EDIT: This post was mostly written the Monday after BlizzCon, but wasn’t posted due to the hacking.
One thing about conventions, you are always gonna sit in line. We started our BlizzCon experience sitting in a massive line outside the convention center. Everyone standing around had their passes on, many with their names. Most conversations started with the question “Horde or Alliance?”. Then asking about classes, number of 80s, and if you raid or pvp. Of course this caused small groups to break off and discuss their specific World of Warcraft love.
An hour later, after meeting several interesting people, a liar, and witnessing an e-peen contest, we were on the move towards the doors. First greeted with a huge statue of a Terran Marine and large sign marking it as Blizzcon. In the distance was a second sign proclaiming Starcraft 2. The hall, extremely massive, had been divided into 4 sections, a Main Theatre, Diablo, Starcraft and Warcraft. We knew the opening ceremony was soon, so we just glanced at the huge banks of computers as we moved towards the main theatre. There about 10,000 chairs sat in front of a huge array of massive screen. We managed to find a seat near the back and waited for the event to start.
Being there, in a room literally filled to the brim with people who were fans of all the same things I was. Of course we noted the interesting costumes. We talked excitedly about what we hoped to see. I looked through the schedule planning on what all I wanted to see that day. Veterans of the event kept telling us to go to the Loot Elemental or this or that.
We listened to the opening speech, excited beyond measure. Even the Demon Hunter video, for a game I likely won’t play that much, was thrilling. Once it was done Pinecone and I decided to take a pass of the convention floor. We walked the whole thing. There were huge statues from the various games scattered throughout the halls. And so many people. Lines snaked and meandered through the room, none of them seeming to even have ends, though one can assume they knew where they were headed.
We found our way to the Steel Series booth after browsing the halls and met up with the woman in charge of the contest. She took our picture (it was later posted on Facebook) and then asked us if we had time to go around to the partners booths. We figured we had nothing better to do, might as well. She also dug out two of the SteelSeries Cataclysm mousepads. You know, the giant ones that are specially designed to just work better? We both thanked her profusely. I snagged the Worgen one, and handed the Goblin one off to Pined. (I love the Worgen, but wish all the Goblins had drowned.) We followed JoJo through the crowd winding over to the Brady Games booth.
Apparently at BlizzCon they do a “Quest”. Where each day you go to all of the booths, and if you do, you get a little tag that lets you scratch off and maybe win a prize. Brady Games was our first stop. We just walked up to the table, bypassing the HUGE line of people waiting. The Brady Games rep gave us two scratchers, insisting we need not do the quest. We scratched and got Green, (the colors were based on the item colors in WoW) and so got patches. They were so swamped the rep asked us if we could come back later when they weren’t busy. We agreed, and headed over to Jinx.
A bit of background… I love Jinx. I am a Champion of Jinx’s site, mostly from purchases. I order at least one huge order every year and occasionally small ones. They are the reason I can go for 3 weeks wearing nothing but WoW shirts without repeating. In fact my t-shirts all come from one of three places: Jinx, Think Geek, and Woot.Shirt. I own all of their WoW hoodies. The Jinx booth, as the others had a huge line. They, once again, jumped us to the front. The nice guy from Jinx smiled through me gushing about the company and how much liked it, while handing us order forms. This is what I was here for. I quickly marked several of the new t-shirts and a hoodie. I couldn’t *wait* to wear my shiny new murloc hoodie. I pulled out my credit card and waited with a smile. Pinecone marked an item or two and handed his form back as well. The rep looked at my form and nodded. Then looked at Pinecone’s and goes: “Uh, dude, don’t you want more than that?” Pinecone looked a bit surprised, as I thought, wow hard seller here. After making some comment that he couldn’t quite afford more than that, the rep laughed and says “No no dude, it’s all free. Here.” And hands the form back. I blinked. I had almost $200 worth of stuff marked already. He made more waving motions. Well, if you insist I thought…
We walked away from the Jinx booth with quite the load of gear, both of us, wildly shocked and a bit dazed. We made our way over to the arena competition area and got some lunch. As we sat and ate we watched one of the pro arena matches. Now, I am one of the first people to say that people getting paid to play WoW is just absurd. But what got me was the fact that the team was a druid, shaman, warlock. I have played all three. I played a warlock at 70 raiding and 80 raiding. I played a shaman at 80 raiding as heals and elemental. My MAIN is a warlock. And I could *barely* follow what was happening. He was using spells in ways I had never considered.
