I'm still working on getting the pictures up. I really hate Picassa and my Flickr sub ran out, so now I have to decide who to go with. In the mean time, here are the words.
Blizzcon 2011 was attended by between 28,000 and 32,000 people from all 50 states and more than 26 countries. It was an amazing tribute to the community that online gaming companies and players can create when people are willing to share their passion with fellow players. THANK YOU BLIZZARD!
Monique (Snique), John (Kirach), Pat (Dimli) and I (Tovin/Tinaryn) were able to get tickets and boy, did we have the best time ever! Mo was her normal smiling happy self, and made friends all around the con! No hotel keys were exchanged though. Maybe next year?
Next time we'll probably rent a house for guildies and do the parties (and maybe Disneyland), but we probably won't ever get the chance to attend again. Knowing this, I am super glad we had a chance to go and really just soak it all in.
Wowinterface/Tankspot party on Thursday night and it was packed! I had a chance to talk to Fox Van Allen (WowInsider) for a few minutes and his enthusiasm was simply splendid! Great to see some passionate people out there. Drinks were a little expensive (okay, a lot expensive) and we didn't stay long. But we did get to see folks jump into the pool. Unfortunately, the big draw for us was Josh Allen (Lore from PST, Legendary, Tankspot, Weekly Marmot) and he didn't get to the party until long after we left, so we were a little sad. I did get Pat's picture with MikeB (ZAM/Legendary) though, so that was fun!!
We did not get to the Curse party on Friday night. People were exhausted (old people....sigh), so we ate pizza and then passed out.
The Hilton afterparty was cancelled due to Hilton staff being back-stabbing jerkwads, so we went to 7-11 for cheetos and snacks (mmmmm cheetos!) before passing out on Saturday night. Kimberis and the rest of the party council is planning something awesome for next year, I'm excited to see what it is! Also, BOOO HILTON ANAHEIM! BOOOOO!!!!
Blizzcon 2011 featured the first Starcraft 2 Global StarCraft II league (GSL) finals ever competed outside of Korea. Day9 and Artosis commentated an excellent set of matches while JP and Tasteless were not to be outdone with their color commentary.
Lots of folks from Team Liquid were in attendance and fans of all SC2 ladders were there, cheering on both SlayerS and MMA as they battled it out for the final GSL match. MMA won, but SlayerS definitely showed he was back in the game! We saw one young fan with a shirt signed by SlayerS, MMA, MVP, NesTea, and many other competitors. Who would have thought that could have ever happened?!? We talked to him for a few minutes and he was clearly so excited about his shirt, it was infectious!
For the Blizzard Invitational finals, IMMVP and IMNesTea fought a nail biting 2 sets. MVP went 2 of 3 in the first set, forcing the second set which went to 2 of 3 as well. While NesTea won easily in the first bracket, the finals showed MVP was not to be outdone by his teammate. The final match was easily the most awesome SC2 finish ever. NesTea just couldn't keep up with the nuclear attacks from MVP, and while a record setting 29 broodlings were brought to bear - they were downed so quickly it was painful to watch. MVP walked away with one of the closest match wins ever in a final event.
The SC2 stage was easily the busiest of all the areas during the con, as many attended for their one chance to see the global leaders of eSports compete in a U.S. venue. The enthusiasm, and excitement from the RTS stage was truly incredible to behold. While I'm not an RTS fan (reflexes of a camel on sedatives), I will definitely be attempting an SC2 run just to see what it's all about!
Mists of Pandaria (MoP) was announced as the newest World of Warcraft expansion to the horror of many and the joy of most. PLAYABLE PANDA's BABY! Pandaria brings monk as the new playable class, available to all races but goblins and worgen.
The new expansion will feature pet battles, challenge dungeons, new ways to achieve valor points, and some great movement towards casual support WoW hasn't done in years. While many may see this move as not supporting a viable and raucous raiding community, those who've waited six years for this type of support see it as a long owed update to an alternative playstyle. MoP was playable at the event and the feedback was incredibly upbeat, while the internets were alive with mocking and disbelief.
