From an outsider’s perspective, I have to concur with the crowd — BlizzCon this year was a non-event. It isn’t just that Blizzard lacked anything huge to announce (although, I’m sorry, they really should’ve since they set a precedent at previous BlizzCons for doing so), but that the company didn’t even seem to really want to be there. This lack of enthusiasm, the much-fluff-but-no-substance of the panels, and the void of anything new for fans to really rally around kept this from being a special time for people who shelled out a lot of money to travel there, and the company who should be enjoying an entire convention in their honor instead of acting like they really need to get back to work since the expansion’s coming in a couple weeks.
But hey, they didn’t really have anything new to announce, and I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt that they did this convention more for fans and fan expectations than for self-promotion.
It’s just that Blizzcon is a big example of what I’ve come to really dislike about Blizzard’s attitude and philosophy:
- Devs that see themselves enthroned on high, only bothering to address the peasants’ queries when it suits their whims
- One of the slowest paths to game development in the world, to the point where even the “polish” and “we’ll release it when it’s ready” mantras are being overshadowed by the pokey pace
- Secrets and tenuous information
- Adamant stances about game design in which they get uppity with players who oppose this, and yet they can change it completely and not be called to task for the hypocrisy
And more than anything else, Blizzard has set itself apart from the rest of its MMO brethren. I hate this. It’s like if there’s a huge family with lots of kids, and one becomes super-successful and stops talking to the rest of the family altogether, because who needs them? BlizzCon is symbolic of how Blizzard is flipping the bird to other conventions and the rest of the MMO industry, because who needs them? They’re totally cool with every other MMO mentioning WoW in interviews, but when’s the last time you heard a Blizzard dev reference a game other than their own?
It’s why I’m glad to be outside of WoW’s orbit now, because it’s become something larger than a game — a culture. It demands your all: your time, your money, your interest, your devotion.
From looking at BlizzCon and then remembering my experiences at PAX, I have to say I’d go with PAX ten times out of ten. I love being part of a wider community of games and designers and fans than a limited — if popular — selection.