Spot On: Blizzcon 2005

Almost 8,000 Blizzard fanatics come to Orange County to play WOW expansion and Starcraft: Ghost, watch live Warcraft III and Starcraft tournaments.

ANAHEIM, Calif.--Today, the first annual Blizzcon is now in full swing at the Anaheim Convention Center, and GameSpot editors were on hand to take in the early events. Blizzard founder Mike Morhaime delivered the keynote address this morning, officially introducing the new Burning Crusade expansion pack for World of Warcraft. The pack will open up the Outlands areas along with several new instanced dungeons, flying mounts, an increased level cap, and a new socketed item system for customization of weapons and armor.

Contributing to the socket system will be a new player profession called jewel crafting. We asked designer Rob Pardo for further details on how the socket system and jewel crafting would work, but he replied that the design of that system has not yet been completed and that they would be undergoing a number of different approaches. Among these would be testing whether existing, nonsocketed items could be modified to include sockets, or if only weapons and armor with existing sockets would be able to be modified through jewel crafting. It has also not yet been determined what sorts of buffs the jewels would impart on items and whether such jewels would be removable.

As for the scene, Morhaime announced that slightly fewer than 8,000 attendees would be at Blizzcon, and there seemed to be about that many people crowding in Hall A of the Anaheim Convention Center. The line for showgoers to pick up their free goody bags seemed to snake as long as a line for a ride at nearby Disneyland, looking to be easily more than an hour's wait. Though there were dozens of computer stations, lines for Blizzcon attendees looking to play the new expansion pack were also quite long. Two GameSpot editors stood in line for about an hour to get 30 minutes of play time with the content. The stations used for checking out the new Blood Elf content could also be used to play in the upcoming Ahn Qi'raj instanced dungeon, which will be released in an upcoming patch prior to the expansion pack. Come back for GameSpot's impressions of both new areas.

Today and the rest of the weekend will see quite a few different activities going on simultaneously at Blizzcon. Panel discussions about World of Warcraft issues, such as profession design, art design, and character class design, are going on in various meeting rooms and other halls. Warcraft III and Starcraft tournaments are happening on a stage in the main hall, with a large viewscreen and a play-by-play announcer conveying the action to showgoers. Just below are long lines for people waiting to play in WOW Battlegrounds tournaments, as well as people waiting to play the Burning Crusade expansion pack, which at least provides them with some entertainment as they wait. There is also a play area for 16-player Starcraft Ghost tournaments. New information was released about that game as well--Morhaime noted during his speech that playable Zerg would be available in the game. You will be able to play as zerglings, hydralisks, mutalisks, or infested terrans. Rounding out the activities are an area showing off the new World of Warcraft table-top board game, a climbing wall, and American Gladiators-style jousting tournaments.

Quite a variety of people have made their way to the show, including parents and children who must have decided that a day at Blizzcon was more critical than spending it at school. And, of course, there were more than a few cosplayers in attendance. The costumes so far have been mostly World of Warcraft-related, with the predictable array of women dressing up as night elves. Some of the more adventurous outfits included a woman dressed up as a succubus, wearing a dark corset, thigh-high boots, wings, and horns, and another lady dressed up as a gnome astride a tinfoil-trimmed mechanostrider.

Even at this time of the afternoon, people were still streaming into the convention center to get inside the show. Come back to GameSpot later today and throughout the show for hands-on impressions of the games on display at Blizzcon.

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Discussion

15 comments
DavidCK
DavidCK

For those that missed the possible april fool's prank: Google for "world of starcraft", find the gamespot news and click on the "cached" version.

laxhammer
laxhammer

I just checked it out, the pics are photoshopped. you can see the "world of starcraft" pics on the blizzard union page, and then you can see that they used a background from a picture on this site: http://www.battle.net/scc/protoss/

deathimmortal
deathimmortal

Personally that would take a bit to make a graphic look that good, so i think blizzard didn't want people knowing about it.

1valiantknight
1valiantknight

Yeah the link had a lot of crazy detail on the races and how they would be different. Sounded cool.

laxhammer
laxhammer

I read it and it went something like this: There were two pictures that did not look photoshopped, the first consisted of some Terran marines getting off a dropship or something, and the second was a few Hydralisks standing around on some kind of volcanoe. But all the hydralisks had different skins, like color patches and chitinous plates. The article was talking about how this mmorpg would be very different from the previous ones because it is set up differently. There will be four races: Terran, Zerg, Protoss, and an undisclosed one (probably the Xel'Naga). The Terran start out the same but choose certain paths to become a Marine or Cadet or whatever... The pilots can actually eventually command battle cruisers! The Zerg are really wierd, you start off as a zergling so all you do is rush the other team and probably get killed but your "hive" points will be saved and then you can evolve into Hydralisks or whatever you want. For the Protoss you choose paths like the Terrans being either a zealot or a etheral dude. But they were saying it will be more difficult to play with the Protoss because they are more advanced (i think). For the equipment aspect they said it would be very different but i don't really remember any details (sorry). In this mmorpg they are really trying to emphasize large battles instead of little quests. This all based off my memory of something i quickly read about a week ago so don't get mad if i got something wrong. And i am welcome to any corrections or additions. i hoped this helped...

sngyze
sngyze

someone tell me what was on that link please? i clicked on it but only got directed back to the main page. was there real information on the link?

legacyofdoom
legacyofdoom

Man I was looking forward to World of Starcraft. That game looked so sick. but if it was an April fools joke, why would they spend that much time on it. i think Blizzard got mad because they did not want people to know about it. It may just be a suggested idea. thats all.

laxhammer
laxhammer

maybe it was an accidental release, and blizzard got mad at gamespot so they deleted the page and acted like it never happened...

loudenswain
loudenswain

i also would like to know why the page for world of starcraft disappeared. It WAS NOT listed on the blizzard april fools jokes list on www.worldofwarcraft.com sounded cool

Kintaro-Kusake
Kintaro-Kusake

Man, do you people really think Blizzard wants to cash in more money than they already need? That was awesome and I breathed a sigh of relief there was no such thing as World of Starcraft because lets be serious...it's not as open ended as WoW would be and people do need lives. Also Gamespot forgot one fact, the majority of the people at Blizzcon were Koreans =P

Morias-Skult
Morias-Skult

Tis is a sad day, i wanted to scream with joy and now i want to get run over by a bus for believeing in something which i would link to as more precious then the holy grail

Nemmox
Nemmox

Espero que pronto salga STARCRAFT GHOST ya que siento seria el juego del a

OriginalNES
OriginalNES

That was by far the most cruel April Fools video game joke I've seen yet. I seriously hope the entire staff at Gamespot contracts herpes for it. It was obvious by the post date that it was a joke...but Starcraft and MMO are something put together you should not joke about. :@

laxhammer
laxhammer

Yeah, was that an april fools joke or something?

Daskino7
Daskino7

What the heck happened to world of Starcraft?