BlizzConline 2021

This time around, BlizzCon was a bit different. It was shorter and pre-recorded, and no in-person cosplay contests. It was still good, and we did get information on patch 9.1, but Cons are social events and, even though I’ve never been lucky enough to go to BlizzCon, I could tell a certain excitement was lacking. My hope is that there is a need for only one BlizzConline.

Chains of Domination

The 9.1 announcement cinematic was rough, as we finally figured out the Jailer’s plans for Anduin. Or is he Arthas now? Arthuin? It’s clear he’s been mind-controlled, but who is he being controlled by? He seems to be sharing a body with someone and is fighting for control. My first thought when he turned into Death Knight Anduin was “…Arthas!” Even Uther seemed to recognize him. He may just recognize the same power that created his wound, but I’d like to think he senses Arthas’ presence in Anduin and Uther will help us save him, which will bring his own redemption.

Besides the cinematic, we got some info for a new 10-boss raid, an 8-boss megadungeon, and a new area connected to the Maw. Flying mounts will be enabled in 9.1 and continuing gaining renown with our Covenants will reward Covenant-themed mounts. My favorites are the Kyrian and Venthyr ones! The raid is going to end with us finally facing off against Sylvanas and will, as the developers say, shape the rest of our story in the Shadowlands. This translates to a really cool cinematic and I’m excited for it. The megadungeon takes place in a Broker trade city and will presumably give us more information on their mysterious ways. I’m thinking the Brokers are more important than we realize, and having a whole dungeon themed after them adds to my theory.

The new zone, Korthia, is seen in the 9.1 cinematic as being connected to the Maw by chains. The Jailer seems to be pulling it from somewhere? In any case, the zone has artifacts and attendants like the ones in Oribos and is hinted that Korthia is connected to the First Ones. The First Ones are probably unimaginably old beings that created the Eternal Ones who rule over each of the realms in Shadowlands. Who ruled over Korthia, and why is the Jailer interested in it? Was Korthia his realm before being chained up in the Maw? We haven’t seen any in-game screenshots of the zone yet, but I am very much intrigued.

Other Non-Warcraft News

While I am mainly interested in BlizzCon for the WoW announcement, there were some other great panels. In particular, Diablo 4 and the Rogue class announcement was fantastic. I was already excited for D4, but the new class looks like it’ll be a lot of fun. The Critical Role one-shot campaign set in the Diablo universe was probably my favorite part of the whole Con. News on Overwatch 2 was great, and the Overwatch world has lots of potential to eventually turn into an MMO, but it’s going to be a long wait. In general, I am glad Blizzard put BlizzConline together as a way to give us information on their games rather than update us through articles or blue posts. I do, however, hope that we will get a real BlizzCon next year and that one day I’ll be able to see it in-person.

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