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Ben Brode Leaves Blizzard

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The beloved Hearthstone developer is leaving Blizzard Entertainment to start working on a new company

In a twist of events as shocking as Chris Metzen's departure, Ben Brode - the Game Director for Hearthstone - will no longer be working for Blizzard as of today. Ben was an instrumental member of Team 5 for almost ten years. The team has grown since to 80 members and I am sure it's going to be in good hands from now on.

Where Brode will truly be missed is the commercial part of Hearthstone. Disregarding the usual cynical remark that Ben Brode's only purpose in life is to sell packs, he was the face of Hearthstone - just like Kaplan is the face of Overwatch. Who can forget his epic raps, his iconic laughter, his jolly "Well met!" greeting and the enthusiasm with which he talked about Hearthstone? You will be missed, Ben Brode.

We wish him the very best of luck in his new venture! Hopefully he'll become the face of a brand new popular game!

Blizzard LogoBen Brode

To my friends, coworkers, and the Hearthstone community,

After 15 years at Blizzard and almost 10 years working on Hearthstone, I have made the incredibly difficult decision to embark on a new journey.

Man, that was a hard sentence to type.

I was 20 years old when I started here. My first role was ‘Night Crew Game Tester.’

Since then, Blizzard has been good to me. I got to cast esports events, announce BlizzCons, play in Rock Bands, write raps, and work with incredible people. But the biggest opportunity came in 2008 when I joined “Team 5.” The Hearthstone Team.

I am very proud of Hearthstone. I think we made an impact on the industry. People tell me that Hearthstone brought their family closer together, or that they became close friends with people they met at a Fireside Gathering. Others tell me they were inspired by Hearthstone to become game developers themselves. It’s incredible to be a part of something that touches so many people.

But as proud as I am of Hearthstone, I am even more proud of the team.

There is no team like the Hearthstone team. People have come and gone over the 10 years Hearthstone has been in development, but there’s something special about the Soul of the Team. We knew our most important product wasn’t the game, but the team itself. A great team can do great things, and I think the Hearthstone team is the greatest. It isn’t just a job. It’s a shared passion. We get to come to work and focus on the game we love and try to make it better every day.

We frequently check the Hearthstone subreddit looking for opportunities to improve the game. I have loved the silly memes, engaging in spirited debates, or even just being held accountable to our shared high standards for the game. We try to be highly available on social media, and I think our team helped push the envelope in this regard. It has been especially satisfying to me to see the team step up over the last few years and help engage in these ways as I became more focused on direction and less on actual design.

I get too much credit by virtue of being a public face, but the 80+ people on the development team are still there, and they are the ones actually making the cards, brawls, events, missions, and features. I am confident the game is in the best possible hands, and I’m excited to see where a new generation of leaders takes Hearthstone from here.

I am very fortunate to be able to take a crazy risk right now in my life, and I’m excited to be scrappy and a little scared. I’m going to help start a new company. We’ll probably make games, but we haven’t figured anything else out, yet. I’m looking forward to designing, programming, and actually creating things again. I’m going to miss the on-campus Starbucks, though. Dang.

Blizzard, thank you for taking a chance on me, and thank you for taking a chance on Hearthstone. I can’t wait to see what you do next.

And to the passionate community of players – I will miss you, and the laughs we shared together. Thank you for making being a part of Hearthstone so much fun for me. I’ve loved every minute.

Sincerely,

Ben Brode

(source)

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This is super sad. He's such a good guy and it's really sad to see him go

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The game doesn't seem to be in a good state, which probably adds to it feeling rough to be leaving now. Not that he's the reason for the state of the game, but he's clearly the face it falls on.

He has always seemed truly genuine in his desire to do what he thinks to be right for the game, so I hope the best for him in whatever direction he takes.

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Not the biggest Hearthstone player, but who could look at Ben Brode's videos and not feel a smile coming on? I just hope he reminds someone to nerf Shudderwock before he leaves :D 

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1 hour ago, Laragon said:

The game doesn't seem to be in a good state

What do you mean? This is likely one of the most exciting and varied meta ever! So many different deck archetypes... Budget legend has never been as affordable... I'm serious, what do you mean?

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Wonder what happened?     Offered more from a competitor or Blizzard wanted to let him go?  

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May your travels lead you good places, Ben Borde. You were the reason I cared enough to watch Hearthstone streams, and I will miss that weird laughter of yours.

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8 minutes ago, Migol said:

Wonder what happened?     Offered more from a competitor or Blizzard wanted to let him go?  

