Wynthea’s Tales from Blizzcon: Part 4

…..Continued from Part 3

Here’s the thing about an event like Blizzcon – there is SO MUCH going on that it overwhelms your senses and strips you of your faculties. You may have all the best intentions of blogging about every little detail, but what you end up coming away with is a jumble of emotions mixed with images…. and ringing in your ears if you stayed for Ozzy.

If you want coverage of Cataclysm, specific panels, or any other information, you can find the info on the official site, WoW.com, and even You Tube. If you want to hear about this Troll’s experience, keep reading!

Day 3 – a.m.

So getting up the next morning was tricky, but we still hauled our buns to the convention center by 10am. Why? I think I mentioned that my boyfriend is a huge Starcraft fan. We got there to see the final rounds of the RTS tournaments.

I have to say, I never really understood why these games were so popular, even 10 years after their release…. but now, I know. These matches were like chess, but with more pieces, better graphics, no taking turns, and now a room full of spectators. Every great play was greeted with cheers, and every killing blow with applause and whistles. The sheer speed of the players was like nothing I’d ever seen – spending less than a second on each view of the screen, just enough to click on their troops and direct them, then zoom back to another critical area of the map.

The video archive will be up soon on Blizzard’s site, and I highly recommend taking a look at it.

After yesterday’s issues getting back to the con from lunch, we decided to eat in the center that day – which wasn’t a bad idea at all. The food was quite good, and since prices already included the Anaheim area’s 9% tax, not much more expensive than what you’d find in the area. I don’t think I can say enough that the venue was perfect for Blizzcon. Most conventions sell nasty pizza and soggy french fries. I had a portabella mushroom wrap and a brownie. There was fresh fruit everywhere, and surprising things like frozen yogurt, candy apples, grilled-outside hamburgers, and chickpea salads. Seriously, next year, I don’t think I’ll bother to leave the center at all.

In between match-ups, the screens broadcast all the WoW panels I was interested in seeing – from better seats. The timing of the panels was well orchestrated, and used as entertainment for crowds that might be waiting in line for demos, or, like we were, for the tournaments to start. I’ll sum up my thoughts on all the news about Cataclsym later.

Day 3 – p.m.

After the tournaments, we meandered around the con, visiting vendor booths and exhibits we’d skipped the day before. My GM called to let me know that they’d saved seats for us in the main stage area, and we headed over for the closing ceremony.

The first band that played was Blizzard’s in-house metal band, Level 80 Elite Tauren Chieftan. Say what you want about them, the idea that a bunch of video game nerds get a chance to live out their rockstar fantasies is pretty awesome. I know I’d do it if I could. I’d heard mixed reviews beforehand, but was pleasantly surprised by their live performance – who knew Mike Morhaime, Blizzard CEO, could rock a bass like that?  Lead vocals are provided by Samwise Didier – the same guy whose face appears when there’s no default icon for a spell in WoW. But all of this was just a prelude to the obvious headliner – Ozzy “The Prince of Darkness” Osbourne.

Confessional: I enjoy good music no matter the genre, so Black Sabbath and Ozzy have made their way into my iPod – although when I listen to metal it’s usually more along the lines of Theatre of Tragedy or Finntroll. That said, I was skeptical about Ozzy’s ability to perform. We’ve all watched him age, and witnessed the effects of a Rockstar lifestyle. I wondered would he be worth the hype live?

I shouldn’t have worried.

Ozzy gave, hands down, one of the best live performances I’ve ever seen.

That’s the footage I took of Ironman; there is SCADS more on YouTube. I especially recommend watching this:

The only thing is that to keep the audio levels appropriate so that those watching the DirectTV stream could hear the band, you can’t quite hear the crowd. Several of my guildies even asked me why the audience didn’t seem too enthusiastic….. on the contrary, it’s Tuesday, and my voice still isn’t back from the Saturday night concert. Apparently, it was also the first instance of crowd surfing at a Blizzcon.

We followed up the concert with a last dinner with the whole guild together, and that was it. Blizzcon was over. Only spanning two days, we felt like we’d been there for at least four – the days so long and packed with a million unique experiences.

The thing I’m most certain of is that I cannot WAIT to go again next year!

I’ll wrap this up soon with my thoughts on Cataclysm and the future of WoW.


Wynthea’s Tales from Blizzcon: Part 3

…..Continued from Part 2

Here’s the thing about an event like Blizzcon – there is SO MUCH going on that it overwhelms your senses and strips you of your faculties. You may have all the best intentions of blogging about every little detail, but what you end up coming away with is a jumble of emotions mixed with images…. and ringing in your ears if you stayed for Ozzy.

If you want coverage of Cataclysm, specific panels, or any other information, you can find the info on the official site, WoW.com, and even You Tube. If you want to hear about this Troll’s experience, keep reading!

Day 2 – p.m.

We returned from lunch, too late to grab seats for the panels, but with plenty of time to get in a quick game of Starcraft II before the costume contest. Not being a Starcraft player, I checked out the line for Cataclysm, to see if I could take a second crack at it, and maybe play Goblin (okay, I’m lying, I just wanted to play more Worgen) but the line was insane, so I just wandered over to an un-crowded spot and sat on a table.

