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Reminder: WoW.com BlizzCon meetup tonight at 7:30pm

This is it. The day has come. This evening at 7:30pm on the Tangerine Patio at the Anabella Hotel in Anaheim, we'll be hosting our annual BlizzCon meetup, and trust us: it's sure to be amazing. There's the people, for one thing: many of your favorite WoW.com writers will be in attendance, ready to talk some shop with you. Many of our friends and neighbors in the WoW community will be stopping by as well -- we can't name names, but let's just say that if you've ever seen or heard them on WoW.com, they'll probably be there. Then there's the prizes: Upper Deck, Steelseries, WoWTCGLoot.com, Swagdog, and Creative Labs are all bringing some sweet swag by the meetup for you readers to take home for them. And there'll be a cash bar (all attendees should be 18+ or accompanied by a parent) with an open kitchen as well, and we promise the bartender will be faster than the slowpoke last year.

Plus, for the first time ever, those of you at home will get a chance to attend virtually. Starting at 7:30pm Pacific, we're going to be streaming live video and audio from the party over on our Ustream page, and you'll be able to chat with us, our guests, and anybody else there who wants to chat with you. If you're good, we might even give away some prizes to virtual attendees.

It's going to be a blast. And hey, we even hear there's some kind of convention going on in Anaheim this weekend, so that should be fun, too. If you're in Anaheim, we'll see you there tonight, or if you're at home we'll see you on Ustream. Can't wait!


BlizzCon 2009 is coming up on August 21st and 22nd! We've got all the latest news and information. At BlizzCon you can play the latest games, meet your guildmates, and ask the developers your questions. Plus, there's some great looking costumes.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Events, Fan stuff, WoW Insider Business, BlizzCon

BlizzCon schedule posted

Blizzard has posted the schedule for this year's BlizzCon event, and there aren't too many surprises at all. We already expected to see most of the panels, so while there'll be the usual favorites like lore and art panels for each game, and two different World of Warcraft class panels (those are always fun, with devs confronted by players with class balance issues), there aren't any unexpected sessions popping up. They haven't revealed, say, a "new WoW expansion" panel, or a "next-gen MMO" panel.

That doesn't mean those won't happen -- it probably does mean we won't see demos for anything announced at Friday's keynote, as the schedule is pretty full already, but in the past when Blizzard has announced an expansion, for example, they usually spend a lot of time in the "Dungeons and Raids" panel talking about what they're doing with the new material. We'll have to see.

Finally, it appears, somewhat strangely, that the live DirecTV broadcast on Friday might actually cut off the end of the popular contests at the end of the day -- the broadcast ends at 8, and the contests end an hour later. Hopefully stream subscribers won't miss out on some of the fun. They won't have that problem on Saturday, as the broadcast runs all the way through Ozzy's concert. And of course, don't forget to add our meetup on your own schedule -- we're kicking things off on Thursday night. Sounds like fun!

Update: Blizzard has since retracted the schedule.
Update x2: Blizzard has posted a new schedule.


BlizzCon 2009 is coming up on August 21st and 22nd! We've got all the latest news and information. At BlizzCon you can play the latest games, meet your guildmates, and ask the developers your questions. Plus, there's some great looking costumes.

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Filed under: Events, Fan stuff, Blizzard, BlizzCon

Kingston giving away ten BlizzCon tix

We've posted about a few BlizzCon ticket giveaways before, but Kingston, the computer memory maker, is holding the biggest so far: they're giving away a total of ten tickets to Blizzard's big event in Anaheim next month. This one's cake, too: just enter in your info on their page about you and the kind of computer memory you use and buy, and then they'll pick ten random winners to get hooked up with a ticket to BlizzCon. Unfortunately, you're on your own for transportation to and from the event (and, we presume, a hotel to stay in if you're transporting from out of town). But there's never been a better time to call up your cousin Ed who moved out to Irvine to be a game developer a few years ago and still has that old sleeper couch to stay on. Right?

Good luck to everyone who enters -- hopefully if you weren't able to grab tickets in the chaos that ensued during the original sales, you've been able to either buy, trade, or win for one since then. And if you do make it out there, don't forget: Thursday night we'll be rocking out at the Anabella. Come by and say hi!

