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One (or more) of the BlizzConline predictions is closer to reality, as the Diablo 4 "beta access" page has been updated today, in addition to the WoW one!
As spotted by BlizzPlanet, the technical support page for the Diablo 4 beta, which has existed since the official D4 page went up, was updated today. So what was changed? A very crucial and relevant part, as it turns out, the line "There have been no announcements regarding a Diablo IV beta at this time."
Both the Diablo Immortal and WoW beta support pages were also updated at the same time, and while it seems pretty obvious we'll be getting the Immortal beta announced (and perhaps invites sent out) at the event, the WoW update might signify a similar situation for the Burning Crusade Classic! For the Wow page, the part that was taken out (again, spotted by BlizzPlanet) was “Beta access isn’t guaranteed. We send out a limited number of invitations, based on several criteria.”
While this may just be a routine cleanup of the wording on the pages, perhaps only specifically related to the Diablo Immortal beta which then triggered an update to the rest of the pages, at least the BC beta seems solidly likely, while the D4 one seems a little pie in the sky - although I have been very wrong on the D4 development progress before.
My bet would be 100% Immortal beta announcement at BlizzConline and 80% Burning Crusade beta. I can also see both starting immediately during the event or right after it, while Diablo 4 at best might get a "alpha/beta this year" nod.
The huge Orc statue at Blizzard's office campus in Irvine was created in 2007, but do you know how it came to be? Here are some interesting facts!
When visitors pass through the gates of Blizzard's office campus in Irvine, they immediately gravitate toward the Orc statue! A dear hero in Blizzard’s heart, the statue is a popular spot for:
Meeting people ("Let's meet at the Orc statue!") Posts on social media Symbolic events; passionate founder speeches often take place in front of the Orc Holiday community projects 1 trillion photos and selfies* *Actually: only a billion
The Orc Statue
Statue created in 2007
"Create a larger-than-life sculpture of a fearsome wolf-mounted orc warrior from Warcraft;" that was the challenge Blizzard presented to New Zealand-based Weta Workshop.
Blizzard worked closely with Weta artisans in New Zealand and China to turn the small prototype into a bronze behemoth.
After over a year of intense work, the 12 foot tall, 2 ton bronze orc warrior now stands watch in the courtyard of Blizzard Entertainment’s Irvine campus.
First Thing’s First: Modeling
A team in New Zealand scanned the original 12-inch tall statuette and created a virtual 3D model
Up Next: Details, Details, Details
The 3D model was then sent to a manufacturing center in China, where the artists sculpted, molded, cast, waxed, bronzed, welded, and buffed to turn the virtual presentation into a 12 foot tall statue.
Last, but Not Least: Delivery
The massive sculpture was transported from China to Irvine using a custom-built steel dolly and shipping container, and set into place with a crane.
The sculpture was designed with a mechanical connection so it could be separated into two pieces to be transported. The sculpture is made of high-copper bronze, which is why the raw metal has a salmon pink color. The statue in Irvine is surrounded by a runed compass with Blizzard's eight core values at its points. Blizzard also awarded a version of this statue to World of Warcraft players who had been playing for ten years to celebrate the game's 10 year anniversary.
Orc and Wolf Statue Credits
Designed by: Nick Carpenter, Sam Didier, and Glenn Rane
Sculpted by: Eden Small, Richard Taylor, and Daniel Cockersell
Manufactured by: WETA limited
Here's a recap of Activision Blizzard's latest earnings call from yesterday. We learn that Diablo Immortal will launch later this year, and we probably won't be hearing about a Diablo 4 or Overwatch 2 release date until 2022.
