Why go to BlizzCon?
Though there are many gaming conventions throughout the year, BlizzCon is entirely Blizzard-focused. It's where Blizzard is likely to make all of their big gaming announcements, holds live panels with development staff, hosts gaming tournaments (Hearthstone and StarCraft II are already confirmed for BlizzCon 2014), contests, and a big-name band at the closing concert. The costume and talent contests are always worth watching -- whether you see them live from the show floor or catch photos or videos later. You'll also get a goodie bag with exclusive swag -- as well as access to buy BlizzCon-only loot on the show floor. You'll also wind up with some digital goodies like in-game pets for WoW and exclusive Hearthstone cards -- and sometimes beta access for upcoming games, too.
Outside of the official convention space, you'll also find parties and fan meetups, which can be as big of a draw as the convention itself. The bottom line is that if you're interested in Blizzard games, you're probably interested in BlizzCon.
What does BlizzCon cost?
The big downside of BlizzCon is that it's pricey. This year, general admission tickets cost $200 each and benefit dinner tickets -- which include admission to BlizzCon as well as a pre-BlizzCon charity dinner benefiting Children's Hospital of Orange County
-- cost $750 each.
On top of that you'll need to spend for airfare or pay to drive to the Anaheim area and cough up the cash for a hotel room
, which can range from $60 a night for a Super 8 down the street to $220 a night for the Hilton next door to the convention center. Even if you're driving and sharing costs with several roommates (or guildmates), you're probably going to spend at least a few hundred dollars on the trip, on top of ticket costs -- and for cash-strapped gamers, that can be a difficult proposition. If this prices you out of going to BlizzCon, however, you've still got options -- keep scrolling for info on watching from home.How to get a BlizzCon ticket
Unfortunately, actually getting your BlizzCon ticket is probably the hardest part of this equation -- so if you've already gotten your credit card out to book hotel and airfare, make sure you can cancel without a fee. There are three time windows that BlizzCon tickets will be on sale at Eventbrite
, and tickets are likely to sell out within minutes -- so if you want them, you'll have to be online and ready to buy right when they go on sale.
Regular tickets will be on sale Wednesday, May 7th at 7PM PDT and Saturday, May 10th at 10AM PDT. Once those tickets are gone, you'll have a chance to get charity dinner tickets on Wednesday, May 14th at 7PM -- and when those tickets are gone, all of the tickets are gone.
If you didn't luck out and get a ticket, but still want to go, it's a good idea to keep your eyes open on your guild forums and social networks to see if friends have picked up any extras. Though buying from strangers can be problematic -- usually, you need to show a photo ID and/or credit card to pick up tickets -- trustworthy guildies can be a good source. Even when tickets are sold out, they may not necessarily be gone -- so let your friends know you're looking and keep your virtual eyes and ears open.
How to keep up with BlizzCon from home
If you aren't interested in trekking out to California for BlizzCon -- or the price is just too high for your budget -- you can still keep up with the news from home. Though pricing hasn't been announced yet, Blizzard typically offers a virtual ticket, which allows you to stream video of panels and events as well as get digital goodies and access the online version of the BlizzCon store. Last year's virtual ticket cost $40, which isn't a bad price to pay for coverage of the entire event -- without having to wait in a single line.
But even if you don't want to be glued to your computer to watch streaming video throughout BlizzCon weekend, you can expect announcements from the convention floor to be posted online at Blizzard and other news sources -- like WoW Insider -- once they're made. Big announcements, especially, should be on your social media feeds within moments of being announced -- which can give you the news almost as quickly as whether you were there.
Whatever you decide to do this year, holding a BlizzCon is a sure sign that Blizzard has something interesting in store for all of us -- though we'll have to wait until November to find out what.
Just because you're a newbie doesn't mean you can't bring your A-game to
World of Warcraft! Visit the WoW Rookie Guide for links to everything you need to get started as a new player, from the seven things every newbie ought to know to how to get started as a healer or as a tank.