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, Contests, BlizzCon

Announcing the third annual WoW.com BlizzCon Meetup


It's here! For months now, we've told you that we'll be having our third BlizzCon meetup on August 20th, the night before the big event in Anaheim, but we haven't yet told you exactly where. But now, we've finally confirmed our location and we can tell you where to go: We'll be meeting at the Tangerine Patio in the Anabella Hotel at 1030 W. Katella Avenue in Anaheim, CA. That's right behind the Convention Center (between it and Disneyland), and within easy walking distance from anywhere in the area.

We'll begin the festivities at 7:30pm Pacific (local Anaheim time) on August 20th, and the Anabella will have the kitchen open and a cash bar ready for all of the eating and drinking you'd want. We're asking that attendees be 18+ or accompanied by parent, but other than that, just be a reader of WoW.com -- many of our writers and editors will be in attendance for you to meet and greet, and we'll be giving away some swag and speculating at just what we'll see later that weekend at BlizzCon.

And if you aren't able to make it to Anaheim, don't worry: we'll have audio and video up and streaming to our Ustream page, so you'll be able to attend virtually and chat with everyone else there. And we're planning on having some Ustream-specific giveaways as well, so you won't be left out of the loot, either.

All of our reader meetups in the past have been tremendous, and this one is set up to be our biggest and best event yet. We'll see you there!

BlizzCon 2009 is coming up on August 21st and 22nd! We've got all the latest news and information. At BlizzCon, you can play the latest games, meet your guildmates, and ask the developers your questions. Plus, there are some great looking costumes.

Filed under: Tips, Events, Fan stuff, WoW Insider Business, BlizzCon

Nvidia offering up a chance to go to BlizzCon

The chances to head off to BlizzCon are coming fast nowadays -- Nvidia is the latest company in on the race, as they're offering up an all expenses paid trip to Anaheim in August for the winner and a guest to experience Blizzard's big show. To enter, they say you have to buy a qualifying Nvidia card, and then use the promo code inside the package to enter. Which might make you think, as we did, that it's a pretty lousy deal -- you have to buy a new graphics card just for a chance to win? But their official rules say "no purchase necessary," So we did the work for you: if you want to enter without buying a card, you have to send a letter or postcard to "NVIDIA "BlizzCon 2009" Sweepstakes – Entries by Mail (USA & Canada), NVIDIA Corporation, 2701 San Tomas Expressway, Santa Clara, CA 95050, U.S.A," and include your full name, your email address, mailing addresses, your telephone number, and "a short paragraph (100 to 250 words), written or typed in English, stating why you like or have an interest in the 'World of Warcraft' game or Nvidia or its products."

Not exactly a lot of fun, but then again, it's cheaper than buying a new graphics card, and their rules say that mail-in entries have the same chance at winning that the coupon codes do. We're behind you, readers -- we hope you win.

And if you do make it to BlizzCon, keep an eye out for WoW.com -- we're gonna have a nice big shindig on Thursday night (location still TBA, but soon!), and we'd love for you to be there.

Filed under: Tips, Contests, BlizzCon

BlizzCon live stream order page up


Didn't get your tickets for BlizzCon? Planning to pick up the Internet stream instead, because you don't have DirecTV at home? Now's your chance -- the page has appeared to order up the official livestream in HD video straight from the conference. For $39.95, you get over 16 hours of video from the convention floor, as well as all the main stage presentations, tournament coverage, and even the Grunty the Murloc Space Marine pet. There's more answers over on their FAQ page if you have more questions.

The video streaming as a test on the page suggests that both Level 80 Tauren Chieftain will be playing and Jay Mohr will be hosting again, though that video is likely from last year, and not necessarily indicative of this year's show. It looks like the HQ stream will also require you to install the RayV player, while the lower quality stream will likely be available just through Flash. You can also keep in mind that though this is probably an excellent deal (especially if you want that pet -- I know many people will pick up the package for that code alone), there will be no shortage of information from BlizzCon for sure, as we'll have plenty to go around as well. But if you were planning on picking up the Internet stream, order on up.
BlizzCon 2009 is coming up on August 21st and 22nd! We've got all the latest news and information. At BlizzCon, you can play the latest games, meet your guildmates, and ask the developers your questions. Plus, there are some great looking costumes.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Events, Fan stuff, Blizzard, Economy, BlizzCon

Preparing for BlizzCon: Getting there by car or rail


BlizzCon approaches! Preparing for BlizzCon is your regular source for tips on how best to prepare for Blizzard's gaming extravaganza.

