August 26, 2007

Blizzcon!

Posted in Games, Video/Computer Games at 8:57 pm by Transmuter

August 3 and 4 were two very special days. Yes, that was the Friday and Saturday of Blizzcon 2007! For those not in the know (which is to say most non-gamers), Blizzcon is a convention held by Blizzard Entertainment, the computer game company responsible for such hugely popular hits as Warcraft 1, 2, and 3, Starcraft, and World of Warcraft (aka WoW).

This was the second convention I have ever been to, the first being Anime Expo back in 97 or 98. Blizzcon was held at the Anaheim Convention Center (across the street from Disneyland), and it was very, very cool. The whole center was decorated in Blizzard game style, with huge posters of Blizzard art, life size statues of Illidan (a famous character in the Warcraft universe) and a night elf female, and a mechanical bull shaped like an elekk (an elephant-like mount from World of Warcraft). There were sections of the hall with hundreds of computers set up to play previews of upcoming Blizzard games, specifically Starcraft II and the Wrath of the Lich King expansion for World of Warcraft. Vendors from various Blizzard partners and licensees were there: Upper Deck, makers of the WoW Trading Card Game; Fantasy Flight Games, makers of the WoW Board Game and Starcraft Board Game; the creators of a World of Warcraft comic and manga; and Jinx, a geek clothing company selling World of Warcraft-related shirts, hats, and other paraphernalia.

By far the most interesting part of Blizzcon was the developer panels. There were dozens of panels scheduled over the two days where various Blizzard developers would talk about different aspects of WoW and Starcraft II. Chiemi and I went to several panels, and we learned a lot about what goes on behind the scenes at Blizzard.

For my poor memory’s sake I will now record our Blizzcon experience.

Chiemi had been very sick for the past two weeks and was only just starting to recover by the time Blizzcon was approaching. She was sick for a week, then better for a day, then sick for another week. It was very sad. We were worried if she would be feeling well enough for us to make it to Blizzcon, so it was a relief when she started getting better by Wednesday. On Thursday she was able to make it to 1 o’clock before she started feeling completely exhausted and had to sleep the rest of the day.¬† Blizzcon tickets were made available for pickup at the Convention Center on Thursday, so I decided it would probably be prudent to pick ours up after work and avoid the lines that were sure to crop up on Friday morning, when the convention opened. So I came home from work, ate dinner, took care of Chiemi and Kyla, put Kyla to bed, then headed out to Anaheim. Unfortunately, the parking lots were closed for the night and I couldn’t find anywhere that wasn’t hotel or restaurant parking so I was forced to return home, empty-handed and frustrated.

Friday morning came and Chiemi and I drove down to the Convention Center around 10am, parked (good parking!), and walked to the ticket pickup booths. To our amazement there were very few people in line! We only had one person in front of us at our line. Perhaps the fact that the center opened at 9 had something to do with that. We got our passes and goodie bags (which contained a bunch of free Blizzard stuff: coasters, magnets, coupons, bookmarks, and even a special in-game costume for our WoW characters) then walked into the convention center. It was an amazing sight! Words cannot describe, so if you’re interested do a Google search for Blizzcon 2007 photos. We sat down at Hall A , where there were hundreds of seats and a dozen projector screens set up for the Blizzcon opening ceremonies. It was way interesting, but it would be very tedious to relate all that was said at the panels, so I shall forbear. There are plenty of places online with that information, and it will be old news a year from now anyway. We attended a panel discussing the newly-announced WoW expansion, Wrath of the Lich King. We went to IHOP for lunch. We stood in line at the Blizzard store to buy some cool Blizzard merchandise that was exclusive to Blizzcon. The line was about an hour long, so Chiemi, who was getting tired of standing (she was 6 months pregnant) left the line to sit down at the World of Warcraft sound and music panel. I made my purchase at last and managed to see the last half of the panel. It was about 3pm by then, and Chiemi felt tired and needed to go home, so we did. However, we had both had a very enjoyable day and were looking forward to the next day.

On Saturday we went to several more developer panels, ate at Coco’s, and browsed the various vendor booths. I enrolled in a beginners tournament for the WoW Trading Card Game and won 2 out of 3 matches. Unfortunately I was too late to enroll in the 4pm tournament so had to go to the 5pm tournament. The 3 matches also took rather longer than we had anticipated, so instead of leaving at 6 when Chiemi was feeling like she needed to leave we ended up staying until 7 or later. Still, she survived thanks to her Nintendo DS and Animal Crossing and we returned home very happy about having gone to Blizzcon.

August 20, 2007

It’s been HOW long?

Posted in General at 7:54 am by Transmuter

Woah, I just looked at my blog site here and realized it’s almost been a year since my last post! Sorry about that. In my defense, I had written a post several months ago, but never got around to posting it. Later, I discovered that the draft of the post had vanished! Apparently WordPress doesn’t save draft posts indefinitely, so that’s a little bit of history that will never be recovered. Oh well, there’s plenty of other stuff I haven’t blogged about at all that will never be known either.