Now that BlizzPlanet has the date figured out (don't book your hotels just yet, though!), they even go so far as to predict an announcement as early as next month. They say that since last year's August event was announced in February, it makes as much sense to announce the event early enough for folks to make their plans, too. They say we should also expect what worked for BlizzCon last year to be in effect this year, too, such as the queue system for purchasing tickets, DirectTV and a bundled free gift, and probably better loot bags this time around.
It's too early to tell at this point, but we can probably speculate on what else might be coming with BlizzCon this year. By that time, Cataclysm should be out because it's hard for me to imagine Icecrown Citadel keeping players occupied -- gated content notwithstanding -- until then. That said, Blizzard has mentioned that Patch 3.3 isn't likely to be the last content patch before the next expansion, so we'll see what happens. BlizzPlanet thinks the game might be in closed beta by then, but I personally hope Blizzard's timelines move a little faster than that.
We concur that BlizzCon 2010 seems like the perfect event to announce a new game. Diablo III is in the oven, StarCraft 2 is slated to be out this year, and Cataclysm has already been revealed. There needs to be something really, really big during BlizzCon, and there's nothing bigger than a brand new game, and signs point to an entirely new property from the guys in Irvine. Announcing the new game -- a "next-gen MMO" that Blizzard is known to be working on -- would be the biggest thing. It's kind of hard to imagine a bigger game announcement from any developer this year.
Since it's way too early to play BlizzCon bingo, why don't we dwell a bit on that new property (we feel really good about Blizzard revealing more about it this year)? It won't be fantasy, I think. With Warcraft and Diablo already treading the fantasy waters, we can probably rule out that genre. StarCraft is sci-fi, but there's still some room to play there. Maybe a grittier, cyber-punk style world that's a darker take on sci-fi the way Diablo's fantasy is to Warcraft? We won't know until August.
Will Jay Mohr reprise his hosting gig? No serious reason to think otherwise. Blizzard seems to love him, and at least he actually talked like he knows something about WoW during the last BlizzCon. Will Ozzy return as the big finale? Not so sure about that one. Blizzard likes to keep upping the ante, so an even bigger act might be in the cards for this year. Although it's definitely too early to make any assumptions about BlizzCon 2010 (those guys from Irvine are pretty good at throwing a curve ball or two), it's never too early to whet our appetites for everything Blizzard this year.