BlizzCon wrapped up about two weeks ago, and I just realized that even though I shared some in-depth impressions of the big games at the show, I never shared with all of you what the experience of being at BlizzCon was like. To remedy that, I compiled together four picture galleries and a few thoughts on my experiences below. Better late than never I always say.
Originally, when RPGamer was putting together its BlizzCon coverage plans, there were going to be three correspondents covering the show. Due to several last minute problems, that team was reduced to one, me. Talk about pressure; I had never been to BlizzCon before, didn't have much experience with Blizzard games, and hadn't covered an event on my own. All the same, I wasn't going to let a few details like that dissuade me from doing my job and covering an event I was lucky enough to be invited to. So like any good reporter, I spent the days leading up to the show playing and researching everything Blizzard related. I have to say that extra knowledge served me well when I finally got to the show down in Anaheim.
The Anaheim area had a very interesting vibe. At first it was hard to tell who was in the area to go to Disneyland, which is across the street from the convention, and who was there to play the latest builds of StarCraft II and Diablo III. That answer got much clearer the closer I got to the entrance hall. I had never really been to a fan convention before, so the sight of so many fans all decked out in their favorite Blizzard gear and elaborate costumes was a sight to behold. I think at one point I accidentally bumped into Felicia Day in the crowd, which you all might remember from the popular web series The Guild. So there was a fair share of celebs and press on site, although they were heavily out numbered by real hardcore fans.
After standing in some rather crazy long lines, I finally got my press pass and official Blizzard goody bag. Some people were complaining about the lack of stuff in Blizzard's goody bag this year, but I have to say I really like the Raynor Noobz figure. Sure, it's really the one good thing in the bag this year, but it is still quite the trophy. I added a few pictures below of all of the swag that I managed to get over the two days of BlizzCon. I didn't manage to get much extra than what was included in the goody bag other than an autographed StarCraft book and comic. All the same, I'm pretty happy with my small bit of loot.
The show in general was an absolute blast. The panels that I was able to attend were fun and informative, giving me a great understanding of the choices Blizzard has made in regard to the future of its IPs. Blizzard also provided a really nice press room that served as my home base during the show, which was a great place to escape to when I needed to recharge after countless hours on my feet. I also enjoyed my time on the show floor with all the fans. Every person I met was friendly, great to talk to, and willing to pose for a picture. Another real treat was getting to see Ozzy Osbourne perform live on stage on the last day of BlizzCon. I was close enough to actually get to see the whole band performing, but thankfully not close enough to get drenched when Ozzy pulled out the fire hose. Finally, the best part of the show, without a doubt, had to be the games themselves.
I already talked to death about Diablo III and WoW: Cataclysm in my in-depth impressions, so I'll spare you on that front, but here is my chance to talk about about StarCraft II and the new Battle.net. I had never played StarCraft before BlizzCon, but I was really impressed with the level of control I had over my units, the strategy elements, the ridiculously pretty cut scenes and graphics in general, and the menu/ship interface in the campaign mode that added that extra level of interactivity and fun to usually mundane character management. In fact, I was so impressed with what I saw that the second I got home, I ordered the StarCraft Battle Chest off of Amazon and started playing right away.
Another thing that really got me excited was the new Battle.net. It's like Xbox Live and Facebook taken to the next level. It's great to think that they are really striving to connect the Blizzard community as a whole in some fun new ways. I'll talk a bit more about the new Battle.net in a future Currents Column so look forward to that.
Anyway, I have to say I walked into BlizzCon 2009 as a total novice and walked out a convert. I already know that I'm going to be buying Diablo III and StarCraft II the second they come out. I am also eagerly awaiting my chance to play as a Goblin and Worgen next year. The show was a lot of fun, and I hope that I'm lucky enough to cover the show again next year for RPGamer. If you want to see the show through my eyes, below are links to four picture galleries and links to the Diablo III and WoW: Cataclysm impressions in case you missed them the first time.