Surviving Blizzcon! : Getting Ready

Surviving Blizzcon! : Getting Ready

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So, the first round of tickets has come and gone, and some were lucky enough to get tickets to the grand old event. With the con rapidly approaching, it’s time to get things set to make the most out of the convention.

Clothing

First thing I want to talk about is the area the convention is taking place in. Anaheim California. Anaheim is a wonderful city, lots of fun things do to there and lots of great sites to see. The biggest concern is going to be the weather of the season. August is a hot time in CA. The average temperature in August is about 86ºF / 30ºC. It’s also  a pretty dry time, not a lot of rain. You’re going to want to make sure you pack some lighter clothing. Trust me, nothing says bad like showing up and standing in line to get in while being overheated!

On the topic of clothing, bring some really comfy shoes. I can’t stress this enough. There are a lot of lines, and a lot of the panels become standing room only. There is a decent chance you’ll spend the better part of the day on your feet. A couple of my guildies made that mistake last year, and there were a lot of sore feet and one of my guildies received an ongoing back issue as a result.

If you are planning to attend in costume, you may want to consider when you want to show up in said costume. Last year a few people came to opening ceremony dressed to the nines. The vast majority showed up in normal clothing, went back to the hotel before any good panels opened (usually about an hour after opening ceremony) and came back in garb. This seemed to be the preferred method for the majority of the people I ran into.

Accesories

This is for all the technophiles out there. Blizzard has a list of items that they deem acceptable or not acceptable to bring into the convention. This list is updated yearly and you can find it among the FAQs for blizzcon. You can bring video cameras and phones as well as backpacks into the convention, but there are a few exceptions. You cannot video tape any game play footage or the closing concert on Saturday. iPods, iPhones and MP3 players are premitted but are not allowed to be hooked up to any test machines. Seriously don’t try it. I saw someone get their iPhone taken away last year trying to hook it up to a Diablo 3 test machine. Laptops / computers are NOT allowed. Don’t bring them they will not let you in if you try to bring one in. Bring them if you want but make sure you leave them in your hotel room. If you are coming in costume, do not try to bring any sort of weapon with your costuming, it’s not allowed. Essentially don’t bring anything that may potentially hurt someone else.

I will say it’s a good idea to bring something capable of entertaining yourself with. Nintendo DS, Sony PSP and iPhone or iPods are good ideas. I found myself last year in line thanking the fact I had my guildies around me to talk to while waiting. If you’re not going to have that luxury I suggest bringing something.

Food

Anaheim has a wonderful selection of eateries very close to the convention center. Downtown Disney is also a stones throw away and offers restaurants like House of Blues. My suggestion would be to explore these places rather then buying convention food. Food at the con is good, but it is also very expensive and the lines are pretty long. Last year we waited in line for a sub for close to 45 minutes. In that same amount of time I could have walked to a Subway restaurant, eaten and stopped for an energy drink. I suggest checking sites like Yelp or Urban Spoon. If you have an iPhone there is an app for each. There’s so many places to list that I wont make suggestions on where to go, but I will suggest that in the mornings if you’re looking to do breakfast before the convention, to plan carefully. The places around the convention center filled up really fast last year, and this year with even more tickets being sold, I can only begin to imagine how this year will shape up.

This category should also cover post convention gatherings. Lets face it, you’re going to be amped up and not ready to go to sleep right after the convention, you’re probably going to want to find a place to honker down and meet-up with guildies  or just have a beer. There are several places that will be able to fill that role as meeting place. Again, I refer to Yelp or Urban Spoon or the Internet in general to help find places. Keep your eyes peeled here at World of Matticus, rumor has it we’ll be finding a place to group up with any of your readers who will be in attendance.

Attacking the Convention

Now that you’ve got yourself prepared with trinkets and clothing and a list of places to eat and drink, it’s time to start thinking about what you’re going to do at the convention itself. First on most peoples list are the panels. There are three main intellectual properties that Blizzcon centers around. Lets see what each has this year.

Diablo3

  • Heroes and Monsters – This is a look into the design process of the monsters  and heroes of the game.
  • Lore – Fairly self explanatory here. You get the story so far, and some new bits of the story to come.
  • Art – Basically this is the entire process of creating the look of sanctuary.

Starcraft 2

  • Gameplay - The devs take you on a journey through making and tuning of the game mechanics. This is a great panel to visit if you’re planning on going into game design.
  • Lore - The story up to now and where the story is going to go.
  • Art - From designing the Protoss armor to kerrigan’s luscious (and deadly) curves, it’s all here.

World of Warcraft

  • Class Discussion – This is a great panel, it will explain how each class has evolved over time and how things are balanced and tweaked as time goes on. They reveal their big plans for classes here and how they view things as they stand now. This is a must I feel this year simply because Ghostcrawler has been saying that he wants to change the face of healing. If that announcement comes from anywhere, it’s going to come here!
  • PVP - If you’re big into battleground and arenas, this is your place of happiness. Last year they revealed the two new arenas and how they planed to balance things like ratings and match ups.
  • Art - A wonderful discussion of all that goes into making the World of Warcraft so visually stunning. There is lots of talk about how far we’ve come since the days of painted on armor. Artists on hand will tell you how they conceptualize different things from the landscape down to the tiniest critter running around.
  • Dungeons & Raids – This is the one I’m sure the vast majority of you are waiting for. Last year was the announcement of the Hard Mode encounter. Sarth 3D to be exact. There was much oooo and awwwww ing at this panel and for good reason. The devs explained the balancing of the instances from 40 man encounters of old moving forward to the 10′s and 25′s we have today. They explained last year how variable raid size would work. Needless to say there was little disappointment. This year comes at a time where Ulduar has dropped, by the time the convention comes around we’ll likely be ready for another update and I have a sneaking suspicion we’ll hear a bit about icecrown and then goal beyond. This is a must go to for the inquisitive raider. (pretty sure Matt and I will be fighting for seats on this one)
  • UI & Mods – This is a discussion about the evolving UI and mods that we’ve all come to learn and love for WoW. Last year centered around the creation of the Achievement window and the Rune pane for Death Knights. This year I think things will be a bit more exciting, and this panel may potentially run longer then it did last year. With all the changes to the Mod policy and the changes blizzard has informed us of (item rack built in for example) I’m sure this will be much more lively then it was last year.

Blizard Entertainment

  • Cinematics – Get to know the people who wrote the stories and created the movies we’ve grown to embrace over the years. (as a side note, all the cinematics play on a loop throughout the convention. It’s kinda awesome!)
  • Sound & Music – Interested in audio engineering? How about just composing vast symphonies? This is the panel for you. Learn how the scores and sounds were created and how it helped to shape the games. This will span all three properties. I liked this one a lot last year, hearing how they created things like the Lament of the Highborne and other very moving pieces in the game, gives you a different appreciation. After this panel I turned the game music back on.
  • DVD\Video Production – Much like cinematics you’ll get to see how the videos were created in and out of game. Here though you’ll also get insight into the editing process and how much work truly goes into making a final cut. I’ve heard some of the machinima makers found this useful last year.

That’s it for this installment of Preparing for Blizzcon. Check back often for updates as information is released. In the meantime I charge you with a task. Let us know what you want to know.

Have questions you want the WoM crew to ask at Blizzcon? Have any questions you need answered for getting ready to attend? let us know!

Until next time,

sig1