Also coming in the new expansion, slated for a 2012 release, is a change to the skill talent system. Greg Street (Ghostcrawler) was enthusiastic that this change would help players to expand their character types and lead away from the cookie cutter specs we all know. Will this mean more time on elitist jerks, trying to figure out a min/max way to play? Or will it give players a chance to play what they enjoy and eliminate the need to have one spec to rule them all? Only time will tell!
While some may call it World of Pokemon, I'm personally excited for an alternative advancement system aimed at a non-raiding crowd! Also, PANDA'S!!!!!!!!! PandaBee is going to be an awesome Mistwalker melee healer! YAY for PandaBees!
We got to watch Blood Legion represent Horde and Vodka represent Alliance in a head to head 25 man heroic run with no trash. Vodka was ahead until they almost wiped on Baelroc. While they were able to pull it out (with the crowd yelling "BURN HIM!! BUUUUUUURN HIMMMMMMMMMM) with only 8 men left alive, they were unable to overcome heroic Rags. It was a valiant attempt and it was awesome to see the very best U.S. based raiders of tiers 11 and 12 go head to head. After wiping on Rags, Blizzard dungeon creator and all around best dev ever, Scott Mercer, popped in a version of Hogger that basically one shotted the entire Vodka group to the jeers of Horde players in the crowd.
NOTE: To the guy yelling "VODKA SUCKS!" every 15 seconds - I don't see YOU doing heroic rags. STFU, srsly. These guys are amazing competitors!! It was really neat to see a heroic firelands run in less than an hour - trash or no!
Blood Legion were great competitors, and Vodka was so nice to talk to at the WowInsider party. Class act all the way! Hope they get world first MoP kills! Also, Blizzard needs to get Day9 to call the competition as whoever was doing it sucked, and Greg Street, bless him, is a developer - not an eSports guy. Let's keep it that way!
Fans eagerly awaited a release date or entrance into the much awaited beta, but were foiled on both counts. The Diablo 3 box art was announced, and WoW players who sign up for a one year subscription will receive the D3 software free.
A new cinematic, Black Soulstone, was featured, showing Leah and a new archvillan, Azmodan the Lord of Sin. The cinematic was lush with monsters waiting to take over the world, but no word has come yet of the future of Sanctuary.
Panels for the real money auction house and D3 gameplay were heavily attended and the QA period was filled with both dread and excitement as we were informed on plans for launch. (NOTE: I did not attend these panels and have not had time to youtube or read d3.com
for updates, so news is a little weak here. Sorry!!)
The Blizzard in house band, The Artists Formerly Known as Level 80 Elite Tauren Chieftain (TAFKL80ETC), opened the concert on Saturday night, playing new songs and some old favorites. Sam Didier as lead vocalist did not disappoint! Atendees not in seats by 6:30 were not allowed in during the show leading to a constant chorus of "LET US IN" during the event. During the concert the band changed their name to Level 90 Elite Tauren Chieftains (L90ETC). Can't wait to see what they have in store for the next expansion!
The Dave Grohl and the Foo Fighers rocked the house on Saturday night after the L90ETC set, while hundreds of fans filed out to see the rest of the show and those yelling to get in for L90ETC were not interested in attending. Who would have though Blizzard's own band would have a larger following than the Foo Fighters?
Quotes of the trip:
"You'd have to suck on those knobs for a REALLY long time to have any ill....SHUT UP I HEARD IT!" Me, talking about lead painted knobs at Disneyland.
"These people have NO lives" - Mo - VERY loudly after the concert Saturday night (she was SO deaf!!!) while surrounded by thousands of geeks who'd paid thousands of dollars to attend a gaming convention, while looking at a homemade GIGANTIC dragon body. I didn't stop laughing for at least 20 minutes.