Gaming News

Published on November 11th, 2013 | by gareth


Blizzcon 2013

During this past weekend my wife and I travel to beautiful Anaheim California to cover the 2013 Blizzcon Convention. The convention sold out online in their moments and drew fans of Blizzard Entertainment from around the world for a weekend of news, panels, previews, music, Cosplay, and more. Those who were not able to get into the convention were able to follow along via DirecTV or through online streaming which could be purchased from the company.

After checking in we made her way to the press entrance to gain seats for the opening ceremony which had those in attendance as well as the countless others watching remotely counting down the moments before the show began. The highlights for the opening ceremonies has always been a look at what the company has in store and since they did not hold a convention last year, speculation has run rampant as to what the company may divulge.

Their latest card-based adventure Hearthstone gained a huge ovation especially when they revealed a new character card and inform the assembled masses that it would be available for both the Droid and Iphone formats in the coming year. As keyed is the audience was for this announcement, the footage of Heroes of the Storm brought a thunderous ovation from all in attendance. What started out as a single map that was shown to us in 2011 has grown into its own standalone game. The game combines characters from Warcraft, Diablo, and Starcraft and task players with various combat and tactical assignments. The gameplay is a mixture of the real-time strategy elements of Starcraft and Warcraft and has elements of Diablo’s gameplay.

The gameplay footage we saw was nothing short of spectacular and the animation of Raynor from Starcraft throwing down on Diablo brought several cheers of delight from the assembled crowd.

The opening ceremonies also discussed the competitive aspect of bliss gone as professional gamers from the world over competed that we can for hundreds of thousands of dollars in prizes. It was also announced that Blink 182 would be providing the entertainment that weekend.

While those announcements certainly got their share of attention what everybody was waiting for was to hear what the future held for World of Warcraft. After a very entertaining set up, it was revealed that the next expansion would harken back to the time when the Alliance was formed in order to fight on ultimate evil. The Horde faction we were told would be given a shot at redemption when this new threat arises in Warlords of Draenor which is the next expansion for the phenomenally popular and award-winning series. One announcement that delighted the crowd once the repeal of the level cap being raised to 100 as well as new continents, challenge modes, and so much more.

I was surprised that there was no announcement of the upcoming MMORPG known as Titan as well as nothing about the next installment of Starcraft or Diablo: Reaper of Souls aside from it appearing on the Playstation 4. This omission became a little more understandable once the opening ceremonies concluded in players made their way to the convention floor and saw that Sony had a very large display that allowed players to take in the pending Diablo 3 expansion on their soon-to-be released Playstation 4 as well as on the numerpous PCs that were made available for demonstration purposes.

The convention floor had several Blizzard partners which included NVIDIA, Jinx, Steelseries, Intel, and other companies who were on hand show their products to eager fans who lined up to purchase products and take advantage of show specials and exclusives. During this time, I got a chance to have a look at some new technology from Steelseries that we will be featuring an upcoming installments of our Holiday Gift Guides, as well as some fantastic stuff from NVIDIA. The company known for its amazing and powerful video card technology showed us a new monitor technology that will eliminate tearing and told us that it will be available from leading monitor manufacturers in the coming year. They also showed us an amazing surround sound system as well as the phenomenal Shadowplay which is a free software included with their video drivers that allows gamers to seamlessly and effortlessly capture gameplay video and in time have direct uploads to Twitch.

After covering the floor, we made sure to take as many pictures as we could but the fantastic costumes that were on display as fans showed their creative sides as they prepared for the fantastic costume competition.

Another awesome highlight of the weekend was director Duncan Jones revealing more information on the long rumored Warcraft movie which is set to arrive in 2015. The director commented how actors will be cast to play the nonhuman creatures rather than go the CGI route and that the visual designer for the film is a big fan of the series and currently has a level 90 character since he’s been playing from the launch of World of Warcraft.

The press room was a fantastic way to relax and get work done while at the same time keeping up with what was happening thanks to display monitors which broadcast the panels to us while we worked, relaxed, and caught something to eat or drink. As somebody who attends several conventions each year, I must say how much I appreciated the organization and professionalism of the convention as it made our coverage from arrival to departure extremely easy and efficient.

Trying to encapsulate an event such as Blizzcon is next to impossible thanks to the wealth of information and things that are available to see and do. Suffice it to say that we had a fantastic time and everybody we spoke to was enjoying themselves. The weather was fantastic during our stay and the opportunity to take in a bit of Disney magic across the street, albeit briefly, was the perfect way to conclude this highly an enjoyable convention.

You can check out photos from the weekend at the links below. Pictures were taken by Genevieve Mc Bride

Blizzcon Day One

Blizzcon Day Two

About the Author

Syndicated movie & game critic, writer, author and frequent radio guest. His work has appeared in over 60 publications worldwide and he is the creator of the rising entertainment site and publication “Skewed and Reviewed”. He has three books of film, game reviews and interviews published and is a well-received and in demand speaker on the convention circuit. Gareth has appeared in movies and is a regular guest on a top-rated Seattle morning show. He has also appeared briefly in films such as “Prefountaine”, “Postal”. “Far Cry”. and others. Gareth is also an in-demand speaker at several conventions and has conducted popular panels for over two decades.

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