Hello friends! It was that time of year again, where I Elrood journeyed out to the far reaches of the west coast to attend Blizzcon. It’s an annual celebration of all things Warcraft, Starcraft, and Diablo (no new IP yet…..as always the case with Blizzard, its ready when it’s ready). This article will be much like last years (article detailing that right here) in that if you’re looking for news and the nitty-gritty of what we learned about the games from this years convention, I would go elsewhere. I want to give an idea of what it was like to actually be there, which means lots pictures and less “Omg hunter dps will be buffed by 4.78 percent if you spec into these new talents that enable you to shoot small mammals out of crossbows ooommmggg”. That would be freaking awesome though. These aren’t organized, but they are (mostly) in the order I took them in, so it’s very much an as I walked the con, this is the stuff I came across, I hope you get a sense of how much fun it is to be there =) Let’s look at some pictures!
The first costume I see is....BOOMKIN!
I like to imagine this guy talking in a Bran Bronzebeard type accent while exploring ancient caves
New banner this year! It's Hakkar I think....isn't he dead? Is this a prelude to a new troll instance?! More Zuls I say
If you think about it Blizzards popularity is INSANE. They hold their own convention yearly and sell 26,000 tickets to it literally 3 to 4 seconds. Then there are enough people interested in going left over who will order the DirecTV package to watch all the festivities. This coming from just a single gaming company. But there were the cameras! Did any of you guys get the DirecTV feed? How was it?
Opening ceremony time...just like a rock concert (FORESHADOWING!). As Blizzards Chris Metzen said in the subsequent speech, "Can you feel the energy in this room?" As nerdy as it is, yes I really could.
All of these computers would soon be playing the new WoW expansion, Mists of Pandaria (I'll talk more about that in a bit). The financial side of Blizzcon intrigues me, I wonder how much money they make? Tickets were $175 this year, up from last year, but there are so many computers and screens and art I honestly think they probably break about even. Now, if you throw in the Blizzard store that sells many items that will only be available at Blizzcon, I'm thinking that's where a lot of the profit comes from.
Guitar signed by the Foo Fighters. Blizzard has set quite the precedent now for having big name musical acts close Blizzcon. Ozzy, Tenacious D, now Foo Fighters. That speaks to my earlier point of its crazy how big and popular this company is.
Tyrael statue! One of the more impressive things at the convention, it was about 8 or 9 feet tall. New this year as well.
Costumes were of a high quality this year. Female worgen has to be one of the tougher ones, kudos to this one.
I apologize for the dark picture here, it's better if you click on it and blow it up. This is a six-foot something tall Thrall made entirely from Mega Blocks, which are basically Legos. I can barely put the Lego people together, so as far as I'm concerned, the degree of difficulty for this is off the charts.
The official Blizzcon 2011 art! Thrall, Diablo, Kerrigan. I wish I was better at Starcraft because it has the coolest characters and lore of any Blizzard game imo.
Solid costume, nice staff!
This was available via charity auction. It's one of the server blades that originally ran World of Warcraft, signed by a number of Blizz developers. It looks cool and is most definitely a piece of history, WoW is one of the most successful games ever. But what the hell would I do with it in my house?
How hard is it to paint yourself a different color? I would think it would be a huge pain to do it, but after seeing quite a few people at Blizzcon do just that, I wonder if it's easier than I'm imagining.
The Pandaren (new race in WoW) of course have their own starting zone. That zone is ON A TURTLE. A live swimming around the ocean turtle. I like it.
So, the Pandaren. Blizzard said they actually wanted to make them the alliance playable race for WoW's first expansion, The Burning Crusade. It didn't work out but they were sitting on this rich history and back story for them. I'm not entirely sold as Pandas being the new playable race, but I remain cautiously optimistic. One AWESOME thing: Pandas start neutral and at level 10 can choose to go horde or alliance. I think they should have done it with goblin and worgen for Cataclysm, but better late than never, it's a good idea.
I played a Panda Monk from lvl 1 to 5, but Blizzard gave us a warning. The female panda models were not yet in the game. so they did something different. Some pandas had bows in their hair and were in a guild called "I am a girl".
Pro costume, and she was nice enough to pose for this picture. This is what I mean when I said painting oneself has to be hard! Really nailed the Sylvanas vibe, even her facial expression was intense.
Spirit healer. It's a girl in the costume, but it was hard to tell. Spirit healers are kind of gender neutral beings anyway, so it seemed appropriate. Walking with those wings had to be difficult!
How can she see?!
Scarlet Monestary is becoming a heroic instance for Mists of Pandaria. Let's hear it for the return of High Inquisitor Whitemane! Both in-game and this amazing costume, she was here last year as well.
I took this picture purely because these were nice costumes. I had no ulterior motive what so ever. Alright I'm a guy, these were some skimpy costumes. Scantily clad ladies are part of the Con experience, who am I to buck the trend!
Antec had some floor space, and showed off some superb art on computer cases. The Tyrael one that's top center was raffled off....I did not win.
This picture sums up a trend I was dealing with all convention as I took pictures of good costumes. There was usually a person getting their picture taken with the costumed folk, but I didn't want to impose and ask them to pose AGAIN solo just for me. So here's a boomkin, holding a baby boomkin, and I have no earthly idea who that girl is.
