Blizzard Entertainment kicked off its annual BlizzCon expo with a bang and some rumbling with news on Diablo III and the upcoming expansion for World of Warcraft, Cataclysm.
Chris Metzen, senior vice president of creative development at Blizzard, was the host of the keynote. After a lot of playing to the audience, and a little bragging on Blizzard's part (20 years of operation, 12 million WoW players, etc), he announced news on the next WoW expansion.
Cataclysm is scheduled to go on sale December 7, but current WoW players can download the purchase and software in advance, so as soon as it goes live on the 7th, they can begin playing immediately. The software will sell for $40, or $80 for a Collector's Edition box set.
Metzen then announced the final Diablo III class. Four of Diablo III's five classes have been revealed, and the opening keynote was the launch pad for the fifth class. Via a highly rendered video, the Demon Hunter class was introduced as a cross between a traditional RPG ranger and a vampire hunter. It used all ranged weapons, including dual crossbows in the video.
Finally, Metzen announced Diablo III would also feature PvP play, from single player to three-on-three play. He concluded his keynote with a very loud, bass-heavy animation of Deathwing, the main dragon in Cataclysm, that featured a lot of Zeratul-like preposterous dialogue and serious subwoofer action.
StarCraft 2 fans were tossed a bone, but one without much meat on it. No details on the StarCraft 2 expansion, but Blizzard does plan to release four new maps to Battle.net in the coming months. All of them are themed, one is a double entendre and the other three play on popular games. Auir Chef (Iron Chef, get it?) is a Protoss level, Left 2 Die evokes "Left 4 Dead," StarJeweled plays on BeJeweled, and Blizzard DotA is a poke at Defense of the Ancients from Valve (which in turn comes from WarCraft III).