BlizzCon ’11: Day 2 coverage
We witness the awesome closing of BlizzCon 2011
It’s another bright and sunny Saturday morning in Los Angeles, and it’s just gone 9:15am. As I stand in the lobby of the Anaheim Convention Centre, mobs of gamers (again pun intended) slide past me and into the halls. It’s day 2 of BlizzCon 2011, and today promises to hold even more excitement than Day 1.
While the main focus of BlizzCon is of course the coveted hands-on with each of the new games on show, there are still plenty of other things around the halls that were drawing gamers. One of them was the Blizzard Store, a haven of limited edition gear and collectables. Everything from lanyards, tshirts, pins, posters, plush toys, and poker sets were on sale, and gamers were eager to collect their spoils. By mid-afternoon quite a number of items were out of stock, so I found the 45 minute wait in queue to be totally worth it, as I got everything that I had checked off on my BlizzCon shopping list.
If retail therapy wasn’t appealing, there was also a quest that had gamers hunting around the halls to complete puzzles and find more clues. There were also some amazing stands from nVidia, Asus, SteelSeries, Creative Labs, and LG, with each company showcasing their very best and latest products. I even got to see some crazy guys pouring liquid nitrogen on a graphics card and processor in order to cool it down and squeeze out the maximum performance. Crazy it may be, but what better way to cool down hardware than to freeze it?
As the lines snaked around the halls for the various games, attention moved to one of the main stages where the finals in the Starcraft II and World of Warcraft tournaments were taking place. After a phenomenal display of sound unit knowledge and building skills, IMMvp from Korea blazed through the qualifiers to win the StarCraft II Global Invitational Tournament, and walked away with a cool $50,000 cash prize. In World of Warcraft,team OMG from Korea exhibited amazing teamwork and progressed through each round to win the World of Warcraft Global Invitational Tournament and a grand prize of $75,000.
With the day slowly but surely coming to an inevitable end, it was time to close off BlizzCon with style. After a brief introduction by Blizzard’s COO and a note of thanks, the crowd warmly welcomed on stage Blizzard’s own in-house band, “The Artist Formerly Known as Level 80 Elite Tauren Chieftains” (or was it 85?). Thankfully they’ve changed their name to “Level 90 Elite Tauren Chieftains” or L90ETC for short (it helps T-shirt sales). Belting out some original heavy rock and metal songs, the band had the crowd screaming for more, and really built up the atmosphere for the main act, the Foo Fighters. They too were absolutely electric, and had everyone off their feet (including myself) trying to rock out while still being kept in check by the security guards.
When the band had finished and the crowds dispersed, I could see people grabbing last minute photos with figurines, picking up a closing deal at the store, or just standing around and taking it all in for one last time. BlizzCon was certainly bigger and better this year, and delivered a truly fantastic experience for the multitude of fans that were lucky enough to attend in person or watch it via live stream. It was clear from this year’s BlizzCon that Blizzard mean serious business when it comes to two things – their games and their fans.
Catch the photo gallery of Day 2 here, and see you next year!