I had a wonderful time. It was MUCH cooler than I expected. I had been to some Everquest Fan Faires in the past and was expecting something similar, but Blizzard really shows how much they care by putting so much effort into BlizzCon. IMHO, this was 100x better than any EQ convention.
The first time I entered the main hall, it took my breath away with the scope of everything and the attention to detail. They had HUGE banners of various Blizzard game art hanging from the ceiling and very large video screens in many places showing various things like cinematic trailers, ongoing battleground competitions, RTS matches, Ghost demos and Burning Crusade demos. There were separate areas for playing the expansion, playing Ghost and doing the Arathi Basin BG with a team. Each area had LOTS of computers, especially for the expansion (seemed like around 300). At the far end of hall A was a stage with many seats in front where they had either a Ghost demonstration or Expansion cinematics running, alternating each hour.
To the left, near the front was a long line to pickup your goody bag and past that, another long line for the Blizzard Store. Beyond those were the vendor booths with lots of cool things being demonstrated. Logitech had their G5 and G7 mice along with their new G15 keyboard, which has a small LCD screen on the top of the keyboard which can show date/time and CPU utilization and heat, along with various other things I suppose. They also had a demo of WoW running on a 3D LCD monitor that uses polarized glasses. The depth effect was pretty cool, but I don’t think I could use it long term. Brady Games had a very impressive hard cover Atlas with detailed maps and NPC info for each zone and dungeon in the game. I picked one up, but haven’t pored over it, so I can’t vouch for accuracy. Other vendors included Creative, Western Digital, Intel and Microsoft, of course.
In hall B, there was simply a stage with the rest of the hall filled by seats. In here were various panel discussions on topics like Character Classes, Raids, Lore and Quests, Cinematic Design, etc. Upstairs, above both halls was another room with panel discussions on things like Battlegrounds, Professions and Items, Dungeon design, etc. I attended most of them and came away with a much higher level of respect for the developers. I never really understood how passionate they were about the game and how much hand crafted detail goes into everything. They were very open to questions and criticism and even had quite good senses of humor. They even stayed late after each to answer questions on the side. I never got the feeling that they didn’t want to speak to the players.
There was also a very cool “build your own laptop” panel discussion with members of Intel, Nvidia and LegitReviews.com showing how easy it is to make your own and save a bundle. The website guru even handed out a 4 page set of instructions on how to do it. It just involves buying a laptop “shell” based on the screen and graphics, then buying things like the CPU, HD, DVD/CD, RAM, etc. seperately. Quite informative. Visit http://LegitReviews.com for more info.
I only played the Expansion demo. Unfortunately, all that was playable was the Blood Elf newbie area and the 20 man raid part of Ahn’Qiraj, which is part of the 1.9 patch, not the expansion. The newbie area was cool and different than the other newbie areas and I was told it will support levels 1-20. I was hoping to see some of the lvl 60+ content, but I suppose they either wanted to keep it secret, or none of it is polished enough for the general public.
The Ghost demo looked very fun. They demonstrated using either stealth or firepower to complete objectives, so players can play as befitting their style. The enemy AI was also quite impressive for a console game. If you are detected, or any bodies are found, they will send out increasingly larger or well equipped teams to hunt you down. They will also work together to flush you out or flank you. The playable Ghost demo was a team based multiplayer, but I didn’t test it, since I’m horrible at online FPS.
Watching the RTS Starcraft and Warcraft tourneys were interesting too. There was an announcer doing play by play and many people in spectator seats cheering their favorite on. They had the main matches projected on a huge screen above, so everyone could see the action.
I didn’t participate in the Battleground matches, since there wasn’t anyone else from my guild there and I only like to PvP with my own players, rather than a pre-generated cookie cutter one. I heard that the team that did the best was from the same guild. Not surprising …
I’m sure there is a lot of detail I’m missing, but that’s all I can think of off the top of my head. All in all, I would absolutely go again and will even pay next time. =)
Thanks again to Blizzplanet for allowing me to win a ticket in a contest. It was very much worth the travel and hotel.—written by Alumriel @ Dragonblight Realm
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On October 28th, Blizzard Entertainment surprised the world with their very own BlizzCon Event to showcase both Starcraft: Ghost and World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade Expansion. Usually, this type of announcements are made in such events as E3, Tokyo Game Show, ECST Game Expo. With so many years of success developing games that break staggering Guinness Records through a whole decade, it was about time for Blizzard to decide endevouring their very own Expo Convention.
With nearly eight thousand players meeting at Anaheim Convention Center in California, Blizzard prepared throughout the morning to make sure everyone would enter the premises and to accomodate them. Some fans picking up at the Will-Call Booth their BlizzCon badges and their goodie bag—which includes a special code for a unveiled Beta Test.
