BlizzCon 2018 kick-off show news roundup

Even though BlizzCon 2018 is still a few months away, Blizzard decided to get the festivities rolling a little early with a special kick-off livestream that covered the numerous ways in which this year’s BlizzCon Virtual Ticket is being enhanced. Below, you’ll find all of the information that was revealed during the kick-off livestream, including the unveiling of a pretty cool Overwatch Legendary skin that will only be available to Virtual Ticket buyers.

The season of BlizzCon

BlizzCon 2018 isn’t set to begin until November 2 so you’re likely wondering why Blizzard decided to hold what it called the “kick-off show” nearly two full months ahead of that date. Well, that’s because Blizzard doesn’t want to confine the excitement of BlizzCon to a mere few days so it has officially begun an entire “season” of BlizzCon during which new announcements, reveals, and exclusive Virtual Ticket perks will be offered up each week.

As of this writing, those who purchase this year’s BlizzCon Virtual Ticket will get immediate access to video archives for all of the panels and other events from BlizzCon 2017, new episodes of Blizzard’s behind-the-scenes web series The Vault, and the ability to interact directly with the BlizzCon experience. Speaking of which, Blizzard is trying to make this year’s Virtual Ticket especially enticing to those who enjoy watching BlizzCon panel discussions with the new Build a Panel interactive feature.

Build a Panel

With the new Build a Panel system, Blizzard fans can actually help in constructing this year’s BlizzCon panels by voting on various elements such as who hosts a panel, which of Blizzard’s games the panel focuses on, and what the specific topic of the panel is. While all interested fans can participate in the host picking process, only Virtual Ticket owners can vote on the games and topics featured in each panel.

One of the very first winners of the host-picking process was none other than Darin De Paul, the voice of Overwatch’s stalwart shield-bearer Reinhardt, so regardless of the chosen game or topic, viewers should probably prepare themselves for a panel that’s chock-full of triumphant cries of “MOVING ZE PAYLOAD!”

BlizzCon eSports

Blizzard’s investment in eSports has continued to grow year after year, especially thanks to the advent of games like Overwatch and Heroes of the Storm, so naturally there will be a palpatable eSports presence at this year’s BlizzCon show. Games like Heroes of the Storm, World of Warcraft, Hearthstone, StarCraft II, and of course, Overwatch will all have eSports-related BlizzCon components, and the kick-off show also teased a few specific events of special note:

  • Another round of Global Games for Overwatch
  • A “Twitch Cheer” event for Hearthstone in which Twitch viewers can earn free Hearthstone card packs by using the platform’s cheer function while watching their favorite players. Doing so will also directly benefit the players themselves since they’ll receive a portion of the cheer proceeds.
  • A StarCraft Remastered mystery event which Blizzard will fully unveil closer to BlizzCon’s launch
  • Both an Arena Championship and a Mythic Dungeon Invitational for World of Warcraft. The competitive meta for both events will be highly chaotic given the recent launch of the Battle for Azeroth expansion so both PvP and PvE fans should expect a good show.

Fan-Made Content

Blizzard will be hosting yet another community submission contest in which fans can show off their best Blizzard-themed art, films, and cosplay. This year’s contest will have a $25,000 prize pool and, in the case of the cosplay portion, will include a revised judging system in which costumes are graded on a variety of different elements.

There will also be a separate exhibition area for fans who just want to show off their costumes without competing in the contest. As part of the interactive experience, Virtual Ticket holders will also be able to vote on their favorite cosplay entries from home.

Exclusive in-game items

All Virtual Ticket buyers will be granted access to six exclusive in-game items, one for each of Blizzard’s major properties (Hearthstone, Heroes of the Storm, StarCraft II, World of Warcraft, Diablo III, and Overwatch).

For now, most of the items remain a secret and will be revealed over the coming weeks, but Blizzard was willing to share one of the items during the kick-off show: a special Legendary skin for the Overwatch hero Sombra that dresses her up as a Diablo III Demon Hunter, complete with glowing eyes and twin crossbows.

Again, the only way to get the Demon Hunter Sombra skin is via a Virtual Ticket purchase, and fans of Blizzard’s other games will soon have their own exclusive items to enjoy. Even better, each of the exclusive items is available immediately upon its unveiling, which means that those who bought the Virtual Ticket can take Demon Hunter Sombra for a spin this very moment.

Whether or not the BlizzCon Virtual Ticket is worth your money is something only you can decide, but Blizzard sure is trying to make it as great a deal as possible. As mentioned before, BlizzCon 2018 doesn’t begin until November 2, so you’ve got plenty of time to decide whether you want to invest in the Virtual Ticket or not.

At the very least, the event’s opening ceremony and eSports livestreams will be open to all, so if you don’t mind missing out on a few in-game exclusives there’s still plenty of BlizzCon to enjoy even without any sort of monetary investment.