In his goodbye thread he specifically says he will set up his own company to make games and who knows what else!

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What the hell. I just started to like him. His opening ceremony was great and recent HS expansion cinematic where they were having fun in the forest. This man was old school not all this being serious big money company guys. Sad :c

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54 minutes ago, Seksi said:

In his goodbye thread he specifically says he will set up his own company to make games and who knows what else!

Yeah but take any official goodbye thread or such with a large grain of salt.    

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I never really liked playing Hearthstone, but man, I loved Ben's presentations. He will be missed indeed, just like Metzen.

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4 hours ago, Migol said:

Wonder what happened?     Offered more from a competitor or Blizzard wanted to let him go?  

It’s pretty safe to say that someone came to him threw a bunch of venture capital at him and said here’s a third of the company, make whatever you want.

Hearthstone is a gaming phenomenon that can be enjoyed on every platform under the sun.

The number of people that can say they did what he did can be counted on one hand.

As such he likely was never going to be wealthy working at Blizzard.  I’m sure he made a good living but when you look at the gaming millionaires and billionaires they all came from a common thread; a game that can be played on mobile or any platform on the market. Minecraft, Angry Birds etc. being the best examples of games/companies I’m talking about.

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Damn, that was unexpected. I'm gonna miss the good'ol days when I watched those expansion introduction streams with all those Ben Brode laughs. 

Type 4Head in whatever stream you're watching to show respect for him. 

4Head

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13 hours ago, EDL666 said:

What do you mean? This is likely one of the most exciting and varied meta ever! So many different deck archetypes... Budget legend has never been as affordable... I'm serious, what do you mean?

The game has been going downhill since MSG (some may also say that LoE started it with Reno Jackson, Tunnel Trogg, so on). The pirate synergy, jades, and RNG introduced in Mean Streets of Gadgetzan were the beginning of the end. Followed by quests, a very unfun mechanic to play against, in Journey to Un'goro, Death Knight Heroes in Knights of the Frozen Throne, which basically ruined late game, and later in Kobolds and Catacombs reaching levels of RNG surpassing those of GvG. The Witchwood expansion brought Shudderwock, aggro decks are resurrected with such a power that the LoE-era aggro shamans are laughable. The full impact of the latest expansion is to be seen yet, though.

Meta is diverse because we are one week into the expansion, which happens with every expansion's launch. Wait for three more weeks and you will see that the meta will stabilise, as it always does.

Budget legend is cheaper than it was the last expansion or two, but it is still a long way from being the most affordable so far. In the early days of Hearthstone up to about 2 expansions in, reaching legend with 0-dust decks was actually feasible. After that, there were even metas where decks with less than 1k dust had the best chance of reaching legend (face hunters, zoolocks, mech mages, tempo mages, so on). Even with changes like not being able to fall down from 15, 10 and 5, budget decks (which aren't that cheap compared to old-time full-budget decks) aren't nearly as efficient at reaching legend as they used to be. This is, of course, caused to some extent by removal of adventures, which used to allow players to prepare for each expansion launch, as you could obtain every single card in about 2 months when there were 5 wings, and about month and a half in 4-wing era.

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12 hours ago, Migol said:

Yeah but take any official goodbye thread or such with a large grain of salt.    

Why assume its a lie and that he was outbid by rivals or fired when HS is a huge money maker for blizz?

This kind of thing always gets figured out soon enough, lets see where he ends up now.

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31 minutes ago, positiv2 said:

The game has been going downhill since MSG (some may also say that LoE started it with Reno Jackson, Tunnel Trogg, so on). The pirate synergy, jades, and RNG introduced in Mean Streets of Gadgetzan were the beginning of the end. Followed by quests, a very unfun mechanic to play against, in Journey to Un'goro, Death Knight Heroes in Knights of the Frozen Throne, which basically ruined late game, and later in Kobolds and Catacombs reaching levels of RNG surpassing those of GvG. The Witchwood expansion brought Shudderwock, aggro decks are resurrected with such a power that the LoE-era aggro shamans are laughable. The full impact of the latest expansion is to be seen yet, though.

Meta is diverse because we are one week into the expansion, which happens with every expansion's launch. Wait for three more weeks and you will see that the meta will stabilise, as it always does.

