(If your looking for the more recent article for Blizzcon 2011, it’s HERE)
I was lucky enough to attend Blizzcon 2010, Blizzards sort of yearly festival of nerding the f out. I figure at this point if you’re a person who is all over every detail of every Blizzard games (such as ME) then you probably have all the newsy stuff digested already. The aim of this article is not to summarize all the stuff Blizzard dropped on us (which there actually wasn’t a ton) but more give a point of view of what it was like to actually be at the con and walk the hallowed halls of the Anaheim Convention Center. A quick note: For some reason my camera imported all these pictures at freaking 4000×3000 pixels. I’m way too lazy to go through and resize all of these right now, so I’m just posting them in smaller form in the article. If you want to see a larger version (I KNOW YOU WILL BE CLICKING ON THE HOT NIGHT ELVES) go ahead and click, but I HIGHLY recommend you have the option of fitting pictures to your browser enabled or it gets HUGE. Other than that, enjoy!
MY REAL NAME ON THE INTERNETZ OHNOES
The line to get in at 8 AM Friday morning. The doors didn't open until 10. Estimates put the amount of people at Blizzcon this year at about 25k, which is insane. Blizzard is the only gaming company to have their own convention and they could easily sell 75k tickets to this thing if the venue supported that many people. I actually predict before long they will move (VEGAS!)
This is the view from where I was standing. When the doors opened it only took about 10 minutes to get inside, which wasn't too bad. Almost everybody had some sort of smart phone, Nintendo DS, or PSP out and were playing something as we waited. I got my ass beat at scrabble by my friend :(. There was a definite sense of community nerdom as we all seemed mildly scared being outside and huddled over our precious screens. I kid! Good people!
The guy next to me in line, who was video taping as we walked in, pointed his camera at THIS dude up on the second floor and said "This is so meta, I'm filming a guy filming us." In an attempt to break the space-time continuum, I took a picture of him too.
These banners were HUGE. Considering Blizzard makes a bajillion dollars a month from WoW and is owned by god damn Activision, I will give them tons of credit for pumping some of that money back into the convention. They didn't skimp on anything. Also, the only place I have ever been too where the mens room had lines and the ladies room did not. I wonder if Comic Con is the same way?
The first thing I did when I walked in? Diablo 3 baby. The minutes away from being announced Demon Hunter class was not yet playable, but they had a demo running with any of the other classes available. I was forbidden of taking any pictures while playing the game, I'm surprised nobody yelled at me for taking this! Diablo 3 plays very smoothly, which makes me kind of dumb-founded that Blizzard probably won't release it until 2013. It seems ready. Lord knows all us Diablo fans are ready.
This is the main hall right before the opening ceremonies started, where the big reveal was the Demon Hunter for Diablo 3. Just taking the 20 minutes to play some quick Diablo made me end up way in the back, but we found seats right in front of a big screen so it worked out. This felt like a rock concert.
And the real reason your are all here, good-looking chicks in skimpy costumes! Her and her friend were super nice to pose. That is something I love about these things, everybody is nice. And if your dressed up as something, hot chick or not, you know your picture is going to be a taken a million times, so just roll with it. Not to go all smooshy on you, but every single person I talked to in any way the whole time I was there was amazingly nice. Us nerds are good people.
The Starcraft 2 art panel. I have some shots of some of the stuff they showed off in a bit, but just wanted to give an idea what the panels were set up like. This one went really smooth because it was kind of an inside baseball thing with all the artists up there who aren't concerned at all about game balance. Other panels, such as the World of Warcraft Class panel, fell apart in the question and answer session with angry nerds complaining about their class being nerfed. Some people :(
I am blown away at how detailed these statues of iconic blizzard characters were. Kerrigan here was bigger than life-size and looked incredible. Incredible art.
Speaking of incredible art, the full on art gallery was fantastic. This was at the entrance. The next few shots are some of the pieces. Again, Blizzard has some of the best artists in the business in my opinion and some of this stuff really showed it off.
Deathwing is hardcore, Cataclysm is going to be epic.
Also, he's kind of like Jaws!
