I know this is a “welcome to last week” post, but Blizzcon 2011 has been announced for October 21-22. I was on my lunch break at work when I read the news, but with their website blocker in place I couldn’t read much more than the date. Didn’t need to. I had the date, which meant I could book my hotel.
Whaaaa? That’s right – without even knowing what a ticket was going to cost, I was going to commit to Anaheim a good ten months in advance. Truth be told, I wasn’t overly concerned about getting an admission ticket. In the two days of Blizzcon 2010 that I attended, I probably spent three hours actually inside the Convention Center. A large part of my day was spent walking to the building, walking back from the building, and hanging out in my room checking out the various Twitter feeds to find out what events were going on (the curse of going by myself without having any contacts to meet up with). I had planned on attending more of the panels, but there was a scheduling mixup and the panels I did want to see started at different times than what was posted on the schedule I had. When you’re looking at a 15-20 minute walk just from your room to the Convention Center, that can affect what you get to see. If I had wanted to spend more time at the Convention Center, I suppose I could have stood in line for swag. But after looking to see what they had for sale, I couldn’t see a single thing I was interested in buying.
The night life is what saved Blizzcon for me, and I didn’t need a ticket for it.
Thursday night was the AIE Guild meetup. That was a little overwhelming. On the one hand, I walked into the bar knowing that everyone there was one of my people. On the other, I didn’t know a soul. I wasn’t on a raid team, and didn’t “hang out” in gchat just to shoot the breeze with anyone in particular. Most of the people there were online buddies. You could see the raid teams huddled together (FYI – AIE is huge, and they have multiple raid teams.) That left me with my thumb up my butt, wandering around with a beer in my hand and hoping to meet some friendly souls.
To their credit, eveybody there was very friendly. My first bout of awkwardness came when people started introducing themselves. They were using their character name, not their real name (except Arezzo – fight the power John!) It took some time before I could embrace my pseudo identity. After some BEvERages, I met a group of gents who were casual players like me. We chatted about zones, quests, then real life items. Seriously interesting stories. I mean, who knew Clint Eastwood was that short!
Unfortunately, the event seemed to fizzle after a couple of hours and people started to disperse. But that just meant I had time to swing back to my room and get the address for the WoW Insider meetup. Sadly, after wandering the streets for an hour with a defective map (I don’t recall if I used Mapquest or Google Map, but a pox on you whichever you were!), I returned to my room to watch TV and read the Twitter feeds of the folks at the party. By all reports, it was a very good time. Damn it.
Friday night was the Twisted Nether Podcast meetup, and since they were responsible for me having the opportunity to buy a ticket, I attended. It was on the patio at Bubba Gumps which pleased me for a number of reasons:
A) It was close to my hotel
B) I like watching the movie Forrest Gump repeatedly. It makes me feel like ruh-nang.
The one drawback of the location was that the patio we were gathering on was quite small, which didn’t leave much room for standing about. Luckily it was a nice evening so standing about outside was comfortable. Again, I knew no one there so I found myself drifting from group to group, listening to and engaging in various conversations, and wondering if the evening was going to end up being a bust.
Then the Rawrcast crew showed up and made my entire trip.
I won’t go into details, but I will say that these folks were the kind of people I would gladly tip one or two back with. Hell, I would book a flight to Dallas/Fort Worth just to attend one of their meetups. They didn’t know me from a hole in the ground, but they made me feel welcomed and a good time was had by all.
Maybe it was from the free drinks they had at the Curse.com meetup beforehand. Thanks Curse!
In any case, I enjoyed my trip to the point where I was now ready to pencil myself in for Blizzcon 2011, whether I had a ticket or not.
A few days after the Blizzcon announcement, I read a tweet from Stompalina where she said they might not be going to Blizzcon this year, planning instead to go to Vegas and watch the ‘con on the live feed.
Suddenly I’m glad I didn’t book my hotel.
There’s still plenty of time for me to get to know some of my guildmates I guess, or somehow feel enthused about attending Blizzcon this year. It’s going to take more than “Geek Is” to make me want to shell out the dough and make the trip.
What about you? What are you looking forward to at Blizzcon 2011?