World of Warcraft fans awoke to news that there will be no BlizzCon 2012 this year. What does this mean and are there any alternatives?
Fans of World of Warcraft, Diablo, and StarCraft awoke today to a sad surprise as BlizzCon 2012 has been canceled and moved into 2013. Replacing it this year will be the 2012 Battle.net World Championship which will take place in Asia sometime later this year. This comes to a surprise for many as 2012 may be the year that we see all three IPs (WoW, D3, and SC2) receive some form of launch. Why has BlizzCon 2012 been canceled? Well in a post that was just recently published:
We’re excited to be showcasing Blizzard eSports on a truly global stage this year. We're also heavily focused on getting Diablo III, Mists of Pandaria, and Heart of the Swarm into players’ hands as soon as possible. In light of our jam-packed schedule, we’ve decided to hold the next BlizzCon in 2013.
The Heart of the Swarm's trailer was announced at last year's BlizzCon.
As you can see, it seems Blizzard is trying to pull its forces together to get all three franchises out of the door with the special Blizzard polish. Being the subjective bunch that we are; we have to ask, what is the real reason? BlizzCon is a two day long event that, while taking tons of pre-planning, is also an important way to get word of their game out. So why can’t we see a BlizzCon this year?
The reason I find this odd is that Mists of Pandaria should launch sometime around when BlizzCon would come out, given Blizzard’s six month beta program (which if it started next month would see the game launch in September or October, the perfect BlizzCon times). Diablo III should hit shelves sometime in the near future; meaning that BlizzCon would again be the perfect medium to launch their “what’s next” speech and StarCraft II surely will need an announcement on what’s after Heart of the Swarm.
So why throw away such a grand opportunity with BlizzCon 2012? Well, we can look at it either one of three ways. The first is that Mists of Pandaria won’t be ready until later this year or next year, which will have the playerbase rather upset to head to BlizzCon without a new patch for Cataclysm and without a new expansion, meaning that we should all buckle in for a long, long wait. I find this highly unlikely that Blizzard would think like this, but we’ll probably see that rumor rolling around the message boards.
The second is that we have to look at what Mists of Pandaria is targeting. We know that WoW’s strongest player population resides in Asia, a continent that we don’t see much WoW promotion going on. There is no far east BlizzCon and the last event over there was the invitational in 2007. The next expansion is heavily Asian themed too, so it’s very likely that Blizzard is focusing their promotion capabilities in the far east this year instead of the west.
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The third is that they are actually so busy that they can’t take the time out to hit up two events this year, so it was either the championship (which they haven’t had an e-sports event in a while) or BlizzCon and they choose the e-sports event. The last event was in 2008 in Paris, France which was four years ago. From what we know of the invitationals, they featured a BlizzCon like atmosphere with panels discussing various topics from their games and, for the most part, could just be considered foreign BlizzCons.
With no BlizzCon this year fans may want to begin picking an alternate location to gather, since it’s often tradition for many guilds to fly out to Anaheim and meet up each year. The two most accessible conventions are PAX East and PAX Prime, which are both easy to get into and are in two convenient locations. Blizzard doesn’t have much of a showing each year at PAX (sometimes not even getting a booth), but most WoW players are gamers by nature.
The best way to deal with this for your guild is to pick a similar minded convention that is closer to your group and works for the best. Various local conventions like DragonCon (Atlanta) and GenCon (Indiana) along with the San Diego Comic Con are great places for MMOG fans along with the aforementioned PAX East / PAX Prime. This may work out cheaper than BlizzCon and still offer that special time of the year for everyone to convene together.
While I’m sad that we won’t have that special time devoted to Blizzard this year, I am hopeful for 2013 BlizzCon to knock our socks off. Hopefully we’ll have some super awesome gifts or even, perhaps, two different events next year (that hopeful BlizzCon East that we’ve all been begging for).
What are your thoughts? Missing BlizzCon already or can you never snag tickets? Leave your thoughts in the comments section below.
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