It’s taken me a while to get my thoughts together regarding Blizzcon, primarily because I’ve been trying to catch up on things that didn’t get done on Friday and Saturday. Overall I have to say that compared to last year, it was fairly anti-climactic. Granted, I’m sure that it was an epic experience for the attendees, and that it definitely seems like Blizzard is pushing Blizzcon as more of a fan networking event rather than just a venue to make game announcements.
Let me just say first off, that the highlight for me personally wasn’t anything that Blizzard did. It was actually all the live-tweeting going on during the conference. Being able to communicate with attendees and other viewers of the live stream in real-time was really what made it fun for me. It’s interesting that many of the actual attendees would also say that the highlight of their trip was getting to meet other Blizzard fans and the parties. Twitter seemed to provide a similar experience for those of us who couldn’t be there.
My apologies to the non-WoW players that follow my Twitter feed for all the #blizzcon spam. 🙂
But I do have a rant. /start rant
Of course the panels are what everyone wants to see. The Q&As are of special interest, and as somebody watching at home you hope that some fortunate soul that has your same concerns will ask the question that you would ask.
And what happened? You got armchair developers with 3-minute rants and demands about Hunters (and no questions), a question about whether the devs were going to develop the character of a random ogre questgiver, a question about whether we’d ever have the capability of class changes because they didn’t want to re-roll, some guy that said he was “full of chocolate” (?), people re-asking questions from previous panels, and the list goes on. It was embarrassing.
Seriously? You get all the way to Blizzcon and ask a stupid question just to get attention and to say that you’ve spoken to Ghostcrawler? I’m not going to advocate the devs being rude (as you’ll see in a moment), but really, if this is what they have to deal with, no wonder they seem to have a hard time taking their players seriously.
On the other hand, there were some VERY legitimate questions that were completely blown off and/or mocked. One such question was whether we would see more main female characters that didn’t look like they came out of a Victoria’s Secret catalog. The devs completely missed a fantastic opportunity to speak to their female playerbase (which has been estimated as high as 40%) on this one, instead asking her what catalog she wanted them to come out of. Or the question about the possibility of a wardrobe function, which then was mocked as playing “World of Dresscraft”. Another player asked about the possibility of more character slots, to which they offered another account for $15 a month.
Not cool. Sorry, if devs are going to be interacting with the players during conferences, they need to understand some basic rules of PR. Granted, these are guys that program code all day, but still. There are some questions that need to be given a serious answer, or else it they look like a jackass. As it stands, it’s like they blew off their female players, altoholics, collectors, and role-players.
I thoroughly enjoyed the Cinematic, Art, and Sound panels though. These folks showed some amazing work and talked about the thought processes that go into creating their work. It was very cool to see how the Blizzard cinematics are put together, to watch the environment creators make the zones, to see some of the music being played live, and to hear the composers talk about their inspirations for various music pieces. These are the artists of Blizzard and they are very passionate about and very good at what they do.
Overall, Blizzcon this year was okay. Not the greatest, although last year’s Blizzcon was difficult to follow up. It’ll be interesting to see what next year’s Blizzcon will bring.