Once settled, the event started with Mike Morhaime addressing the fans with the story of how a small team led by Allen Adham and Mike Morhaime created small games as Silicon & Synapses(1991), then evolved into Blizzard Entertainment with Warcraft: Orcs and Humans to grow into the monster Blizzard is now a decade later, running their own BlizzCon Event.
After introduction, Mike Morhaime invited Shane Dabiri into the scene—World of Warcraft Lead Producer. Shane asked the fans if they knew what has made Blizzard successful over the years. Only one answer came upon Shane’s mind: Its awesome community. From the daily input and discussions in the forums, up to the time-consuming and creative movies that fans create on their own. There is not one sole day that developers get by without reading and enjoying the fans’ feedback.
Immediately after Shane Dabiri’s welcome, he let fans know what to expect in Starcraft: Ghost and World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade Expansion, bringing maddening cheers and applauses from fans in the auditorium.
Starcraft: Ghost has playable Zerglings, Hydralisks, Mutalisks and Infested Terrans which players can use in Multiplayer, which at this point supports up to 16 players. We don’t know how Blizzard dealt with the balancing. This was an issue the developers had shared few months ago was going to be a problem, and was still in creative design stage. It is reality now. Fans were given freedom to do a hands-on and play as a Zerg unit during the Starcraft: Ghost demo at BlizzCon. Fans were awed at the high level of quality this game is shaping up so far, and had quiet a lot of fun cruising through the streets of Mar Sara on their Vulture hovercraft-cycle unit.
As for World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade, Shane Dabiri ran the Video Trailer of the expansion on the mega-screen leaving fans in awe. The game level cap will be raised to 70, with access to hundreds of new quests and items. The introduction of a new tradeskill that will complement Leatherworking, Tailoring, Blacksmith’s armorsmith and weaponsmith. Through socketed weapons and armor, the Jewelcrafters can create Gems and Jewels with special attributes that will alter the stats of those socketed items making it unique—a la Diablo II. If you have never played that Blizzard game, take a look at how socketed items and Jewels worked in Diablo II at the Arreat Summit Official website. You should read gems, runes and jewel sub-pages for an in-depth view of what to expect in the World of Warcraft expansion.
The Burning Crusade
The Titans were metalic god-like entities that roamed the universe, reshaping each world. Those worlds were governed by chaotic and raging energies from the primal creation. The Pantheon chose Sargeras as their champion to seek and battle opposing evil forces from the Twisting Nether. For thousands of years, Sargeras kept the demons in check until an evil race affected the titan deeply. Sargeras, a fallen Titan, created the Burning Legion after been corrupted by the Nathrezim—a race of psychic-vampire-like demons. Sargeras’ job among the Titan Pantheon Organization was to stop the demons of the Twisting Nether from wrecking havok throughout the universe, putting order to chaos.
With his corruption, the once noble titan champion doubted the concept of a universe in order, and decided that only chaos and depravity was the true happiness and purpose. Disbanding his former Pantheon organization he set to free every demon he had imprisoned. Every demon bowed to him and followed him as new leader. Sargeras chose two races as his champions: the Eredar Warlocks and the Nathrezim(Dreadlords)—naming his army of demons the Burning Legion. And set to cross the universe undoing the work of the Titans with a sole purpose … to set the universe aflame, conquering world after world in their unholy Burning Crusade.
In their path to reshape the universe to bring order to chaos, the Titans found Azeroth, and found evil entities known as the Old gods raging chaos upon the planet. The Old gods’ servants—the Elemental Lords and their brethren elementals battled the Titans. After defeating the Old gods, the Titans reshaped the world, creating the seas and the mountains, and creating lifeforms out of stones and metal properties native to Azeroth. Through 82,999 years, the Titans finished their work placing the Well of Eternity—a fountain of arcane magic—to spring new life in the world, and left behind 5 Dragon Aspects before departing 54,001 years ago.
The Burning Legion failed to conquer the world of Azeroth 10,000 years ago, when a Night Elf and the Ancients opposed the invasion by sealing the portal that would allow Sargeras entry to the world. This did not stop Sargeras from planning over the centuries, and beyond. He wanted the Well of Eternity and wanted to consume the world.
Kharazhan: Tower of Medivh
After long planning, 800 years ago Sargeras sent demons to siphon the magic off Dragons—guardians left behind by the Titans. Aegwynn—a young girl chosen by the Order of Tirisfal—faced Sargeras’ avatar in Northrend and battled him. Thinking she had killed the fallen Titan, she buried his body deep undersea in a temple ruins. Unknown to her, Sargeras inhabited her. Her powers were great with the magic granted to her by the Great Magi of the Kirin-Tor’s Order of Tirisfal, enlarging her lifespan to 800 years. At that age, she decided to have an offspring with the councelor of Stormwind, a mage. Sargeras had planned this all along. Once she conceived a baby, Sargeras posessed the baby at the womb.
