One of the best things about hitting all the conventions we do with Lorehound is meeting new friends, and simply existing in the moment while surrounded by fellow gamers. It truly is a unique thing. Nowhere is this feeling of community more intense than BlizzCon. 2017 marked my second consecutive year going to the annual all-things-Blizzard event. I can honestly say that it is unlike any other convention I’ve ever been to. Firstly, with the entire con centered on the six core Blizzard titles, not a smattering of hundreds. It gives the whole experience a twist of excitement and brand loyalty not encountered elsewhere. Sure, PAX offers a look at the industry as a whole, even taking time to focus on up and coming indie developers, but the hype level achieved by Blizzard in the Opening Ceremony alone is enough to keep even the lowest level fan juiced all the way through the flight home! Big reveals and new content aside, the energy is palpable even before the doors to the Con open. The area around the Anaheim convention center packs up early with thousands of loyal Blizzard fans, media from every corner of the world, and some of the best cosplay around; providing plenty of primo hashtag fodder for Instagram feeds.
Things are so electric that even the most casual gamer gets swept up in the excitement and fervor that permeates the Convention Center campus! I know this because I am this. Although it’s not uncommon to hear me yell “For the Horde!” I have never once played WoW. I watched a friend play the original Diablo for about 10 minutes one time in 5th grade, Hearthstone makes no sense to me, HoTS may as well not exist, and my only exposure to StarCraft 2 was the 20 minutes it took me to realize I had no idea what was happening when I played it on N64 in the year 2000 [Ed. Note, I almost (╯°□°）╯︵ ┻━┻ when I read that sentence.]. In fact, I didn’t even know what DPS stood for or why it was important until roughly a year into the existence of Overwatch!
I reveal all this blackmail level gamer dirt to reinforce how special BlizzCon is. The convention manages to keep me interested and excited about titles I don’t even play or, if I do play them, I am terrible at! For example, I want to love Hearthstone. The whole aesthetic of this digital card game, especially Kobolds & Catacombs, hits much of what I love in gaming; long, winding stories with different choices to make, freedom in decision making, and the aspect of the tavern/inn style storytelling are all things that pique my interest. However, I just can’t do card games. I don’t understand them at all and besides, my ADD wouldn’t let me finish a single game if I did.
In addition to everything that sets BlizzCon aside, one thing that unwaveringly holds true in any venue is the camaraderie and acceptance found in the gaming community. One of my favorite moments this year was when Blizzard President and CEO Mike Morhaime proudly stated how people from any background, walk of life, etc., are welcome in our gaming community when they do not feel so elsewhere. The crowd reaction to this statement was as heartening as the sentiment itself and was a reminder to me of how amazing it is that people around the world are able to bond so quickly and so strongly through gaming without ever even meeting IRL. I’ll save whatever wistful emoting I could insert here and just say that twice now BlizzCon has impressed me beyond expectation, and I can’t wait to get my Blizz-full next year!
FOR THE HORDE!!!