The 2008 Worldwide Invitational is going down this weekend in Paris, and everyone is abuzz about what might happen. Will we see a release date for Wrath of the Lich King? What is that teaser on the Blizzard page all about? And will we finally, almost eight years to the day since the last game was released, see a new Diablo game?You've got questions, we've got predictions. We here at WoW Insider have put our collective heads together to predict exactly what we'll see at the press conferences and ceremonies this weekend, and each blogger's predictions are after the jump. We're putting it all up front now, so that afterwards, we can see if we were right or wrong. And you're welcome to join us -- put your prediction (or just agree or disagree with ours) in the comments below.
Of course, we're all guessing based on rumors and hearsay at this point -- we won't know for sure what's going on until Blizzard confirms it this weekend, and of course WoW Insider will be there to let you know right away. But in the meantime, here's what we think we're going to hear about from Paris in the next few days.
Diablo 3, though it might not be called that. I'm picturing an MMO that's more like Guild Wars or Age of Conan than WoW, in that it's more instanced than open. And I wouldn't be surprised to see console support as well.
Matt "Matticus" Low
I'm putting my money down on a Diablo 3 announcement that isn't like the Diablo we all used to love. My gut feeling says it's going to look similar in nature to Dreamfall: The Longest Journey or Assassin's Creed. For Wrath of the Lich King, I'm thinking a possible sneak peek at the various classes and how they're going to look for the expansion. There has to be enough work done on them by now to confirm some of the leaks that have been around on the internet. If I remember, Blizzard looked for cellphone software developers at some point. Lost Vikings or some other game on the phone, eh?
World of Tacocraft! But seriously, my inner fangirl is screaming "Diablo 3!" so loud, it's hard to think straight. In my sober moments, I think that the beta for Wrath of the Lich King and possibly even a beta for Starcraft 2 will be announced. But Rob Pardo was just talking about free MMOs and I think that maybe a massive, free to play Diablo for consoles will be revealed. Whatever doesn't happen in Paris, will be announced at BlizzCon. I just hope my inner fangirl can wait that long.
At least one, if not a handful, of machinimators will Rickroll the attendees.
I had thought it was just going to be more WotLK buzz, but ... now, I'm kind of sold on all the Diablo 3 hype. I also think that if the Diablo 3 hype were wrong, the marketing folks at Blizzard would have altered the image away from Diablo thoughts by now. It doesn't pay to upset customer expectations -- and three days into this cracked-ice release, we are all expecting Diablo news. They'd have corrected by now, in my opinion.
I'm in agreement on the Diablo announcement. Seems like a no-brainer, given the image Blizzard chose to promote the WWI with. However, I would not put it past these wily dudes to come out with a completely new IP. They've sent out so many conflicting signals that it seems to me like a purposeful disinformation campaign to keep people off the true track.
You know I am all about the Diablo 3 hype. I trust the sources I've seen. However, I am also expecting some pretty big WoTLK news as well. At the least, we'll get a few classes' talent trees and a beta start date, or even something bigger like player housing or an achievement system. I am also expecting we'll see some cinematics, be they footage from the Warcraft movie, or the opening cinematic for WoTLK itself.
Everyone's predicting it's Diablo, and there's a real good chance it will be. But because it's so expected, announcing it would seem anti-climactic (and not announcing it would disappoint so many people -- read above!). All the hints point towards Diablo 3, and I'd be betting against the odds by saying it's going to be something else. I'm predicting it will be a complete surprise and will not be Diablo 3. Quite possibly a new property altogether. If I'm wrong, we all still get Diablo 3. It's win-win.
I never played Diablo myself, actually... So... I don't see why everyone's so excited about a possible sequel. Was it like the best game evar? Anyways, I predict that WWI will bring us lots of Panels and Q&A which all of us will be pouring over for the next few weeks in order to read in between the lines about the future of WoW. They'll be revealing all kinds of plans for Wrath, including something we don't expect, like player housing, or hairdos with stats attached to them, or maybe even a purple penguin mount that can do its own Happy Feet dance while you're riding it.
Like everyone else, I suspect a Diablo 3 announcement, but somehow I doubt it's going to be as straight up as one might think. It may be a console game or a more sandbox-like computer game. I would LOVE World of Diablo but can't see how Blizz would fit in another MMO. I do predict they'll throw out a ton more WotLK details, including a tentative release date, a beta of some sort, and more info on the new hairstyles and "fun" additions.
Mark "Turpster" Turpin
I find myself agreeing with my quotation marked alias brother, Matticus, in that we will find ourselves with some mobile gaming with some Blizzard IP (There have been numerous jobs for Mobile Device UI designers up on Blizzard's job page recently), possibly starting with the return of some misplaced Nordic adventurers (though we all know that we downed them in Uldaman -- FOR THE HORDE!), and then on to more exciting WoW on my iPhone. Of course we will see Diablo return, but on a console? Activision might be of use after all.
I think my cohorts have covered the Diablo 3 angle pretty well. What I predict will come out of the Invitational is plenty of leaked video from people playing the Wrath demo. One can only hope...
Diablo 3? I'm not convinced. Why would Blizzard want to put out a sequel to one of its most popular and enduring franchises when the last game in the series came out a mere nine years ago? That's just crazy. And don't get me started on the WotLK beta; that's at least 17-18 months away...in Blizzard months...which means we'll be getting it sometime around November of 2026. No, the new announcement will be something much better, something we've all been dreaming of for 15 long years (and by "we've all" I mean "pretty much just me"). That's right, Rock N' Roll Racing 2 (and no, Red Asphalt doesn't count)). Tarquinn...Jake Badlands...announcer Loudmouth Larry...digitized Peter Gunn theme...you have been missed. The green flag drops, the stage is set...let the carnage begin! Just kidding, it's totally Diablo 3.
Super Blizzard Brothers Brawl. Tyrael versus Kerrigan versus Lothar versus Olaf versus Thrall, et cetera, et cetera. Well, that probably won't happen, but wouldn't it be awesome?
The more I look at the picture, the less convince I am about Diablo 3. Blizzard already has Wrath and Starcraft in the works. I think that once all of the ice is gone on the splash screen, we shall be seeing the release date for Wrath of the Lich King. I've got my PTO form ready to roll!
Call of Warcraft on Tour, which we hear involves a wicked boss fight where you pit Spider-Man and Kung Fu Panda against the Zerg. Oh, wait... merger hasn't gone through yet. (And before anyone starts in with the hate, you know Jack Black voicing a Tenacious-D rocking Pandaren leader would quite possibly be the coolest thing ever.) Background appears to be stars, surrounded in ice, possibly eyes... To be really honest, I'm not really convinced in any particular direction, but I'm enjoying the show. So I suppose I'm in the "wait and see" camp.
They're going to have a really nice buffet. Craft services will lay out a spread with all the wonders of continental cuisine. Look, it still counts as a prediction even if you predict something incredibly trivial.
Oh, alright: expect news about Blizzard's new game, and it's going to be a new IP entirely.