Posted Mon, Jul 14, 2008 by Messiah
Dwarf Death Knight
The 2008 Blizzard Worldwide Invitational in Paris has come and gone. All I have been hearing from friends and guild mates now is "How was it? Was it worth attending?". Many are asking because they are considering Blizzcon in the fall. Having been to several big industry events, and many other hobby type events in the past (Games Workshop Games Days, E3, GenCon, etc) I feel fairly qualified to talk about the event as a whole, and felt that others out there may be wondering the same things while considering attending Blizzcon in the fall.
As with any large event there were some great things, some good things and some not so good things. When attending events you have to balance them all out. Sometimes something seems really good or bad at the time, but given a few hours or days you realize it wasn't that great or that poor. Given that, here is what I thought of some of the activites at the event or about the event in general..
Well organized - It was not perfect, but nothing of this scale is. There were a few minor glitches, but nothing that really prevented anyone from enjoying themselves. Overall it was very smooth.
Panels, autographs and discussions - These all provided a chance to meet some of the people behind the game and ask questions that concern you. There are few other places that the average person gets to have interaction with the Blizzard staff. Getting a single question answered is worth the event for many people.
Great Goody bags - The swag in the bags, and the bags themselves were worth more than the price of admission alone! There were many people outside offering to buy the goody bags from you for more than the entrance fee itself.
Unique bonuses - The in game items are worth it alone and they will get comments in game for years to come. They also serve as a reminder of the event whenever you use them in game.
The PvP events - E-Sports really is becoming a sport. It was easy to see the progression from Blizzcon to the WWI alone. It focused even more on the PvP aspects of Blizzards games, and had a more professional feel with multi screen live simulcast and commentary. Even those that are not into PvP got dragged in and fascinated by the excellent play by play commentating being provided.
Be Prepared to be BUSY! (and the stand in line!) - There are a ton of things to do at a Blizzard event. You could spend the whole time just going from one discussion panel to the next, or watching PvP events, or playing betas, or shopping, or socializing, etc, etc, etc. You get the picture, right? You will probably run out of energy before you run out of things to see or do at the event. Remember to save some energy for evening activities though.
The concert - The concert at the end of the show was amazing. I know it can sound kinda geeky to many people that you listened to "Video Games Live" in concert, but it really is an experience. I have seen them several times now and each time is worth it.
An important thing to remember, the event itself is not everything. There is much more to it than just the events put on by Blizzard or anyone else. When you travel to an event of any type at least half of the fun and excitement is the travel and other things to do. What should you look at outside of the event itself?
See the Sights!
Bring a friend or meet a friend there - These events are much better with people you know, either someone you know from home, or hook up with a friend from another city. This may even be a group of people from your guild.
Meet New People - You are at an event that is for people of similar interests to your own. Be open and social. You would be amazed and how many new friends you can make by simply talking to the people next to you in line.
Meet your guild mates - Many big guilds setup social get together's around these events. I have seen as many as 20+ guildies meeting in person for the first time at these events. You spend so much time together online, why not get together in real life and go and enjoy a meal and a beer with them (assuming they are of legal age!).
See some other attractions in the area - Whether the event you are attending is an Invitational or Blizzcon, there will be things to do in the immediate area. Assuming you travel to get to the event, make the most of it. Plan a few extra days and get out and see the city and its attractions. At Blizzcon you can do to see any number of local attractions, and at the Invitational this year you could have stayed busy for weeks and not come close to seeing everything there is to see in Paris.
So, to answer all the questions that I get about "How was it? Was it worth attending?". The event itself was great, as was Blizzcon last year. I think that they are well worth attending for all the reasons above. Don't get me wrong, these events are not for everyone. However, that is mainly due to the travel costs, not the event costs. The events themselves are fairly inexpensive for a whole weekend event, the travel is what hurts. If you can manage it though, or tag it onto an already planned trip, I would strongly recommend attending a WWI or Blizzcon.
As you can probably tell though, I am pretty supportive of these big events in general. From the Blizzard event side, they do a great job putting on this type of event. It allows all of us as fans to get together with them, see some cool new things, play with some new games before almost everyone else, and just generally hang out and have fun.
More importantly it gets a group of people that have similar interests together to socialize. That's what MMO games are to me in general, a way to have fun and to socialize with other people. Doing that online is one thing, getting a chance to do that in real life is another, and one that should be taken advantage of.
The Messiah has had his say, what’s yours? Did you make it to the WWI? Have you been to Blizzcon? Do you feel the events are worth attending?
Email me at: Byron Mudry - (Messiah@TenTonHammer.com) or post in our forums (linked below).
Disclaimer: The opinions, beliefs and viewpoints expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions, beliefs and viewpoints of the Ten Ton Hammer network or staff.