Budget legend is cheaper than it was the last expansion or two, but it is still a long way from being the most affordable so far. In the early days of Hearthstone up to about 2 expansions in, reaching legend with 0-dust decks was actually feasible. After that, there were even metas where decks with less than 1k dust had the best chance of reaching legend (face hunters, zoolocks, mech mages, tempo mages, so on). Even with changes like not being able to fall down from 15, 10 and 5, budget decks (which aren't that cheap compared to old-time full-budget decks) aren't nearly as efficient at reaching legend as they used to be. This is, of course, caused to some extent by removal of adventures, which used to allow players to prepare for each expansion launch, as you could obtain every single card in about 2 months when there were 5 wings, and about month and a half in 4-wing era.

Yup, MSG is the expansion when I quit Hearthstone. Those pirates basically make every fun decks unplayable on the ladder. 

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9 minutes ago, ShadowerDerek said:

Yup, MSG is the expansion when I quit Hearthstone. Those pirates basically make every fun decks unplayable on the ladder. 

And every single time, they come up with something which makes aggro decks unbearable. They started with pirates in MSoG, then continued with a huge murloc support in JtU, then they brought neutral package for every tempo deck out there (Cobalt Scalebane and pre-nerf Bonemare) and of course Prince Keleseth in KFT, then Corridor Creeper in K&C. Now we have Baku the Mooneater. There are already two and a half degenerate aggro decks including it. 

And when they want to make control-ish decks, best they can do is either Highlander Priest or Cubelock.I remember when people ranted about Freeze Mage (which is extremely hard to play), and look at where we at now.

Lastly, when they don't want control decks running rampant in meta, they come up with genius solutions like Quest Rogue, Jade Druid and Shudderwock Shaman.

This is not just about archetypes, but also about specific cards. Neutral minions like BarnesPrince Keleseth and lately Spiteful Summoner pushes people to play one-dimensional games, which is more about drawing a card more than anything else.

I like Brode's enthusiasm, especially when there are new sets on the line. But this state of the game is far from healthy. And I think that is partly on him.

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37 minutes ago, FanOfValeera said:

And every single time, they come up with something which makes aggro decks unbearable. They started with pirates in MSoG, then continued with a huge murloc support in JtU, then they brought neutral package for every tempo deck out there (Cobalt Scalebane and pre-nerf Bonemare) and of course Prince Keleseth in KFT, then Corridor Creeper in K&C. Now we have Baku the Mooneater. There are already two and a half degenerate aggro decks including it. 

And when they want to make control-ish decks, best they can do is either Highlander Priest or Cubelock.I remember when people ranted about Freeze Mage (which is extremely hard to play), and look at where we at now.

Lastly, when they don't want control decks running rampant in meta, they come up with genius solutions like Quest Rogue, Jade Druid and Shudderwock Shaman.

This is not just about archetypes, but also about specific cards. Neutral minions like BarnesPrince Keleseth and lately Spiteful Summoner pushes people to play one-dimensional games, which is more about drawing a card more than anything else.

I like Brode's enthusiasm, especially when there are new sets on the line. But this state of the game is far from healthy. And I think that is partly on him.

Another reason why I quit Hearthstone is that their cards are just not creative enough. Every time they introduce a new mechanic, most of the time they pretty much just add a new keyword to the game. This makes Hearthstone's deck archtype, and strategy, very plain in general. Most decks are just Aggro/Mid-range/Tempo/Control (insert a class name here). 

My all-time favourite card in any card game is Nephthys in Shadowverse. Building a deck around this card is complicating yet strategic, and playing the deck is so much fun. 

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And I still think they did I great job. If what you mean by control is using Hero Power and skipping turn, that's really boring. Every single deck now needs to have win condition, not just atrittion and win after 40 minutes.
And I played Both Bakudin and Baku Hunter, and they can easily beaten. ONLY real outliars here are Cubelock mostly because Possessed Lackey is 5 mana (should be 6 with like 2/3 body) and Shudderwock for it's animation taking SO damn long.

Edited by SleepySheepy

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I admit I am curious - some of you write that it is sad, shoking, bad or something similiar that he leaves.
Are you serious? Or do you just think you have to write something like that?

For Hearthstone his leave means exactly one thing: Absolutly nothing.

In our world a single person is in 99,99% totally irrelevant and replacable. The bigger the company the more irrelevant a single person becomes.

Maybe he was a familiar face with Hearthstone - so what? He will be just replaced by another face. And this one will be replaced in a few years by yet another one.

Hearthstone development will continue precicly as before (if that is good or bad can everybody judge by himself).

 

His leave is as irrelevant as if a bag of rice falls over somewhere in China.

