Like most other events over the last eight months or so, Blizzard’s BlizzCon didn’t go ahead as usual. Tens of thousands of fans would have attended. Instead, they'll have to make do with an all-digital replacement in February: BlizzConline. Unlike with BlizzCon proper, though, you’ll be able to stream the whole event for free.
At BlizzCon, only certain aspects are free to watch, including the opening ceremony (at which Blizzard tends to make major announcements about its games) and at least some of the esports events. For everything else, including developer panels, cosplay contests and the closing ceremony, you’d typically need a virtual ticket, which cost $50 last year. Not so for BlizzConline. Blizzard president J. Allen Brack said in a fireside chat video that “We want it to be a big virtual celebration, so BlizzConline will be free to watch and engage in."
The video is mostly a catch up on what’s been happening at Blizzard in recent months. Brack mentioned that 95 percent of employees are currently working from home amid the COVID-19 pandemic and discussed some game updates, such as the upcoming World of Warcraft expansion, Shadowlands.
BlizzConline will lose the spectacle of an in-person event, but despite the difficulties of the current environment, Blizzard seems to be trying to make it as close to BlizzCon as possible with community-focused elements. Along with cosplay events, there’ll be art and storytelling contests, a talent spotlight and the annual March of the Murlocs.
There’ll be news about Blizzard’s current and upcoming games as well, of course, such as Overwatch 2 and Diablo 4. You’ll get to find out exactly Blizzard has up its sleeve when BlizzConline takes place from February 19th-20th.