Today I was at BlizzCon. This is a sort of annual convention put on by Blizzard Entertainment and geared toward fans of the Diablo, Starcraft, and World of Warcraft franchises. While I played Diablo 1 and Starcraft 1, I was there for the Warcraft experience. An experience is exactly what I found it to be.
The day started out with registration and throngs of people waiting outside in the mild Anaheim, Ca weather. “Twenty thousand tickets sold out in less than 60 seconds!”, according to Michael Morhaime, CEO and co-founder of Blizzard entertainment, during his opening keynote. As far as I could tell, they all showed up too.
I had a chance to chit chat with a few people while waiting outside and of dozen or so I spoke with, all of them were primarily WoW players. Some play Diablo and/or Starcraft, but it is pretty evident that WoW is driving the attendance at the event.
While I was checking in earlier in the day, I saw the first of several people that we dressed up as characters from the games. I ran across several Dranei, a few warriors, the occasional priest and what I would have thought were gnomes except they were 5 ft tall. They had Joy Mohr on hand to MC festivities this evening but unfortunately, my phone battery was dead so I missed out on grabbing any pictures of the costume contest. I am sure Blizzard will have plenty online post-event though.
During the opening keynote, the new WoW expansion pack was announced – World of Warcraft: Cataclysm. I am not going to run through the details here as they are no doubt plastered all over the place already. Suffice it to say that it should draw people back to the old world content which is something I look forward to. I only started playing last November and in an effort to catch up friends and family I knew that played i ended up skipping over a bunch of content during the leveling process. I look forward to going back to the old worlds now and maybe even leveling a 3rd toon to 80 buttaking my time this go round to get more into the lore of WoW. There was no indication of a release date but given the substantial changes they are making to gameplay, I suspect we will be waiting for quite a while. Hopefully, we will get to finally do battle with the Lich King in the meantime.
After the keynote there were a series panels. Further information about the Cataclysm expansion and WoW class discussions were two of the panels I attended. But my favorite panel was that with the members of The Guild. If you have never seen The Guild, stop reading right and click the link in the previous line. I am happy to have you stop reading so you can experience the tremendously funny talent that makes that show so good. Even if you aren’t a gamer, you can still laugh at what goes on in the show. If you are a gamer, and in particular an MMO player, then you will fully enjoy their take on being a part of a guild in a game. If you have XBox Live, you can even view it there!
Every member of the regular cast was on stage (I was too far away to get good pics my phone) and they did a 1 hour long Q&A. Most of the attention was focused on writer and star of the show Felicia Day. But she made a point to divert some of that attention to the rest of the cast throughout the Q&A. They showed the amazingly good music video for “Do You Wanna Date My Avatar” which apparently is #1 on iTunes right now. I imagine it is actually going to be #1 everywhere soon if it isn’t already. It really is a good tune! If MTV still plays music videos I bet it hits #1 there as well.
The highlight of the day was getting to briefly meet the entire cast at their booth. I managed to get autographs from everyone and they were all very down to earth and approachable. I made a complete fool of myself when I walked up to “Vork” – Jeff Lewis and said, “Scrubs! Wish you has more airtime cuz I love your character!” only to find out he isn’t on scrubs (it actually this guy). But he assured me he has heard it before and insisted he had multiple “doppelgangers” roaming around impersonating him.
There were of course a bunch of vendors on hand showing off technologies geared toward gaming activities. My favorite booth was the nVidia booth where they were showing off their 3D Vision gaming technology. I have read about it before but as they say, seeing is believing. Using 120hz monitors and their special 3D glasses I logged into my WoW account and spent a few minutes checking things out in 3D. All I can say is this – my Christmas list changed. I thought I had a rich experience when I played WoW on my 63” DLP screen at home with the graphics set on Ultra. But the 3D settings offer a completely new perspective for WoW gameplay. I don’t do much PvP outside of battlegrounds, but I imagine 3D PvP play would be pretty flippin’ cool. Particularly for Arena battles. In fact, 3D PvP play might compel me to experiment with PvP if I decide to invest in the technology.
Tomorrow there are more panels to attend. For me it will be “WoW Open Q&A”, “WoW Game Systems”, “WoW Dungeons & Raids”, and “WoW Class Discussions”. They are also holding realm meetings throughout the day so I am going to head over and see if I can track down some of the people I have pugged with over the last 9 months. There is also a slot called “WoW Live Raid” which I have no idea what it really means. Is the Blizzard staff going to do a raid? Are they walking through a raid live during the session? I will let you know on Sunday. Why Sunday? Because after the panels are over, the closing ceremony kicks off until 10pm and will have Ozzy Osborne performing live along with L80ETC. I won’t be in until VERY late I expect so don’t expect a wrap up until I recuperate!
ps….. If you happen to play a Warlock and you are at BlizzCon, text me at 425-647-3440 if you would be interested in helping me out with my Destruction Lock DPS. I can’t seem to figure it out and I am tired of doing less DPS then the tanks in Heroics!