.
Diablo 3: After the hype and the announcement back at the WWI, you'd better bet Blizzard is bringing the Diablo news. We'll probably see at least a panel or two, and I'd expect some new locales, art, and gameplay videos, and maybe some solid ability previews for the Witch Doctor and Barbarian.
What we're likely to see
A Wrath of the Lich King Launch Date: For a crowning announcement, this would probably be solid enough. It would be a little underwhelming after Diablo 3 at WWI, but at this point, we'll take it. I want to know how much time I have left to gather stuff to twink my new Death Knight with, if nothing else.
A New Diablo 3 class: Diablo 3 looks to be coming along nicely, but it'd be nice to see something solid about the development just so we know it's coming apace. A new class would be a good way to prove that headway is being made. I'm guessing we'll see a Sorcerer/Sorceress-like glass cannon caster type since we already have a big bruiser type and a -- Whatever a Witch Doctor is.
Warcraft Movie News: Ok, it's still in production, supposedly. At the least, it hasn't been cancelled that we've heard. But come on, the last time we heard anything really solid about it was last BlizzCon. It seems like it's moving like molasses. However, it's supposed to be out in 2009, so if they're keeping true to that schedule, there's got to be more to report by now. A movie panel at BlizzCon 2008 would be just the ticket to get it out.
What we want but aren't holding our breath over
Playable Diablo 3: Yeah, I'd love to take out a Witch Doctor and see if their mongrels match up to my beloved Necromancer's skeletal army, but I'm not holding my breath. It hasn't been that long since we heard the announcement, and Blizzard continues to move at their own slow and steady pace. They aren't releasing anything until it's good and ready, and it wouldn't surprise me if we had to wait another half a year for something playable out of the Diablo franchise.
Another WoW Expansion: Adam thinks this will be the big announcement, but the rest of us aren't so sure. Blizzard's shown more of an ability to multi-task lately, what with having Starcraft 2 and Diablo 3 in production at the same time as Wrath of the Lich King, but are they willing to tackle another expansion so soon? Of course, if they want to start putting out expansions at anything close to the rate as other MMORPGs, they may very well need to. And really, this is the only semi-likely announcement I can think that would come close to Diablo 3.