After a first failed attempt, forbidding my wife to get online, and hitting APPLE+R close to a hundred times in a minute I am excited to say that I have a ticket to Blizzcon! For those who don’t know, Blizzcon is like the San Diego Comic Con for fans of Blizzard games, Diablo, Starcraft, and of course World of Warcraft. Tickets are notoriously hard to get because usually sell out in seconds. In order to prevent a total server crash everyone gets put into a que and you are able to finalize your purchase when you get to the “head of the line.” Now mind you, I chose my number of tickets within 10 seconds of the clock hitting 9pm (7pm pst) and I was still 4938th in line. On my first attempt last Saturday I was 4800th in line starting off. It came down to the wire but with 18% of stock left I bought my tickets and couldn’t sleep from the adrenaline high for like 2 hours.
So, why all the excitement? I mean I could always watch the webcast for like 40 dollars, see all the announcements, and the panels. Well for starters, attendees get awesome swag (goodie) bags and the bragging rights are pretty nice too. However, what I think excites most people is the experience of being at the con.
As a culture, we have a history built by communication in a variety of forms over the years (we’ll cover this history in more detail next month’s Geek U article). A lot of our culture sprang from the interpersonal exchange of ideas and camaraderie about a shared passion or experience. That interaction has only grown exponentially with the boom of the internet. However, that personal experience shared with several thousand other fans just as passionate as you are is something that is exciting to be a part of. Cons like these fuel the culture, they promote interaction with others that may expose us to new ideas, methods, and philosophies that could in turn lead to new innovations in media creation and production. Don’t see the corollary? Let’s take a look.
A lot of Cons have started showcasing fan made art and media. Blizzcon for example promotes a contest for player made Machima (videos created with the games graphics either in game or with simulators). Some others have juried exhibitions for fan art. These events promote innovation and creativity by offering incentives but providing an open forum for Geek artists to collaborate and share ideas. Even Writers can share ideas with other writers and have to chance to meet with published authors who have written in the Blizzard universe.
From a cultural research perspective I am very excited because I will not only be able to hang out and meet a lot of my fellow Geeks and Gamers, but I will be able to experience first hand the communication benefits of our culture and the games we love.
So who else is going? I plan on having some swag of my own to hand out to anyone who would like to come say hello. So I’ll keep you posted.