Tuesday, September 22, 2009

L2 Con, Blizz!

(this post is brought to you by This Lovely Lady's opinion on what my next post should be. Biased? Do I care?)

"Gee h47, that's a lot of people milling about, where's that?"

In a less irate tone, that was the line for the Blizzcon Store at the 08 Con. I don't know what the con was like at the first 2 Blizzcons or so, nor the latest blizzcon, but if 08 was ANY indication, Blizzard needs to seriously rework their con staff and allocation of resources.

Hint one, was when we had to partake of the ticket buying debacle. We had heard the year before that tickets sold out within days of going on sale. So, we were poised ("we" being myself and T1nk) with a couple days off and mouses on "buy" option. Then, the amazing happened, the site went down.These two images are the avatars of pain and suffering to Blizzard addicts everywhere and were stared at for nearly three days straight while Blizzards store servers went down from the ruthless pummeling it had taken from the droves of rabid fans.

This did not need to happen. The previous years traffic should have indicated that the interest was large enough to warrant a third party ticket seller or that servers needed to be fortified for the onslaught. These are things that are inferred or speculated upon through various circles I move in. No? Not enough of an authority?

Very well. Servers went down, QQ, people started buying out tickets left and right. Just like the year before and the year after, tickets sold out in less than triple digit hours, approximately 3 days. The reason the tickets sell out so quickly is the drastically limited space at Anaheim convention center to the massive volume of fans who are willing and have adequate funding to attend. One of my favorite phrases I heard at least twice at Blizzcon 08, paraphrased was "10 million people play WoW alone (at the time), not to mention the hardcore Diablo and Starcraft players. The convention center holds 9100. round up or down very graciously either way and that's still less than ONE PERCENT!"

Aright, maybe Blizzard has done this on purpose so that only the most dedicated and serious people will make it to Blizzcon and they prefer to keep it as intimate as possible with such a large fan base. Fine.

T1nk and I got to the con, waited a while after it opened in order to not need to stand in line to get badges and swag, then entered the con a few hours after it had started.
As soon as we walked in we saw the above mentioned line for the Blizzcon Store and T1nk decided to get in it just in case, because T1nk has a healthy concern for practical things like that. We then spent the rest of the day exploring the con, seeing the booths, watching events . . while T1nk stood in line. Then we explored more, stalked The Guild, and perused the itinerary for the next day.

Admittedly, the line died down considerably the next day, but I still stood in line for a good hour to make my shirt purchases and they did not sell out of anything that year. Line rush from day one uncalled for? Due to sellouts in previous year? I honestly don't know.

After less than 9 hours total at the con, we left EARLY to go to "The Magic Kingdom (don't actually click that link, just MOUSE over it. oooh, I know.)"
The next day, we hit Blizzcon 08 hard with a clear plan of what we wanted to do and see.
I played the Wrath of the Lich King preview (not yet released in beta at the time) as well as the Starcraft II preview, for my thoughts, see Hitler!

We tried to get seats as close as possible for the ending concert and Patton Oswalt, but succeeded in getting about 3 screens back, approximately 50 yards back from the stage.

All told, it took us less than 15 hours to see and do everything we wanted at Blizzcon 08, including line time, with one small exception, while I was standing in the store line, I believe the WoW Q&A panel started and I did not know until that moment I wanted to see it. So, Oh well.

All told, I gave Blizzcon 08 a solid "C" grade. From all the fail that we encountered and all the win to make up for it, the ultimate experience was totally whelming(yes, I used the correct word for my thought). Personally, I need a Con to be B grade in order to justify attending and was only slightly heartbroken to not attend Blizzcon 09. Only because I have gained a very rich experience of Blizz's products in the last year (finally beat the Starcraft campaigns and most of the way through Warcraft 3. I know, I know, blasphemer, I only ever played the LAN games with friends every day for a whole academic year in our Cisco Networking class. I finally bought the battlechests last year.) am I much more aware now of what Blizzard's products are and what to be interested in.

Gruh'nug, Who's favorite phrase is "build more TREES!" shares my feelings . .

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