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The men (or women or turtles) in charge are either just guys for the camera in that case he is not to blame, or they are the are they ones having all (most) in their hands in this case he failed quite often.

And an often used excuse is "we could not test all cards for all possible interactions" or something similar. Of course the number of players is huge compared to the Devs but it only takes one player that is good at this game and used to it as well as knowing the mechanics well to find out about game breaking/unhealthy interactions in a very short time. Shouldn't it be the case that every Dev there knows the game well enough to see possible interactions and that they are just shitty? It might get really hard to do so for Wild, but at least for the Standard Format they should be able predict a cards impact and interactions.

So I see three reasons why they don't:

  • They (Ben) want the game to be like it is now.
  • They don't really care as long as it sells.
  • They are just stupid.
  • A mix of the previous three is also possible, I guess.

I really wanted to play ranked again but it's no fun and even casual gets worse. My current best friend in Hearthstone is the concede button. Not because I can't win but because they decks I encounter are boring and feel like a waste of time to play against.

Someone said there are "only" aggro/mid-range/tempo/control decks. I think it would be ok to have 4 major types of deck, if at least there were different sub types and variations. Also I see tempo pretty much as the same as aggro (I know it is not but feels like) and mid-range is pretty much unplayable since now 4 expansions. Well, maybe you could classify Even-Paladin as midrange doesn't make it better though.

/edit: And what Wedge said :)

Edited by Caldyrvan
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I'll be honest, I don't see Hearthstone lasting much longer without Brode at the helm. It's already become almost unbearable, and I only stick around for the single player content and the occasional Tavern Brawl.

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3 hours ago, WedgeAntilles said:

I admit I am curious - some of you write that it is sad, shoking, bad or something similiar that he leaves.
Are you serious? Or do you just think you have to write something like that?

For Hearthstone his leave means exactly one thing: Absolutly nothing.

In our world a single person is in 99,99% totally irrelevant and replacable. The bigger the company the more irrelevant a single person becomes.

Maybe he was a familiar face with Hearthstone - so what? He will be just replaced by another face. And this one will be replaced in a few years by yet another one.

Hearthstone development will continue precicly as before (if that is good or bad can everybody judge by himself).

 

His leave is as irrelevant as if a bag of rice falls over somewhere in China.

No, it's definitely not irrelevant at all. Hearthstone losing Ben Brode is like Apple losing Steve Jobs, Manchester United losing Sir Alex Fergerson, Arsenal losing Wenger: they lose their souls and identities. They'll be completely different, whether good or not. It's like entering a different era. 

Edited by ShadowerDerek

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16 hours ago, Misuteri said:

It’s pretty safe to say that someone came to him threw a bunch of venture capital at him and said here’s a third of the company, make whatever you want.

Hearthstone is a gaming phenomenon that can be enjoyed on every platform under the sun.

The number of people that can say they did what he did can be counted on one hand.

As such he likely was never going to be wealthy working at Blizzard.  I’m sure he made a good living but when you look at the gaming millionaires and billionaires they all came from a common thread; a game that can be played on mobile or any platform on the market. Minecraft, Angry Birds etc. being the best examples of games/companies I’m talking about.

Or you know... he just wants to work on his own project? Not everyone goes into the gaming industry wanting to be "millionaires", sure it would be nice having a comfortable life, but I think Ben just wants to branch out to branch out.

