A Weekend at BlizzCon
The Wife of a Gamer
iphotos by Brittany Engler
[dropcap letter=”B”]lizzCon 2015 | We rush through the doors of the convention center in Anaheim, running on adrenaline and anticipation. We make our way to the main hall, where the opening ceremony is taking place. Running a bit late, due to the crazy traffic surrounding the center, we made it just in time to hear about Blizzard’s newest game, OverWatch. The announcer informs everyone that the game will be made available on console. Immediately the crowd goes wild. I could feel the energy of the room radiating through my body. Many more exciting announcements followed, included trailers of their new Legion expansion, which the crowd was enthusiastic about.
Now, you may assume that I’m a gamer, and that’s why I was at this event. In fact, I wouldn’t call myself a gamer. I’d call myself a gamers’ wife. My husband works at Blizzard Entertainment and I was there to support him and his team. They all worked so hard to make sure the players were taken care of this Blizzcon. This year was my third year attending Blizzcon. It is an amazing experience.
After the opening ceremony, we walked around, busy taking pictures of statues of the more popular characters, scoping out the tournament stages, arriving at the artist stage where there were Blizzard artists walking the crowd through the steps of carving a character out of clay. A truly fascinating sight. We went with my in-laws; my father in law is one who is a big Blizzard fan. (We hadn’t seen them in nearly two years, with them living in Florida it’s hard to visit).
After taking a gazillion photos, we headed to the StarCraft tournament stage: My favorite part about BlizzCon. The stage is amazing. It really is. Based on the map selected for the players to compete on, and based on the character of each player, the projection on the stage changes.
The players are isolated in two separate rooms. We couldn’t wait for the much anticipated match between Innovation, the favored opponent and said to be the best player in the world, against Life, the 2014 StarCraft World Champion. For this match, the stadium was filled with onlookers. Everyone sure they knew who would win, including the MC – and the pick was Innovation. For the tournament, the winner is selected by who wins the most out of five games. The room pulsed with energy. The crowd yelled for their favored player, all waiting to see who would make it into the semi-finals taking place the following day.
Now, I have never played StarCraft in my life, but I have watched my husband play on several occasions. The moves that take place go by so fast, that it is quite difficult, for a casual player like myself, to tell what is going on exactly. Regardless of this tiny fact, I still could feel the right moments to yell or cheer for my player, Life. With one look into the crowd you can tell if it’s a good game or not. In this case, it was intense. Each player battled it out, not wanting to admit defeat. The match lasted for a couple hours, and by the end, Life was named the victor. He would make it through to the next round.
After the match concluded, we decided to watch the talent competition and costume contest. We headed back to the main stage, where Wil Wheaton was the MC. Wil Wheaton! He did an amazing job. He really knew how to pump up the crowd. And did I mention how funny that man is? He’s hilarious! The way he talked about his own experience with Diablo and WOW was refreshing. It reminded me of the time I attempted to play Diablo and what it was like to experience the game play for the first time.
Back to the talent competition, which was incredible. There were three bands and one aerialist; the aerialist went first. She composed the music herself that was played during her performance, as well has had the talent to hold herself up on silks. Her movements were fluid, her strength was impeccable, and I could feel her emotions while I watched her move up and down the cloth, hung from the rafters.
A violinist and her troupe played next, followed by a rock band.
The final performers were a group of jazz players from all across the country. They connected online, and met in person for the first time on that Wednesday during BlizzCon, just two days prior to them performing. They made a song in honor of the much talked about ‘cow level’. Blizzard denies the ‘cow level’ ever being a thing, but there are still those who believe in it. This band was proof of that. The jazz was uplifting, and catchy. I caught myself dancing and believe it or not, mooing along to the chorus. This group ultimately won the contest, which I believe they deserved to, hands down.
Next up was the costume contest. These contestants were truly talented; many having spent years on their costume for their moment on stage. The majority of the costumes were from the game, World of Warcraft. We were excited to see a few costumes from Blizzard’s newest game, launching in spring 2016, OverWatch. The man who won created a costume completely out of leather. The crowning of the winner closed the first day of BlizzCon
The following day was filled with food from various food trucks at the convention center, lots of StarCraft and even more photos. Linkin Park closed the night. It has been my dream to see this band so I couldn’t have been more excited for this opportunity. They played songs mainly from their older albums which I preferred. Their songs have gotten me, and still continue to, get me through rough times. Their songs have saved me on countless occasions.
BlizzCon was an unforgettable experience. I love the energy the fans give off and the sense of community the event inspires. Everyone understands everybody, and everyone appreciates the love that is shared for Blizzard games. I’m not a gamer, but after day two of BlizzCon concluded, I found myself playing the friends and family beta of OverWatch all day on Sunday. It was fun to connect with my husband’s passion for video games. While it is something I may not completely understand, I respect it and am so thankful that Blizzard has created an avenue for me to share in this passion with my husband.
In the words of BlizzCon fans: “GG” … Good Game.