Another Successful BlizzCon

BlizzCon_2014-2153The electric atmosphere of 20,000 gamers and the smell of thousands of computers blazing away is gone. BlizzCon 2014 came and went and our heads are still spinning with all of the announcements! The second day of BlizzCon 2014 gave us a live raid between two of the best PvE guilds in the world,  tons of panels discussing World of Warcraft, Starcraft II, Diablo III, Hearthstone and Overwatch. We were also treated to some of the best eSports finales that I have ever witnessed with some very close matches and a lot of upsets. The event culminated with two rock legends, Elite Tauren Chieftain and Metallica closing out the show in one final epic hurrah. In case you missed any of our coverage, we have a wrap up of the first day’s BlizzCon activities here.  

Method versus Midwinter - Live Raid Heroic Highmaul

World of Warcraft: Warlords of DraenorDay 2 of BlizzCon 2014 started off with a live raid in the main hall. The room was packed with World of Warcraft fans looking to see Highmaul, one of the upcoming Warlords of Draenor raids This was the first time most people were able to see this new instance being ran in heroic mode. In years past, the live raid consisted of an instance that was on “farm”status for months. This year the two teams had to compete in this brand new instance that is not released yet. Each team has spent some time doing this raid on the beta it is definitely still new to them so it provided for a very exciting competition. The competition started out much as it did last year with Midwinter doing really well int he beginning. They were the first to down Kargath, the fist boss in the raid. As Midwinter was making its way to the next boss, Twin Ogron, they had an issue with some trash they were trying to skip. This gave Method the time they needed to catch up. Method was able kill Twin Orgron with Midwinter still around the 25% mark. Midwinter didn’t stop fighting though. They made up some time doing the Ko’ragh, Breaker of Magic encounter. Method was able to pull the final boss, Imperator Mar’gok first but Midwinter was just behind them. In the end however, Method was able kill the boss first and retain the live raid crown. This was the best live raid to date. The race was hosted by Blizzard’s Lead Encounter Designer Ion Hazzikostas and one of the new favorite community managers, Josh “Lore”Allen. I wish they would have had more of the optional bosses in the raid but with only an hour and the content being so new, they had to error on the side of time. It was nice to see the new content though and the crowd really seem to enjoy it.  

World of Warcraft

BlizzCon 2014Day 2 at BlizzCon only hosted a couple of World of Warcraft panel discussions. A cinematic panel for Warlords of Draenor where they “reforge the past” to create a story that allows us to visit a time long ago before the destruction of Draenor. The panel was great and I am always amazed at the amount of work it takes to create a cinematic. Blizzard never ceases to amaze me with their cinematics. The other panel of the day was just a straight up question and answer. This panel allowed fans from the audience to get their questions answered by those being the World of Warcraft Universe. This type of panel is always hit or miss. Most of the time people ask questions that they care about but doesn’t help the community as a whole. I don’t care that a mage doesn’t have a class mount. There was one question that stood out. Over the last 10 years, the armor types have remained the same. Sure we were given the ability to transmog them but they were still the same format. Someone asked if we were going to get open robes, similar the the model on the Thrall NPC. The developers did say they have been discussing that and that it is time to introduce more armor archetypes. This will be a very welcomed addition I am sure. I would love to see spell casters actually cast from their staves or wands. World-of-Warcraft-Movie-Poster The World of Warcraft day ended with the release of their documentary commemorating the last 10 years of Wold of Warcraft called “Looking for Group”. This was a very insightful documentary about World of Warcraft and how it all came about, including the growing pains and expansion decisions. It was also the first time we got to see inside a World of Warcraft data center, one of the best kept secrets! If you haven’t yet seen it, I really suggest you go to WorldOfWarcraft.com and give it a watch. It is very well done and if you have played from the beginning, the nostalgia will be wonderful!    