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      “I want to thank all of the talented and hardworking people at Blizzard for their dedication, creativity and passion. It has been a privilege to lead this team. I’m also very grateful to Blizzard‘s player community for their support,” said Mike Morhaime.
      About J. Allen Brack
      J. Allen Brack is a seasoned game industry veteran bringing nearly 24 years’ experience to this new role. As president of Blizzard Entertainment, Brack is dedicated to maintaining the high standard of quality that has propelled Blizzard to become an internationally recognized leader in interactive entertainment. Most recently, Brack served as executive producer and senior vice president for World of Warcraft, the #1 subscription-based MMORPG in the world. Throughout his twelve years at Blizzard, World of Warcraft has captivated millions of players worldwide and received a steady stream of high-quality content updates, including multiple expansions that rank among the fastest-selling PC games of all time. Prior to joining Blizzard, Brack held multiple roles at Origin Systems, Inc., working on the Wing Commander franchise, and then at Sony Online Entertainment LLC working on Star Wars Galaxies.
      About Ray Gresko
      As chief development officer, Ray Gresko will oversee ongoing product development efforts across Blizzard’s iconic franchises, to ensure that the company delivers a consistent high-quality experience across its games. Gresko, a 26-year industry veteran, most recently held the role of executive producer for Overwatch, leading the development team through the creation of a brand-new Blizzard franchise and helping launch the game to critical acclaim. Gresko joined Blizzard in 2008 as production director on Diablo III. Previously, Gresko worked on multiple highly regarded LucasArts titles, co-founded and managed Nihilistic Software, and was director of production and studio design director for Stormfront Studios.
      About Allen Adham
      As executive producer, senior vice president, and founder of Blizzard Entertainment, Allen Adham is responsible for supporting some of the company’s initiatives around new product incubation. In this role, he serves on Blizzard’s executive team and helps shepherd the company’s vision for the future while setting goals and strategies that support Blizzard’s dedication to creating the most epic entertainment experiences ever. In February 1991, Allen co-founded Blizzard Entertainment with Mike Morhaime and Frank Pearce, serving as the company’s first president and later chairman. He provided executive leadership on the company’s first games, helping to build the industry-leading Warcraft, StarCraft, and Diablo entertainment universes. This included overseeing the creation of World of Warcraft and serving as the game’s lead designer from inception through its first five years of development.
      Brack will succeed Mike Morhaime who is staying on as a strategic advisor.
    • By Starym
      Blizzard is heading to gamescom tomorrow, August 21st, and it's bringing a whole lot of animation with it! We're getting the now long awaited final entry in the Warbingers series, featuring Queen Azshara and a huge chunk of the Battle for Azeroth lore, where we might find out just what level of Old God involvement the expansion will have (spoiler alert: a lot). Her majesty will also be an endboss in a later raid, is the frontperson on the Blizzard gamescom art and we'll get to see the start of her BfA story in the animated short on August 24th, after the Cosplay contest that starts at 6:15 CEST (and ends at 7:00, but the short might come up a bit earlier than that)!
      In other parts of the Blizzard multiverse we're getting a brand new Overwatch animated short as well, right after a new content reveal panel. We don't really have any hint of what the short could be, although the smart money is on something Hammond/Wrecking Ball related. We'll also get some Lucioball action and get to meet the Lucio, D.Va and Brigitte voice actors!
      We're also getting the return of Hanamura in HotS, as well as a playable Mephisto (at the show only); Tychus Findlay joins the co-op commander ranks in StarCraft 2, Diablo 3 will be playble on the Switch and there will be live drawings from the artists; Hearthstone gets a new Fireside Brawl and audience members competing in challenges in the Puzzle Labs live on stage. There's a lot more content to be had so make sure to check out the full schedule and list of activities below (just click on the image for the full schedule and check out the full press release under that).


