If you were one of the lucky few who happened to attend both this BlizzCon and the one in 2005, you would have noticed, as I did, the subtle changes that separated the two. Some of the changes were physical and others were harder to catch. In 2005 when we arrived at the arena, the sense of excitement was not only palpable, it was visible. For the first time since it's release, WoW fans were able to stand IRL and expound upon their favorite aspects of the game. I know personally, as someone who was at the time fairly new to the game, it was an amazing sight to see so many people who loved the game as I did. When I stood in line to get my tickets this year, however, it felt as if I were surrounded by a different crowd of gamers, a quieter one.
Other differences were evident immediately. The last BlizzCon many more people were out in force in their costumes. Cosplay ran rampant, and you could hardly take a step without running into a succubus. The second BlizzCon we saw much less of this creativity on the show floor, and it was during the costume contest that the tailoring skills of the Blizzard fan base really shone through. I also noticed a lack of an art booth at this year's convention; at the first BlizzCon I loved being able to see concept work from the game as well as original fan art. They did have an art auction with the proceeds going to Child's Play last weekend, however, so I did get at least a small glimpse at some original artwork.
A huge difference between 2005 and 2007 was the reaction to the Starcraft offerings on the show floor. At the first BlizzCon the Starcraft Ghost panels were all but vacant, and all the energy in the convention center seemed wholly surrounding the release of The Burning Crusade. This time around, however, the energy of the attendees seemed split fairly evenly, with the SC 2 fans just as excited as those there to learn about the new expansion. If anything, it seemed that the split in energies divided the competitive gaming from the exploration of new content on the floor.
I can't say which con I liked best, mainly because I came this this year's convention with a completely different perspective. I've been playing WoW for 2 years now, I understand just about everything discussed at the panels, and I was able to look at BlizzCon from a blogger's perspective. The first time I went as a bright-eyed gamer new to the World that is Warcraft, and admit I did an embarrassing amount of squeaking when they made announcements? I think it might like 2005 and 2007 equally for very different reasons, by the simple virtue was I very different as I attended each of them. It only remains what the next BlizzCon will be like. Will we see one in 2009, with a release of a new Diablo title and another WoW expansion? Only time will tell.