Another year means another BlizzCon with all of its ups and downs. The convention, Blizzard's semi-of-annual event to celebrate new releases, went down at the Anaheim Convention Center last Friday and Saturday. The horde and swarm of Blizzard fans that invaded Anaheim showed up to geek out on the latest World of Warcraft expansion, go apeshit in their seats during epic Starcraft tournaments, and oggle plenty of scantily clad cosplay vixens. But of course the usual madness of the event came with its share of pitfalls as well. Come with us as we explore the best and the worst of BlizzCon 2013.
Seeing Blizzard Staff's Reaction To Fan Reactions
One of my favorite things about BlizzCon is seeing the look on all the Blizzard staffers' faces when they see the audience's reaction what they've been working on. This goes for both the people who are working the con, which takes months to plan and a crazy amount of hours the week before to set up (if you're friends with more than two Blizzard staffers on Facebook, you know), and the people who are working on projects that debut at the con. The staffers who work on games spend months not being able to tell anyone about what they're doing. When they finally get to see the fan reaction? Bliss. (Charles Lam)
The Costume Contest
If there was major highpoint on Friday, it had to be the giant parade of cosplay characters who lined up for their 15 seconds of fame in the BlizzCon Costume Contest. Seriously, there were some Star Wars-quality get ups in the bunch. Even if you weren't super familiar with World of War Craft, Diablo or Heroes of the Storm, the sheer imagination and skill on display were enough to hold our attention. That and the fact that there were a few contestants in danger of tripping because they're capes and clawed feet made them a little clumsy. Among the highlights were the couple pictured above who got engaged while on stage before the show was over. Awww, we love to see two brutal, bloodstained warriors get together. (Nate Jackson)
CarBotCarBot released a new video to celebrate Heroes of the Storm, one of Blizzard's newest games.It's amazing. (Charles Lam)
Sure, there were plenty of elaborate other-worldly creatures roaming the massive convention center floor last weekend. But one costume that certainly resonated with just about every gamer in the building was this guy, who came to BlizzCon dressed as the fat gamer from the South Park episode “Make Love Not Warcraft.” Most of you know him as the guy attached to the meme “How Do You Kill That Which Has No Life.” As you can see, he's the embodiment of the ultimate video game nerd–a mountainous gut, dead-eyed stare and male pattern baldness (the guy pictured partially shaved his head for the part!). He even wheeled around his own desk with a computer modem, cans of Rockstar and M&M wrappers glued to it. I guess if you have to leave grandma's basement to go to BlizzCon, there's no shame in taking a little bit of it with you. (Nate Jackson)
BlizzCon swag has always been a big deal, and every attendee, special guests included, gets a gift. While there were no super secret beta codes this year, Blizzard's new line of kawaii-desu~~ figures of the antagonists of its majors series are a wonderful prize. They're supposed to be the beginning of an entire run of figures, never to be made again. I think I'll take that over being able to try some WoW raids a few months early. (Charles Lam)
Up next: The Worst of BlizzCon
Lack of up-and-coming vendors
In years past, one of the great things about BlizzCon was the ability to buy cool stuff from up-and-coming vendors who, though small, might've had their pulse on the next great product, whether it was a new tech toy or a clothing line. This year, Blizz definitely catered to the bigger corporate sponsors like Rosewill, Gigabyte and Steele Series. There were some great products but for those scouring for brands to watch in 2014, we didn't really get much of that. (Nate Jackson)
Anytime there's a convention in Anaheim, I make sure to eat before heading over because I swear the food immediately available to the convention center is so.. beige, the Sbarro and Subway kind of beige. So, whenever food trucks pull up, even if they're kind of low tier, the lines get crazy. Last weekend? Four trucks for 26,000 attendees. The lines at the food trucks took foreverrrr at their peak (I'm sure the food lines were longer than the game lines at certain points of the day). Now, I don't mind waiting 10 minutes for a decent burger, but half an hour? After waiting half an hour to play some Hearthstone? Nooooo thanks.
Blink 182 Was an Awkward Headliner
Yeah, I wrote literally three days ago that one of the best things about BlizzCon was the music. But right now I'm also writing that one of the worst things, this year anyways, was the music, namely the headliner. Up until now, BlizzCon has commanded some good acts, not amazingly popular, sure, but very respectable. Tenacious D, the Foo Fighters, and Ozzy? They fit perfectly.
But this year, the headliner was Blink 182. Now, nothing against Blink 182 (actually, I guess something against Blink 182), but the image that they give BlizzCon is the image that BlizzCon actively should try to avoid. When I think Blink 182, all I can imagine is a bunch of pre- and just slightly post-pubscent teenage boys running around skating boarding and being sad, not the kind of image I want to associate with one of the best events in Orange County. (Charles Lam)
Why Isn't It Annual?
BlizzCon should be an annual event, but sadly it's not. Since 2005, Blizzard has hosted only seven cons in nine years, which is good, but could be better.
BlizzCon is one of the best events to take place in Orange County and has been successful every single year it's been held. Whenever Blizzard has let the event grow, it's grown amazingly. Historically, Blizzard has tied the event to major announcements, but it might be time to let that go, because, really, who doesn't need an excuse to party with a bunch of nerds? (Charles Lam)