AGAIN! Lovely looking night elves.....one happy guy.
Dark again I know, sorry! This was the publishing panel, which dealt with sources of fiction from Blizzard like novels, comics, web stuff, etc. I was at this panel by myself. My view has always been the games will come out eventually, but getting to see panels like this I won't get anywhere else. The two far right people are Christie Golden and Richard Knaack, both of whom have written excellent novels in the WoW universe. Read them, it adds to the game for sure.
Kerrigan is still the best statue at Blizzcon, sorry Tyrael, nice try. The most impressive game I played this year was Starcraft 2: Heart of the Swarm. I did a full campaign mission and about half of another, and I was blown away. It seems we're going to get a TON of new information about how the zerg operate and evolve, which has always been the most fascinating part of Starcraft to me. Blizzard realizes that the insanely tuned balance of the E-sport style multiplayer doesn't need to exist in single player, which lets them to cool crazy things in the missions. In the full mission I played, an ice storm would periodically freeze all units on the map (except the native Yetis)...until you zerg swarm the yetis, kill them, and assimilate their DNA into yours to become immune to the freeze. Decimating a protoss base while they're units are frozen and unable to stop you is fantastic.
Do NOT mess with Tyrael or Blizzard artists.
This is one of Blizzards finest artists, Samwise Didier. He was doing live drawings on stage. Later, during the closing ceremony, he morphed from mild-mannered artist to METAL BAND SINGER as he played with the in-house blizzard band, Level 90 Elite Tauren Chieftan.
Blizzard fan art contest: Awesome stuff....in reverse order, drumroll please
I didn't get many pictures of the costume/dance contest this year. I was far away and most didn't look good, plus those are all over the internet by now I'm sure. I put this one in for two reasons. One, minecraft judgement pally armor is such a weird idea that I feel the world should know about it. Two, and more important, this guy fell off a ramp on stage and his pixellated gloves flew off. He got up and was ok, so many lols were hard. Well done, Minecraft Judgement Pally.
Nvidia Booth babes!
I'm really glad I caught this. Look how close her costume is to the Kerrigan statue behind her, and so is the pose. Blizzard has some truly dedicated fans, well done faux Kerrigan.
PANDAS! *DEATH METAL MUSIC*
Oh Blizzard, hiring these women to dress up as Blood Elves just so all us nerds can oggle them .....is awesome.
Oh hey, it's ME! And most of the cast of The Guild, including Miss Felicia Day. They were all insanely nice and seemed genuinely to be having a good time being there, talking to everybody. The Guild is a high quality show that anybody with any interest in MMO's what so ever will find enjoyable, support it!
So this was outside....what the hell. A huge dragon being operated by two dudes inside of it stalking around outside the convention center, for no specific reason as far as I could tell, was a nice surprise. This is the kind of stuff one only sees by going =)
So this wasn't at Blizzcon per se, it was a car parked in the hotel we stayed at. But this is the level of dedicated fans Blizzard has....a FOR GNOMEREGAN LICENSE PLATE. My other ride is a sweet gryphon? I can't decide what's worse...that this exists or that as a proud member of the horde, I wanted to key this car.
I did not have the camera for one of the best parts of Blizzcon; the Starcraft 2 GSL finals. Going from about 9:30 pm to midnight on the first day of the convention, it wasn’t LIKE being at a professional sporting event…it WAS a professional sporting event. It was the first time that the finals of the biggest Starcraft 2 league in Korea (where the game is the most popular sport in the country) were held outside of that country. About 3500 people were packed in to the hall to watch, all of us INTO the matches. A woman came out to introduce it and started speaking in Korean, to which the whole crowd sat there silent and thought “uh oh….are we not going to be able to understand any of this?” At this point a man in a TUXEDO strolled on to stage and said “Hello….my name is John Park, and I am the translator.” We all paused for half a second as this sank in….and then “WOOOOO TRANSLATOR!”, standing ovation. We were laughing, John was laughing, it was probably my favorite moment of the entire convention. Pro level Starcraft is incredibly exciting and this was the peak. It was truly a spectacle and I had me more pumped up than anything Blizzard actually announced.
So the closing ceremonies this year was Foo Fighters. I don’t have any pictures because I was too far away to get any good ones and I didn’t want to take pictures of the screen like I did last year. The concert was AMAZING. And I do mean concert, Dave Grohl came out and said “We have a lot of fucking songs” and played for almost two hours. Their energy was incredible, the concert was worth the price of the ticket alone. Here’s a small taste courtesy of the DirecTV feed that I’ll leave you with. Blizzcon 2011 trumped last year in just about every way!
Ok well not every way, apparently any footage from the Foo Fighters concert at Blizzcon has been totally cock blocked by Activision. Uh….just take my word for it people, it was awesome!
Filed under: Commentary, Games | Tagged: Blizzcon 2011, Blizzcon 2011 pictures, Blizzcon costumes, Diablo 3, Felicia Day, Foo Fighters, GSL Finals, Heart of the Swarm, Mists of Pandaria, Pandaren, The Guild |