How do I know this? It is because I am the Malstrom. I think it is pretty clear that this is going to be it.
It is unlikely to be Diablo 3 expansion. There already is a Diablo 3 expansion, and there is no need to expand Diablo 3 anymore. The free content patches since then seem to be the aborted Diablo 3 second expansion anyway. Blizzard is not satisfied with Diablo 3 especially with its rocky history (“Fuck that loser” Jay Wilson). They do not want Diablo 3 to be the definition of Diablo.
It is unlikely to be a Diablo 2 HD remake, though that might be an additional goodie as a marketing device, because Blizzard hates the defunct Blizzard North. They want to make THEIR game, not remake Blizzard North’s game.
It is unlikely to be Diablo 4, in the way we mean it as a traditional Diablo, because the traditional Diablo model is dead. Blizzard is not interested in making a cinematic game that can be played in single player. Ironically, Starcraft 2 will likely be the last ‘single player’ game possible.
It is going to be World of Diablo. I would be shocked if it was anything but that. Here are the reasons why.
One, Blizzard North originally wanted Diablo 3 to be a MMORPG. This is such a good idea, the new ARPG games are doing it anyway. Blizzard recognizes the genius of Blizzard North and will do this.
Two, World of Warcraft is dying. If Blizzard doesn’t cannibalize the WoW market, someone else will.
Three, the brand of Diablo is in bad shape after Diablo 3. Diablo 3’s expansion and patches since have helped repair it, but the game was designed around a Jay “Fuck that loser” Wilson and a Real-Money Auction House. Blizzard loves milking its franchises, but do we want to stick with Diablo 3 for a decade or two? No.
Four, there is some stiff competition coming out. Blizzard better deal with it fast because the competitors can steal away the Diablo market. Lineage Eternal is one of the games, but I am eyeing Lost Ark.
Above: This game looks too good to be true!
A World of Diablo would be available on every platform in some manner. It could be F2P with some sort of monetization scheme.
Look at Blizzard’s franchises. They all are doing well in their market except for one: Diablo. Diablo faces stiff competition. I suspect, and Blizzard does as well, that more competition is on the way. Titan’s Quest anniversary edition seems like a marketing way to reintroduce Titan’s Quest franchise to prepare for its actual sequel. Blizzard doesn’t have to be DONE with Diablo MMO, it just has to announce it so Diablo fanbase will not run off to the competitors.
“But Malstrom! But Malstrom!” cries the reader. “Reaper of Souls came out in 2014. It is too soon for a Diablo MMO. It is too soon for any announcement!”
Well, Frozen Throne came out in 2003. World of Warcraft was announced in 2004.
Besides, what else are they going to announce at Blizzcon? Nothing much for Heroes (arena?). Starcraft 2 won’t have much. Hearthstone has maybe some more expansions? WoW already has its expansion just out. HD remasters are not going to excite people, neither will an expansion pack. It has to be Diablo 4. And Diablo 4 will be a MMORPG.