15 Minutes of Fame: BlizzCon meetup balloons into mega-podcast event

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15 Minutes of Fame: BlizzCon meetup balloons into mega-podcast event
It was early spring when a few BlizzCon-bound WoW players who were looking to connect and make friends in Anaheim started gathering forces on Twitter.

"I will say as the list has grown, more and more folks have asked me if there was going to be something beyond just the Twitter list," mused Ceraphus, co-host of The Sundering and Azeroth Pirate Radio podcasts and sparkplug for the growing list, back in April. "So right now I am really just in a brainstorming phase and seeing who may be interested in assisting on any potential event."

That must have been some pretty good brainstorming. What started out as a Twitter list of enthusiastic BlizzCon-goers turned into a full-bore pre-BlizzCon mega-podcast event called World of Podcasts. With representation from 23 podcasts across six panels, the event attracted so many fans that the venue location had to be expanded at the last moment. Ceraphus explains how the fan event unfolded across Twitter to explode onto the BlizzCon scene and teases us with a glimpse of what may be in store for future World of Podcasts events.

Listen to the 2013 World of Podcasts event.

Ceraphus (@ceraphus)
The Sundering, Azeroth Pirate Radio

WoW Insider: World of Podcasts was the mega-podcast that grew from a bunch of Twitter fans who wanted to meet up at BlizzCon 2013, isn't that right?

Ceraphus: From my perspective, yes. I know some of the other organizers had different paths, but for me it just started with creating a Twitter list ... then talking to Xantar from the Holy Shat podcast about creating a meetup ... then finding out Lignar from the Epic Podcast was doing something similar ... and all of us just getting together from there to make it happen.

So when did you first suspect that you had something bigger than a WoW Twitterati meetup on your hands?

The concept first developed when we saw some podcasters who were interested and then saying maybe we can do something more than a meetup. Then after floating a few ideas out there to the podcasting community about doing a live podcasting show with multiple podcasters, interest in the event grew very quickly.

It was then that we realized if each podcast did their own thing at the event, they would only have a few minutes to talk. So we said what if we did a panel type show, almost like a mini-BlizzCon? And that gave everyone a chance to work with people who they may not have in the past and allowed us to move in an exciting direction.
Let's talk about those panels.

I personally MCed the Diablo panel, and Medicakes from Epic Podcast co-MCed Warcraft Raiding with me.
  1. For Diablo, what was discussed mostly is the state of the game -- is it in a better place now than it was when it launched, and from what we know about Reaper of Souls, will that correct the loot issues we are still seeing in D3?
  2. The Warcraft Raiding panel tackled the discussion of flex raiding mostly, with lots of speculation on if flex would become the new normal and did Siege of Orgrimmar feel satisfying as the last raid of the expansion.
  3. The Surviving BlizzCon panel was MCed by Xia from The Sundering, and it covered what people should do, bathe, use deodorant, what to see, where to eat -- the important items regarding ancillary activities to the convention itself.
  4. The Hearthstone panel was MCed by Lignar from Epic Podcast, and it talked about the state of the game, did it feel ready, does it work in the digital space, what features is the game still missing, and will it translate well to a mobile platform.
  5. Warcraft Lore was MCed by Xantar from the Holy Shatt podcast, and it focused on the pitfalls of the Mists of Pandaria storyline, what areas of lore could have used greater focus, and great moments in game based on fantastic storytelling.
  6. Warcraft General was MCed by Xantar from the Holy Shatt podcast, and it covered a wide range of topics from scenarios vs. 5-man dungeons to pet battles. We covered everything in game from the impact on guilds with the introduction of flex raids to what professions still need work.
That's a comprehensive program! And attendance for the event grew so big that you had to expand the room at the last minute to get everyone in, didn't you?

We did! It was kind of a shock when I was told we were running out of space. We had the option to add more space dynamically, so we did. Throughout the night, we estimate that approximately 200 to 250 were in attendance, which really exceeded our expectations.

Let's talk about all the tech you had to transport out to Anaheim and set up. That must have been a massive task.

Most of the tech we had to bring was just our laptops and a few cables. Most of the other equipment, mixer, mics, cables, were all rented through the venue. There were pros and cons to this and obvious takeaways for the next time.

What was the crowd favorite of the event?

I really felt that the crowd enjoyed mingling the most. Obviously some came to watch their favorite podcaster or some came to watch a panel on their favorite aspect of the game -- but before and after the event where everyone was taking pictures with each other, talking, I think that was truly the hit.

[We got] tons of great feedback on each panel from those in attendance. A common statement by attendees was that World of Podcasts was an "awesome, original idea for a meetup/event." The prize giveaways, especially the Razer Naga mouse, were some crowd favorites for sure.

So have you or any of the other organizers ever put together an event of this caliber and size before?

I have helped put together and organize in some capacity an event for my company, but nothing like this -- nothing where you had to organize speakers, talking points, panels, prizes, logistics of venues and equipment.
And we hear you're already planning a bigger event for next year! Anything you can tease us with at this early date?

We are planning something big -- so big we may need a Kickstarter to get it rolling -- but that's the most we can share right now. But we have tons of great comments about the event, lots of ideas of how we would do it better, and what we would change.

The attendees and participating podcasters had great feedback. Many have asked if we could do this at more events like Dragoncon and PAX. So right now we are recovering, but our focus is definitely on future events.

World of Podcasts organizers Ceraphus (@ceraphus) of The Sundering and Azeroth Pirate Radio; Xia (@itsxia) of The Sundering; Xantar (@thexantar) of Holy Shatt; Smexadin (@medicakes) of Epic Podcast; and Lignar (@lignar) of Epic Podcast.

Art Quori (@quoriwow) of Azeroth Pirate Radio

World of Podcasts participating podcasts All Things Azeroth, Azeroth Pirate Radio, Azeroth Round Table, Bind on Equip, But Wait! There's Lore!, Darkmoon Herald, Epic Podcast, Epic Questions, Group Quest, Holy Shatt, Horde For Life, Horde House, Let's WoW, Low Pop WoW, My Epic Heals, Press Y Podcast, Realm Maintenance, Shattered Soulstone, The Geek Domain, The Starting Zone, The Sundering, Twizzcast, and Warcraft Less Traveled.

Listen to the 2013 World of Podcasts event.
"I never thought of playing WoW like that!" -- and neither did we, until we talked with Game of Thrones' Hodor (Kristian Nairn) or a 70-year-old grandma who tops her raid's DPS charts as its legendary-wielding GM. Send your nominations to lisa@wowinsider.com.
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