I’m exchanging the 20° of Anaheim for the much more comfortable 10° of Canada. Not sure how those people do it with those temperatures! I need my climate control.
In any case, I had a fantastic time at BlizzCon and it was great to meet up with the Conquest crew (past and present). I think we had around 30 members representing this year who’ve been with us at some point or other. Since it was around two years the last time I saw them, it was refreshing to see everyone again.
Here’s a quick recap of the whole week:
Day 1 (Wednesday)
The first day is practically a necessity for me now. I have to get acclimated to the surroundings. It’s also a great time to take care of administrative stuff like getting a US SIM card and stocking up on alcohol! Never ceases to amaze me how much more affordable this stuff is compared to us back home. The Jamaican Appleton I picked up didn’t last the rest of the week. It’s virtually a quieter day where I link up with the guildies who are here and we just catchup and chat about stuff.
I also pre-pre-gamed. Never drinking any fireballs again. Learned my lesson. Threw up twice but at least I knew what my limits were and I managed to get that out of the way.
Day 2 (Thursday)
This is when everything starts to pick up. With the WoW Insider party in the evening, I met up with the rest of the team to sketch out battle plans and strats for the next two days. It’s important to help minimize overlap and ensure that we’re as efficient as possible with coverage. The remote teams were the heroes here as they helped make any edits and corrections. After that, it’s partying the rest of the night! Ran into several blues and other prominent figures in the Warcraft community. The drink lines were long but the secret to that is tipping really well the first time, waving cash, and knowing exactly what you want.
Day 3 (Friday)
BlizzCon opening! I volunteered to be one of the demo testers in obtaining a first impression of Warlords of Draenor. Skipped out on the opening ceremony and lined up right by the bank of machines that were all deceptively idle. The desktop icon showed WoW PTR 6.0. Caught the cinematics to Heroes of the Storm and the Warlords presentation. There were three selections for the demo: Alliance questing, Horde questing, or putting together a 5 man and running the dungeon. Thankfully, I’m familiar with healing and reconfiguring the UI on the go. Our party consisted of me, Sarah Pine, and three other attendees as we all opted to put together a team for the dungeon. It was a bit of a tough start because I kept missing certain keys and had to rebind on the fly, but we did decently toward the end. The rest of that day was spent attending various panels and special meetings with developers (Press only). Wanted to play Heroes of the Storm but I couldn’t get away early enough. So much to do so I opted to go next day. In the evening, our guild dinner was at a local restaurant with taxi distance. From previous years, I knew that getting a booking for a large group of people in nearby convention restaurants was going to be almost impossible.
Other than my slightly extra nuked steak, it was a great moment to just unwind and unburden myself of being a GM or being Matticus. I could just be Matt.
Day 4 (Saturday)
With the first day of BlizzCon in the books, the second day is a little more relaxed. I can hit the floor and check out some of the other demos or pick up other gear. The Heroes of the Storm line was easily two hours long. Wish they had a fast pass system like Disney but I wandered around instead before waltzing into the BlizzPro/TwizzCast meetup at 2 PM then returned later at 4 PM for the WoW Insider meet and greet for the fans that missed out on Thursday. After that, it was dinner again! I love ribeye. It was a smaller and more intimate group of friends and then we bounced back to the Hilton where the real festivities began. The Hilton after party is always a must. It can be suffocating and it’s definitely not for everyone. But I relish in the atmosphere and chatted with my guild along with other friends (old and new) who were around and about. Excellent time to catch up and collect everyone’s thoughts for the upcoming expansion. I also met Watcher for the first time!
Day 5 (Sunday)
Disneyland was the final destination. The last time I was here was when I was 2 years old so I wasn’t able to really appreciate the parks. I just did the Disney side mostly. Only had time for three attractions: Space Mountain, Pirates of the Caribbean, and the Teacup ride. Really wanted to do Indiana Jones but that was closed (only to be reopened not long after I left).
Can’t wait for next year!
I’ll go over my thoughts in more detail in the upcoming days. But for now, here’s what I liked and what I didn’t.
- Reviving the in-game raid browser
- Racial re-balance
- One instant level 90
- Removal of hit, expertise, dodge, and parry
- Heroes of the Storm
- Mythic raiding’s reduced roster size
- Removal of reforging (Although I suspect I’ll change my mind fast)
- Garrosh again
- Nerfs to Hearthstone’s hunter cards