Suddenly, it got very, very cold, and I heard a sinister voice whisper in my ear “How are you enjoying Blizzcon?”  I turned around, and before me stood The Lich King Arthas himself, staring intently at my very soul.

Okay, that might be a bit of exaggeration, but I did quite suddenly find myself having a conversation with Rob, the Rockstar Con-goer cosplaying Arthas. At least, we were trying to have a conversation, but were interrupted every 30 seconds by people who, quite understandably, wanted to take his photo. In between camera flashes, he revealed his terrible secret – when you’re in a costume, you can’t possibly go stand in line for a drink, and maille  gauntlets make it tricky to get your wallet out of your pocket!

That’s right, I, Wynthea, entered into the service of the Lich King. I managed his wallet, and got him a couple of much-needed bottles of water and a straw. I think it would’ve been a lot less humorous if it had been anyone else – there aren’t too many terrible jokes you can make about helping a moonkin, or your average draenei….. But a conversation with Arthas? Priceless.

For some reason, the polite thing to do seemed to be to NOT ask him for yet another picture, so I didn’t take one with him, but I did find one of him on stage for the Costume contest over at Ten Ton Hammer.


He made the entire thing from scratch, over the course of several months. The “plate” is really a very stiff leather, to keep the weight down. He had to ship it to and from his hotel to be able to wear it! That’s dedication. (And, I have to say, he’s the most polite possessed, butchering, vengeful former prince of Lordaeron I’ve ever met.)

The caliber of the costumes was amazing this year – here’s a few of the snaps I took:




After taking my leave from Arthas, it was time to make my way over to the main stage so that we could try to get seats for the costume contest.

Jay Mohr was back as Master of Ceremonies, and although rambling, he was hysterically improving the entire ordeal.

We were sitting far enough back that I couldn’t get pictures of each costume (and pictures don’t do the dances justice) but the Grand Winner was as amazing as last year’s. I give you Mistress of Pain from Diablo II, by Lorraine Torres:


Tyler Winegarner from Game Spot put together the best, in my opinion, gallery of the Costume Contest, so head over there to check them out!

If you want to see the dance Contest, I found some video uploaded b y Bizman & Hatty of Dreadmaul:


I was very disappointed that Audrey Yeager, who did the Troll Female two years ago, and Draenei Female last year didn’t make an appearance. Katie, from Miami, who won last year with an awe-inspiring Female Undead, got cut off before the part of the music she was working up to, which was unfortunate.

This year’s winner was quite good, though, and it’s nice to see the under-appreciated Dwarf Females get some love.

After the contest was over, we walked to a local hotel bar for the Twisted Nether meet up, to hang out and drink with Saresa, and a lot of the rest of the Blog Azeroth crew.  My guild showed up, and decided it was a good night to buy me shots, so I don’t actually remember taking my favorite picture from the night:


Which is Lodur and @kikirowr from twitter.

There may have been Tequila involved for the rest of the night… I’m not sure.

To Be Continued…..


Wynthea’s Tales from Blizzcon: Part 2

….Continued from Part 1

Here’s the thing about an event like Blizzcon – there is SO MUCH going on that it overwhelms your senses and strips you of your faculties. You may have all the best intentions of blogging about every little detail, but what you end up coming away with is a jumble of emotions mixed with images…. and ringing in your ears if you stayed for Ozzy.

If you want coverage of Cataclysm, specific panels, or any other information, you can find the info on the official site, WoW.com, and even You Tube. If you want to hear about this Troll’s experience, keep reading!

Day 2 – a.m

We left the hotel at around 8:30 – plenty of time, so we thought, to beat the line to get in the doors when they opened at 10 a.m. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAaaaaaaaa…… right. Since it was obviously going to be a long wait no matter what we did, we instead got a cup of coffee with Matticus and Lodur. In the same place, for the first time, EVER!!! (I brought Matt his shirt, but forgot to bring Lodur’s with me that morning…)

Good lookin’ bunch, if I do say so myself. Syd, unfortunately, couldn’t join us this year. (But I’ll be shipping her souvenir WoM Blizzcon ‘09 shirts!!) I’d also like to take a second here to thank our sponsor, Byte Me Gaming, for such amazing shirts. They have been so kind to our team, and we really appreciate their support!

Since we’d eaten breakfast and had a chance to wake up, we decided to go get in line for the door… It was about 9 at this point, and the doors were supposed to open at 10 for the Opening Ceremony. The line snaked from the door, around the convention center, and wound its way around in a parking lot before looping back onto itself. There was a kind of snarky camaraderie among the con-goers, comparing notes about the game, their guilds, the line, the weather (we Texans insisted that standing in the sun in 75 degree weather was a joyous experience, while the Canadian contingent insisted it was almost UNBEARABLY hot. Canadians are advised to never, ever, ever visit Texas in the summer.)

