Many of you reading this may have gone to a convention before to celebrate your love of gaming, film or anything pop culture related. Whether it’s a local comic con or one of the bigger cons such as PAX West, people with similar interests come together once a year to celebrate their fandoms and interact with thousands of strangers who are all passionate about the same thing.
Blizzard Entertainment has done a lot in its 26 years of existence. It has made several games, each of them with millions of players around the world. However, only about 30,000 or so get to go to Blizzcon every year, making it a (relatively) small gathering compared to San Diego Comic Con (SDCC) or PAX West. So, what makes Blizzcon so unique and entertaining compared to other conventions?
Many people arrive days before the event itself, namely because of a number of meetups sponsored by various Blizzard fan groups and organizations such as Wowhead, which provides information on Blizzard games such as World of Warcraft, and Discord, which is a VOIP service that is used by many guilds and Blizzard fan communities. I have personally gone to many of these meetups this year, and they often have Blizzard-related swag, food, drinks, and of course, the main reason why I go to Blizzcon: to connect with people over a shared interest.
After arriving on Tuesday, I met up with several people I got to know last year. There were many official (and unofficial) parties going on between Tuesday and Friday (the first day of Blizzcon). I talked with many individuals about their Blizzcon experience. “Blizzcon is my home, my real home. I want to work for Blizzard itself obviously, but this is also the group of people I am most comfortable around. Announcements are well and fun, but the excitement of the announcements fade. The relationships usually don’t,” said Steven Lynch, a six-time Blizzcon attendee. “We are united in that we are all there for Blizzard games, and for 99 percent of it, there’s no judgment.”
Some individuals have come from as far away as Europe and Australia for the convention, spending a lot more money than those who live in the United States or Canada would, but those individuals, the experience is unlike any other and worth it. Leeroy Walson, who goes by Hugebloke in the community, had this to say this about his long trip to California to attend the one of a kind convention:
“For people like me its a hell of a journey just to get there. As a life long Blizzard gamer, it really is the pinnacle of events. The emotional ride you take for the week, the quietness of the con district before what you know will be chaos, the hype and electricity in the air of the opening ceremony and the inevitable happiness seeing your once a year family.”
Since I knew there were going to be huge announcements from Blizzard, I camped out to be first in line for the opening ceremony (and sacrificed a huge amount of sleep to do so). I met many people in line who were excited about the announcements. While the next expansion was big news, one of the announcements that surprised me was the new Overwatch map. I actually thought it was a real theme park at first, which may have been the combination of a lot of caffeine and little sleep.
This was my second Blizzcon and I encourage all people who have a chance to do so to go to Blizzcon. It is a once in a lifetime experience and people can make friends easily in this environment. You can walk up to just about anyone and start talking about Blizzard games. One of the major themes at this Blizzcon was community. While many people may have their criticisms about toxic communities, especially in Overwatch, the community as a whole is generally friendly and accepting of all individuals, whether you’re new to the game or a seasoned veteran.
When I went last year, I didn’t know anyone and I walked away knowing a lot of people; I intend to do the same thing every year I go to the convention.
Did you go to BlizzCon? Will you be attending next year?