ItÂs nearly BlizzCon ticket-madness time once again. Yes Blizzard has announced the dates batches of tickets will be released, as well as the pricing. Expect long, long queues on release day. While all of this does slam home how popular World of Warcraft is, I also noticed that the ticket price has gone up. Last year it was $150 and now itÂs $175.
I know from time spent in the US that $175 spent for an event is a lot of money. Heck, SDCC only costs $105 and thatÂs for four days. I also understand that inflation is an annoying side-effect of the economy and, given the recession, a rise in price by $25 isnÂt too bad but thatÂs assuming you can actually get a ticket.
Most people forget that youÂre paying for the entry to the event and the goody bag - while they do cost Blizzard a fair amount to put together - is just a bonus. YouÂre there to see whatever announcements Blizzard has up their sleeve and the free pet/mount sweetens the deal. Granted, the goody bag is getting more impressive. It was - frankly - refreshing to see all the crap and clutter axed from last yearÂs bag so it comprised of just the gorgeous Deathwing marquette, a genuinely-useful Authenticator, the pet card and a sample of the official magazine (well, you canÂt have everything).
But, to be honest, if I was going to BlizzCon (and while IÂd like to, IÂm probably not, not unless my numbers come up on the Lottery. Ha!) I would much rather pay for one of the Benefit tickets. For $500, you skip the inevitable queue on Thursday, you get the goody bag given to you at the dinner, along with your ticket and signed artwork. To top it off, you also have a memorable meal with the developers themselves and the chance to do something for an excellent cause, in the form of the ChildrenÂs Hospital of Orange County. To me, thatÂs such a better way to spend your money. Sadly it all comes down to whether youÂre lucky enough to even get a ticket at all.
Blizzard hasnÂt had much luck in the last few years when it comes to selling tickets. Indeed this is the sole reason for the rise of the Failoc. Unless you have lightening reflexes - and even if you do - it can sometimes be impossible to get hold of a ticket. In previous years, demand has been so great that itÂs not been unknown for the website to crash and itÂs likely to happen again this year.
The problem is, unless you live in Anaheim, the cost of the ticket is just the tip of the iceberg. A cursory glance on the travel section of the BlizzCon website shows prices that are, for the most part, higher than if you go and book via the hotelÂs own website. By the time you factor in things like flights (and thatÂs even if youÂre coming from Seattle or San Diego, not just further away) and food, the bill has shot up.
And so I have come across a simpler solution: get a Virtual Ticket.
Just think about it, thereÂs no hurry, itÂs cheaper and means I will be able to sit at home (or possibly in my local wifi-equipped tavern) with a cold beverage and watch everything from the best seat in the house - my own. IÂll probably get the pet from it too and if I want the goody bag, well, thereÂs always eBay and even spending a hundred bucks there is cheaper than flying to the US. An added bonus is no jet lag, no 'con flu, no insane queues and - sorry, folks - no having to deal with other peopleÂs B.O. either. Sounds like a win/win to me!
So, before you join the rush for tickets and wear out your F5 button, it might be worth sitting down and thinking this through. After all, even if Titan is announced, even if the new WoW expansion is revealed or a date for Diablo III is finally set in stone, will being there really effect you that much, other than emptying your wallet? So much of what makes BlizzCon BlizzCon from shopping for shiny merch and viewing the panels to running around with a new exclusive mount or pet can be experienced from the comfort of your own computer. Heck, the cost of not going to BlizzCon could ensure you're still visiting Azeroth in 2035 and, sometimes, experiences are better when you're not there, this could be one of them.