Blizzcon Unscripted - Con Before the Storm
What a day it's been. Thankfully it started and ended smoothly. I got to the airport on time, took off on time, and even checked into our AirBnB (almost) on time. Thankfully I didn't have to wait too long until I was joined by Josh from Countdown to Classic, and then shortly after that Ayle, followed by Defcamp and Melderon. We hung around for a bit and made the traditional stop at In-N-Out which was a new experience for a few of the crew.
We decided to head over to the con to get our tickets and figurine so that we weren't going to have to rush on the first day. The queues for getting tickets was massive, although empty. I don't envy the people who will be trying to go through them tomorrow. You can tell the mass of people that will be at this event is hard to even comprehend.
While walking towards the Hilton to get our tickets we randomly ran into Pohgren and he tagged along as we got our passes. We checked in and got our wristband, lanyard and ID, and Grunt statue and headed into the convention center for a sneak peak. Even at night the place looked really impressive and was a great preview of the madhouse that will come tomorrow.
Most everything was closed but we were able to get a look at some of the displays and then we headed to the store that was open. The lines were already insane so we decided to hold off on that for now since not everything is even announced yet anyway and we are banking on stuff not being sold out quite yet.
After we checked out the store we were able to meet up with Navak and we all headed to the Mariott for a few drinks and chatted about Classic WoW to kill time before the Con Before the Storm panel. By 9:45 it was time to wrap up and head back over to the Hilton to listen to (and participate in) the Classic WoW panel.
It was great to see the support even late at night as it was for Classic WoW and even the announcer started the panel with the comment of how Classic has really taken the community by storm and has been far more of a presence than people anticipated. Josh led the panel in a round-table discussion with the health and future of Classic and roll-out of phases with a few questions from the audience to round out the 45 minute talk. At the end we had a chance to get some swag and most of us called it a night.
So what are my thoughts so far? This event is massive. Last year wikipedia said that Blizzcon was over 40,000 people. This year I don't see why the turnout wouldn't be the same. It is really cool to see a lot of people dressed up. Most who dress up are pretty minimal - goofy murloc onesies or elf ears or even just some basic Blizzard apparel. The cosplayers are definitely around though and it is great to see the work that they put into their outfit. I am really looking forward to seeing and getting better pictures of them tomorrow.
It is still really weird for me personally to talk about WoW in a normal conversation in the "real world" since I don't know anyone who plays the game in my day-to-day life. Talking is limited to discord voice or text chatting which feels normal enough but is very different than how conversations went today. We are sitting at the bar sipping on an Old Fashioned and talking about the intricacies of tank threat mechanics. It is completely normal and also completely foreign.
You also just get this kind of conversation everywhere regardless of who you are hanging out with. We were standing outside and someone saw my shirt and said "oh Classic WoW? When did you stop playing WoW?" It was a connection and almost a secret password at the same time. The implied question was "are you an old school Classic fan or just trying it out for the first time?" It was great to talk to someone like that out of the blue.
Blizzard certainly makes it easy to spot those going to Blizzcon as the statue boxes are massive so everyone carrying them sticks out like a sore thumb. Not that it's hard to guess as all of the people who are milling around the convention center pretty much are there for this. You feel at home with your gaming interest more than ever and it's really cool.
I'm really looking forward to tomorrow and to see how it goes. So far I've been running on a little bit less sleep than normal but still doing okay. Here's hoping I can keep it up.