      You can also check out the full Blizzard gamescom site for additional info.
      Press Release (source)
      BLIZZARD ENTERTAINMENTBRINGS A FESTIVAL OF GAMES AND COMMUNITY ATTRACTIONS TO GAMESCOM 2018
      Visitors can play the latest content and take part in activities for all of Blizzard’s game universes in Cologne, Germany, from August 21–25 
      COLOGNE, Germany—August 20, 2018—Blizzard Entertainment will be showcasing its games and celebrating its community at gamescom 2018 in Cologne, Germany, from Tuesday, August 21, to Saturday, August 25. Attendees will have the chance to enjoy the latest playable content and plenty of activities for Overwatch®, World of Warcraft®: Battle for Azeroth™, Heroes of the Storm®, StarCraft® II, Diablo® III, and Hearthstone® at the Blizzard booth in Hall 7 of the Koelnmesse. There’s also a full stage schedule, beginning with the unveiling of new content for Overwatch on Wednesday, August 22.
      A calendar of main stage activities can be viewed on the new “Blizzard at gamescom” website (http://gamescom.blizzard.com) and mobile application, available on the App Store and the Google Play Store. The site and app also feature a catalog of merchandise that can be purchased at the Blizzard store in Hall 5, including some brand-new and convention-exclusive items, and visitors can create a personal wishlist in advance to facilitate their shopping experience. Some items from the gamescom collection can also be purchased directly on the European Gear Store.
      In addition, the Blizzard at gamescom app allows attendees at the event to take an Augmented Reality tour of the Blizzard booth for the chance to win prizes.
      Those who can’t make it to gamescom 2018 in person can watch the daily Blizzard at gamescom show via the website starting at 5:00 p.m. CEST Wednesday, August 22, through Friday, August 24, and 4:00 p.m. CEST on Saturday, August 25. Hosted by actor and presenter Naomi Kyle and well-known YouTuber Mark “Turps” Turpin, the show will include live-streamed and pre-recorded content, with spectators having the ability to change camera angles.
      Visitors to the Blizzard booth at gamescom will be able to experience the following playable content and activities:
      Overwatch
      Blizzard is kicking off the first public day of gamescom 2018 with the Overwatch: New Content Reveal on the main stage starting at 11:15 a.m. CEST on Wednesday, August 22. Followed by the new content reveal will be the European premiere of a new Overwatch animated short, which will also be available to view on YouTube.  German Overwatch World Cup 2018 team members will battle participants from the audience in Lúcioball showmatches live on stage on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday for the Overwatch: Lúcioball Challenge. Overwatch heroes D.Va, Lúcio, and Brigitte will come to life as their voice actors perform on stage in the Overwatch: German Voice Actors Panel at 11:00 a.m. CEST on Friday, August 24, followed by a signing session. Attendees at gamescom will be able to enjoy some fun in the sun at the Blizzard booth with Summer Games-themed activities, including custom surfboards, face painting, community Lúcioball tournaments, a working Pachimari claw machine, and more. World of Warcraft
      World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth will be playable on 80 gaming stations at the Blizzard booth, where visitors can enjoy a solo experience with the Siege of Lordaeron in-game event and group up with friends at gamescom for the Island Expeditions feature. World of Warcraft cosplayers will show off creations inspired by the latest expansion on stage and via live stream during the Battle for Azeroth: Cosplay Showcase at 6:15 p.m. CEST on Friday, August 24, followed by the reveal of the third and final episode in the Warbringers series of animated shorts—the tale of Azshara, Queen of the Naga. Top German guilds Aversion and Set Sail For Fail will face off in Island Expeditions live on stage during three rounds of the Battle for Azeroth: Island Expeditions Showcase on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday. Visitors to the booth will be able to attend a live Darkmoon Faire, with activities like an airbrush makeup station, a fortune teller, and photo opportunities with the Recruit-a-Friend X-53 Touring Rocket mount, as well as renowned European community content creators streaming live. Heroes of the Storm
