Monday Musings: Back From Blizzcon Edition   16 comments

I have returned from my fourth Blizzcon, and I am absolutely exhausted! But since I didn’t have the foresight to take today off, I figured I may as well give you my thoughts, impressions and accounting of how I spent my time at this year’s Blizzcon.

Blizzcon in General

This is the first year that they didn’t have a huge announcement for Blizzcon. We expected that, so weren’t hugely disappointed by it. Most things with the convention were the same, however there seemed to be a fair lack of “new” games to play. Outside of Diablo 3 and the mini-games that they built for the StarCraft engine nothing was really worth waiting for. And, not being a Diablo player (although 3 looks pretty awesome, so I will likely pick it up and give it a try), even the Diablo line wasn’t worth waiting in for me.

Some of the vendors were worth taking a peek at, many of the “give aways” also had ridiculously crazy lines, which ultimately made it difficult to actually go up and get information on the items they were there to demo if you wanted it – but that is to be expected and is largely the same at any convention that you are going to attend. Some of the vendors handled this much better than others.

That being said, the convention was largely what we expected going into it this year.

The Panels

This year they situated the main hall long ways across the space, and while I do think that I liked this better, I also think they could have used a few more of the drop monitors throughout the seating. Other than that, the seating seemed fine.

But what I really wanted to touch on is the format of some of the panels.

Now, most of the panels that were offered were the Devs giving us a bit of a blurb and then opening it up for some questions at the end. I generally enjoy this format. I get to see what’s coming up, and then have the option to leave when the Q & A starts if I don’t want to sit through it, yet still feel like I got something out of the panel.

This year, both the Class Discussion and the General WoW panels were open Q & A. And this was terrible.

I’ll be honest here, I am generally not a big fan of most Q & A type sessions in any setting. This is because only about 1 out of every 15 or 20 questions is worth asking. Usually it’s something that already been covered, and now it’s just rehash. However, I also largely hate it because there is always that person. You know that one I’m talking about! The person that doesn’t really have a question – but really wants to ask one anyhow. It drives me nuts.

I was highly disappointed this year that two of the WoW panels were in this format.

I really think that this could have been structured better if people were required to input well thought out questions in advance, and then those questions were filtered through to find ones that are pertinent, relevant and worth asking. Alternatively, ask them in the order they were received – but still take them in advance. Don’t let that guy get up there with the mic to ask his question, follow up his question, make a fool out of himself, and subsequently waste everyone’s time!

Hopefully next year, we won’t have panels that are pure Q & A sessions. At least that is my hope!

The Costumes!

This is by far my favorite part of Blizzcon. I absolutely adore the costumes – and if you followed me on Friday on Twitter I posted as many of them as I could from the photos I was able to grab during the day. Someone asked me if I intended to compile them, and I do. I will hopefully be able to get them uploaded and up in the next day or so.

One of the things that I love about the costumes is the creativity. From the simplest, to the most intricate, I think that the costumes are just amazing. If you are able to get up close with any of them you can really see the effort that went into them – and it’s astounding. It truly is.

Now – the only bad thing about it this year was that ridiculous stage design with the huge ramp. Hopefully they rethink that next year. Additionally – while the hooves look really cool, if you can’t walk of your own volition, even on a flat surface, probably not the best costume! If you want to use the stilt/hooves for the cosplay, take the time to walk in them every day so that you are 100% comfortable with them. I do suspect that next year we will see a “must be able to walk of your own accord” rule to be placed into the costume contest :)

However, this still remained one of my favorite things about the Convention. And I had an enormous amount of fun looking at them all.

The Tournaments

I am not a huge fan of the e-sports, so I don’t get quite as excited about the tournaments. However, I did want to take a minute to say that during some of the larger tournaments the venue was very akin to that of a sporting event. The cheers, the tension, the gasps at a bad play. And I will also admit that it’s a little bit hard not to get involved in it by default.

While it was certainly not the reason for the convention for me, and it’s not something that I, personally, would actively seek out, I will state that the charge in the audience was very cool.

Plants vs. Zombies

What?!

Well – in some of the downtime as we basically held our seats between events, I shanghaied Brade’s phone and started playing Plants vs. Zombies. And OMG IT IS AWESOME! How could you guys not have told me how amazingly fun this game was before! I am almost at the final level of the game, and I’ve had a blast playing this quirky little game.

And the best part is that it’s “training” for the version that’s going to be in WoW come Cataclysm! STAY OFF MY LAWN – THAT SUNFLOWER PET WILL BE MINE!

In all seriousness though, if you haven’t checked this little popcap game out, it’s worth it. You can get through it pretty quickly, and you’ll more likely than not enjoy the game!

The Meet Ups

In our previous years at Blizzcon, we mostly stayed to ourselves, only doing things with other members of our guild that had attended.

Since our last Blizzcon, I’ve continued blogging and become active in the twitter community. And, in a way, I’ve come out of my shell a little bit. So I decided that this year I wanted to take part in more of the social events surrounding Blizzcon – and picked a couple of events to attend. For some people this wouldn’t be a huge deal, but for me this is pretty big.

I tend to be somewhat socially awkward in huge crowds. And that really hasn’t changed. I’m largely a little bit timid about just “getting out there” – and tend to kinda just do my own thing. This also hasn’t changed much. I tend to talk…A LOT when I’m nervous. I also tend to talk very fast. So for those of you who met me and I just chattered…sorry! Nerves!

