Rethink attends BlizzCon 2014

On November 7, 2014, Scott Ault, Steve Feicht and I made a pilgrimage down to BlizzCon at the Anaheim Convention Center. For the uninitiated, BlizzCon celebrates the worlds and characters of the video game publisher Blizzard. Blizzard makes such world-beating games as World of Warcraft, StarCraft II, Diablo and more. Their fans are loyal and intense. Scott felt a bit out of place, seeing as he was not wearing any orc armor or elvish garb.

What am I doing here?

What am I doing here?

We were there to just absorb and take it all in. Steve used to be quite the fan of Warcraft and Starcraft back in the day, so he became our guide to the world. We left quite impressed with the quality and depth of the event. My biggest takeaway was the beauty of a convention with all theatrical lighting. There was not a house light on in the entire space. It really made you feel like you had stepped into a different world – quite the contrast from your usual convention that gives me a fluorescent headache after a few hours. The production values were really phenomenal, and they clearly spent a lot of money on the event. It felt like they were trying to give proper value for money. It showed a lot of respect for the fans in attendance.

The other differentiating factor was that it was primarily Blizzard that was doing the exhibiting. There were external vendors too, but because it was 95% Blizzard stuff you didn't get that shouty, lookie-over-here feel. It was really nice to be able to look at displays without every other exhibit actively competing for my attention.

I took a smattering of pictures of BlizzCon, which you can find below. 

Blizzard announced their new game, Overwatch. I really liked the character design – really a grab bag of every action archetype you can imagine, but somehow it all worked together. The cinematic they showed was really top-notch too – Hollywood quality.

Blizzard announced their new game, Overwatch. I really liked the character design – really a grab bag of every action archetype you can imagine, but somehow it all worked together. The cinematic they showed was really top-notch too – Hollywood quality.

I loved this. Three Blizzard artists on stage working in three different mediums and answering questions.

I loved this. Three Blizzard artists on stage working in three different mediums and answering questions.

The StarCraft II stadium. Beautiful dimensional screen with projection mapped frame. This was in the main auditorium and it was packed with cheering fans. I'd read about e-sports, but this was the first time seeing it in person.

The StarCraft II stadium. Beautiful dimensional screen with projection mapped frame. This was in the main auditorium and it was packed with cheering fans. I'd read about e-sports, but this was the first time seeing it in person.

Fans were waiting for HOURS for exclusive merchandise.

Fans were waiting for HOURS for exclusive merchandise.

A really neat feature on the floor was the Master Control Room for the whole con. Fun idea to expose it to the public. Looked like a Bourne movie.

A really neat feature on the floor was the Master Control Room for the whole con. Fun idea to expose it to the public. Looked like a Bourne movie.

This 360-degree camera rig was taking Matrix-style pictures of attendees in their best epic battle poses.

This 360-degree camera rig was taking Matrix-style pictures of attendees in their best epic battle poses.

And of course, there were epic statues everywhere.

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My favorite thing of the entire shebang, though, was this brave soul who was cosplaying as some sort of deer. He was literally walking around on all fours and looking out of that mesh bit in the neck. I don't have a picture of it, but he went through security in costume about a minute later. Hats off – that's dedication.

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