BlizzCon: The final frontier ... No wait, that's not right. BlizzCon is an epic journey, though -- at least it was for me last year, and I am sincerely hoping to make the pilgrimage to Anaheim again this October. "But that's a lot of work just to go for two days!" I hear all the time. You're right. It is. It's also quite costly if you're not from California. I can also say that by the end of Day Two, you'll be drop-dead tired, cranky and your feet will hurt.
My husband and I trekked out to California from Florida for BlizzCon 2009. We were a little leery about it, but I can honestly say that it was one of the best vacations of my life. We have been raiding with the same guild since right after we were married in April of 2008, and there's a very solid core of people who have always been there. Turned out, some of them were going to BlizzCon. We figured it would be a great way to tie that voice over Ventrilo to a face. We were able to hang out for two straight days with people we raid with several nights a week -- experiencing Cataclysm's launch together, doing the fishing daily and many other fun things.
For me, the best part about BlizzCon was getting to meet in person guildmates I've talked to for years. It's really pretty amazing how much that meant to the five or six of my guildmates who were there last year. There are even more trying to attend this year.
The second time around: Plans from a veteran
Now that I'm a BlizzCon veteran, my goals for this coming BlizzCon have changed a bit. I can't wait to reunite with my guildmates again, but I want to get more involved -- network with more people, attend some more meetups. I accidentally met Fimlys from Asleep at the WoW and Twisted Nether last year -- and I didn't even know about those blogs. Now I do; in fact, I talk to Fimlys nearly every day. I wasn't blogging at BlizzCon last year; that started in November of last year, and I haven't looked back.
I don't feel like BlizzCon is just for the hardcore gamer, end-game raider or arena junkie. I really think that anyone who appreciates Blizzard products -- WoW being the biggest, but StarCraft and Diablo too -- will thoroughly have a great time. I think anyone can have a good time at BlizzCon -- in fact, I know that to be true. My sister-in-law, who has not played WoW at all, went last year and had a fantastic time. She is intending on going again this year. Really, there's something for everyone, though the profile of person who will probably get the most out of attending BlizzCon is someone who has been involved with the games quite a while, has paid his or her dues and is very interested in the future of Blizzard gaming.
My favorite parts of the convention last year were listening to Chris Metzen (Blizzard's vice president of creative development) at the opening ceremonies announcing Cataclysm, and sitting through some of the panels discussing what's coming next. I still get chills to this day thinking about it.
If you're not into all the new theorycrafting, new releases, panels and new gameplay -- that's OK! There are lots of other things to do. Remember that only some of the booths are actually run by Blizzard. Many of the vendors run contests and have many great prizes. I remember sitting down at the SteelSeries booth, logging into WoW and picking on guildmates who weren't there -- right from the convention floor.
BlizzCon experiences are different for everyone, that much I'm sure of. I think everyone who goes has a fantastic time no matter how far they travel. Whether your main goal is to meet guildmates, meet developers and Blizzard executives, learn about the up-and-coming developments or even just sit back and enjoy the ride, I assure you that you will not be disappointed. Last year was all of the above for me. I met some long-time friends for the first time, stood five feet from Ghostcrawler (lead systems developer) before the opening ceremonies, won some prizes from the booths around the convention hall, learned first hand about the Cataclysm changes and came home absolutely exhausted, with memories that will last a lifetime.
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