This is the line in the parking lot:


But, you know what? I think these people have put on a Con or two before, because that long, long, long line kept moving. And we made it inside for the start of the Opening Ceremony. We didn’t make it in time for SEATS, of course, but that didn’t matter – there were massive screens throughout the convention center to broadcast whatever seemed to be the most popular panel. You could walk around, check out the exhibits, play with the toys… and not miss a single thing.


Sorry that one’s a bit blurry, but you can see the screens that were all over the place. I’m not sure how many of you have been to convention center expos, but usually the overhead lighting is fluorescent and harsh – Blizzcon is dark, and dramatically lit by colored, flashing track lights. Vendors are handing out glowsticks and necklaces, and it really helps keep the entire place cool, even with 25,000+ bodies inside. There were so many cool exhibits and vendors to check out, but they kept as much floorspace open as possible – the layout was sheer genius, with plenty of space for groups of people to walk through without bashing into each other. The stars of the con, though, were the people in costume – but more on that, later.

Okay, so I’m inside now. I have no idea where Lodur got to, Matticus has run off to watch the Opening, my boyfriend yelled something over his shoulder as he sprinted towards the Starcraft II playable area, (True facts: He stood in line and played Starcraft II something like 5 times over the course of the two days. When that game comes out, I don’t think I’m going to see him again for a few months.) and… the opening ceremony is standing-room only. So I wander off by myself, watching on the screens, listening to the welcome, and other announcements…. when I notice another bank of computers, like the ones set up for Starcraft II and Diablo III. But these are all shut off. The signs are all covered in black crepe. What game could possibly need to be demo’d and played by con-goers, but have no signage? Perhaps the UNANNOUNCED EXPANSION?!?!  I roll them dice, and hop over the chains set up to corral a non-existent line.


At this point, I frantically call Matticus and tell him he has to come get in line with me, because if I’m right, this is about to become the longest line at the convention.

The conversation went something like this:

Wyn – “Matt, I found a bunch of computers at the other end of the center, I think it’s going to be the xpac, come get in line.”

Matt – “Not now, Wyn, I’m watching stuff.”

Wyn – “So am I, nerd, there’s screens here, too. COME GET YOUR DWARVEN BUTT IN LINE!!!”

So He did. And we waited. And waited, and watched the rest of the opening…. and then, Chris Metzen said it. CATACLYSM. The coverings were ripped off the signs, and…. well, look who was right. Matt and I are now 15th or so in line to play the expansion. (You’re welcome, Matt.)


That’s his “I hate it when she’s right” face. And he should hate it. Because I like to gloat. A Lot.


The computers are all turned on, and we file in as quickly as we can so we can snag as much playtime as possible. They limited us to 20 minutes, and we could play either Worgen or Goblin. They started us at level 6, and content was ready up to level 10. (If you could get there in 20 minutes.) As incentive for players to complete quests, rather than just run amok, quests that offered an item (as opposed to just money) as a reward ALSO gave a “Red Blizzcon Bag” which, when opened, might contain a nice green item, or something that translates into a real-world win of a poster or video card. As soon as the guy in charge of our section mentioned this, I won a poster! “The first one of the Con!!” He told me. I rarely win anything, so I was beyond excited, but I didn’t look at it much – I just wanted to get my 20 minutes worth. Matt played Goblin, and I chose Worgen. A few of you may remember that I started out as Alliance on a Human Priest… and the Worgen are amazing enough that I may dabble back on that side.



One of the things I love best about WoW is the obvious attention to detail and story – and this new race is no different. The starting zone has a decidedly gothic, almost steampunk feel to it, but manages to be nothing like Duskwood or Undercity. It borrows from previous human elements in the game, but the time that Gilneas has spent isolated is obvious – in everything from architecture to NPC costumes. (They wear tophats!!!)  It reminds me of the first time I stepped into Howling Fjord, and saw the new take on the Undead look and feel. This has a similarly awesome twist on new/familiar themes, and is breathtaking. Unfortunately, we didn’t get to see or play with any of the old world as transformed by the cataclysm, but I plan on hurrying a bit more to finish my Loremaster title!!!

As for the poster I won; I found out later that it was supposed to look like this:


Mine looks like this:


DSCF0384 DSCF0385 DSCF0386

I haven’t yet figured out who all of the signatures belong to, but it looks like the entire development team. I asked one of the guys working the Cataclysm demo about it the next day, but he hadn’t heard anything about a fully signed poster at all – and guessed it was special because it was the first one. It’s sitting in a poster tube right now, until I can find a frame for it to go in my living room, over my computer.

Another small misadventure happened where in the excitement, I left my phone next to my demo computer. I’d like to give a huge THANK YOU to the staff at Blizzcon who found it, turned it in, and even walked with me to the lost and found when I didn’t know where it was. My experiences with everyone working, both for Blizzard and for the Anaheim Center were absolutely top notch – It’s no wonder Blizzcon is in the same place every year, the venue is fantastic.

At this point, my boyfriend and I both had goodies we didn’t want to carry around the convention, so we headed back to the hotel room and grabbed a quick lunch before coming back.

To Be Continued…..