Q4 2020 Earnings Call Highlights
Strong execution enabled Activision Blizzard to exceed our fourth-quarter outlook, capping a remarkable year for the company in which revenues grew 25%, operating income increased 70%, and earnings per share increased 45% Y/Y. Activision Blizzard delivered better-than-expected results in the fourth quarter and is entering 2021 with strong momentum. In 2020, Activision Blizzard saw the benefits of fundamental changes to our core franchises, including deeper and more consistent engagement with current and new players across multiple platforms. Much of our growth was driven by strong execution in premium content, in-game operations, expanding our presence on mobile, and ramping new engagement models. Blizzard had 29 million monthly active users (MAUs), increasing year over year for the sixth consecutive quarter. Strong engagement across both Classic and modern modes drove full-year WoW net bookings growth of 40% year over year, to the highest level in nearly a decade. World of Warcraft In Q4, franchise net bookings grew Y/Y sharply, driven by strong sales of the Shadowlands expansion, subscriber growth, and high participation in value-added services. Player and engagement trends since the Shadowlands release are stronger than levels typically seen at this point after an expansion launch. Diablo IV & Overwatch 2 (?) Activision Blizzard are making significant progress against their development pipeline for other key intellectual properties, which they expect to fuel further growth in 2022 and beyond. Diablo Immortal On mobile, the first stage of regional testing for Diablo Immortal in December and January was met with very positive feedback and strong engagement metrics. More players will get to experience the game in further rounds of testing ahead of the launch planned for later this year. Overwatch League The Overwatch franchise continues to engage its community with in-game content and celebrate its players in the Overwatch League, where teams are preparing for the start of the fourth season in April. BlizzConline The Blizzard team is looking forward to channeling the spirit of BlizzCon to engage and celebrate the community at BlizzConline on February 19th and 20th, where they will share more about the plans for their franchises. Source
BlizzConline 2021 is just around the corner, and IGN Nordic discovered a Blizzard employees' profile on LinkedIn that mentions an unknown title with the codename "Fenway."
What Fenway refers to remains unknown at this time. Fenway was first mentioned in a Game Producer's bio on LinkedIn (see below). Image courtesy of IGN Nordic.
Do you think Blizzard will announce a completely new title, or is Fenway codename for the long-rumored Diablo 2 remaster or TBC Classic? The dev's profile mostly mentions Classic titles, so I wouldn't be surprised if "Fenway" was TBC Classic to be honest.
Source: IGN Nordic
Here come some offers connected with the upcoming BlizzConline festivities, as the Blizzard store has three separate bundles in honor of Blizzard's 30th anniversary! For WoW there's a mount, pet and game time, each in one of the three tiers at 20, 40 and 60$/Euro.
This February, Blizzard® is celebrating our 30th year of creating worlds, exploring new universes, and sharing countless epic gaming experiences together. We’re looking forward to marking the occasion with everyone later this month at BlizzConline™—and if you’d like to summon forth some anniversary spirit in your favorite Blizzard games, you can pick up one of three Celebration Collection bundles filled with in-game goodies and extras, available starting today in the Blizzard Shop.
GET THE COLLECTION
The Celebration Collection: Essentials Pack lets you get in on the fun with:
Moon-Touched Netherwhelp pet for World of Warcraft® Tracer’s OSV-03 Rogue mount with Tracer Hero in Heroes of the Storm® 30th Anniversary Overwatch® player icon and spray (coming soon)* plus 5 Loot Boxes A set of StarCraft® II and StarCraft: Remastered portraits commemorating three decades of Blizzard (coming soon)* 10 Madness at the Darkmoon Faire™ card packs for Hearthstone® A pet and portrait for Diablo® III (coming soon)*
The Heroic Pack contains everything in the Essentials Pack, plus these universe-spanning extras:
Snowstorm mount for World of Warcraft Raynhardt (legendary) in Overwatch (coming soon)* Random Madness at the Darkmoon Faire Legendary card in Hearthstone Diablo III wings (coming soon)*
For those who want to go for the gold, the Epic Pack is a great way to stay in the game and round out your existing collections, and comes with everything in the Heroic Pack plus:
30 days of World of Warcraft game time 5 Golden Madness at the Darkmoon Faire card packs in Hearthstone 3 Golden Loot Boxes for Overwatch Diablo III Helm Transmog Items (coming soon) *
In addition, when you purchase one of the three Celebration Collection packs, you will also receive a code you can use for one-time discount of 15% on an order of items from the Blizzard Gear Store. This code will be sent to the email address associated with your Blizzard account after your Celebration Collection purchase, starting the week of February 8. Some restrictions apply; for more details, read the Support article. New items debuting for BlizzConline will be coming to the store closer to the show, so be sure to keep an eye out.
Take a closer look at the anniversary-flavored assortment of items for each game below, and head to the Blizzard Shop to add them to your collection!
