Blizzcon 2010 with friends

This year once more I was really looking forward to Blizzcon. Although there wasn’t a new amazing announcement since StarCraft II is out, Cataclysm is imminent and Diablo III has been announced for a while, there was enough going on that was cool to celebrate for a couple of days. Also, Skye and her son Paris (StarCraft II fan) stayed with us over the weekend, and her sister Courtney (WoW fan) was also in town for Blizzcon. So I was ready to show them all the cool stuff at Blizzcon and introduce them to some Blizzard people.

I always like the opening speeches and this year was no exception. Chris Metzen’s “Geek is…” speech was really cool and set us up for the whole show. And finally everyone got to see the new playable Diablo III class, the Demon Hunter.

Once the openings were done, we headed for lunch at the Hilton. Randomly we ran into J. Allen Brack (Production Director for WoW) outside the restaurant and I took the opportunity to introduce my guests, which was cool. After lunch we went to a couple of panels about quests and lore in WoW and StarCraft II, and I swung by recruiting where I talked to some potential hires. Then the costume and dance contests, and the Fruitdealer vs SlayersBoxer StarCraft II match. That was an incredible match! We scoffed some pizza for dinner and headed home at a reasonable time.

So on day one we’d covered a lot of panels. On day two we wanted to mooch around the show a bit more and see the third party booths and other stuff. But we started by getting in at 9.45 ahead of the general crowd and playing Diablo III. A lot of fun! Once we were done with that, we headed to the cinematics panel, which was great. It was really interesting to see how the Cataclysm cinematic was put together, and to see the Worgen level 5 cutscene too.

Shortly after that we were wandering the show and headed to the art gallery area. Skye, Paris and Courtney were busy looking at some art together while I was looking at something else. I turned around and saw Mike Morhaime there, so I introduced myself (he can’t be expected to know everyone at Blizzard) and then went over to my guests: “Come over here, I want to introduce you to someone…” To Skye’s credit, she managed not to be dumbstruck and complimented Mike on the show and his opening speech. We chatted for a minute or two before his PA had to drag him away.

We got some time to look around the show and do a couple more panels and a bit more talking to recruiting folks. After watching the StarCraft II tournament finals, we decided to skip Tenacious D (weren’t really thrilled about it) and take the time to see a bit more of the show while the crowds were watching the concert. Then we chilled out at the Hilton for a while, regaining our strength. Then dinner at Coco’s and home to bed.

Skye and Paris headed to Skye’s dad’s house on Sunday. Then on Monday, before flying home in the evening, Skye, Paris and Courtney visited me at the office. Once again I was able to show off! I actually took some hours of PTO to give them the tour so that I could do it properly because I knew they’d want to take everything in. We took a tour of the World of Warcraft team area, where they got a demo of some cool behind-the-scenes tools that the WoW developers use, and got to see some nice animations. But just walking around the office and the dev areas is a pretty cool experience anyway. There is artwork everywhere, both framed prints of stuff and just in-progress art for the Diablo III class armour sets, for example. Like a lot of games companies, we decorate our dev areas with all kinds of geek stuff too.

So that was that. We finished the tour at my office and had a twenty minute rest and chat before they were picked up for the airport. And that’s it for this year’s Blizzcon. Roll on next year… I’m sure we’ll have a bunch more cool stuff to show off then!

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