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Faces of BlizzCon: Guildmates tighten bonds at BlizzCon meetups

Fail Squad
Couldn't make it to California for the convention? WoW Insider takes you behind the scenes at BlizzCon 2011.

Face time -- it's an indispensable part of the human equation of forging bonds and getting on the same page. Friendships that used to rely solely on guild chat and forums deepen under the influence of voice chat, Facebook, and instant messaging. Today, we know our guildmates better than ever, but nothing can replace coming face-to-face, shaking hands, trading bear hugs, hanging out over days' worth of gaming and dinner and drinks ... and of course, endless discussions about WoW.

We talked with three of the many guilds that met up at BlizzCon 2011: Fail Squad, a 10-man raiding guild celebrating its first anniversary; Chatcon, a group of players who came together via chat room with a common goal of handling trolls on the official Blizzard forums; and Crisp, a U.S. top 100 raiding guild bonding in game over hard modes and out of game over BlizzCon drinks.

Fail Squad
Fail Squad succeeds at BlizzCon

Fail Squad of Lightninghoof (US-H) planned its first anniversary (just past -- grats, guys!) and BlizzCon bash in style. Members rented a vacation house just two blocks from the convention center, where 13 guildies converged for a weekend of food, gaming, strolling back and forth to the con, celebrating the honeymoon of two guildmates (more grats!), and hanging out.

Fail Squad is a youngish guild of friends who've slowly and naturally coalesced throughout years of World of Warcraft. The guild's two 10-man teams, which started out in ICC, enjoy a friendly in-game rivalry in today's content. Their unquenchable team spirit shows through in the top-notch guild shirts they wore with pride throughout BlizzCon, featuring original art from guild member Amber Franklin.

Chatcon
Chatting it up with Chatcon

Not every group gathering at BlizzCon this year are actual guilds. Blaargh's Chatcon group met four years ago in a chat room bonding over goings-on on the official forums. This year, the group has something like 100 friends ("members"? "chataholics"?) scattered across BlizzCon.

At one point, the group had a loose guild running in game, but for now remains at less organized ends. The sprawling group keeps in touch via a Facebook page, and of course they hang out in their chat room while they're playing -- even former players who aren't actually subbed to World of Warcraft anymore.

Crisp
Crisp and crunchy

Hardcore raiding guild Crisp of Baelgun (US-A) had 11 members gather at this year's BlizzCon, from a father-son raiding pair, to a member who flew in all the way from across the wide, blue Pacific, to blogger Foofy of Foofy's Cupcake Factory.

This chill group of 25-man hard-mode raiders maintains a light-hearted attitude despite being "350 pulls into heroic Ragnaros" on a schedule of four raid nights per week. "We're crisp and fresh like a bowl of cereal before it gets soggy," says GM Samiam. Spoons up!

The news is out -- we'll be playing Mists of Pandaria! Find out what's in store with an all-new talent system, peek over our shoulder at our Pandaren hands-on, and get ready to battle your companion pets against others. It's all here right at WoW Insider!

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