After this, we wandered the hall a bit more and then headed over to the main hall once more for the Dungeons and Raids panels. Three cheers for being able to admit that you built some bad ideas and correcting them. After this, I was quite exhausted and wanted to head back to the hotel to drop off our loot. Once done there, we headed back to the convention center, and stopped in to the Lore panel. (Yes, I saw Red Shirt guy ask his question, it was pretty funny to be present for that.) We then camped our chairs for the Live Raid, and met Murky, a wonderful girl. She and I talked about mini pets and such for quite a while. I also stopped by the WoW magazine booth and renewed my subscription for a lovely green murloc.
The live raid was hilarious, despite not really being a raid, or even that interesting as far as mechanics. We went back by the Brady booth, now cleared out and introduced ourselves again. The rep was excited to see us and gave us free Razer headphones and a SteelSeries mouse. Once more loaded down with loot, and thoroughly excited, we decided to search for food.
Pinecone and I headed out, and decided to eat at Mortons. While exceptionally good, I am fairly sure I like Boca better. We then took a stroll down to Disneyland’s entrance, stopping along the way to talk to WoW-ers and take pictures of costumes.
Thus ended day 1 of BlizzCon. We headed back to our hotel room and took the time to log on and run Horseman from my teeny Netbook. (Did I mention I had installed WoW on a Dell Netbook, so we could make sure to run the Horseman event every day? It’s hilarious playing WoW on a screen that small, but I got the horse on TWO of my 80s, so it was worth it.)
We got up the next morning and headed over, excited to see more. The line was much much shorter and as such we were fairly close to the beginning. Only this time we were surrounded by a group of idiots that were very clearly the source of trolling on their server. Fortunately we didn’t have to wait long and we were inside, once more bee-lining to the Main Theatre. We watched the Cataclysm cinematic panel in awe, from our great seats right up front. I, of course, got goosebumps at the Worgen cinematic. Nothing really beats seeing it on a 15 foot screen with an insane sound system. As we were still tired, and had *great* seats, we decided to sit, and took turns venturing out into the convention hall. During this time I took pictures of costumes, statues, computer banks, huge posters and so on. I also took a moment to pick up an item or two from the Blizzard Store.
The Q&A panel might have been more interesting if it wasn’t all about Pallys, so we got up once more, visited the large meeting stone, made our mark on the wall, then decided to head back to the hotel. Exhausted we decided to just head on back to the airport, so we wouldn’t have to rush. We packed up our loot (now our suitcases were near to bursting) and headed to the airport.
TSA has a shockingly understanding attitude about women dressed up as murlocs. They laughed, asked me what I was supposed to be, and waved me on through.
Our plane was delayed twice, though we got to play WoW on the Netbook, taking turns back and forth. It was great fun.
After PAX, I can say BlizzCon is a very focused show. It’s all about Blizzard products. I felt a bit bad, as I am not a huge Starcraft fan (and thus didn’t care Fruitdealer was there) or Diablo fan (the demon hunter trailer was cool at least). I enjoy PAX and I like that I can enjoy PAX with a majority of my friends. But really BlizzCon seemed almost lacking in that respect. I am very glad I took Pinecone, as my husband would have been quite annoyed to sit through all those panels, and likely would not have taken me bypassing all the SC and Diablo stuff with such grace. (Not to mention all the loot would have been lost on him.) I suppose it might be different if it were an expansion announcement year. Or if I took part in one of the contests. But I think, if I have to choose a convention, I will choose PAX. (And GDC of course, but that one is work related!)
I have to say though… if you are going to go to a convention, doing it as a contest winner is the way to go.