Even though there were over 26,000 announced, this year’s event seemed a lot less crowded than it has in the past few years. The LR Team felt like they could actually walk around in a reasonable amount of time and find seats to the panels that were always near a well-placed big screen.
In typical Blizzard fashion, each one of these new announcements were available for game play. The amount of work already competed on the games is astonishing. The games felt really polished. In addition, Blizzard also had Diablo III available for play and people were encouraged to give direct feedback on how their user experience was. I guess they are taking notes from the Battlefield 3 and Modern Warfare 3 roll-outs.
This year, more so than in years past, it felt as if Blizzard really wanted to hear from the users and really made an effort to make sure their games give the best possible user experience possible. Another announcement that blew our minds was the fact that you can subscribe to World of Warcraft for 12 months and by doing so, you get Diablo III for no additional charge!
Here is the new Diablo III “teaser” trailer that was very popular over the weekend:
For those of us who want the Collector’s Edition, and who don’t want Tyrael’s Charger Mount, you can buy the Collector’s Edition and get a 4 month credit of subscription cost. In addition to the free Diablo III game, users who subscribe to the 12 month plan will also have guaranteed access to the beta, which is sure to be released early this year. Diablo III is slated for release in early 2012.
The E-Sports at this years’ BlizzCon were as big as ever. There was a purse worth more than $300,000 for players to compete over. The pro-tournament consisted of StarCraft II and World of Warcraft – 3 Versus 3 Arena competition.
Also new for this year was the first-ever Global Starcraft League (GSL) to be held outside of South Korea. The competition this year was fierce and the crowds loved it. The StarCraft II finals were the most intense and entertaining match I have ever watched. Blizzard also seemed to have worked out their technical difficulties with regards to the tournament set-ups. The games started on time for the most part and the screens showed other panel talks during intermissions. There was also lots of talk about a new type of entertainment known as BarCraft. These are popping up all over. Bars that are streaming StarCraft II action. Sounds like a lot of fun.
One of the great things that we really enjoy about Blizzard and BlizzCon is hearing about all the money the community has raised for the Make A Wish Foundation and to help out our friends who are still suffering in Japan from the major earthquake and tsunami from earlier this year. This year Activision/Blizzard raised over $2.7 million dollars for these causes to help make a positive impact on many lives. In addition, they have made their original World of Warcraft server hardware available on Ebay with a commemorative plaque listing which server was hosted on it. The money raised from these sales will go to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
This year’s BlizzCon saw Jay Mohr come back to MC festivities again. He was as great as ever. They ditched the sound competition, which I think everyone agreed was a good thing. The costume competition was the best we have ever seen. The winner was an amazing costume of the StarCraft II Adjudant created by Avery Faith.
The dance contest was as it is every year. Blizzard needs to add dance animation to all the StarCraft II and Diablo III characters so the dancers have more of a variety. There are only so many times I want to see a male do the female Draenei dance.
The Foo Fighters closed BlizzCon 2011 in a rocking fashion. The crowd was so packed that the fire marshals had to limit access to the main hall. The other halls had plenty of room left and displayed the live action on big screens in a much more calm environment. There were many who appreciated this gesture as many of us needed a break after the chaos that is known annually as BlizzCon.
Be sure to check out our coverage on the Babes of BlizzCon 2011 as well as detailed coverage from the hardware vendors who were in attendance. If you’d like to look at more images be sure to checkout our BlizzCon 2011 folder on Facebook! See you next year!!