ANAHEIM, California--It isn't at all out of the ordinary to see someone who just as well may be a heavy metal pioneer Ozzy Osbourne at BlizzCon. Cosplayers aside, there are traditionally at least a few World of Warcraft shut-ins who brave the sunlight--dressed head-to-toe in black garb and guy-liner, with a crooked and stooped posture--to attend the show. Seeing the real deal, however, is something else altogether.
With WOW: Cataclysm and Diablo III's monk announced and Battle.net's revamp detailed, Blizzard closed out BlizzCon 2009 on Saturday night with a heavy-metal-palooza that featured none other than the Prince of Darkness himself Ozzy Osbourne as the headline act.
Opening the show, though, was Level 80 Elite Tauren Chieftain. Made up entirely of Blizzard developers, the group counts among its members CEO Mike Morhaime (on bass) and art director Samwise Didier (on vocals). L80ETC clearly draws inspiration from such early metal acts as Iron Maiden, mixing heavy guitar riffs with thundering drums and Didier's impressive vocal range.
Notably, as the band's name is predicated on World of Warcraft's level cap, L80ETC has undergone a number of name changes over the years. With Blizzard set to raise the level cap to 85 upon Cataclysm's launch, the band used its time under the lights to unveil its newest (and allegedly final) name, The Artists Formerly Known as Level 80 Elite Tauren Chieftain (or TAFKAL80ETC for short).
Though TAFKAL80ETC received a warm reception from the crowd, the main event of the evening was clearly Ozzy Osbourne. Opening his set with hallmark hit "Bark at the Moon," Osbourne poured copious energy into an hour's worth of hits from his extensive solo and Black Sabbath catalogue, including "War Pigs," "Iron Man," "Paranoid," and "Crazy Train," to name a few.
After the show, GameSpot got a brief few minutes to speak with Ozzy. According to the man who once bit the head off a live bat and urinated on the Alamo, his heightened profile in the gaming industry is entirely due to the efforts of his wife and manager, Sharon. Ozzy also noted that his good buddy, what's his name, oh right, Elton John, is baffled that he doesn't even use a cell phone.
GameSpot: So, how's it going? How was the show?
Ozzy Osbourne: It was fun. I had a lot of fun. It's the first time I got to play with my new guitar player, and, gosh, he's a really good player. He's come at the right time, because I've got to go out on tour, and I'm thinking s*** I've got to get another f****** guitar player. But the band played well. It was good fun. Audience, to be honest with you, [Ozzy's wife and manager] Sharon said, "No interviews at BlizzCon," but I says to Sharon, "But they like me."
I was thinking they'd all be wearing spectacles the size of f****** Coca-Cola bottles, like curly white hair and f****** rimmed glasses, you know, the scientist types. But they were f****** great, man. The vibe was there. The kids had a great time. That's the best part of my job, giving them the best time.
GS: How did you hook up with Blizzard in the first place?
OO: You know what? I have not the f****** faintest.
GS: You were in their commercial, yeah?
OO: Was that the one for, what was it?
GS: Wrath of the Lich King. Where they have the Prince of Darkness, and you're kind of the Prince of Darkness...
OO: Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah. I don't know. I did a few adverts. It's fun doing adverts.
OO: Well, yeah, Sharon goes, "I want you to go here." And I go, "OK, what do I got to do." It's weird because you meet another kind of world, and I feel like a f******...I'm going to have to do some kind of research on what I'm doing because people come up to me and say, "You are the f****** guy that caused my son to [indiscernible] with that f****** guitar thing." What I can't understand, my son [Jack Osbourne]...I can't even turn the f****** TV on half the time. My son, he plays that Warcraft game, and he sits there for f****** three days playing. I say, "You going to get to bed?" and he's, "Oh, no man."
I've got a very highly addictive personality, and I'm afraid that if I do start playing, I'll get sucked in. I mean, [indiscernible] AA for f****** computer kids. Mind you, whatever the technology is, someone's always going to take it overboard, you know?
GS: So you weren't expecting any similarities between the gaming community and the people who normally come out to your shows?
OO: When I first came in to do a stage test on Thursday, there were seats everywhere, and I'm thinking, "This ain't going to be a f****** sit-down audience, is it?" And before I went on stage, the band before me [The Artists Formally Known as Level 80 Elite Tauren Chieftain] went on there, and it sounded like they revved up the audience. So I thought, I'll have a good time. That's why I came here, to have a good time. Sometimes they're up, sometimes they're down. I had a great time tonight.
That little kid from Japan, f******-a. He's nine years of age, and he played "Crazy Train" like we f****** play it on the record.
GS: So, let's see, you don't have any experience with games yourself?
OO: Not really. I used to play them in bars. It's been a long time. I don't drink. I haven't drunk in a long time. [Indiscernible] space f****** game.
GS: Space Invaders?
OO: Yeah, I mean, I've got to get into it. My son is [indiscernible]..."Yeah, dad, OK OK OK." He's in another f****** world.
GS: Do you think that's a bad thing?
OO: You know what? The bad thing about it...I don't know what the f*** I'm doing with them. I can't make a comment without knowing what the f*** I'm talking about. I mean, it's a world that...I'm just lazy. I don't want to take the time to learn how to use a f****** cell phone or a [indiscernible]. It's just my own fault. I mean, I'm dyslexic, I've got attention deficit disorder, so if I don't understand it within the first five minutes, I don't use it again.
GS: Yeah, it's kind of interesting because people have begun using games for teaching different ways to learn.
OO: I've got to do it. I was talking to a friend of mine, Elton John, and he says to me, "Do you have a cell phone?" And I says, "No." And he goes, "[indiscernible]." And my kids are talking to me [indiscernible] have any brains. And my wife has got one of them iPhones. It's f****** unbelievable. [Indiscernible] There was some music playing on the radio, and I thought, "[indiscernible]," and she goes, "Well, I'll tell you," and presses the iPhone, puts it up to the f****** music, and she says, "Yeah, it's this." It could f****** tell what was playing.
GS: Oh, right. I've actually got that on my phone as well. Well, I'm getting the signal from your man here. Is there anything else you want to say to our readers?
OO: I don't know. I feel like a f****** dummy sitting here. I don't know what the f*** I'm talking about. I'm just trying to fill the time here. When it comes to the computer, I am so f******...did anyone ever tell you, you look a bit like Steve Martin?
GS: Well, no actually.
OO: Well, you don't!
GS: OK, thanks!