Blizzard balloons BlizzCon 08

Soon-to-be merged World of Warcraft maker supersizes annual convention in Anaheim, CA, taking place October 10-11; tickets run for $100.

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Few development houses command a devoted fan base large enough to warrant its own fully fledged convention, let alone two meetups, in a single year. Of course, few gamemakers possess the clout to be cited as the impetus behind a near-$19 billion merger, either. However, such is the case for Blizzard Entertainment, and with the Blizzard Worldwide Invitational '08 scheduled for June 28-29 in Paris, the Irvine, California-based developer today took the wraps off its second major convention of the year, BlizzCon 08.

Returning once again to the Anaheim Convention Center in Anaheim, California, BlizzCon 08 is scheduled to run October 10 and 11 and will expand from two to three convention-center halls to accommodate growing demand. Tickets run for $100 apiece, and Blizzard plans to entertain showgoers with a variety of activities.

As with past shows, the developer will be offering hands-on time with a few of its upcoming games, as well as panel discussions, tournaments, costume and other talent contests, and a silent auction. Blizzard plans to dish out more activity details in the coming weeks and months via the official BlizzCon Web site.

Blizzard has in the past taken advantage of the large gatherings of its fan base to announce new games. As part of the Blizzard World Invitational in Seoul, South Korea, last May, the developer debuted the much-requested Starcraft II. At BlizzCon 07 later that year, Blizzard officially announced Wrath of the Lich King, the second expansion to its phenomenally popular massively multiplayer online role-playing game World of Warcraft.

This year, speculation runs rampant on what news, if any, will arise during the events. Already, rumors have sprung up that Wrath of the Lich King is approaching finalization, having entered a closed alpha-testing phase, and may appear as early as November. Speculation on whether Blizzard will revive its long-dormant Diablo franchise has also reached a fever pitch, most recently thanks to the developer acquiring the diablo3.com domain name earlier this month.

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