A World of Warcraft druid in tree form. I have no idea if this was a guy or a girl in this costume, but they had the movements NAILED. For you WoW players, the Tree kept doing the scared emote dead on as well as having the walk down to a science. Hilarious and awesome.
A better sense of how many computers Blizzard had set up for the various demos, this is the Diablo 3 area again. Standing in the line got you 20 minutes of gameplay and the chance to find an in-game drop that would get you a signed D3 poster from the art team. Girl next to me won! Props to her, but damn I wanted one.
A cow and his foes, Zerglings from SC2. The zerglings would chase the cow around the hall. Some really good costumes this year.
Kael'thalas was there last year as well and I was glad to see him back. You have to be a WoW player to understand how accurate this is. Kudos faux Kael'thalas!
HUNTER! I will always support my class, especially when they have sweet sweet bows.
As much as I love WoW the Starcraft universe really has the best art and character design. This Ghost was sort of intimidating he was so good.
I love when Blizzard does cross over stuff. Tauren Marines are crowd favorites!
One of the new Blizzard in-house mods for SC2, AUIR CHEF! Defeat your enemies, make tasty dishes.
Time for some more costumes! On the right we have a shaman, on the left we have a totally insane lady inside a Tauren mailbox. Seriously, she was in the dance contest, said her name was swine flu, and even managed to freak out host Jay Mohr some.
The twin Valkyrie from Toc in WoW. Always loved this boss, was nice to see some good cosplay of it.
What? You really think I was going to go to freaking Blizzcon and NOT get a picture of girls blizzard hired to paint themselves purple and wear bikinis in the name of promotion and blowing nerds minds? A World of Warcraft themed porn exists out there, this should shock nobody!
Blood Elf from WoW and Ghost from SC2. I earlier said I loved game cross overs. This certainly helped that opinion.
Ok, last one! I promise!
Druid forms were big this year and this Moonkin form was awesome. Whomever was in there, much like the tree druid, had the walk down perfectly. I'd like to think those two hung out later and just druid danced together.
Insanely detailed statues! Blizzard definitely draws from traditional fantasy sources, with creative director Chris Metzen even saying during the opening ceremonies that without Tolkein none of us would be here. But really, I can't imagine a more accurate representation of the traditional fantasy dwarf than this statue.
I realize this isn't a great picture, but I wanted to put it in just to show you the three announcers for the Starcraft 2 tournament. If you're a SC fan you'll know Day 9, Artosis, and Tasteless as awesome shoutcasters and they did a GREAT job of calling the games. It really did feel like a professional sporting event. The SC2 as an e-sport thing was something I was always aware of but never really had that "WOW" moment with until Blizzcon. The players are insanely good and the announcers were bringing a ton of energy. I've never been part of a crowd that cheered for a well executed baneling drop on siege tanks before, but damn it if I didn't cheer as loud as everybody else.
For the costume and dance contest this year Blizzard had a live band. They were phenomenal. They played Blizzard music in between contest stuff and it rocked. I'm a sucker for rock remixes of pretty much anything and I love symphonic metal. So when I got an electric guitar a wicked hot violinist in one band, I was sold.
Here is the moment you have all been waiting for, yes that is me standing in front of the Orc riding a Worg Statue. I had to make sure I was part of the chronicle of awesome that this statue was.
So anybody who played Warcraft 3 knows that DOTA (Defense of the Ancients) was easily the most popular mod created for that game. It pitted two teams of heroes against each other in an effort to take over the others base and had characters that could level up, gain abilities, and had equipment slots. It was super fun, so the crowd kind of freaked out when Blizzard announced they were doing an IN HOUSE version of DOTA for SC2. Also announced were the aforementioned Auir Chef and Left 2 Die, a Left 4 Dead style map. The following shots are some of the concept art done for all those in-house mods that the art panel showed. Yeah it is very nerdy, but this was a highlight of the convention for me.
The new art assets for existing SC2 units that Blizzard put together for the Left 2 Die mod. Original is white text, new is green.
DOTA! Blademaster in SC2? Affirmative!
