Throwback Thursday – November 5, 2015

BLIZZCON!

Hello A3ers and other folks reading this! This week, I’m down in Anaheim, picking up my badge for Blizzcon 2015. This is my seventh Blizzcon, and I thought it would be fun to dig into past Blizzcons. After all, if you can’t be there, why not enjoy the wackiness that’s gone on over the years?

This will be a pretty image heavy post, so if that’s not your thing, or your browsing on a mobile phone with no WiFi, you’ll want to check something else out.

Want to get reports of what’s going on during Blizzcon? Follow me on Twitter @smadronia and see what I’m reporting on!

Any photos not credited here are courtesy of the Blizzcon archives.

[editor’s note: click on the images to view full size]

2005
The first Blizzcon! 8,000 people attended, The Offspring played and Murky was a pet.

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Murlocs were also one of the costume themes, with this big guy moving around. Best way to hang a lanyard ever.

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Demos! It looks like most people skipped the headphones at each station in this photo.


2006
No Blizzcon. :(


2007

13,000 people attended, Video Games Live played and the Murloc costume was given away.

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With more attendance came more crowds. Blizzcon hadn’t yet blown up into the large scale convention we know today, so notice the “Welcome to Blizzcon” sign? Not as fancy as now.

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As always, costumes were featured. Some people went for the casual approach.

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Some people went for a more detailed approach. I love the little “throw me” on the ball.


2008
My first Blizzcon! 15,000 people attended, Video Games Live played (again) and we were given the polar bear mount! Sadly, I have no photos from this year. :(

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The costume contest winner! Turned out to be someone from my server, Cenarius. No, she didn’t come to the realm meetup. After this year there was a size limit put on costumes, because that turtle is part of her costume.

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Another one of the cosplays. I have to give this guy props though. Those wings would extend and contract through a series of pulleys, and he was wearing moonshoes to give him a walk that just fit his costume. He trained by wearing the wings for two weeks in advance.

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Do you remember buying decks of the playing cards in the hopes of getting the spectral tiger mount, or one of the pets? Well, some people bought the decks to play the games, and Blizzard set aside a big section for people to get together and play.

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Back in 2008, the e-Sports weren’t quite as big. Starcraft had a hall for the upcoming Starcraft 2, and there was still Starcraft gaming to be watched. Here’s a crowd waiting for a match to start.


2009
20,000 people! Tickets sell out in under a minute. Blizzcon closes the show with Ozzy Osbourne and gives out Grunty, the murloc marine, in anticipation of the 2010 Starcraft 2 release!

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Given everyone’s fascination with murlocs, it’s no wonder they stacked up in the Starcraft 2 Kerrigan statue (new for 2009).

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The demo stations grew in size, from dozens of computers to hundreds.

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Some people had fun and wore some appropriate and oversized headgear.

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Some people even went all out for their costumes. Sadly, he didn’t win Best Costume. I did get to meet him, and he was an awesome, friendly guy.

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And, with Starcraft 2 coming out the next year, Raynor had to make an appearance.


2010
With 27,000 people, this year’s Blizzcon has been the biggest in attendance. The pet was Deathy, in honor of Cataclysm, and Tenacious D closed out the convention. Jack Black appeared on stage in a lizard costume.

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With Starcraft 2’s release earlier in the year, e-Sports became bigger than ever. People packed the hall to watch the matches. They broadcast the final match on the main stage as well, so everyone could watch.

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The featured live raid. Unlike many of the ones to follow, this one was one group versus a large number of bosses.

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There were panels. Many, many panels, especially on Cataclysm and Diablo 3.

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Twin Valkyr cosplay was awesome. There were a couple of them there that year.

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Feather bear! Who doesn’t love a cuddly feather bear? I saw her from 2008-2013 at the con, always as a moonkin, always changing the costume up. She traveled with a troll shaman buddy, and a mailbox, but I’ll get to that soon.


2011
2011 was actually a slightly smaller con, at 26,000 people. It was still as busy as ever, and they gave us Murkablo to celebrate Diablo 3 coming out, and the Foo Fighters closed the show.

