BlizzCon, what a rush

With BlizzCon 2010 fast approaching us (as in just over a day from now), I keep looking back to one of the best vacations of my life, which was being able to attend BlizzCon 2008.

It all started on a whim.  I suggested to my wife that we should try to get some tickets to BlizzCon, and make a whole vacation out of it.  See Disneyland, SeaWorld, things like that.  Amazingly enough, she actually agreed!  At this point, she had only been playing World of Warcraft for a fairly short period of time, and I was still testing the waters for her geekiness.  Obviously, I married the perfect woman.

BlizzCon 2008 was also the first time they used the Blizzard store to sell the tickets, and when the “failoc” first appeared along with the SCV maintenance screen.  I had actually taken the day off of work to make sure that I was able to get tickets, and after about ten hours of reloading the screen and attempting many times to enter my information, I was finally able to purchase tickets at around 10 pm mountain time.  I was one of the few fortunate people who were able to get tickets in that first batch, and to this day I count myself very fortunate.

Skipping over the usual things of making plans for flights, accomodations, the usual things like that, we were soon in Anaheim.  We arrived the Monday before BlizzCon started, giving us the day to explore the area, find out where the convention centre was, things like that.  Tuesday and Wednesday were at Disneyland and California Adventure, and then Thursday was registration day.  Our first bout with something that everyone will experience at BlizzCon: lineups.

Registration opened at around 4 in the afternoon, and we went there in the early afternoon.  At that point, the lineup was already into one of the extra halls to hold all the people.  When we got there, we were about 50 or so people into the hall, and by the time we got out into the lobby the lineup had snaked all around the hall, with a few hundred people at the minimum.  Once the lineups started moving however, things went quite quickly.

Our guild master was also attending BlizzCon, so we met him during the lineups, and then did dinner afterwards.  It was the second time we had met a guildmate so thankfully it wasn’t too weird.  Obviously, when you’re meeting someone for the first time in any context it’s a bit awkward, but thankfully when you have something like WoW to discuss it makes it quite a bit easier.

To this day, we feel a bit cheated for the big announcement.  Our announcement was the Wizard class of Diablo III.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m extremely excited for the game.  However, when other BlizzCons had the expansion pack announcements and such, getting a new class announcement was a bit lackluster.  The panels afterwards made up for it.

Seeing Mike Morhaime, Chris Metzen, Tom Chilton, Jeff Kaplan, Samwise Didier, all the Community Managers – it was amazing.  In a previous post I had mentioned that my dream job is to be a CM with Blizzard, so I was having a great time.

That evening was one of the highlights for me, which was the Costume, Dance, and /silly contests.  The amount of work that people put into their costumes is just mind-boggling.  The person who won had a perfect female Draenei costume with a working turtle mount.  Honestly, how much more awesome can you get than that?  All five of the tops were definitely well deserving of being there.  The dance contest may not seem difficult, but being able to perfectly replicate not only the dance moves, but the mannerisms was key.  The winner did the female Undead dance, and once again she did a great job.  The /silly contest was just to make up your own /silly emote from WoW, a good one-liner.  As an example, “What kind of class do girls like the most?  A male enhancement shaman!”  Yeah, some were pretty bad.

Saturday was more panels and more lineups.  The BlizzCon store was very well run, and they definitely knew how to cope with the many thousands of people wanting to become even more of a fanboy or fangirl.  Fortunately for us, we chose the store that was in the same hall as where they were doing the main panels, so we got to listen to them show a preview for the Obsidian Sanctum while we waited.  The lineup for the J!nx booth wasn’t nearly as long when they sold out of the plush talking Murlocs.  Fortunately, they had them afterwards as well, so our son got one for his first Christmas (while still inside).

BlizzCon ended with concerts by Level 80 Elite Tauren Chieftan – I Am Murloc was great – and Video Games Live, doing a Blizzard games-themed performance.  Again, we felt a little bit cheated with the concert.  Video Games Live is amazing, and I’m definitely going to see them again, but I can see them a lot more often than I could see other bands who have performed: The Offspring, Ozzy Osbourne, and Tenacious D (this year).

To sum everything up, BlizzCon and the vacation we had around it was the third best thing I’ve done in my life (after getting married and having our son).  Seeing the Edmonton Oilers play (and win) while in Anaheim was great, going to Disneyland and SeaWorld was great, and finding out that Wetzel’s Pretzels is probably one of the best food chains ever.  Downtown Disney has some great restaurants, I might add.

If we can swing it, we’re planning on going to BlizzCon ’11.  The atmosphere was unlike anything I’d ever done before.  Being surrounded by ten thousand other people, knowing that every single one of them is a geek like you.  It’s pretty neat, and I’d love to experience it again.

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