8, November 2015

Blizzcon 2015

Well, we just wrapped up one of the most amazing two days in the gaming world. Blizzcon is a yearly celebration of all things Blizzard. Known for their giant franchises of Warcraft, StarCraft, and Diablo, Blizzard is celebrating 25 years of making games millions of people love, and there is no sign of them stopping. Last year was my first Blizzcon, and Grayson and I were both so impressed and amazed by all of the announcements, talent, and people there that we knew we would try and come back the next year.

So, here we are, back in sunny and hot Anaheim. We arrived early to pick up our badges and shop in the store on Thursday. Friday was the opening ceremony, where we were treated to all kinds of announcements, such as the Overwatch Origins and collectors’ editions, the ability to play as Nova for the StarCraft missions, the new Hearthstone cards and explorers, the new WoW Legion, and the Warcraft trailer. While I’ll admit that I know very little about Warcraft, I know that the movie looks amazing, and I hope that the fans will love it. I plan to check it to learn more about the lore surrounding the game. Overwatch will be awesome. I remember watching the cinematic last year and thinking that it was the best thing I had seen in years. The vast amount of characters and the beautiful maps made me wish the game was available now. This year I found that I can play it on the PS4. I don’t have a PC that can handle the graphics. Also, there are new characters, including an e-sport gamer with a mech and a scientist with an ice gun. Blizzard creates life-sized statues of their heroes, which are on display at Blizzcon. This year, Tracer and Winston statues were added to join Kerrigan, Tyrael, Illidan, Raynor, and many more. These statues are amazingly detailed and fascinating. How often do you see your favorite characters in real life?

After the opening ceremony, we walked around, snapped a few photos, and took in the semi-finals of StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm. Next week, Legacy of the Void comes out, so this was the last championship for this series. There was a talk on the future of StarCraft, and the Nova missions were mentioned along with other new features. I attended a Diablo III talk, where we learned about new areas, new loot, and some exciting new items for Reaper of Souls. Not a huge reveal for my favorite Blizzard series, but I’m fine with it. We went to an Overwatch talk, where they discussed the new fighting styles of the new characters. Speaking of new fighting styles, Heroes of the Storm had their first championship this year and are adding a new arena mode. Of course, new heroes are being added, so it looks like this game is certainly taking off. We went to the Slaughtered Calf Cafe and played some of the new Diablo content.

At night, Wil Wheaton hosted the cosplay and talent contest. As you know, I love cosplay, but the level of these people is far, far beyond me. The armor, the painting, the hair, the costumes! I’m sure there is an album somewhere, so you should check it. Amazing, amazing stuff. The music portion had a jazz group that won, and the movies were cute and entertaining. Afterwards, we watched some semi-finals for the other games. We stayed until we were kicked out (the show lasts until 10).

Day 2! (And this is going to be a long blog post!)

The Lore of Overwatch was up first for me. Grayson heads straight to the StarCraft arena for the semi-finals and grand finals. I learned that since there are so many stories to tell in Overwatch, but they don’t want to weigh the game down with it, that they are going to produce a graphic novel, a series of comics, and some animated shorts to give a fuller picture to the characters and the world they are in. They are also putting up stories and fake news about different characters. This reminded me of when Bioshock first came out, and they had fake news stories about missing little girls. These girls became the little sisters the game is so popular for. It also intrigued people, and I have no doubt that this will do the same for Overwatch. I’m going to look into it more myself since I love stories and I want to learn more about the characters I’ll be playing next year.

The cinematics/machinima team gave an in-depth look at the cinematics in Blizzard’s games. If you’ve ever seen them, they are top notch. I’ve seen animated movies that didn’t look as good. They talked about lightning and rigging and modeling and story-boarding, and all the good stuff. I took a class on animation in college, and I learned how to do the basics of all it. The talk made me wish I had stuck with it more, but maybe I’ll go back to it one day.

After the talks, it was time for the StarCraft II World Championships. Life (Zerg) who won last year vs sOs (Protoss) who won the year before. Last year, I had no idea what was going on, but this year, I was able to keep up. Both players were extremely talented, and the match went the full series. All seven games were played, and, going into Game 7, it was tied 3-3. There were head games and fake outs and so much strategy. Most impressively, neither broken down under the pressure. They stayed calm. In the end, sOs triumphed, and confetti rained down on everyone.

Closing ceremonies, a concert by Linkin Park (who I don’t remember being so screamy), and another Blizzcon was over. So much in two days, and I think it could last a week. Although, I am quite exhausted. 🙂 I posted a ton of pictures on Twitter, so check them out. I’m off to see if anyone is streaming on twitch.

~Emily

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