Saturday, October 22, 2011

BLIZZCON: My day at Blizzcon!

Today was the second and final day of Blizzard Entertainment's convention Blizzcon in Anaheim, California. I was lucky enough to score a ticket and attend the festivities and although yesterday was when all the big announcements were made, there was still plenty of cool stuff for me to check out today! Here's some of the highlights from my day in what will probably be the nerdiest article I have ever posted on here.

My day started with being able to sit down and play a bit of the newly announced WoW expansion, Mists of Pandaria. The demo let you play through the starting area of the new race, the Pandaren for 15 minutes. Thankfully, we were some of the first people there and since the lines were still short they let us play for almost a half hour! I got my Pandaren Monk to level 6 in the process and was actually able to see a fair amount of the game. The Pandaren starting area is gorgeous. Set in a classic Asian setting, the scenery and music blended perfectly and presented a style unlike anything we've yet experienced in WoW. The Pandaren race was interesting but I'm not sure how epic the cuddly panda bears will really be. Also, I am not a fan of melee combat in WoW and that is what the Monk is all about. For people who enjoy melee combat it should be a ton of fun but I prefer nuking from a distance (Mage, Hunter, etc.). Mists of Pandaria sounds like it will be bringing quite a few changes to WoW whether or not people want them but I can say that the new setting and race are certainly intriguing enough to make the game worth checking out.

After my time with "Monkey" as I so brilliantly named my Monk (yea I'm that lame), I headed over to an art panel for WoW. It was a painful reminder of how truly untalented I am as this panel of about 10 artists showed us what they have been working on over the past 4-5 months. We got to see tons of concept art for the upcoming expansion and we saw a little bit of the process of developing the environment from the landscape all the way down to the props. I think sometimes when we play games we lose sight of how much "stuff" is actually on the screen at any given time and it's insane how much time these people put into things that most players will never even notice.

From the art panel I headed over to the main stage where I watched about two hours of Q&A time with the developers of WoW. As the socially awkward nerds trembled into the microphone (something that I couldn't ever work up the courage to do) the Blizzard head honchos answered almost every question that was thrown at them. More interesting than the answers were the questions themselves. It was cool to see what matters most to people who play the game as they brought up issues that I had never thought of (sometimes to thunderous applause from the audience and sometimes to a rain of boos).

After that I bought some swag and headed to my last stop of the day. The finals of the WoW arena tournament. These kids are nuts. Sitting in front of thousands of people, with $75,000 on the line...they played a video game. For anyone who doesn't know, arenas in WoW pit a certain number of players against other players in combat. In this tournament the teams were 3v3. Personally I had never actually sat down to watch people play video games like this before but apparently everyone else in the auditorium had as it sounded like the roof was going to blow off the building as these guys battled. Eventually the South Koreans defeated the Americans (much to my dismay) and that was it for my day at Blizzcon. Quickly after that I spent some time at the Nvidia booth and played a little WoW in 3D on their gorgeous monitors before departing.

All in all it was a pretty fun day at the Anaheim Convention Center. It was my first gaming convention ever and it was fun to just completely nerd out for a day with thousands of other nerds. I'm hoping to get tickets to the upcoming WonderCon which will be taking place in Anaheim this year and I look forward to hopefully visiting Blizzcon again next year! Ok...time for some much needed sleep! Night kiddos!

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