This is lengthy and image heavy. You have been warned.
I get super excited for upcoming events, so of course I had been anxiously anticipating Blizzcon for quite a while before it finally arrived. The closer the dates, the more intense my excitement. However, I’m very annoying in the fact that once said event has actually arrived I feel very natural about being there. I don’t know if that makes sense to anyone or not, but basically there is nothing to anticipate anymore… it is here now and I am in it. This results in me not being the greatest at coming home with amazing stories to tell. People everywhere are asking me “How was Blizzcon” and my response is basically “it was very cool”. I know it annoys people and makes them think maybe I didn’t really enjoy myself, but that’s not the case. I enjoyed myself tremendously. I experienced so many fantastic sights and sounds AND PEOPLE! I don’t like people to have to look at me / be seen with me because I have terrible self esteem but aside from that I am a very social person and I LOVE PEOPLE SO MUCH. So yes, Blizzcon was one of the best things I’ve ever done (and I’ve done a lot of things) and I’m going to try and force myself to tell stories about it here before the memories fade. This post, Part 1, will be more about the trip and the experiences from the convention while my next post will be more about my experiences with guildies, twitter friends, etc.
Might as well start with travel, since that’s obviously the first thing I did. Travel went very well. A friend of mine (Kim), who happens to also be a co-worker, went with me and we flew out early Thursday morning and there were absolutely no delays on any of our flights and no issues whatsoever. We didn’t have to wait on baggage or wait on the shuttle to the hotel or anything. It’s kind of scary how smooth everything went. We even got to check into our room at the Clarion as soon as we arrived, despite the fact we were there 3 hours before official check-in time. The California weather was beautiful, especially when you consider it was 31° F when we left Missouri and our plane had to be de-iced on the runway.
After checking into the hotel we grabbed a quick lunch and then did a little bit of looking around the area. I immediately noticed the flowers resembled birds, but Kim was the one who knew they were actually called Birds of Paradise. I had always heard of them, but had never seen one. They’re very pretty.
After hanging out with my guildies and meeting some Twitter folks in the Hilton lobby, we walked around the block to The Annabella to attend the WoW Insider party. It was a beautiful hotel and the outside area where the party took place was equally as pretty. However, the space was very limiting due to the pool being right smack dab in the middle of everything. I kept waiting for someone to step off into the water accidentally, but I never saw it happen. They also had propane heat lamps every 10 feet on a night where it was in the middle 60’s and people were packed together like sardines. This meant no one could stand to be near the heat lamps so we were all huddled up in little pockets between them, further limiting freedom to move around. But I’m not trying to complain. I’m glad I went.
After hanging out at the party for a while, Kim and I walked over to join the line to pick up our badges. Apparently earlier in the evening the line was ridiculous, but by the time we got over there at approximately 9:00pm, things were moving pretty quick. The line looked long, but we didn’t stand still much and we were done in about 40 minutes. Not too bad considering a lot of people waited for hours. After we got done there, Kim crashed out and I went back to the Hilton to hang out.
Friday morning we got up early, had some hot breakfast at the hotel and walked down to get in line. We actually timed it just right that we didn’t go extremely early, but just early enough to beat most people. We began our wait at the fountain which was pretty close to the front. There ended up being a pretty long line behind us but while waiting we got to see some of the cool costumes come by.
Eventually the doors opened and the mad rush was on. This being my first Blizzcon I didn’t do a very good job of mapping out where I wanted to be at what times and to make matters worse I had decided to forgo seeing the Opening Ceremonies live so that I could instead rush right over to where the “What’s Next” panel was going to be because I wanted to hear all about the expansion. Unfortunately, I had misread the panel location. I went straight to Hall A and grabbed a seat in front of that stage thinking I was in the right place. The opening ceremonies were fed to all the tv’s, so I got to see it from where I was but then when it was over, the tv I was sitting in front of announced a Diablo panel was coming up next. Turns out the What’s Next panel was in the main hall where the opening ceremonies were and I had gone to the complete opposite end of the building. Fail. I missed it completely.
But that’s okay, we all got a virtual ticket in our goodie bags so I decided to pretty much screw all the panels and enjoy the stuff on the con floor. I took a lot of pictures of the various booths, the banks of computers, the costumes I ran across, the amazing statues there, etc. There’s no way to post them all here and no way to choose which ones you may want to see, so this is where I tell you all of my Blizzcon photos (except for the ones from my cell phone which I will post in a separate blog post here soon) are available for viewing and downloading at Blizzcon 2013 on Flickr. Please feel free to share the link with anyone who may want to see them. Please feel free to leave a comment on any picture to tell me you are in it. You are also free to use these pictures in blog posts or on Twitter as long as you credit me in your post / tweet. Please do not use these pictures for any commercial / advertising use without contacting me and getting my permission. Otherwise, have at ’em.
Day 2 was much the same as Day 1. We simply wandered around and enjoyed the crowds and the atmosphere, trying to make sure we got to see it all. I wrote my name on the Make your Mark board, I got a free tshirt and hat from the Community Corner booth by checking in on Facebook and using the appropriate tag on Twitter. I forgot to mention on Day 1, while we watched some of the Arena Championships, we got to see Conan O’Brien. He was there to help call a few arena matches and he was hilarious, as expected. But for me, my celebrity sighting from Day 2 was one of the highlights of the con. I had gotten up that morning and checked Twitter and happened to notice Felicia Day had tweeted she would be at Blizzcon at the Jinx booth between 2 and 4pm. WHAT???? Woo Hooooo. I put that into my schedule immediately. I knew I wanted to line up early, so I started watching the Jinx booth at around 12:30 to keep an eye on any line that may be forming. Around 1pm, a few people began lining up so I rushed right over and was 6th in line. Less than an hour later, I got to shake her hand and have a quick chat while she signed a copy of The Guild Megaset DVD collection I bought for the purpose. I’ve always been a fan of Felicia’s because she’s just a normal, dorky geek and she cracks me up. I think she’s helped prove that smart, funny, cute girls do geek out and play video games. To me, her presence in the industry is a good thing.
It’s hard to describe what an amazing experience being at an event like this really is. As much as I already loved the game and the community, going to Blizzcon just made me even more excited to be a part of it all. I came home actually wanting to try Starcraft and Hearthstone. Heroes of the Storm looks interesting even though I’ve never played a MOBA type game before and will likely suck at it. I also came home determined to put more time into Diablo III. I had played it for a tiny bit after it launched but never made it past level 13 or so. Not because I didn’t enjoy the game, I just had other games I was more concerned with. But I think I’m finally through dabbling with LotRO, SWTOR, GW2 and TSW. Also, I played some of the Reaper of Souls demo and it reminded me that D3 is quite fun.
I skipped the Closing Ceremony and concert Saturday night and went to a nice, quiet guild dinner which was an excellent choice. Then on Sunday, Kim and I joined some of my friends for a day at Disneyland, also an excellent choice. More about that in the next post as well. We stayed in Anaheim Sunday night and got up early to travel home on Monday. I’m glad I took that extra day and if I get the chance to attend next year (oh man, I hope I do), I will add an extra day onto the front of my trip too. Again we had no delays or issues of any kind with any of our flights. It was a great trip and I’m very fortunate I got to spend time with the people I got to spend time with. My only complaint would be that I didn’t seek out more people or spend more quality time with my guildies and Twitter friends.
Stay tuned for Part 2.