For those of you who don't know, Blizzard held a benefit dinner for the Laguna Art Museum, which is also currently hosting a WoW art exhibit. Attendees got to choose a Blizzard personality to speak with at their table, bid on Blizzard art and hang out with the biggest Blizzard names. Following is an excerpt from my chat with Joe about the event (I've tried to edit out most of the fangirl swooning), as well as a gallery of his photographs.
How did you get tickets?
There was an announcement on worldofwarcraft.com about the dinner and that they were raffling chances to buy a ticket. I signed up immediately. Several weeks later, I got an email that I had won the raffle.
How much were the tickets?
$500 a head.
What was included?
BlizzCon tickets and goody bag, a signed piece of art, Sindragosa by Wei Wang, and tickets to the museum exhibit.
And of course dinner and an open bar.
And you brought your guild leader with you?
Yes. Our guild got together to pay for his ticket.
Where was the event held?
In the Hilton, right next door to the convention center.
Did you win any of the silent auctions?
No. I only bid on one piece and I think the ending price was almost double what I bid.
For those of us living vicariously, what did you eat?
Shrimp, oysters, pasta, roast beef, turkey.
Sounds like a feast. Was it good?
It was buffet style and yes, it was good. How can food not be good with an open bar?
Good point. So your table chose to speak to Carlos Guerrero, a Blizzard producer. What did you talk to him about?
I asked him about the problems we have seen on Destromath with not being able to launch the Wrath of the Lich King 5 man instances. It was explained that each realm needs maintenance to increase capacity and they are doing them as they can.
We talked generally about how WoW has improved over the years. Carlos asked us about our memorable moments and he was able to share his own. I started to ask him about lore and he told me i needed to speak to this lady, Evelyn.
Yes. She is in Creative Development and is referred to as "Chris Metzen's database". Essentially, her job is to fact and continuity check all the lore that Chris throws out. She gives classes at Blizzard to people as they begin working on projects and covers Diablo and Starcraft, too.
And you got to speak to Chris Metzen, too? (Swoons with fangirl glee.)
Right at the end of the night, I got to the point where Evelyn started pointing me to Chris because I was asking about things that haven't been clarified. I believe I was told that I might just prompt Metzen to make up lore on the spot. I actually went over and started talking to Mike first.
He was hanging out with the lead singer from L80ETC.
Yes, Samwise. Mike wanted to hear what my question was and maybe he could answer it. So I launched into my speech about the connection between The Old Gods and Lovecraft and pretty quickly he was pointing me at Metzen. I waited politely while Metzen was discussing what seemed to be a creative venture with one of the attendees.
Before I got to ask my question, Mike Morhaime signaled Chris that it was time to go. Chris made his apologies for having to leave and that his ride/boss asked him to go. I was actually behind him -- he was talking to a half circle of about five people at that point. He turned to me last, shook my hand and asked me my name. I said, "I have a quick lore question, but i guess it can wait until tomorrow." But he stopped and told me to ask.
Note: This was before the Cataclysm announcement, as this event took place the night before the con.
I asked him about The Old God influence on a larger scale and on Azeroth. For instance, are they behind the corruption of Deathwing and Sargeras? Chris said something like, "Hmm... wouldn't the Naaru be concerned about that?" and smiled.
He also referred to Azeroth as a 'prime material' world and asked me whether it was plausible that other prime material worlds carried similar 'taints'. Prime material is a D&D term for the plane that mortals live on.
He chided me quite harshly for saying "See-thun": "C'mon, man! C'Thun... Cthulu... c'mon!"
If you had the opportunity to go to another one of these next year, would you?
Hell yes! Without a doubt. It was even more special than BlizzCon.
If you would like to read more from Joe, his blog is Kyliaar's Glade.