Crossing games again! Dwarven Maurader class, which is the class I played when I hit the DOTA demo. He was a tanky type that was almost impossible to kill and buffed nearby party members. His ultimate ability was like Muradins stoneform in WC3, where he grew huge, turned to stone to make him nearly invulnerable and then used his hammer to just SMASH THE PUNY MORTALS IN FRONT OF HIM. I enjoyed him a lot :P
If Tauren Marines can exist, why can't MURLOC MARINES!
Speak of the devil.
The Ranger General herself! Man I can't wait for DOTA
The portrait for Sylvanus.
So, we come to one of the best parts of Blizzcon, the closing ceremonies. Last year was Ozzy Osbourne (which did not pull any punches, metal in your face) but this year was the greatest band in the world, Tenacious D. I felt like Jack Black and Kyle Gass fit in perfectly with the Blizzcon atmosphere and they put on an absolutely incredible show. Maybe you recognize the drummer? Yes folks, that is Dave Grohl, former Nirvana drummer and current Foo Fighters frontman (and good friends with Jack black) rockin the drums for The D. Nobody knew he was going to be there, when the camera cut to him the crowd went CRAZY.
To say Dave being there energized the crowd is a gross understatement. LET THERE BE ROCK!
So Jack and Kyle came out dressed like this. They did one song, then Jack asked Kyle why he was dressed like a piece of crap. Kyle responded that this was Jacks fault because he told him this was a big gig and they were going to make it better by dressing up as sweet lizards. Jack responded with NO DUDE WIZARDS. I SAID WIZARDS. This costume was SOOO dumb and every single time they showed Kyle on the big screen it got a laugh.
Kyle playing the spread eagle two-legged guitar thing. He licked the crotch area.
What is that? It's...it's......
IT IS THE METAL!
After the show ended, still some time left. A remarkably empty convention led to some fun moments before closing time. My friend Kelly being "killed" by Ghost Kerrigan and Zergified Kerrigan. These lovely ladies worked for the NVIDIA booth but were having tons of fun with the fans. The zergified one asked me how I wanted to die today, and I said nobody had ever asked me that question before. Judging from Kelly's stupid grin, he's perfectly happy dying right here.
Last picture I wanted to share! So right at the end I wanted to get the nerdiest picture possible and enlisted Kelly again to help me out. For those who don't play WoW, that thing is a summoning stone, which lets 2 people summon the rest of their party to that location via portals it creates. Each race has an animation to use the portals, with my race, the Orcs, putting one arm foward kind of like I am doing right here. Kelly, who plays a Blood Elf, does a two handed semi circle thing. As I tried to explain what I was going for to him, he cleary didn't understand and kept attempting to fist pound me, so I just went with it. I figured it was pretty nerdy anyway. Thanks to the Blizzard Staff member who took this photo!
So there it is everybody, Blizzcon 2010. I hope this at least gave you some sense of what it was like to actually be there. If you’re a fan of Blizzard games, I highly suggest you try to attend one of these. I had an absolutely fantastic time and like I said before, everybody in there realizes there is one giant common interest among all the attendees, which makes it easy to just jump into conversations with people you happen to be standing near. Leave questions in the comments, even if it super nerdy questions, I’ll try to answer anything!
Filed under: Commentary, Games Tagged: | Activision, Anaheim Convention center, artosis, Auir Chef, barbarian, Bejeweled, belf, Blizzard, Blizzcon 2010, blood elf, cataclysm, Chris Metzen, Dave Grohl, day9, death knight, deathwing, demon hunter, Diablo 3, DOTA, druid, Dwarf, e-sports, Elrood, Foo Fighters, geek, Ghost, ghostcrawler, hunter, Illidan, Jack Black, Jaws, Kael'thalas, kerrigan, Kyle Gass, Left 2 Die, left4dead, monk, moonkin, nelf, nerd, night elf, Nirvana, paladin, protoss, rogue, shaman, shoutcast, tasteless, Tenacious D, terran, Tolkein, tree form, witch doctor, World of Warcraft, zerg, zergified