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Comic for: March 1st, 2010 - Click Here for more Info!
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"BlizzCon 2011: Day One Wrapup."

Comic Type: Star Trek Online | Posted: Monday March 1st, 2010 by Woody - [ Size: 600x450 ]
BlizzCon day one was an odd rollercoaster. I spent my morning fuming about not having a press badge and missed some of the major announcements. That's right, I'm the guy at BlizzCon that didn't know anything about Pandas, the new Monk class, talent system changes, pokemon style pet battles, etc. until much later in the day. Hey if you're not treated like press, why scramble around working the convention like you are?

In the end being "Dad" won out over stubborn consternation. I promised theKid some presents from BlizzCon so it was time to go stand in a really long line. Usually this is not something I can schedule because there's too many panels, interviews, and chat sessions to be able to squeeze in that long a wait without missing something. If you've been to BlizzCon or had heard the war stories, you've likely been told about the lines to buy goodies from Blizzard and Jinx. BUT, the truth is this... for the number of people in line, the wait isn't bad at all. Blizzard has 50 points of sale on each side of the building. You fill out a sheet, checking the items and quantities you want while you stand in line. You pass by a half dozen display cases to help you choose. Blizzard even has a fitting area just before you get in line so you know which sizes are correct for you. And with 50 points of sale per line, the line just doesn't stop moving. So, it's long but you feel more like you're walking slowly than "waiting". Okay sure, it still took over an hour, but again, the number of people in line in front of me had to number in the thousands.

After grabbing two vinyl murlocs, a powder blue rainbow & unicorns DiabloIII shirt for Taks, and two bags of plastic Zerg and Marine pieces (and a blow up sword for taking the time to fill out a quick-ish merch survey), I headed to the MegaBloks booth. Some of you know that MegaBloks does officially licensed lego-style pieces for Marvel, Need for Speed, and Halo. What you might not know is that coming Summer of next year they will have World of Warcraft MegaBloks, with Starcraft following in 2013. The concepts were a little rough, but you could tell that they're going to be awesome. This reminded me MegaBloks had added Thrall mini to the goodie bags at the last minute. We press and influencer folks that picked up our bags early missed the inclusion. But we'd been given instructions on how to attain the piece later. So, I texted my Blizzard contact. He summoned me to the press room and along with my MegaBloks Thrall he gave me a press envelope for my badge. Thanks man! (You know who you are.)

So here I am reporting on the event.

The rumor that Pandarens were going to be added to WoW had been trickling in from credible sources for a while. So, that confirmation wasn't a surprise. My gut feeling to the news was "Hmm players have been asking for this for a while, and Blizzard always said 'no'. Subscriptions numbers must have slipped noticeably". I'm not saying that's accurate. I'm just saying that's the feeling I get. [more info]

The talent revision wasn't surprising either. The introduction of the Monk class minorly so. But the news about mini pets becoming trainable so that we can fight with them Pokemon style was a complete shock. I met up and talked with Brian from warcraftpets.com about what the changes meant to him and his site. He expressed a little concern over this gradual shift from pet collecting a casual hobby to a more hardcore collecting scramble. Pet collectors saw a change in tone when pet collecting became an achievement. It became more mainstream within the game, rather than being a bit a niche offshoot from the fringe. But this caused a traffic surge at Warcraft Pets because people were devouring the info provided there on how to get their hands on some of the more rare specimens. This shift to a more hardcore system heaves "casual"out the window, and I'm left with the fear that this could close out the Warcraft Pets site entirely. Let me explain:

WarcraftPets.Com provides info on all the various mini-pets one could potentially get in game. It also includes information on HOW to get those pets. The execution feels laid back. The community, as a result, feel close-knit and casual. But now, information on where/how to get mini-pets will exist within an in-game UI. So unless Warcraft Pets shifts its focus to explain how best to train up your pets, how abilities counter each other, what the best 3 pet line ups are for different situations and what pets trained in specific ways should trade for, the site becomes somewhat useless - unless of course, the "fringe" feel of the mini-pet collecting community returns in full and casual collectors hang on tight to the idea of collecting pets only as a hobby. Run on sentences aside, I'm torn. I'm an admitted mini-pet whore, but I'm just not sure I want to move to training them for combat. I've never played Pokemon; who knows I might like it. What I can say without equivocating is that I don't want to see WarcraftPets.Com disappear or get taken over by Blizzard because of this.

Whew what a mouthful.

I rounded out the day by listening to Chris Sigaty and David Kim answer questions about Starcraft 2 in a closed group interview session. I think the intent was to talk about the Zerg expansion, Heart of the Swarm. But with a room full of SC2 enthusiasts we talked a lot about DotA, esports, SC2 on TV, Battle.Net Arcade, and how the expansion will relate to Wings of Liberty. For the most part Heart of the Swarm will be a slightly different play style than Wings of Liberty. So where some assets will play nice together, and backwards compatibility is a focus, folks who own Wings will not be able to experience most content built off of Heart of the Swarm technology. Sure sure, makes sense to me. Gotta justify selling people the Swarm content right? To close this little section out, here's a little tidbit of information you SC2 fans will probably be interested in...
Heart of the Swarm Beta is only "months away".

After the SC2 closed interview, I headed back to the floor. I watched some of the SC2 tournament in 3D at the LG Cinema. Watching the matches is exciting enough. Watching them in 3D was awesome. I went from here to watching a WoW arena combat tournament bout. Then moved on to the costume and dance competitions.

I'll get back to you tonight after the Foo Fighters concert with the BlizzCon 2011: Day Two Wrapup.

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