StarCraft II: World Championship Series

Beside the Legacy of the Void announcement and live demos, Blizzard was showing further support for StarCraft II fans with the final leg of the Global Final of the World Championship Series. While the Starcraft Tournament Stage had nowhere near the capacity of The International 2015 DOTA 2 tournament or the Season 4 World Championship League of Legends tournament, Blizzard made up with creative live stage production in place of sheer scale. The Starcraft II WCS stage transformed depending on what map was being played and what faction each player was using. This is easily the best or at least one of the best looking esport stages we have ever seen. BlizzCon_2014-7448 BlizzCon 2014BlizzCon 2014 BlizzCon 2014BlizzCon 2014 As you can see, the stage had three LCD screens and windows of the player booths surrounded by projections of the stage elements.BlizzCon 2014 BlizzCon 2014 We tuned into the grand final between MMA and Life on Day 2 for the championship title and $100,000. We also have more pictures of each of the themed stage transformations for the map set played on. Just click on the thumbnails for a larger image.BlizzCon 2014BlizzCon 2014BlizzCon 2014 [gallery ids="153659,153660,153661,153665"] BlizzCon 2014 [gallery ids="153662,153664,153666,153667"] We'd like to congratulate Life on his 4-1 victory over MMA. BlizzCon 2014BlizzCon 2014BlizzCon 2014          

World of Warcraft Arena Word Championships

Blizzard Entertainment Outs Cinematic and Release Date for World of Warcraft: Warlords of DraenorDay 2 hosted the World of Warcraft Arena World Championships where the competitions this year were the best every. I recall years past when the winner would just decimate their opponent 3 - 0. This year, the matches were so close. It basically came down to someone making a mistake, such as blowing two cooldowns due to miscommunication. It seemed to me that the dampening mechanic, which reduces healing power as time goes on, was the decider of most the matches. BlizzCon_2014-2331The finals this year came down to two European teams, Bleached Bones versus Skill Capped EU. The result was Bleached Bones taking it 3-2 and taking home $120,000 dollars. These matches were so good. If you like 3v3 arena I highly suggest you make your way over to World of Warcraft’s twitch.tv channel and give them a watch.   [gallery columns="9" ids="153589,153590,153591,153592,153593,153594,153595,153596,153597,153598,153599,153600,153601,153602,153603,153604,153605,153606,153607,153608,153609,153610,153611,153612,153613,153614,153615,153616,153617,153618,153619,153620,153621,153622,153623,153624,153625,153626,153627,153628,153629,153630,153631,153632,153633,153634,153635,153636"]  

Heroes of the Storm Exhibition

BlizzCon 2014 Although Blizzards team brawler, Heroes of the Storm, is still in technical alpha they hosted an exhibition competition. Heroes of the Storm is a really fun game to watch. If is fast paced and really polished for being a technical alpha. Cloud 9 ended up taking the championship. You can see all the games on the Blizzard YouTube channel. Stay tuned for the closed beta of Heroes of the Storming coming January 13, 2015.  

Hearthstone World Championship

BlizzCon 2014BlizzCon 2014The first ever Hearthstone World Championship was filled with great matches and some really big upsets. The championship hosted 16 of the best Hearthstone players in the world after months of battling each other in matches around the world. After action packed days of Hearthstone competition in the new Blizzard Hearthstone’s amazing stage, Firebat  took the championship. He played phenomenal and won a convincing 3-0 against DTwo and took home $100,000. You can watch the games on Blizzard’s YouTube channel and check out the new expansion, Goblins vs Gnomes coming this December.  

BlizzCon 2014 Closing Ceremony

BlizzCon 2014All good things have to end and the final night culminated with two great performances by two loud and fast metal bands. We are left with heads ringing from the Lvl 90 Elite Tauren Chieftain or should I say the Elite Tauren Chieftain? I guess after 5 expansions they got tired of always having to level and re-do their graphic so from this day forward they are know as just the Elite Tauren Chieftain! As usual, it was great to seem them up on stage rocking. Knowing that they all play such a critical role at Blizzard yet find the time to get together and play music together just show how much they really enjoy each other and you can see that joy transfer to each of their games. Metallica rocked it after ETC and came out playing their biggest hits! BlizzCon 2014 The crowd was wild! I could feel the drums rattle every bone in my body. It was really great seeing such an iconic band playing for such an iconic con. Here’s hoping BlizzCon 2015 is as good as this one!! BlizzCon 2014   [gallery columns="9" ids="153550,153551,153552,153553,153554,153555,153556,153557,153558,153559,153560,153561,153562,153563,153564,153565,153566,153567,153568,153569,153570,153571,153572,153573,153574,153575,153576,153577,153582,153586,153587"]