BlizzCon Details Announced - What You Can Expect for 2009
BlizzCon is the official convention for Blizzard, the company behind the 11 million strong World of Warcaft, and games like StarCraft and Diablo. The dates and location were just announced for the 2009 convention, and fans are already salivating.
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There are conventions happening every single weekend of the year across the world, whether they're for anime, Star Trek, Star Wars, comic books, or gaming. While some conventions take place on college campuses with just a few hundred people, other cons have gotten so famous and popular that getting tickets is almost impossible. BlizzCon is one of those conventions.
What is special about BlizzCon?
Blizzard Entertainment (the company behind World of Warcraft, Diablo, and StarCraft) just recently announced the dates and location for their 2009 BlizzCon convention. It will be held at the Anaheim Convention Center in Anaheim, California on Friday, August 21 and Saturday, August 22. Tickets are not yet available, but one can only hope that getting them will go a little smoother than last year. (In case you didn't hear about last year, here's the short version of the disaster: the website crashed under the traffic, and as a result Blizzard offered up 3,000 extra tickets to smooth things over, but in a lottery system.)
BlizzCon is considered THE convention for World of Warcraft (WoW) players in particular. While other cons offer MMORPG programming (and even some WoW specific events), BlizzCon is run by Blizzard itself (not fans), thereby offering content and events that no other convention could hope to top. For example, BlizzCon was offering exclusive in-game WoW items to attendees in 2008 (which some think is what exacerbated the mad rush for tickets).
What Goes on at BlizzCon?
BlizzCon 2009 is the fourth iteration of BlizzCon, and one hopes they will have ironed out some of these kinks. According to the official press release, BlizzCon activities include:
- Hands-on play time with upcoming Blizzard Entertainment games
- Discussion panels with Blizzard Entertainment developers
- Competitive and casual tournaments for players to showcase their talents
- Community contests with great prizes
- Commemorative merchandise based on Blizzard Entertainment’s game universes
- A silent auction
- More exciting activities and attractions to be announced
BlizzCon Costume Contest
One of the highlights of the convention is the BlizzCon costume contest, which invites the makers of some of the most incredible Blizzard game costumes to strut their stuff in front of a huge audience and plenty of cameras. You can check out past footage from these contests at the BlizzCon official website, or by doing a quick search on YouTube. Just as an example: the winner for 2008 was Amanda Hosler's Draenei costume (she "rode in" on a turtle mount).The video of Amanda on her turtle mount is impressive to say the least.
Other BlizzCon Events and Contests
To read up on all of the various 2008 contests (which is a good indicator what can be expected for 2009), check out the BlizzCon website's contests page. There is also a pretty extensive video archive from 2008, which includes footage from all of the StarCraft, Warcraft 3, and World of Warcraft tournaments.
One of my favorite links on the official BlizzCon website is the "Survival Guide," which provides a lot of common sense information for those who may have never attended a convention before. It advises attendees to arrive early (for everything), to meet new people and bring snacks/water. However, considering last year's attendance was capped at 15,000 (12,000 original tickets, then the 3,000 extra lottery tickets), I wouldn't be too worried about getting overwhelmed. 15,000 attendees is nothing compared to a convention like Dragon*con or San Diego Comic Con (both of which are more than double that).
As the giant in the MMO industry, anything Blizzard does attracts a lot of media attention. BlizzCon is no exception. Every major gaming site covers the convention, and many send reporters to gather video footage, photos, and fodder for editorials. While a few tend to be of the "look how crazy gamers are!" variety, most actually cover the events and information from the con.
G4TV devoted an 11 minute spot to BlizzCon 2008 that gives you a good look inside the convention. GameSpot generally maintains an entire article hub for BlizzCon coverage.
For convention going fans of World of Warcraft or other Blizzard games, BlizzCon should be a high on your to-do list. This year promises to be even more interesting than years past with Diablo III and StarCraft II looming over the horizon. This year there will be a little more focus on non-WoW titles than in the past.
If you're interested in attending BlizzCon, be sure to check back here at the MMO channel at BrightHub for more information as the event gets closer.
We would also love to hear your BlizzCon stories and see your BlizzCon pictures. Please visit the MMO channel blog and post here: Your BlizzCon Stories and Pictures. We love hearing from our readers!