BlizzCon: The Incredibly Specific Fan Fest
There are tons of festivals that cater to the geek, but none is so single-minded as BlizzCon. Sitting in the Anaheim convention center this morning I marveled at the fact that I was sharing a huge room with thousands of people who played the same video game as me. When Chris Metzen, Blizzard's vice president of development took the stage to fill us in on the details of World of Warcraft: Catyclism he didn't need to stop to explain what a raid was. Unlike the press events at E3 there was no mainstream press onhand. And if they were there Metzen wasn't taking the time to talk down to them. Everyone in the room was with the program. Everybody watching on pay-per-view and streaming the event at home were up to speed.
This, in my mind, makes Blizzard's accomplishment with World of Warcraft the greatest feat of geek domination since Star Wars. And I'd put BlizzCon up against Star Wars Celebration any day. Fork over the dough to go to the Lucasarts sanctioned event and you're not going to get the kind of acess, the kind of scoops and the sheer volume of hands-on time that you do at BlizzCon.
That's the miracle of BlizzCon -- its a convention (really an overgrown LAN party) around three video games. Three video games with, perhaps, the biggest audience in gaming. If you speak World of Warcraft, Starcraft, or Diablo its a wild feeling to find yourself surrounded by thousands of people who share your tongue. And even weirder to realize that you share the same experience with millions (many, many millions) more.
Watch this spot for more BlizzCon thoughts. Then look to the features roller next week for my hands-on-previews of World of Warcraft: Catyclism and Diablo III.