World of Warcraft
Moon-Touched Netherwhelp – Essentials Pack, Heroic Pack, Epic Pack
Snowstorm – Heroic Pack, Epic Pack
30 Days of WoW Game Time – Epic Pack
Adventure through the Warcraft cosmos with the Moon-Touched Netherwhelp pet, with scales said to reflect the night sky of another world—perhaps one of the many you’ve explored on your own far-reaching journey. Thunder across the tundras of Azeroth and the fields of Bastion astride Snowstorm, a mighty frost-shrouded mount bearing the sigil of an epic anniversary. This Blizzard-born bear leaves behind snow drifts from time to time, so don’t be too surprised if a snowball fight breaks out in the middle of Maldraxxus. Plus, make sure the adventure doesn’t come to an unexpected end with 30 days of game time, which includes access to both World of Warcraft and World of Warcraft Classic.
(Mount and pet not available in World of Warcraft Classic.)
Skin, player icon, and spray coming soon!*
Player Icon and Spray – Essentials Pack, Heroic Pack, Epic Pack
5 Loot Boxes – Essentials Pack, Heroic Pack, Epic Pack
Raynhardt – Heroic Pack, Epic Pack
3 Golden Loot Boxes – Epic Pack
Charge into battle with the mighty Raynhardt as your shield! This legendary skin for Reinhardt brings some of StarCraft spirit into your next match as Overwatch’s hammer-wielding tank hero. You can also celebrate three decades of Blizzard fun in future Earth with a special player icon and spray commemorating the 30th anniversary.
If you’re looking to round out your collection, pick up any Celebration Collection pack and you’ll also get five classic Loot Boxes, each containing four in-game Overwatch items—credits, voice lines, emotes, victory poses, sprays, highlight intros, or skins. The Epic Pack also adds three Golden Loot Boxes, guaranteed to contain at least one item of legendary quality.
Heroes of the Storm
OSV-03 Rogue Mount With Tracer Hero – Essentials Pack, Heroic Pack, Epic Pack
Zip across the battleground and chase down the enemy team astride the OSV-03 Rogue mount for Tracer. This sleek cycle, which you might recall from the Storm Rising story in the Overwatch Archives, blinks into the Nexus with three color variants: the original look, Sunset, and Magnate. Heroes of the Storm players who don’t already have Tracer will also receive the time-jumping Hero with their Celebration Collection purchase—cuz what good’s a ride without a rider?
10 Madness at the Darkmoon Faire card packs – Essentials Pack, Heroic Pack, Epic Pack
Random Madness at the Darkmoon Faire Legendary card – Heroic Pack, Epic Pack
5 Golden Madness at the Darkmoon Faire card packs – Epic Pack
Add some festive insanity to your card collection with an array of cards from the latest set, Madness at the Darkmoon Faire. Get 10 Darkmoon Faire card packs (each containing five cards with at least one rare quality or better) in the Celebration Collection Essentials Pack; add a random Legendary card from the set with the Heroic Pack; and add five Golden Darkmoon Faire packs, each containing five Golden cards, with the Epic Pack.
StarCraft II and StarCraft: Remastered
30th Anniversary Blizzard Legends Portrait Set – Essentials Pack, Heroic Pack, Epic Pack
In celebration of the 30th anniversary, represent a cosmic range of eras and universes in your next StarCraft II or StarCraft: Remastered match with a set of portraits featuring Blizzard legends, including Diablo, Nova, Qhira, the Lost Vikings, Blackthorne, Rock ‘N’ Roll Racing, and Thrall.
In the future, Diablo® III players (PC version only) will also receive a pet and a portrait when they buy the Celebration Collection Essentials Pack, wings with the Heroic Pack, and a complete transmog (Helm, Shoulders, Chest, Gloves, and Boots) with the Epic Pack. More details on these will be revealed at a later date.
A version of this bundle is planned for Overwatch and Diablo III players on console; details, pricing, and availability will be announced at later date.
*Overwatch skin, portrait, and spray and StarCraft portraits will be in-game no later than February 18, 2021; Diablo III in-game items will be in-game no later than February 28, 2021.
And here are the exact lists of everything you get in each pack!
You can check out all three bundes here.