Cinder & Thor in the USA – Blizzcon part 2 – Blizzcon Day 1!

By golly I’m so behind on these. We are finally up to the good stuff, though! Actual Blizzcon!

Our Blizzcon adventures actually started the day before, on the Thursday before we headed off to Disneyland, where we got up a bit earlier to line up for our passes. This was our first real feeling of “omg we’re here and we’re surrounded by our people!”. There was an excited (albeit sleepy!) energy about the place – the anticipation was real!

I know some people had complained about the lines for these passes, but I personally found them to be really quick. We got there about an hour or so before the tickets actually opened up, so of course there was some waiting around and people watching to be had during that time. But once the doors opened the line actually moved really fast.

After that we went to Disneyland and the Con Before the Storm, which you’ve already seen πŸ™‚

Which brings us to the day of BlizzCon itself. One of the benefits of having had such a massive day the day before was that when my head hit the pillow for the night I was gone and slept solidly until it was time to get up. I was refreshed and so darn excited. I got dressed up in my Alliance-themed gear (Alliance leggings from Wild Bangarang over a denim skirt, and Alliance tank top), stocked our bags with water and portable charger, and off we went.

We had decided to get there pretty early so that we could try to get some good seats. We actually did quite well and got there early enough to actually be inside the building to wait. It didn’t take long for the place to fill up with excited fans, though.

My legs were pretty dead from all the walking around Disneyland, so the wait was a bit uncomfortable, but I pushed through with help from beautiful Thor who let me lean on him ❀ .

We had originally planned to try to get to the main stage to see the opening ceremony. But on the advice of some experts who have done this quite a few times (Battlepanda, Miggi & Hooblie!) it was suggested me might have a better experience at the Warcraft stage. So we decided to all meet up together there. It made sense, given we knew a new expansion trailer was going to be revealed, to be at the stage for the game itself (and having a look at videos of the main stage for the opening, this was for sure the right move). But I’m getting ahead.

While we were waiting to get in, we could see some Blizz staff in the balconies above us looking down to have a peek at us all. And at some point a giant inflatable ball got bounced around (didn’t quite make it to us, though!). Excitement was brewing as time passed. And then, out of nowhere, and before they were due to – the doors opened! This was it! I was trying to keep my shit together as we made our way to the Warcraft stage.

Seriously guys, I knew this place was going to be huge, I expected it, but oh my lord it was so much bigger than I had imagined!!! We walked in to the stages area where it was quite dark, with fog machines and lights and just STUFF everywhere. I wanted to stop and take it all in, but the crowd was moving quickly, and we had places to be! There would be plenty of time for having a look around later.

We found our way to the Warcraft stage, and then found our lovely friends waiting for us. I plonked myself down and took a deep breath, lest I completely lose it. One of the things I’m kicking myself over is that I didn’t get a picture of me & Thor with Marie, BP and Hooblie 😦 But I did get some stupid pics with Thor (of course!)

We had quite a bit of time to spare before the opening ceremony was due to begin, so I headed off to find some caffeine at one point, but for the most part we sat around excitedly waiting for the big moment.

This video is of the Warcraft stage, which I thought was huge… right up until I saw the Mythic stage lol

Eventually it was time. But instead of starting with a countdown, we started with J Allen Brack coming out on stage to speak to us.

I was curious about how Blizz would handle this actually. The “Hong Kong” situation was still a hot topic, and many people were hurt by Blizzard for their actions. JAB came out and did the only thing they could do – apologise. I’m glad he did it. Whether people believed it or not was up to them, but I did, and I appreciated that it was said before any festivities started. This was a priority, and deserved to be raised outside of all the announcements etc. I was really moved by the speech to be honest, and honestly hope they stay true to the sentiment.

And then, it was really time. A proper countdown began… and was abruptly interrupted at the 4th second… for the much anticipated Diablo IV announcement trailer.

OH.MY.GOD. I loved it. I really like Diablo III as a game, so I was actually quite excited about what they had in store for IV. I wasn’t disappointed. That video… Lilith… AMAZING. I was equal parts grossed out and excited. The trailer was so darn good.

You can see it here (though do be warned, if you haven’t seen it already – it has very graphic content in it)

Then it was time for my main reason for being at Blizzcon – the new World of Warcraft expansion announcement. Ok, let me start this by saying that Ion does so well on stage. He knows how to get a message across, be a little sassy, and get everyone excited about what he’s got to talk about. Well I think so anyway. It was a real thrill to see him right there on the stage in front of us. Such a treat!

Then it was time. To find out what the next expansion had in store for us. I was far too wrapped up in the cinematic itself to take any pictures or do any video… but this video on YouTube did a darn good job of conveying what it was like in that room at the time:

I’m pretty sure I was beaming from ear to ear at the end of that. It was incredible. And being able to be in a room full of people who appreciated it as much as I did was like nothing else.

Ion went on to talk about the cool stuff coming in Shadowlands, but not in any great detail – that would come in the WoW panel in a few hours time. After a few teasers, he was off and it was time for something else.