She named her baby as Medivh, or Keeper of Secrets in elven tongue, and decided t
hat the Order of Tirisfal wouldn’t name her successor to
the mantle of Guardian. She chose her baby Medivh as successor to the power of the Guardian—whose purpose is to hunt demons and vanish them from Azeroth to protect the world from an invasion of the Burning Legion. The baby was given to his father Nielas Aran. At the age of 14, Medivh entered in a comatose trance as his Guardian powers manifested and proved too strong for him. A possible defensive mechanism as Sargeras’ pshyche within him battled for many years after to take control of his mind and body. Medivh awoke two decades later while his body was taken care at Northshire Abbey, near Stormwind City.
He made the Tower of Kharazan his home and started his duty as a Guardian. Sargeras would take posession of his body and will at times switching minds over his body. It was on Medivh’s body that Sargeras opened the Dark Portal in Black Morass allowing for first time the invasion of the Orcs to Azeroth. Medivh was later killed by Lothar and Khadgar, but the tower still remains. Kharazhan is a town in Deadwind Pass, between Duskwood and Swamp of Sorrows. The tower is actually bigger than it looks. Underneath the tower exists an exact copy of the tower above, going backwards, in reverse.
Blizzard Entertainment announced Kharazon Tower Instance to be opened in Patch 1.9 as a prelude to the events that will lead to the opening of the Dark Portal in World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade Expansion. It will have 10-players and 20-players raid elements. I am assuming the tower beneath the ground might be the 20-players raid sub-instance. There is where Sargeras would perform his demonic rituals. You can actually sense a feeling of Tower of Medivh in Kharazhan through Jeff Grubb’s awesome novel Warcraft: The Last Guardian.
If you really want to find out more, read the novel pocketbook. It is part of the official Warcraft lore and was the beginning of the Warcraft franchise … as it was Sargeras in Medivh’s body who opened the Dark Portal that let the horde enter the world of Azeroth.
Caverns of Time
This is the legendary lair of Nozdormu—the Dragon Aspect of Time. A dragon blessed by the Titan Aman’Thul the Highfather to be custodian of the myriad paths of destiny and its timelines in Azeroth. The Caverns of Time instance will be open allowing players to visit the past, and journey through Old Hillsbrad Foothills when Thrall was a teen held as a slave in the gladiator arena of Durnholde Keep, or travel through time to when the Dark Portal was first opened in Black Morass, and even making players participate in the epic battle of Mount Hyjal, fighting the Undead Scourge, the Burning Legion and Archimonde—events of the final battle of Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos. All these great travels through time will offer players countless of new quests, and will possibly be upgraded with new time-eras to explore. To find out more of the Five Dragon Aspects and Nozdormu, you may read Warcraft: Day of the Dragon and the War of the Ancients Trilogy—written by Richard A. Knaak.
Outland was once the world of the Orcs and the draeni: Draenor. Ner’zhul had created many Dark Portals during Warcraft II expansion—long before he became the Lich King. During Warcraft 2: Beyond the Dark Portal, heroes entered the orcish homeworld to destroy the Dark Portal from within. The destruction of the portal collapsed the world of Draenor upon itself, being torn apart. Chunks of asteroids and debris of what once was Draenor float now in space throughout the Twisting Nether.
According to Warcraft RPG: Shadow & Light, those asteroids are big enough to hold entire cities. The Burning Legion’s demons united those floating chunks of land with black demonic chains connecting each other as a network. The RPG book says that those Dark Portals are still active. The Burning Legion uses Outland as a way-station to navigate and conquer other worlds, jumping through the active portals … expanding their ever spanning Burning Crusade.
Blizzard Entertainment announced that new epic flying mounts can be purchased in Outland and will only be available there. With these expensive mounts, players can reach places that they wouldn’t be able otherwise to reach walking or riding a ground mount. Blizzard promises a lot of excitement fighting in the Hellfire Penninsula Battlegrounds, and seeing the wreckage of the wars held during the Warcraft 2 events. The video trailer shows a lot of new monsters to be introduced in the World of Warcraft Expansion. Warcraft RPG: Shadow & Light mentions that the Black Citadel—formerly-owned by Ner’Zhul—is now the lair of Illidan Stormrage, and that beneath the Citadel exists a prison where heroes of past wars are kept prisoners and tortured. Many adventures await players.
Chris Metzen revealed in the Developer Panels that Illidan closed all the Dark Portals of Outland. Nevertheless, MagusRogue, a World of Warcraft RPG Game Designer from White-Wolf revealed the following:
“The portals were shut down by Illidan, actually. However, some of the quests in the Burning Crusade Expansion have you re-opening these and going to new dimensions, fighting the legion in new worlds. Should be awesome.”
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