So, Blizzcon is over and I am back home.  It was an epic weekend full of amazing times and I’ll do my best to tell you about it without getting too long-winded.  I’m quite passionate about this stuff, if you didn’t know.

I left Doug’s place in Signal Hill and arrived to the Convention Center on Friday morning at roughly 7 AM; doors open at 10.  To say there was already a line is a massive understatement.  Thousands of people were already waiting to be among the first to get in the doors.  I lucked out, as the group of people I’d gone in with yesterday had arrived at 3:30 AM and had some sweet placement near the very front, like within the first 150 people.  It was great to hang out again, building excitement for the moment those doors opened.  I also saw my friend Heather and her group…and her costume was one of the first I saw that day.  She came dressed as a Spirit Healer from World of Warcraft and was attracting attention immediately.  The closer we got to 10, the more costumed folks showed up and helped pump up the crowd.

The moment finally came.  The outer doors were opened, followed by everyone crowding around the inner doors, and then BAM!  Doors Open and we were off.  People were sprinting across the center to get to their favorite booths and be the first to see some of the areas that were set up.  The convention center was set up into four sections:  Main Hall (full of chairs for the large panels), Diablo III Hall, Starcraft II Hall, and World of Warcraft Hall.  Each place also had booths with vendors, fun activities, contests, quests, and many other points of interest.  One area even boasted a Retro Arcade, where Blizzard showed off some of their earliest works like ‘The Lost Vikings’ and ‘Rock ‘n Roll Racing’ from the SNES and the original Warcraft.  It was great to see these in action again and I gave them each another run.

As the afternoon got into full swing, a gathering of costumed folks was scheduled at one of the fountains outside the arena.  It’s evidently been an annual tradition from the folks on the forums, and it’s no surprise that not only was there a great turnout of cosplayers, but a healthy turnout of photographers and onlookers.  It’s surreal to see so many people in costume from a series of games I’m familiar with, most of which are extraordinarily detailed and very well done.  People know each other from past Blizzcons and there is a real sense of family.  Also a real sense of craftsmanship, there were some IMPRESSIVE works on display.

After more people-watching and getting some playtime in with Diablo III (it’s awesome, in case you were wondering) the time was approaching for the costume contest.  I ventured over to the Main Hall where a live WoW Raid was going on.  What happens is Blizzard takes the highest rated guild in the game and hits ’em with some severely modified bad guys and see how well they do.  It was a surreal experience to watch on the big screens as this group of players tried to defeat these extra-difficult bosses…and when they eventually succeeded, the thousands of people cheered loudly.  It still sends chills up my spine to think about it.  It was also nice to see the developers having fun with the players and deliberately trying to outwit them.

Once that was finished, the costume contest started.  It was honestly a little more underwhelming than I expected, and the finalists weren’t the ones I would’ve picked.  It was nice to see everyone get up and show off all the hard work they’d done in creating these costumes and getting their moment of fame.  There was a dance contest afterwards, but by that time all the activity had triggered a migraine and I was better off retiring to the Hilton next door with some of my new friends.  We went out to dinner, relaxed pool-side with some drinks and some playing cards, and talked.  Those are my favorite evenings.

Saturday, the last day of the Con, was also epic, but that’ll be next time.

About rhysfunk

Rhys Martin was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma in 1981. In 2009, he sold everything he owned and left the country, living out of a backpack for ten months. He discovered a passion for photography while traveling throughout Southeast Asia and Europe. After returning home, he looked at his home town and Oklahoma heritage with fresh eyes. When he began to explore his home state, Rhys turned his attention to historic Route 66. As he became familiar with the iconic highway, he began to truly appreciate Oklahoma’s place along the Mother Road. He has traveled all 2,400 miles of Route 66, from Chicago to Los Angeles. He has also driven many miles on rural Oklahoma highways to explore the fading Main Streets of our small towns. Rhys has a desire to find and share the unique qualities of the Sooner State with the rest of the world. Cloudless Lens Photography has been featured in several publications including This Land, Route 66 Magazine, Nimrod Journal, Inbound Asia Magazine, The Oklahoman, and the Tulsa World. In 2018 he published his first book, Lost Restaurants of Tulsa. Rhys loves to connect with people and share his experiences; ask him about enjoyable day trips from Tulsa, locations along Route 66, and good diners or burger joints along the way.
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