Blizzcon ’08: Day Two

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After the revelations of the first day of Blizzcon ’08, attendees were able to sit in on more panels, tournament action, contests, game footage and play testing. As with the Day One feature, here is a round up of the events of October 11th at the Anaheim Convention Center.

Among the major events of the convention were a myriad of activities for ticket holders to explore, from card games and stalls, to the retro arcade. There was also a replica of the frozen throne from the Warcraft world on display, where attendees were able to wield Frostmourne and don the Lich King’s helm.

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Diablo III

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Lore is an important part of any Blizzard game, and the developers discussed with attendees the important history of the world of Diablo at a panel on Saturday. The culture of Sanctuary’s different cities will be one of the main focuses for the upcoming game, as well as the differing personalities of the character classes and how they affect interaction with the world. A Diablo III art panel also discussed how they’re using current 3D technology to render the world and gave demonstrations on the destructable surroundings the player will encounter.

StarCraft II

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More lore from Blizzard, except in the futuristic sci-fi setting of StarCraft this time. The panel expanded on the previous day’s announcement that StarCraft II would be released as a trilogy and introduced some of the major players who will feature alongside Jim Raynor,  including newcomer Tosh, Matt Horner, Valerian Mengsk (son of Arcturus Mengsk from the original StarCraft), and Tychus Findlay, who players first met in the original StarCraft II cinematic.

World of Warcraft

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During a panel dedicated solely to PvPing in the world of Azeroth, developers showcased new options that would be available in Wrath of the Lich King, including a new battleground; the Strand of Ancients, and two new arenas; The Dalaran Sewers and Orgrimmar’s Ring of Valor. They also discussed the pvp dedicated zone, Wintergrasp, “where hundreds of players can hop into siege vehicles, tear down walls, and try to capture the zone’s main keep to gain access to unique daily quests and a raid instance”.

For the more PvE-orientated player, was the raids and dungeons panel, where a guided tour was given of several of the new instances, including 5-man Halls of Lightning and Ahn’kahet: The Old Kingdom, and raid encounter Chamber of the Aspects, “an ‘expandable’ fight that lets players choose its difficulty (and reward level) by deciding when to engage certain enemies”.

The third World of Warcraft panel allowed attendees to ask open questions for an hour, fielding inquires about many game aspects, such as Achievements, class balance, daily quests, druid form art, and much more.

Other Panels

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Never before seen at a Blizzard convention was the DVD/Video Production panel, headed by those responsible for in-game cinematics and Collector’s Edition DVDs. The panel discussed their roles and involvement in projects such as the trailer for The Black Temple content patch; footage for the “What’s Your Game?” television commercials featuring Mr. T, William Shatner, and Verne Troyer; the Emmy-winning “Make Love, Not Warcraft” episode of South Park; and many of the videos BlizzCon attendees saw on the show floor during the convention.

And in the last panel of the convention, the team behind Blizzard cinematics discussed and demonstrated how they went about creating the Wrath of the Lich King cinematic, from animating 15,000 undead soldiers, to designing the great Frost Wyrm.

Tournaments

The second day saw the conclusion of the heated RTS and WoW Arena tournaments, revealing three winners.

StarCraft Winner

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Name: Ma Jae Savior Yoon
StarCraft Race: Zerg
Country: South Korea
History: Winner of the 2007 BlizzCon Invitational and second place in the 2007 Blizzard Entertainment Worldwide Invitational

Warcraft III Winner

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Name: Jun Lyn Patk
Warcraft Race: Orc
Country: South Korea
History: Winner of the Extreme Masters Season 2 Finals 2008 and second place in the 2008 Blizzard Entertainment Worldwide Invitational

World of Wacraft Winner

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Nihilum Plasma
Name: Patrick Inflame Costales
Class: Warlock
Country: Germany

Name: Michael John Carekoala Tyrrell
Class: Druid
Country: United Kingdom

Name: Luis Paperkat Di Centa
Class: Warrior
Country: United Kingdom

History: Winner of the 2008 ESL Extreme Masters III: Global Challenge Leipzig

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The highlight of the evening was when Nihilum Plasma took on the team, Schnell Schnell, a trio of European Blizzard employees and utterly trounced them in a humiliating defeat. At one point Nihilum Plasma entered the arena with only two players to allow the Blizzard team a chance to win. Humourous and entertaining for all.

Contests

Jay Mohr hosted an evening of contests, from dancing and costumes, to the /Silly contest. Here is an overview of the winners.

Best Costume
Amanda Hoster – Draenei shaman on Speedy the turtle

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Best Dance
Kate Stirman – Undead Female

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/Silly Winner
Steven Ross

Blizzcon ’08 attendees received goody bags on the day where they were able to take home such things like StarCraft II beta keys and a World of Warcraft polar bear mount.

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So, with the Frostmourne replicas claimed by their winners, and attendees brimming with new information, Blizzcon ’08 drew to a close. There, perhaps, wasn’t the news of previous conventions but there was plenty to keep both the press and public busy, nonetheless. With both the Tokyo Game Show and E for All Expo 2008 dropping in attendance, Blizzon’s sell out of 15,000 tickets is good news for not only Blizzard, but for the gaming industry as a whole. Now all that remains is to prepare for next year’s Blizzcon.