Alliance and Horde members alike came together this past weekend for Blizzard’s highly anticipated annual convention event. This year, the big show was all-virtual, hence the BlizzConline name, and included musical performances, an hour and a half opening ceremony full of announcements, and of course, deep dives into the studio’s current titles, including WoW, Diablo, Hearthstone, and Overwatch.
Musings on Musical Performances
Traditionally, BlizzCon features a closing concert, which has featured a wide variety of artists over the years. This year, musical performances were sprinkled throughout the show, beginning with a pre-show countdown performance by Kristian Nairn. As people began to tune in to the broadcast, they were greeted by upbeat music, which in turn generated a fair amount of upbeat conversation, garnering a sentiment score of 66 in chat. Later during BlizzConline, MAMAMOO’s performance resonated among some viewers, generating an overwhelming positive response.
Opening Ceremony Reactions
Leaning into its appreciation of its community and the unifying appeal of games, Blizzard opened its event with a several minute video that spoke to the impact gaming has on our lives. Audience sentiment peaked during this sizzle, reaching a score of 93. Once the formal presentation began, however, sentiment fell to 57, which is on the high end of neutral.
Overall, the opening ceremony was well received on Blizzard’s Twitch channel. Over 15,000 folks participated in the chat, and engagement volume remained consistent throughout the broadcast. It’s also worth noting that the chat remained safe, with very low levels of toxic, profane, or sexual content identified.
As World of Warcraft fans expressed anticipation before the event, sentiment for the title rose, peaking at 51 on Day 1 of BlizzConline. However, sentiment around WoW subsequently dipped back down after the event, albeit a few points higher than its previous levels. The announcement around the wandering ancient mount got a lot of people talking across social channels as they praised its unique design.
The in-game cinematic for Chains of Domination also garnered some chatter, though reactions were mixed with viewers being confused about what happened to Anduin in it, yielding a 58 score.
The Classic Burning Crusade segment also saw mixed reactions. While paid character boosts got some players in heated discussions that led to a negative sentiment score of 11, the Classic Burning Crusade trailer caused sentiment to peak with a high 78 score.
The Diablo IV presentation in the show generated a lot of positive buzz. Specifically, the cinematic trailer for the rogue class garnered a very high score of 85, as fans expressed their appreciation for the homage to ear collection from Diablo II, as well as their excitement to play a rogue character. The segment made such an impression on audiences that Diablo IV ended up dominating the conversations for the Diablo franchise over the weekend as well, with a healthy mix of activity across Twitter, YouTube, and forums.
The announcement around Diablo II getting remastered as Diablo II Resurrected also got very positive reactions from players, as sentiment score peaked to 89. Conversation surrounding openworld PvP dipped to 59 though, as audiences expressed mixed reactions. While some were unsure how it would be pulled off, others stated they were disinterested in PvP in the first place. For those interested in PvP, however, reactions were relatively positive.
Sentiment surrounding Hearthstone improved and remained at 59 following BlizzConline, with most of the conversation occurring on forums. Notably, sentiment for Hearthstone was much higher (92) on the dedicated Hearthstone channel on Twitch, which is a reminder that targeted audiences are more prone to inherent community bias — whether good or bad. Following the opening ceremony, reactions to Hearthstone Forged in the Barrens were not overly enthusiastic, though individual cards prompted some positive interest among players.
Overwatch enjoyed a sharp sentiment peak of 80 on Friday as fans anticipated the upcoming announcements, although it tapered off after the weekend with top level sentiment registering at the high end of neutral at 59.