My first experience with Blizzard was with World of Warcraft when I was 14-years old. I played for many years as the game consumed my life. Then, life happened and I didn’t have the time to dedicate myself to games anymore as I got older. However, now that I am an adult I can spend my money reliving out the old days at conventions. While I am relatively new at going to conventions, over the last couple of years I have been too big cons like PAX East and PAX South, and smaller cons like DreamCon and El Paso Comic Con. That being said, I’m not a professional congoer. I have been wanting to go to BlizzCon since I was fourteen and I finally had the opportunity to go.
BlizzCon runs a little differently than the typical three-day convention setup. Day one is usually picking up your pass and starting your day at the con. This time it was different. BlizzCon officially is only two days, Friday and Saturday with Thursday serving as a day zero with badge/swag pickup and pre-con parties.
Day zero went smoothly. Standing in line for my badge was a lot easier than I thought given the 40,000 people expected to be in attendance. I was really impressed that even though the line was long it moved really fast, I stood in line for 30 minutes, all of which flew by as I watched an episode of New Girl. Following badge pickup, I got to move into the convention center. While none of the halls were open, the outer area of the Anaheim Convention Center had food trucks, vendors, and music for attendees to enjoy.
People who wanted to save some time on day one were able to go pick up their commemorative statue as well as pick up their pre-ordered swag from the Blink store. I really liked that you could pre-order the things you wanted to buy and just go in line and pick it up. The fact that you could do all of this before the convention started was a time saver. The whole process only took about two hours which gave me time to enjoy California before the convention officially kicked off.
Day one may have been the longest convention day I have ever had. I did not expect to wake up at 4:00 A.M. to go stand in line for the opening ceremony that started at 9:00 A.M. While the opening ceremony is broadcast throughout the convention, the group I was determined to see it live on the Mythic stage. Yes, I waited five hours for the opening ceremony and it was worth it.
Around 6:00 A.M., they had everyone lined up to go through security, which is something I was impressed with. There are dozens of metal detectors for attendees to go through. The process was quicker than my experiences at both PAX South and PAX East. The opening ceremony is something I wasn’t used to since I had never experienced that for a convention. Waiting for that long was definitely worth the wait because this year was a big year for Blizzard with game announcements starting with Diablo 4, World of Warcraft: Shadowlands, and Overwatch 2.
With all the new announcements and demos available, Blizzard opened a new area for attendees to play outside the demos in the main halls. The Blizzard Arcade had some of Blizzard’s older games like The Lost Vikings and Diablo 1-3 but also had the latest demos for Warcraft 3: Reforged, Heroes of the Storm, and Starcraft II. The arcade also offered themed bars on different corners of the floor. Being able to see a real-life setting of what a bar would look like in World of Warcraft or Diablo was a dream come true. The themed beers were also fantastic!
Day one of BlizzCon ends with Community Night. The event has different contests where I had the opportunity to view everyone’s talent. As an amateur cosplayer with a few Overwatch cosplays under my belt, I was so moved that it ignited something in me to finally push through and keep cosplaying – you can find my full review of Community Night here.
BlizzCon had so much to offer attendees by the time I blinked it was already time for the floor to close. I can’t even explain how big this convention is. The first was filled walking around and just looking at beautiful statues, powerful artwork, listening to music, gaming, visiting different food trucks, and all the themed activities spread throughout the convention center. Seeing Blizzard staples like the Hearthstone tavern or the Panorama Diner from Overwatch recreated was something I did not know I needed in my life. The first day at the con was overwhelming but strangely fulfilling. Usually, by day one I have seen everything I wanted to see but that was not the case.
While day one was full of taking in the convention, day two was all about doing all the things. I mostly had the opportunity to play the games that were announced the day before. Even though there were 40,000 in attendance, I was really impressed that I was able to play Overwatch 2, World of Warcraft: Shadowlands, and Diablo IV and only waited in line for maybe 15 minutes at the most. Those lines were intimidating at certain times but I still had the chance to check out the games and I think this is due to how efficiently the staff handled queues.
Conventions wouldn’t be conventions without a few panels. My favorite was Overwatch voice actors. “Voices of Overwatch” featured the voices of Symmetra (Anjali Bhimani), Roadhog (Josh Petersdof), Mercy (Lucice Pohl), Zenyatta (Feodoor Chin), Baptiste (Benz Antoine), and Sigma (Boris Heistand). While it was fun to watch the voice actors read lines from other characters, it was the Q&A that I enjoyed so much.
I was moved by Bhimani’s comments about the importance of her voice acting Symmetra. I had to hold back my tears because she talked about how she only had Wonder Woman to look up to when she was a girl. Now, she was representing a powerful character in a big game. Playing video games all day and watching strong inspiring women speak was not a bad way to spend the last day of BlizzCon.
Because so many had hyped up the convention for years, I was beyond worried that BlizzCon wouldn’t live up to the expectations I had. I wasn’t disappointed at all, my expectations were exceeded. It is an experience one should do if you’ve ever loved Blizzard’s games. There was not a time where I felt bored because the convention had so much to see and experience. I’ve never been to Disneyland but I know it’s supposed to be a magical experience. That’s what I felt the moment I stood in line for my badge. Maybe the magic is spilling over to BlizzCon since Disney is down the street but I guess you’ll have to see it with your own eyes.