Now, Brade is a lot like me, only even more anti-social. But he was game to accompany to both the WoW Insider meet up and the Twisted Nether meet up. As well as the EJ flex photo (which we originally weren’t planning to take part in, but opted to at the last minute with some encouragement). And I am extremely happy that we got outside of our box (comfort zone) some and did these things. I ended up meeting some really cool people. Some that I had “known” before from the community, and some that I hadn’t.

And while I’m not the social butterfly that others are, and I’m most certainly still socially awkward, I am absolutely pleased that we took part in these events and honestly, they were part of what really made Blizzcon for me this year – and will likely strongly influence our decision on if we go back next year.

For those of you that may go to Blizzcon next year, no matter how socially inept you think you may be, I can’t encourage you enough to take part in some of the community meets that happen. After having done a small bit of them this year, I realized how much of the convention that I truly missed out on in previous years by not participating in them. It really did make Blizzcon memorable for me this year!

Tenacious D

Was awesome.

I was worried as they were doing the sound checks that it would be too loud, and I would end up leaving like I did for Ozzy last year. However that turned out not to be the case, and I stayed for the entirety of the show. And it was amazing. The way that the group really got into the theme of the convention said a lot about them.

I couldn’t help but wondering whose idea some of the things were – did Jack Black come to Blizzard and say “let’s do this”, or was it the other way around? Regardless, the collaboration was fantastic and it really made the show and the fact that the band was such a good sport about it was also amazing.

For those that weren’t there, you also might have missed some of the Tenacious D merchandise that was available throughout the day. My personal favorite was the T-shirts with a WoW logo on them that said “Tenacious D” where it would usually say “World of Warcraft”. I strongly believe that they way they embraced Blizzcon made their show all the more enjoyable to watch.

It ended up being my favorite closing act by far. Honestly – I would watch them again next year if they came back. I have no idea how Blizzard plans to top them!

The Laptop

You may, or may not, know that I’ve been looking for a new laptop for when I travel. I’ve been thinking/looking since about June of this year and have been waffling around about making a purchase. Why am I sharing this in a Blizzcon Update post? Well – as it turns out one of the booths that was set up at the convention was one for Asus.

Now, I have never owned an Asus computer. I’ve never thought of owning one, and I’ve been fairly loyal to my Dell/Alienware machines that have always treated me very well. But some of the computers that Asus brought with them and were displaying looked very impressive. And so I spent some time talking to one of the guys there. I wanted to learn more about not only the computers, but the company itself.

I asked – a lot – of questions. And he was magnificent in answering them for me. Honestly, it’s too bad that he was part of their R & D team and not in their sales sector and working from commissions. I left feeling impressed by what I heard, and contemplating the purchase of a new laptop from them, especially as they were having a Blizzcon sale for that weekend.

I discussed it a bit with Brade, who had a few more questions, and so we went back to find the guy I had spoken with earlier and asked even more questions. We then went back to the hotel room and did a little bit of research. We built machines with the same set up from other places to get price comparisons (they ran about $1,000 – $1,200 more for those curious), and read reviews on the system we were thinking about getting.

Out of 190 reviews – 111 of them gave 5 stars, 36 gave 4 stars, 14 gave 3 stars, 9 gave 2 stars and 20 gave 1 star. We read through all of the one, two and three star reviews to see what the issues were. We read through a handful of the four and five star reviews. And ultimately we decided to purchase the machine we were looking at.

My only concern was the one star reviews. They ranged from Customer Service complaints to a known video card issue – that has a posted fix for it. But, that didn’t keep me from wondering “what if we were one of those people who had a problem?” However the odds were in our favor, based on the number of reviews, that we would enjoy the product, so we decided to give it a try. We figured worst case we’d end up just sending it back, getting a refund and looking for something else.

For those interested here is what we purchased: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16834220695

The best part about it? Free shipping, short delivery time, and no sales tax! If there is interest, after we have received it and played around on it a bit, I’m happy to post my thoughts on the machine.

Overall Thoughts?

I had a really good time! At the start of this trip, I wasn’t sure that I’d look at attending again next year, but I think that my thoughts on that have changed some, and that I may very well look into going again next year.

Did you watch it from home, attend or read about it? What were your thoughts from Blizzcon 2010?

Posted October 25, 2010 by Beruthiel in Blizzcon

16 responses to “Monday Musings: Back From Blizzcon Edition

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  1. Heh, I think that is one model up from Chas’s laptop – he loves that thing, and it’s caused us not a moment of trouble. I am bloody jealous, actually, since it is considerably better than mine, and mine was a ‘by gamers for gamers’ custom built jobbie. I’m sure it’ll serve you well.

  2. Glad to hear that y’all had fun. Hope I’ll be able to attend one of these years.

  3. @laptop topic

    R&D engineers and personnel are always the best people to ask about products. Sales and marketing will often overhype a product while the engineers aren’t afraid to tell you what the machine cannot do. I love my R&D job <3

  4. You? Socially awkward? Hardly! You were so kind and sweet, I was really, really happy to have met you at the TNB meetup!

    I hope to see you again next year!

    • Meeting you was one of my favorite things! I actually ran into one of your guildmates at the Hilton the next night!

      I really feel awkward! I just talk a lot when I’m nervous :)

  5. I loved your Twitter coverage Beru! It was fantastic seeing the costumes and pictures stream in while I was stuck at work. You and all the other bloggers really made it seem like us spectators were there with you, it was very fun on our side!

  6. Loved your costume pictures on Twitter! Thanks :D

  7. Socially awkward my ass. Coulda fooled me :P

    Actually, you did ^^.

  8. Damn you Beru, before your post I had not realised that there was a Plant vs Zombies version for iPhone. Now I’m hooked….

  9. 699789 beers on the wall.

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