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News Blizzcon 2023 - Thoughts and Feelings

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(image of Darkmoon Fair on Day 2 from Google)


Blizzcon 2023, the first in-person Blizzard convention since 2019. I was lucky enough to get a ticket to attend the convention, although I wasn't eligible for a media ticket. I'm alright with that though, I didn't get a chance to take too many pictures and no videos of the event. Please note, the experience below is my experience ONLY. I do not reflect Se7ensins as an entity, nor Blizzard and its associated companies.

DAY 0:
Starting off the experience with Day 0, the day before the event occurred. If I were lucky enough to have been in Anaheim, CA the day before the opening-ceremony took place, I would have been able to register and get my credentials. The credentials were color coded bands and badges on a lanyard. General admission ($299) was color coded black, Portal Pass (VIP tickets, $799) were orange. I didn't see too many media pass members to catch their color coding. Many people I ran in to and saw posting on the Blizzard forums said getting registered the day before the doors open is much better of an experience. It would've allowed me to walk in on Day 1 without needing to stop at registration beforehand. The line supposedly was anywhere from 30mins to 3hrs depending on time of the day. I guess the DAY 0 registers also had access to the Blizz-Store in the convention center, but more on this catastrophe later.

DAY 1:
On day 1 the GA (General Admission) doors were to open at 10AM. PP (Portal Pass) doors were to open 1 hour earlier at 9AM. In preparation, I arrived at the event at around 8:30AM to register. Somehow, I was able to park in a parking garage at the convention. Got directed around to the opposite side to be registered, which only took 30 minutes at most to be fully registered and collect the exclusive Blizzcon Backpack. After registration was completed, I was directed out the doors and around 2 block surrounding the convention. The event staff was directing people every which way, into hotel parking lots, onto main roads, everywhere. It was so unorganized, event staff couldn't direct Portal Pass holders to their exclusive line, and they were stuck in the General Admission line for over an hour.
Once the doors finally opened, we all filed into the convention which went shockingly smooth. The entrance unloaded everyone into one of two Overwatch halls (4 halls total). WoW section was to the far left, Diablo 4 was to the far right. The WoW section contained the famed Darkmoon Fair, along with Hearthstone, Warcraft Rumble AND Classic WoW (as well as Retail WoW). All of the halls were very empty, with the most decorated being Overwatch halls - due to the Overwatch World Cup happening at the same time.
The Diablo 4 section had a tattoo area, which filled up before we got there and apparently only did about 80 real tattoos per day (unconfirmed). I don't recall there being any "test" computers to play any upcoming content for Diablo 4. There was some decorations to fit the games theme, along with a statue of Inarius. There was also a mountain-dew stand, which gave out free dew, I guess that was interesting. But, that's about it for Diablo. Very underwhelming.
The Overwatch area had a massive area to play the new character in one hall and a second hall solely dedicated to the World Cup. Not much happened in this hall, some food and drink (NON alcoholic event!) stands in here. Again, very underwhelming. The other attendees were better at entertaining than the event here...
The WoW section was the SMALLEST of the 4 halls, but was cramped with 4 different sub-halls. WoW Classic WoW Retail, Warcraft Rumble, Hearthstone and DMF. "#ThatSword" was present. They also had some cool "floating" screens displaying content. The DMF section was by far the best section. There was some more food & drink here, but the workers were very inattentive, I didn't see many people using these refreshment stands.

Have you noticed I haven't mentioned seating? It's for a reason. There was maybe 50-75 free use (not needing to sit at a computer) chairs PER HALL. For an event hosting well over 40,000 people. No where could you sit down and relax a few moments within the convention.

DAY 1 - OPENING CEREMONY:
The opening ceremony was held in a different area of the venue, the Arena. Unattached from the halls. To gain access to the event you would have had to be randomly selected. ***You could own 4 tickets and only 1 of the tickets be selected for Arena entry on opening ceremony.*** Otherwise, you had to cram into an area where a screen was displaying a live feed of the arena. (Which was live-streamed on Blizzard official accounts anyways).
This is where all the new content and changes were announced originally for each game. Pretty cool, but sucked standing for about an hour and a half to watch it all.

DAY 1 - "PANELS":
This is a short and sweet one too. The panels were like 2 hours apart, held ONLY in the arena. Lines formed so long it wasn't worth waiting to try to get a seat.