I will admit to the rest of the opening ceremony being a bit of a blur at this point. I mean, my mind was completely blown. So I can’t remember much else after that. Although my heart did go out to Jeff Kaplan who was up there to talk about Overwatch 2, which had been leaked online the week before. In the video below I’ve skipped ahead to where he talks about this a bit… it’s exactly why I hate leaks so much. He genuinely was devastated to have his team’s special moment ruined. 😦

Things were said about Hearthstone and Starcraft (I think???) but given I don’t really play those games I didn’t absorb a lot of that info πŸ˜‰

With the Opening Ceremony done, Thor and I both had one thing on our minds – LOOT! So we made a mad dash down to the gear store area to buy allll of the things. And apparently so did everybody else. There were lines to get in to lines to get in to the line to buy things. Oh dear.

But there was nothing else for it – we wanted to try to get one of the limited edition Bolvar prints, and also didn’t want to miss out on the new Shadowlands & Diablo IV t-shirts. So we hopped in the lines and talked about all the things we wanted to get. There were screens in the room so we could still watch what was going on. Whilst the lines did move, they weren’t moving fast enough, and I was getting antsy about missing the WoW What’s Next? panel, which was one panel I was dead keen on not missing. Bless Thor, he practically pushed me out of the line and insisted I go back upstairs to join Miggi & BattlePanda to watch the panel. I really didn’t want to leave Thor to miss out on the panel, but he felt he’d gone too far in to the line to give up now. So I reluctantly left.

I felt quite guilty the whole time the panel was on, but I am so, so grateful Thor convinced me to go to it, because it was so awesome seeing it all up close and with other WoW nerds.

Before the panel started, Miggi asked me what I wished for with the announcements. My wishlist was

  • customisable ghost wolf forms (whether they were different based on race, or just more glyphs for different models, I didn’t care)
  • better server balance
  • wings transmogs

You can imagine my delight when I got 2 out of 3 wishes come true! (kinda). The wings, for sure were there – both Kyrion and Night Fae have wing transmogs shown during the panel (squeee!!!!!) And the customisable ghost wolf forms – even though that’s not coming, the Night Fae do have multiple travel forms! (Check them out on Wowhead)

I won’t go in to detail about the what’s next panel – you can see everything over on Wowhead – https://www.wowhead.com/guides/world-of-warcraft-shadowlands-expansion-overview

When the panel was done I headed out to the foyer to find Thor. And boy did I find Thor. He was lugging around this massive bag jam packed full of goodies!

He was also super cheeky and got me the absolutely gorgeous Sylvanas bag from Loungefly ❀ ❀ ❀

The bag was also full of books so was quite heavy, and by this point we were kinda hungry, so we made the decision to head back to the hotel to drop some things off, get something to eat, then go back in time for Community Night. It was actually a very good plan! We had a proper lunch and were well rested before heading back.

Community night has always been a favourite of mine to watch with the Virtual Ticket each year. I love seeing the cosplays in particular – I’m always so amazed at how much talent other people have! So it was a real treat to go see this in person, especially given Darin de Paul was hosting again!

It was a really great night, and the winners so well deserved!

One of the things we wanted to try and get was a Warcraft collectable mug. There were signs about the place saying these would be given out on a first-come first-served basis that evening. With Community Night ended, we decided to try our luck… and then saw the line for the mugs. Oh.my.lord. The line wrapped around the whole building, it was bonkers! Given the signs said there was a limited number of mugs, we decided we’d cut our losses, and instead headed up to the Darkmoon Faire to see what was there. I was really wanting to get one of the Timewalker’s Treasure Chests. Unfortunately when we got there the stand for them had closed, and while they would be open again the next morning, they said there were only a handful left so we were unlikely to get one. I was a bit disappointed to be honest, but that’s how it goes. Instead we had fun running around to all the booths to see what was what, seeing all the pins and bages. We tried our luck with the patches and got a few cute ones.

I really liked it up there, and would probably spend more time there at future Blizzcons.

By this point we were pretty pooped, and decided to start making our way back to the hotel. But first we headed downstairs to the store again to pick up our collectable statues. As our tickets were organised through someone else, they were allocated Horde statues. Which I was fine with – I had decided to purchase an Alliance statue from the store (which would be at home when we got back) and I would give the extra Horde statue away for a guild Christmas gift. Easy. We picked up our statues and headed out. In the foyer area and lovely lady flagged me down and asked if I would trade my Horde statue for her Alliance statue. She was a huge Horde fan and really wanted to swap. I said sure! Easy done! That would leave me with 2 Alliance statues and 1 Horde statue – the Christmas gift would just be an Alliance statue instead. Not a worry at all. So I made the swap and we happily parted ways. (It was only a few days later when we were packing up again that we realised that Thor had been given an Alliance statue instead of a Horde one… so now we had all Alliance statues lol. Thanks to a trade with a lovely twitter friend I once again have one of each!)

There was a band playing for the Warcraft celebrations, but it was quite busy and I think Thor and I were both pretty peopled-out by this point. Though we did pass some awesome backdrops and got some fun Alliance pics!

Then, as we were passing where the collectable mug line had been, we noticed the line had shrunk quite considerably – they had started asking people if they wanted the mug without the beer, so were getting through the line really quickly. We just happened to walk past at the right time and scored ourselves a mug each, no waiting! Woo hoo!! Very lucky indeed.

All in all, our first day of Blizzcon was exhausting, but absolutely amazing. And we still had another day to go!

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