blizzcon 2009


http://s611.photobucket.com/albums/tt198/kyliaar/

I am on my last vacation day before work sitting here with sore legs confronted the fact that I have to go back to the real world tomorrow. This weekend was a friggen’ blast!

Not only did I get to experience the convention but we had the added bonus of getting to go to the Laguna Art Musuem benefit dinner. I posted some fairly brief thoughts about a bit earlier.

Blizzcon was amazing. That is about all I can say. Cataclysm sounds like something entirely revolutionary as far as MMOs go. It is said to say but I feel more inspired to spend my free time playing WoW now. It is like coming back from a Tony Robbins convention or something.

I met up with some people who playing Alliance way back in Classic but re-rolled horde. I used to talk to them a lot on our server’s IRC channel and had partied and even guilded with them. It was nice to talk about old times. I really think a key feature at Blizzcon is the realm meet-up tables. What happens at those tables usually either makes or breaks the experience for me. I think it could be a worthwhile investment for Blizzard to figure out how to make them occur earlier for all realms rather than making a lot of players have to wait until the second day. I met up with several other friends as well… the social aspect of Blizzcon is a big one for me. You can start random theory-crafting conversations with just about anyone and have relevant input on both sides without it turning into a flame war.

Jay Mohr was awesome. He is getting better and better as a host. I missed the last Blizzcon but I saw him host his first one. He still has jokes that developed during the first one that have become running gags. For instance, when he is on stage, he refers to the person who has the Ed McMahon type job (from The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson) as God. This is something that came up out of the first Blizzcon he hosted. The thing about Jay Mohr is that his performances are far from polished but that adds to his charm. He busted his chops in the improv world so he knows how to just react to the moment and spin off things occuring with the audience or the show. This makes him a very warm host, even for the roughest of audiences – gamers… a crowd with a very high percentage of mid-level teenagers who think they know all the mechanics of any game and RL itself of course and who want to appear jaded (because jaded is cool). I hope to see him coming back year after year but even more importantly, I hope to see him hosting bigger venues, such as the Emmys.

Seeing Ozzy perform was kick-ass. He really enjoyed the crowd there. However, there are two things on this that get big minuses.

  • Hall D for a concert? C’mon. The acoustics are horrible there and there is a much smaller number of ‘good seats’ in that sort of space than something like the a sports arena. I can understand the logistical problems with trying to host concerts there with a convention that has double the attendees of such a venue. What about clearing a space outside? There is that big field right across the street? Can some deal be struck there? I may be thinking pie in the sky here but Hall D concerts aren’t very workable from my experience.
  • The band formally known as L80ETC… I am not a fan. A few of their songs have started to grow on me but I would appreciate either no opener or something more mainstream. I am sorry. I really am. I know I should worship you guys… but you guys are at best, a decent garage band… not an opening act for Ozzy or the Offspring.

All of the World of Warcraft changes coming with Cataclysm sound fanastic. I really look forward to exploring the new, old world. However, I am just guessing but it is probably a good idea to get those lore acheivements done now because it sounds like they are going to be completely changing the quest hubs there. Of course, that just might make those acheivements easier, especially since they talked about account wide acheivements vs. just character acheivements.

Here are some more photos I took. These are all available in higher resolutions if you want any particular one. Just contact me.

http://s611.photobucket.com/albums/tt198/kyliaar/

Pictures: http://s611.photobucket.com/albums/tt198/kyliaar/

I don’t have a lot of time to write as we are about to head out to try to get back to Blizzcon on time for the start of the opening ceremonies, where all the cool announcements will be made.

The VIP dinner was very interesting. It was much different from other benefits I have attended. The food was buffet style so we were given some period of time to stuff our faces and partake in the open bar. There were five selections of art that were up for silent auction and the musuem and Blizzard people had some brief words about art, the exhibit, the love, etc.

Shortly after that, someone came up to our table and asked us who we wanted to talk to out of like three choices. We chose to talk to a Producer and so Carlos Guerrero spent some time with us. He explained his team was largely responsible for coordinating successful launches and managing all of the different elements (art, software, hardware, etc) involved in that so everything stayed cohesive. Sounds like a bunch of cat herding to me.

After that, I browsed around seeing who else was there. The most fascinating person to talk to was Evelyn Fredericksen who is the lucky person whose job is to basically serve as the continuity checker for Chris Metzen’s creative work on the games. She was also a very animated story teller. When I sat down she was explaining the different levels of orc and their various levels of demonic corruption. From there, she gave us a history of Dalaran and the Kirin-Tor, going all the way back to the Highborn splitting off from the Night Elves to become High Elves. She also talked about the Guardian of Tirisfal, Medivh and some of the newer lore from the comics.

I started asking her about the Old Gods and the link to Lovecraft mythos. While she was talking about this and confirming the link, I suddenly realized that, in that mythos, the ancient ones are a relatively low level in the heirarchy in that they only deal with a single planet. I realized that this chaotic influence from the old gods could be responsible for much more on a broader scheme even though they have only been referenced in WoW lore as those 5 beings the Titans imprisoned. I questioned her on this and I got a bit of freeze up and was basically told they were still working on those concepts. I definitely got the sense something was there.

I went and talked to Chris Metzen about it briefly right at the end of the night. He basically confirmed that there were discussions regarding the extent of the Old Gods elsewhere on other ‘prime material’ worlds. I found it interesting that Chris Metzen referred to Azeroth as a prime material world. It took me a while to realize that this was the terminology used to talk about the different planes in Dungeons and Dragons with the plane of the player characters being the Prime Material plane. This leads me to believe that he has a far more detailed concept of how the entire WoW mythos is laid out, beyond just Azeroth, Outlands and the Twisting Nether.

Pictures: http://s611.photobucket.com/albums/tt198/kyliaar/

I am just excited as a baby murloc sucking down his first clam meat!

I was lucky enough to win the raffle for tickets to the Blizzard/Laguna Museum VIP Benefit Dinner. The package includes the dinner itself, a blizzcon ticket, a signed piece of art and tickets to the exhibit.   There will be 200 attendees and 100 Blizzard executives at the dinner so it sounds like there will be a lot of opportunities to talk to them and get my own personal questions answered.  Also, I had missed the chance to buy Blizzcon tickets this year so, just on that level, this was really awesome news for me.  As a sidenote, my birthday is the first day of Blizzcon so I don’t think I could have asked for a better birthday present.

I talked with a friend over at WoW.com (previously WoWInsider.com) and volunteered my services to help cover the dinner and BlizzCon.  She was happy to interview me regarding the dinner and post photos that I took at the event.  That discussion lead to the creation of this blog since it provides a good way for me to personally communicate to the World of Warcraft community.  Look forward to seeing information here regarding my experiences at Blizzcon and in Azeroth.

Another note that I wanted to add was that my guild has gotten together to sponsor sending my guild leader as my guest since I was able to buy two tickets.  I think that says a lot about the big hearts that my team, Covent of Destruction on Destromath, has.  You guys ROCK!