      A new Prime Evil wreaks havoc on the Nexus—Mephisto, Diablo II’s Lord of Hatred and the latest Ranged Assassin in Heroes of the Storm, will be playable for the first time at gamescom. His spotlight video can be viewed here. The Overwatch-themed Hanamura map is new and improved with an emphasis on action-packed team fights, and it’s back in the game—now dubbed Hanamura Temple, it will be playable by the public for the first time at the Blizzard booth during the show. Check out our Hanamura Temple video to see all of the updates in action. In Heroes of the Storm: Live Drawing with Carbot, Jonathan Burton from Carbot Animations will create his wacky rendition of Mephisto live on stage at 12:00 p.m. CEST on Thursday, August 23. StarCraft II
      It’s about time—Tychus Findlay, the latest Co-op Commander for StarCraft II, will be playable for the first time at the Blizzard booth. His spotlight video can be viewed here. On Wednesday, August 22, and Thursday, August 23, StarCraft II lead co-op designer Kevin Dong will demonstrate the new commander live on stage with YouTubers Lowko and Winter in StarCraft: Commander Co-op. In StarCraft: One vs Many, YouTubers Lowko and Winter will take on any audience members who think they have what it takes to defeat these pros in a live one-versus-three battle on Saturday, August 25, at 3:00 p.m. CEST. Diablo III
      Visitors to the Blizzard booth can try their hand at slaying demons anytime, anywhere, with anyone—Diablo III will be playable on the Nintendo Switch™ console for the first time at gamescom. On Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday, a Blizzard artist will be creating some diabolical artwork live on stage in Diablo: Live Drawing with Chris Amaral. Hearthstone
      In Hearthstone: Puzzle Time!, teams of gamescom audience members will race to complete challenges in Hearthstone’s new Puzzle Labs live on stage on Friday and Saturday at 12:15 p.m. CEST. These Solo Adventures for the game’s latest expansion, The Boomsday Project™, will be released to the public on Tuesday, August 21. Hearthstone players can enjoy a brand-new Fireside Brawl, available for the first time at gamescom. Visitors can also snap a photo with a giant game board replica from the Hearth and Home animated short, which premiered at gamescom 2017. In addition to these games and activities, gamescom attendees can head to Blizzard’s main stage for two concerts from the Video Games Live orchestra on Wednesday, August 22, and Thursday, August 23, at 6:00 p.m. CEST; the Blizzard Dance Contest on Thursday, August 23, at 3:30 p.m. CEST; and the popular Blizzard Cosplay Contest closing out the week at 5:00 p.m. CEST on Saturday, August 25. Those watching from home will be able to see the Video Games Live concert, as well as the cosplay contest and the Battle for Azeroth: Cosplay Showcase, via live stream at http://gamescom.blizzard.com.
      For more information about Blizzard at gamescom 2018, visit the website and follow our social media channels for updates live from the event.
    • By Stan
      Blizzard will be back this year at gamescom 2018 with their cosplay contest! If you'd like to participate in the contest, sign-ups are open until July 25. 
      Blizzard (Source)
      Our world-famous dance and cosplay contests will be back this year at gamescom 2018. Visit the Blizzard booth in Hall 7 of the Koelnmesse in Cologne, Germany from August 21-25, and don’t miss your chance to take part! 
      Get ready to show off your moves on stage in front of a cheering crowd for the Blizzard Dance Contest on Thursday, August 23. Do your best to impress the judges with your favorite World of Warcraft, Heroes of the Storm, or Overwatch character’s dance routine.
      Sign up directly at our gamescom booth before 12:00 CEST on August 23. Full contest rules will be available on site.
      Display your latest Blizzard cosplay creation to the world from our gamescom stage in the Blizzard Cosplay Contest on Saturday, August 25!
      To sign up, send an email in English or German to gamescom@blizzard.com before 23:59 CEST on July 25 with the following information:
      Your name and date of birth (plus the name of your legal guardian if you’re under 18) Contact email address Costume name (e.g. Human Rogue, Protoss Stalker) Photo(s) of your costume (smaller than 2MB file size; you can submit a work in progress) Description of your costume, including: materials used, height, width, length, and any specific details (train, lights, etc.) In order to participate in the contest, you’ll have to be able to walk on stage without any assistance.
      Please review the full Cosplay Contest Rules before signing up.

