Blizzcon 2010 Recap

This was our third year at Blizzcon. It’s become somewhat of a tradition for us. We refer to it as our “anniversary vacation” because it’s generally the same time of the year (our actual anniversary is in September). I think your first year is probably the best just because of the “wow!” factor. That said, this year wasn’t really as good as 2009.

No Big Announcements
At least not for Warcraft fans. Diablo people got the new demon hunter class and arenas. It was a big year for Blizzard. Apparently the first time they’ve managed to ship two titles in one year. Blizzard focuses on quality and despite all the flack that they get from fans they’re pretty damn good at maintaining high standards. Some game companies will ship unplayable products, with or without a patch that “fixes” them into something playable. Blizzard ships stuff once it’s ready, and is eternally tweaking and making improvements. Don’t think so? Just ask a Vanilla raider how long the MC run was back in the day. For this company to ship two complete products in one year is amazing, especially considering the major overhaul they had to do to Azeroth for Cataclysm.

But as I said, no big announcements for Wow fans. You can find out pretty much anything you want about Cata over at MMO-Champion. Panels were pretty much just open Q&A. As usual, there were a lot of really stupid questions. While you can read Blizzard’s responses to some of these questions over at MMO, they don’t really convey the snarkiness of their tone.

Seating/Visibility
In previous years, the stage has been at the end of a long hall so only the few up front had visibility. However, large screens were always placed along the ceiling so that everyone had a pretty good view. Screens also alternated views- during a panel once screen might show the panelists while the other showed the questioner. Or during a live show one screen would show the musician while the other displayed some graphics that went with the song.

At least lighting was cool.

This year the stage was in the middle of the right side of the long skinny hall, with TVs along that wall. There were a few in the ceiling, but most were along the wall. The problem with this was that the screens along the wall showed jack. Look at the image above. Notice how most of the big screens only show the D3 logo? Well that’s all they’d show. During a panel those screens were never used, only the two tiny vertical screens which showed the panelist. That’s it. The good thing was that the screens were fully utilized during the SC2 finals and the concert. But overall visibility was lacking.

Sustenance
Food had the usual long lines and exorbitant prices. Happily, there were a couple of food vendors at the back of the hall that nobody seemed to know about. The lines for these were approximately 10 minutes, if that. Lines at other locations took ~45minutes.

Contests
Didn’t seem to be as much talent this year. Every costume seemed to involve heels of some sort, and a ton of contestants couldn’t even walk unattended. I was surprised the Arthas didn’t make it into the finals. He was in what looked to be real armor (saw him walking by earlier in the day with his DKs). There was also a girl dressed as Nova that looked so good I thought she was a booth bunny.

The dance contest was better organized, with people sorted by race and gender. However, the musicians (live band this year) didn’t give the last person as much time to dance, so that sucked for those contestants. I don’t know if the stage was more slippery this year, but it seemed there were more trips in dancing.

Starcraft 2 Tournament
First off let me say that I hate sports. I find them incredibly boring.

Boring.

I’ve also never been into PvP in games. I may be competitive, but I like working together as a group to overcome obstacles. My competition lies in the rankings for kills. I play the campaign version of SC2, and will join multiplayer games against the computer. I’m not really into fighting other players. At Blizzcon I skip the tournaments completely, unless I happen to be waiting in line for food and that’s all that’s playing in the hall. Last year I saw Wow arena finals while waiting in line for burgers, but struck up a conversation with someone in line and ignored said finals as soon as I had the chance.

This year the SC2 finals were playing in the main hall right before the closing ceremony and concert. So I had to sit through them. Initially I whipped out my phone and began to play Simon the Sorcerer. Every so often I looked up at the screen when the crowd went while. Pretty soon I put the phone away. It was exhilarating. I’m sure having the commentary helped, but god damn it was exciting watching two players of that skill beating the crap out of each other. The recoveries from attacks were amazing. If I’d lost that many units I would have been done.

Tenacious D
I’m a fan of the D, though I feel they could be doing far more than just comedy music. It was nice to be able to see them live. If you’re unfamiliar with the D, they have some songs that are extremely inappropriate for children. Warnings were posted all over the main hall on Saturday. Even so, parents decided to bring their kids. These two were in front of us:

Bad parenting.

Not surprisingly, they left shortly after “Fuck her Gently.”

I was hoping to catch “Tribute” on film, but both my Flip and my camera were low on batteries. The Flip decided to die after 20sec of turning it on, even though it had said the battery was full. The camera lasted longer, but “Tribute” was so close to the end that I only got about half of it. I was trying to pick and choose what to record, but they kept being entertaining so I kept turning the camera back on. >.< I did manage to get "Wonderboy" in full.

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