Monday, October 24, 2011

BlizzCon 2011 Con Report

Sindragosa spices up the usual BlizzCon sign photo
All I will get around to saying is that a ton of things happened, and a lot of pictures were taken. How much? I took nearly four times more photos this year compared to last year. My time at this year's BlizzCon was absolutely amazing, and hopefully with this con-report, maybe it'll inspire some of you to (attempt to) go to BlizzCon 2012.

If you just want to see my big Photo Gallery (with less lacking photoshopping!) - the link is on the right bar or right here, for the lazy.

Anyway, more after the jump.

Found some NPCs fishing the Jacuzzi at the Wowhead Party
Day 0 

I wonder who these two are...
Day 0 starts off like most other people's Day 0. Unless you arrived on Day -1 (technically Wednesday). The drive up to BlizzCon this year was actually pretty fun, considering in past years - after the first half-hour of the drive, my group tends to don headphones and just listen to whatever. Watching Wowcrendor videos and chatting up what your Ultimate Dynasty Warriors team would be somehow made a two-hour trip seem pretty short. To quickly wrap this part up to get to the Wowhead meetup - I quickly found out I still cannot eat Seafood (despite having Asian genes), it was awesome skipping the huge badge line (thank you friend who got hired to be a Blizzard GM), and dear god I love the Pirate Dinner Show.

The Wowhead/WoW Insider Party was pretty cool - though I felt like a fish out of water walking around. I arrived pretty late, so everyone already had their cliques going and it's hard to approach random people. I did take some cool photos, and eventually chatted up with last year's BlizzCon Costume Contest winner - Chrstina the Diablo 3 Monk. I ended up leaving the party with Pocket (and friends), and oddly enough as we were leaving, Ghostcrawler was coming in.

Before hitting the sack, ran into some cool peoples. :P

Tyrael in all his glory
Day 1 

Note - not the entire group
There was so much going on Day 1. Obviously, the big announcements were pretty huge - getting to play cute Pandas who kick ass and drink all day will be fun to have in WoW, the SC2 Heart of the Swarm trailer is amazing (and the demo was just --- I wish I had more time to play it), and Diablo 3 right along, though I wish it could have shipped this year. Though, apparently WoW will also be introducing Pokemon into the game in the future. Not sure what to make of that.

The cosplay photoshoot was great - the group was huge! I didn't have a wide-angle lens to get everyone in a single shot. I wish I got there sooner, but my time at the Mists of Pandaria demo took me a bit past the start time of the photoshoot. By the way, the Mists of Pandaria demo was heck of a lot of fun - it seemed to be already very polished, and almost live-ready.

This year's BlizzCon Costume Contest Winner
The contests were awesome. I'll admit that I was a bit underwhelmed last year with the costumes - while there were some great cosplays last year, there were quite a few last year that weren't up to par in quality expected at a BlizzCon. This year, almost every cosplayer that walked on stage was absolutely amazing. There was only one or two where I wish they weren't in the Costume Contest - and only because I felt their slots could have been given to other cosplayers who spent more effort but got denied in getting into the contest this year. There were a number of costumes that I think got snubbed, but I guess that is bound to happen this year because there were so many quality costumes this year.

Fans celebrating SlayerMMA's win over IMMVP
Lastly, to end Day 1 - I have to say, I do watch StarCraft 2 match videos every so often. But the atmosphere and the excitement of being at the StarCraft 2 Global Starcraft League Grand Finals was just amazing. It seriously felt like I was at EVO - the way the audience was and the atmosphere was. I would've expected that type of atmosphere in Korea. I never would've thought it would happen here in the US - StarCraft 2 has really come a long way, hasn't it?

Samwise Didler is staring at your soul, while CEO Mike Mordahime looks on
Day 2

Four of the best WoWcinema voices in one locked room...
Day 2 was about visiting booths and trying out the Heart of the Swarm demo. Seriously, I already want to play Heart of the Swarm at home right now. Unfortunately, the HotS demo and the MoP demo were the only two I played - I never got around to playing the Blizzard DOTA demo - and I wasn't interested in playing Diablo 3 considering I'm already in the beta.

I know next year, I will probably do less panels. While it was nice watching some of the panels, I felt that perhaps it would've been better if I had spent more time playing demos then watching panels. Okay, maybe I'll just watch the live raid only next year. BTW - running into awesome voice people is well - awesome. I only hope my photos are good enough for them.

The Day 2 Cosplay Photoshoot was awesome. Why the female Barbarian who showed up didn't get into the Cosplay Contest just boggles me. It was unfortunate the entire Burlesque group didn't get their costumes done, but it was still a amazing and fun shoot. I think the Day 2 shoot is here to stay for sure.

Watching the StarCraft 2 BlizzCon Invitational finals was amazing. The atmosphere was like last night - and the match was crazy intense! The fighting game community has a word that fits the atmosphere of the SC2 finals matches perfectly - "Hype" - and that match definitely was Hype to the max.

Dave Grohl in all his epic glory
The Closing Concert was really fun. I happened to actually get really close up to the stage only a half-hour before L90ETC hit the stage, and got some amazing shots. I didn't think I'd stick around for Foo Fighters - but my spot was so good, and I happened to like Foo Fighters so much that I decided to stick around. It was unfortunate at that point for my DSLR camera to die and I accidentally left my back-up battery in the hotel room.

Come up with your own caption for this one
The only disappointment of the entire con was not even at the con. It was the Hilton shutting down the Anahiem Hilton Pool Party before it even started. I could tell walking around the over-crowded lobby (I'm amazed that the Fire Marshal didn't come in to kick people out) that there was a lot more sober people at the hotel then usual. Even Metzen, who is absolutely gone by the time midnight rolls around, was pretty much sober. I know for sure next year there will be a mass exodus from the Hilton - and that'll probably hurt them quite a bit.

All in all, it was a fun time - it was awesome meeting so many amazing people. I seriously hope to go to another amazing BlizzCon next year.

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