      If you participate in either the cosplay or dance contest, please note that you’re responsible for your own entry to gamescom 2018.
      Both contests are open to individuals aged 13 years and over. See the official rules for additional details.
      Cosplay contestants who sign up in advance will be contacted with more information prior to gamescom. Dance contestants will need to register at the Blizzard booth at least 90 minutes before the contest begins to confirm their participation.
      Due to time and space limitations, it may not be possible for all entrants to participate in the contests.
      We look forward to seeing you up on our stage at gamescom 2018!
    • By Stan
      It took years, but Blizzard finally launched the EU Gear Store. Residents of the 28 EU member states can get their hands on Blizzard collectibles and apparel with lower shipping costs, faster delivery, and no import duties.
      Click here to access Blizzard EU Gear Store
      Blizzard (Source)
      General
      How is the European Gear Store different?
      With items shipping from our European warehouse, shoppers in the 28 EU member states can now get their hands on their favorite Blizzard collectibles, apparel and more, with lower shipping costs, faster delivery, and no import duties.
      Geek your everyday!
      Do I need a Blizzard account to place an order?
      You can make purchases on the EU Gear Store as a guest, but you can also create an account using your existing Blizzard account.
      How can I create a Blizzard account?
      If you don’t have an existing Blizzard account, head to https://eu.battle.net/login/ and click on “Create a free Blizzard Account”.
      Why should I create an account?
      Logging in with a Blizzard account will let you access your order history, track your orders, save your shipping address, and securely store your billing information to facilitate the checkout process. 
      How secure will my data be if I create an account on the EU Gear Store?
      Any personal data collected and/or processed in connection with your use of the EU Gear Store will be subject to our Privacy Policy.  We maintain physical, technical, and administrative safeguards to ensure the protection of your data.
      I've purchased products on the US Gear Store in the past; will my details transfer over? 
      Your US Gear Store order history unfortunately can’t be transferred to your EU Gear Store account, but it won’t be lost either. Your order history will still be saved on the US Gear Store and will be accessible by logging in to the US version of the site.
      Can I still shop on the US Gear Store?
      All EU customers are still eligible to shop on the US Gear Store, however, orders may be subject to import duties and custom taxes depending on your country of delivery.
      Languages
      In which languages is the EU Gear Store available?
      The site is currently available in English, French, and German. More languages should be coming in the future!
      How are my default currency and language determined?
      Your current location (IP address) determines if you are shown prices in GBP (£) or Euros (€). The language displayed is based on the language selected in your browser settings.
      How can I change my currency and language preferences?
      You can change your preferences at the bottom of the page.
      Purchasing
      Which payment methods are available on the EU Gear Store?
      Common EU payment methods such as PayPal and major credit cards like VISA, Mastercard, and American Express are available on the EU Gear Store.
      Why are the prices on the US Gear Store and the EU Gear Store different?
      Prices available on the EU Gear Store include any applicable VAT and are set according to region standards. 
      How can I estimate my clothing size?
      A sizing guide is available for apparel items in order to help you choose the best size.
      Each product is unique, and we always recommend that you check our size charts before adding items to your cart. You may want to take the measurements of a similar apparel item (the width of the item just below the arms and the length from shoulder point to hip) and compare them to our size chart.
      Where will my order be shipped from?
      Blizzard European Gear Store products are shipped from our facility in The Netherlands, which has a separate inventory from the US Gear Store.
      What if a product I want is available on the US Gear Store but not the EU Gear Store?
      Due to separate inventories, some products may be available on one site and not the other. If an item you’re interested in is not available on the EU Gear Store, you may purchase it directly on the US Gear Store (import duties, customs, and taxes may apply).
      Can I leave reviews on EU Gear Store products?
      Only visitors with a Blizzard account can leave product reviews, and only on products you have purchased. To do so, head to the product you wish to review and submit your comments. Be sure to see our Customer Review FAQ for information on how we moderate reviews.
      Shipping
      What shipping methods are available on the EU Gear Store?
      The European Gear Store offers two different shipping methods, either Postal Priority (no tracking number) or Courier (with tracking).
      How much does shipping cost?
      The rate may vary depending on the weight of your package, your shipping destination, and the shipping option you choose for your order. The precise rate will be calculated automatically and displayed during the checkout process.
      Which countries do you ship to?
      Shipping Destination
      US Gear Store (gear.blizzard.com/us/)
      EU Gear Store (gear.blizzard.com/eu/ & gear.blizzard.com/uk/)
      United States
      YES
      NO
      European Union*
      YES
      YES
      * European Union countries include the 28 EU member states (excluding overseas territories): Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom
      What if my country isn’t listed?
      If your country is not part of the 28 member states of the European Union, you can still order from the US Gear Store. However, your order may be subject to import duties and taxes. 
      Refunds & Returns
      How can I report an issue with my order (defect, exchange, refund request, etc.)? 
      Please check our Terms of Sale and contact our Customer Support team for help.
      Can I cancel or return my order if I change my mind?
      If you are a resident of the European Union, you have the right to withdraw your purchase request within 14 days of receipt of your order without stating any reason. Please refer to the “Right of Withdrawal” section in the Terms of Sale for more information on how to exercise this right.
      How do I cancel an order?
      You can cancel any order you have recently placed, as long as it has not shipped. This option will remain available up to 30 minutes after placing your order. To use it, please log into your account and use the option to cancel your order.
      If you are trying to cancel a pre-purchase order and receive an error, you may need to wait up to one hour after placing the order before you can cancel it. This is a technical limitation caused by the way funds are cleared for pre-orders.
      Pre-Purchase/Promotions
      How does the pre-purchase system work?
      When you pre-purchase an item on the EU Gear Store, the payment is processed immediately, and the item is delivered to you once stock is available (within the timeframe stated in the product description).
      You have the right to cancel your pre-purchase and request a refund before the product is shipped. Once the product has been shipped, if you are a resident of the European Union, you have the right to withdraw your purchase request within 14 days of receipt of your order without stating any reason. Please refer to the “Right of Withdrawal” section in the Terms of Sale for more information on how to exercise this right.
      Can I change my pre-purchase order from the US Store to the EU Store?
      Not directly, but you can cancel the US pre-purchase and place a new one on the EU Gear Store (as long as stock is available). To cancel your original order, log into your account on the US Gear Store and use the option to cancel it. This will only work if the order is still pending and has not shipped yet. Then you can place your EU pre-purchase on the EU Gear Store.

      Note: We recommend making sure you can complete the new pre-purchase order, and that stock is available, before canceling your original order.
      Are promotions available on the US Gear Store also valid on the EU Gear Store?
      Local promotions are subject to specific conditions that may not be mirrored on both sites, therefore we cannot guarantee that the same promotion will be offered in both regions simultaneously. If you wish to benefit from a specific promotion, please place an order on the Gear Store offering that promotion.
      I received a US Gear Store promotional code; can I use it on the EU store?
      Promotional codes only apply in the region where they’re issued. Therefore, a US Gear Store promotional code can’t be redeemed on the EU Gear Store.