DAY 1 - FOOD:
The food within the venue was very subpar, very expensive, very long lines. I figured I'd go outside, where there was over half a dozen food trucks lined up to grab a bite to each. Day one, I stopped at a Pizza food truck. 2 and a half hours in line for this. Pizza was okay, not good, but good for food truck pizza. There were some healthier options, some seafood (????!!!) options and not so healthy options. Oh, and no seating. There were maybe 10 picnic tables that sat 5-6 people behind the trucks, but that was it. You might start noticing a theme here....

DAY 1 - END:
Day 1 ended as quickly as it started. However, before I left the group of people I was with wanted to use the Blizz-store. What a disappointment. Half a dozen or so glass-display cases with the merch available to purchase. Oh, you want to buy the merch here? Order it online, and if it is in stock it will be ready some time before the event finishes. Shopping was not really a thing... If you did order something and it happened to be ready, you got to sit in MORE lines to wait to pick it up. Some people said they waited 2+ hours in lines.

Oh, did I mention none of the merch available was exclusive to members? Everything could be bought on the Blizzard store during the event, probably cheaper than buying it while at the event.

DAY 2:
Day 2 opening was much better than day 1. I got there the same time as Day 1 and wound up only a few rows behind the doors. They wound up setting up rope drops every thousand or so people to prevent trampling and shoving. This day, portal pass members got in at 9AM. General Admission got in at 9:30AM. 10 minutes after the doors opened, the Darkmoon Fair was sanctioned off due to a fire marshal calling safety concerns for how many people were in it (this progressively got more strict too). By the time I got in line (20mins after door open) to enter the DMF, the line was already at 4 hours estimated wait time. The line was "capped" at this point. 3 hours in to the wait, they announce the Token shop was closed for an hour to allow the DMF to empty out. 4 hours into the wait, we finally enter the DMF and buy our tokens, only to join ANOTHER line to use the tokens...
The line was continuously capped, entry was continuously denied. An hour goes by, and FINALLY I'm able to join the line for the line for the line to use my tokens. Nothing much happens at this point, waited another 3 hours to get into the token-redeem area. By the time I got into the redeem they stopped selling the tokens and were giving refunds to those who bought them.
All the while, the other events within the DMF were equally as long wait times.

Basically, I spent 7 hours in line to buy/redeem tokens to get velcro patches to put on my Blizzcon bag. $300 of a ticket well spent I guess...





COMPLAINTS:
Everyones feedback was the event was too unorganized, oversold, overcrowded. The event had staff, Blizzard had staff. Neither spoke to each other when forming the lines, so you'd have a line for WoW crossing paths of Rumble, Overwatch, and food lines. Often getting people disoriented and lost in just the line. The Portal Pass members did NOT get $799 worth of their tickets. No exclusive entry into places, no real benefits but a "private" lounge. I don't even think I got $299 worth of experience, unless waiting in lines counts.

Would I ever return?
No. Not unless they have a massive overhaul of the event. Thousands upon thousands of people have also voiced this same thing.
 
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Sounded like a huge waste of money with stench of disappointment.

Any positive conclusions?
 
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Any positive conclusions?
The list is quite small.

The biggest positive was the other attendees. Being in line for so long you start making small talks with those next to you, sharing the same points and discussing the games.

I’m more of a Diablo player than any of the other Blizzard games at the convention, which is unfortunate for me… the Diablo section had arguably the least amount of stuff to do, it was more of a “get away from the OW & WOW crowds and get some free Mountain Dew” section.

I guess the cosplays were cool too, some people had some really detailed ones. But, if you aren’t into cosplayers - it’s not a positive!

Sounded like a huge waste of money with stench of disappointment.
I can say I went to it, which not a huge amount of people can say. So I’m thankful for that. Otherwise, yeah I feel a little scammed - and people I talked to that bought the VIP experience have all felt scammed.
Maybe (not next year, WoW’s 20th) in a few years, they’ll re-learn how to not over sell tickets when attendance rates start to drop… and they’ll actually make the event worth going.

—Bonus
If they had more floor space used, I think the experience would’ve been entirely different. The store section was far too large, Overwatch was far too large, the DMF was entirely too small.
Seeing California for the first time itself was really an experience. I went to the Pacific Coast Highway (GTA5) and could see Los Angeles. But, didn’t have enough time to go walk around downtown LA and experience GTA5 in real life.
 
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