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Blizzard’s Best Moments
Whether you applaud the addictive and fun mechanics or revel in the fiction surrounding their games, Blizzard is generally regarded as one of the industry’s finest developers – not to mention one of its most consistently successful ones. Blizzard has built a hell of a reputation for itself by building games that don’t just play well, but let players really dig into universes where coolness is the defining factor. It’s the kind of reputation that inspires their sometimes-zealous fanbase and there are certain moments that really remind you of how good their games can be.
Warning! Major Spoilers for Warcraft 3, Starcraft 2 and Diablo 3 below
Without any further ado, here are Blizzard’s finest moments:
‘Hell, It’s About Time’
Starcraft 2 was always going to be a big game, and the promotional tagline did an amazing job of capturing the excitement felt by longtime fans. The game’s debut at Blizzard’s 2007 Worldwide Invitational couldn’t have gone down any better amongst the die-hard South Korean fans. Although short, this brief cinematic did a great job of reintroducing iconic Starcraft characters and demonstrating how incredible they could look with today’s graphical tech. Putting aside the fact that this scene set much of Wings of Liberty into motion and the solid introduction it gave series newcomer Tychus Findlay – this trailer was at its core an incredibly exciting Blizzard moment because of the context surrounding it.
Arthas Kills His Father
If I had to be stuck on a desert island with a laptop and only one game, I’ve always stuck by Warcraft 3 as my choice. Before becoming a huge open world for players to explore, Azeroth was an exciting canvas of fantasy storytelling that for many a gamer peaked with the fall and rise of Arthas Menethil. The Paladin-turned-Death-Knight’s fall from grace was one of several big moments in Warcraft 3 but considering the way that fans have latched onto Arthas over time and his eventual role as the focal point of World of Warcraft: Wrath of The Lich King, it’s hard not to call his succession to power one of Blizzards’ biggest moments.
The original Starcraft, while ambitious when it came to its storytelling, was very much limited to in-game animations. These limitations made the visual overhaul the series received in Starcraft 2 all the more significant and fans were delighted to see Blizzard take the chance to re-imagine the original Starcraft’s most significant betrayal. Kerrigan’s abandonment and apparent death ultimately sets the rest of the series into motion and it was an absolute treat for fans to see such a crucial moment get the HD treatment it deserved.
Diablo Marches On The High Heavens
Diablo 3 was a game I quite liked and while the series’ grim setting of Sanctuary can be somewhat hit or miss when it comes to its storytelling, the final act was an absolute delight for fans. While the series returned to classic locales like Tristram and Bastion’s Keep, it was truly awesome to step foot into the High Heavens for the final battle against evil. Diablo’s resurrection via the Black Soulstone was a long-awaited but strong twist nonetheless. The cinematic where he trashes Imperius and gets to work destroying the High Heavens did an incredible job of setting the stage for Diablo 3’s finale.
As has been mentioned a number of times now, Starcraft 2: Wings of Liberty is a game that embodies so many of Blizzard’s storytelling and mechanical strengths – an attribute reiterated phenomenally well by the game’s conclusion. Starcraft 2: Wings of Liberty ended with a jaw-dropping last stand that saw the Queen of Blades stripped of her powers. It was a huge moment for the series mythology – not to mention a touching reunion for one of gaming’s most unconventional couples. All up, an incredible moment and an especially compelling setup for the second installment, Heart of the Swarm.
Through The Dark Portal
A huge open world and an accessible experience – especially in comparison to its contemporaries – brought millions of players into the World of Warcraft and rich social experiences alongside a wealth of compelling end-game content kept them there. ‘Vanilla WoW’, as fans called it, often played around with large scale world events (both planned and unintended) but there was no bigger event that the launch of the game’s first expansion – The Burning Crusade. For years, the Dark Portal had stood dormant but now Horde and Alliance players could travel through it to discover, quite literally, a whole new World of Warcraft. Lots of long-time World of Warcraft players will stand by the opinion that the world’s biggest MMORPG was never any better than it was during the era of The Burning Crusade