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The mailbox. This mailbox was magical. It showed up every year, each year a little different, like the feather bear and troll shaman it accompanied. The best part? There was a gnome inside. Really. A pink haired gnome was in the mailbox, handing out mail. If you asked nicely, she’d check and see if you had mail. It was one of the highlights of the convention.

Sorry the photo isn’t better, it’s one of mine.

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Feather bear plushie! See? Her costume just kept getting better and better, and this was a moonkin hatchling that she toted around. She let me hold him long enough to get a photo, so that’s me, with a Horde tattoo and glittery facepaint.

Another one of mine.

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Speaking of costumes, this is a wholly incredible Paladin set. The guy who made this researched everything he could get his hands on for it, down to the Latin on his ribbons. He said he spent something like 200 hours on it. It was incredible. I’d share my own photo, but it’s blurry and I’m grinning like an idiot as I get my throat cut.

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Chris Metzen during the opening ceremony, swinging the LARP version of the Doomhammer. Epic Weapons was taking pre-orders for the actual one that year.

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Sadly, no photos of the Foo Fighters, so here’s one of their opening act: Elite Tauren Chieftans! If you’ve never heard of them, they’re the Blizzard band, and Sam Didier (the king of pandas and Art director) is their singer. Mike Morheim, president of Blizzard Entertainment, is their bassist; Chris Sigaty is their rhythm guitarist, and lead producer of Starcraft 2; lead guitarist Dave Berggren is a concept artist, and bringing up the rear is Alan Dabiri, a senior programmer.


2012
No Blizzcon for 2012. They claimed too many games were being released that year, so they’d have nothing for the convention.


2013
Blizzcon was back with a vengeance this year, with 26,000 people, Murkalot to save us from the crusader in the D3 expansion and Blink182 to end the convention with. Mike Morheim (or maybe Chris Metzen) said that the the backlash from not holding Blizzcon in 2012 was pretty big, and they weren’t planning on skipping another one.

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There was a discussion panel on the Warcraft movie. Still in the early stages, they weren’t able to say much about it.

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Hearthstone was big this year, with them promising app versions of the game within the next year. They started by talking Apple products, but then confirmed Android as well.

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They discussed the new player models that were coming with Warlord of Draenor. The WoD panels were pretty heavily attended.

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And Warlords talk wouldn’t be complete without someone playing at Garona. She actually had her hair done in dreads for the costume, and just kept it like that. 2013 also featured a discussion panel on cosplay, and she was one of the panelists.


2014
Just a short year ago, 26,000 people gathered together to scream out over Overwatch, headbang to Metallica and take home Grommloc. Blizzard also moved the Starcraft matches into the arena, and built stages specifically for Starcraft 2 and Hearthstone.

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Remember the photo from 2007, showing the “Welcome to Blizzcon” sign? Well, they’ve improved it over the years. My only non blurry photo from this year.

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Here’s the full Hearthstone stage they set up, to make it look like a tavern. During the matches, they would let people sit up there on stage, some in costumes, and be part of the scenery. That center area is where the matches happened, with the two players able to hear each other.

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And we can’t skip the Starcraft 2 stage; it was enormous! See where it says MMA and Bomber? Underneath the names were the isolation booths for the players.

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Overwatch demos! The line was long, but the matches were fairly quick, so you didn’t have to stand forever. If you didn’t catch on quick though, you got smoked.

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Cosplay! Lots of costumes on display at the convention.

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Metallica! Pardon the blurry shape of the photo, as it was dark and my phone has a terrible camera. Not quite a full house, but the place was pretty packed for their performance. Most of the seating was pretty calm, but there was a mosh pit up front. No, I didn’t go, but I did think about it.

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And, of course, what Blizzcon’s about: Blizzard employees and fans getting to meet and talk, and share their love of all things Blizzard.


That wraps up Blizzcon through the years. If this doesn’t count as a #tbt, then absolutely nothing ever will. :) Check back soon, and we’ll have pics from this year’s con up too!

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