Every year in Anaheim, California, gamers from around the world gather to celebrate the games of Blizzard Entertainment, most notably the Starcraft, Warcraft, and Diablo universes. The gaming convention itself lasts two days and is held at the Anaheim Convention Center. Last year, there were 20,000 tickets sold. The event grows yearly, from 10,000 available tickets in 2008, then 15,000 tickets sold in 2009. Blizzcon features an opening ceremony (usually containing a special announcement pertaining to a Blizzard game), many panels, beta testing, a Friday night costume contest hosted by comedian Jay Mohr, World of Warcraft (WOW) realm meet-ups, and finally a closing ceremony followed by a concert.
The event is especially important to hardcore fans of WOW and they use it as a sort of yearly reunion to mingle with their guild mates and friends that they have met in game. Many people who go to Blizzcon, go yearly. A WOW player with the character name Hotaruz from the Tichondrius server says, “It’s the central point of every year where I get to hang out with the people I play video games with everyday.”
Another WOW player also from Tichondrius whose screen name is Resurector says, “There are so many things I go for. I go to see new Blizzard games. I go to meet people from Tichondrius, and watch the contests.”
Without a doubt, the social aspect of this convention is indeed the centerpiece and the reason for the con’s increased popularity each year. Certainly, Blizzard embraces the idea of being a nerd. On the main stage, the attendees are celebrated for their nerdiness or geekdom, something that in day to day life is generally frowned upon in society. This is a convention that fully embraces the attendee’s love of gaming and encourages it even outside the two days that the con is running.
In addition to the social aspects of the convention, Blizzard Entertainment uses the event to host several contests and tournaments. Both Starcraft 2 and Warcraft 3 tournaments offer a grand prize of $25,000. Other competitions include WOW arena tournaments and a costume contest.
Without fail, Blizzard will release a special announcement at either the opening or closing ceremony (usually the opening and sometimes an extra announcement in closing). Announcements have included plans for Starcraft 2 at Blizzcon 2008, World of Warcraft: Cataclysm at Blizzcon 2009 as well as plans for Diablo 3, and the unveiling of a new Diablo 3 class: the demon hunter at Blizzcon 2010. Whether or not one attends a Blizzcon, Blizzard fans are always excited to see one come around because of the special announcement.
This year’s Blizzcon is schedule for Oct 21-22, 2011 at the Anaheim Convention Center. No additional information has been released about Blizzcon 2011, but there is sure to be some within the next few months. For more information about Blizzard or Blizzcon, go to www.blizzard.com.