On Friday, we talked about getting to BlizzCon by air. Until teleportation technology is invented (and not deadly) or "The Big One" hits causing Anaheim to become coastal, the only other two ways to get to BlizzCon are by train or car. (Edit: Ok, there is the bus, but yeah, ugh. AishaLove is right. I can't recommend it.)

Trains: Anaheim is a stop on the Pacific Surfliner route. Amtrak can be pricey, but with a membership in AAA and a watchful eye on their specials, you may be able to come up with a price that is comparable to flying. The train stop is just down the road from the Anaheim Convention Center and is close to most of the hotels. Of course, trains take much longer than planes, but the trip can be part of your vacation fun.

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Filed under: Tips, BlizzCon

Preparing for BlizzCon: Reserve your lodging ASAP


BlizzCon approaches! Preparing for BlizzCon will be your regular source for tips on how best to prepare for Blizzard's gaming extravaganza.

If you were lucky enough to get tickets to BlizzCon 2009, you've got over two months to prepare. But one of the very first things you should do is make your lodging arrangements as soon as possible. As with any popular convention, rooms closest to the venue are already filling up, so your options are closing with each passing day. Following are tips for choosing the location of your non-BlizzCon time:
  • No charge to reserve now: In most cases, you need a valid credit card to guarantee your reservation, but your card is not charged until your stay. So make your reservations now to ensure you have a place to stay.
  • You can cancel if things change: Check the cancellation policy of your hotel to be sure, but usually you are able to cancel 24 hours before your stay begins or even the same day.
More tips are after the break.

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Filed under: Tips, BlizzCon

Final BlizzCon tickets on sale at 10 a.m. Saturday

We pretty much knew this to be the case, given that it's exactly what happened two weeks ago, but yes, just in case you haven't been paying attention, the second and final round of BlizzCon tickets is going on sale this Saturday, and Neth confirms it'll start at 10a.m. PST again. You'll have to be ready on the ticket page to jump into the queue at the right time, and then hope they don't sell out before you've gotten a chance to grab yours. The good news is that things probably won't break down, but the bad news is that they'll probably go really, really fast, so you'll have to be lucky to get in line before they close the doors.

And if you don't make it to the convention, there's always us: we're planning on covering the heck out of it yet again here at WoW.com, so even if you're not in Anaheim, we'll make you feel like you are. Or if you want to go the streaming video route, we're sure DirecTV will be happy to take your money as well.

So it's not the end of the world if you don't get your purchase done, but there'll no doubt be a lot of disappointed Blizzard fans no matter what. Good luck to everyone -- we'll see you Saturday at 10 a.m. Pacific.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Odds and ends, Blizzard, Contests, Making money, BlizzCon

BlizzCon: Arena Junkies ticket giveaway, Tokyopop booth preview

Along with most of the Blizzard fansites, Arena Junkies is also conducting a BlizzCon ticket giveaway, and they want you to design your own Arena. Basically, you come up with an idea, supplement it with whatever drawings or pictures you'd like, and then submit it in their forum thread by June 5th. After that, they'll have the community choose the top three, and each of those winners will be on their way to Anaheim to visit Blizzard's big event. We bet there'll be some awesome ideas coming out of the contest by the end -- Arena players are nothing if not creative.

And in other BlizzCon news, Tokyopop has announced that they'll have a booth at the convention (not a huge surprise -- we'll expect to see most of Blizzard's licensing partners in attendance), and they've got a lot of fun stuff planned: artist Fernando Heinz Furukawa of Warcraft Legends and Starcraft: Ghost Academy will be there and drawing pictures for attendees, and there'll be various art on display and new books to be sold. Plus, they'll have a Blood Elf standup for pictures, and they even leak a little something about fellow exhibitor BradyGames: this year they'll be hosting a convention-wide "fishing quest." Sounds like fun.

If you don't have tickets yet, you have one more chance: they go on sale this Sunday, May 31st. Seriously, don't show up until then. (Ed: Schramm, stop trying to keep people out of your ticket line! The second round of ticket sales is this Saturday, May 30th. Good luck to everyone except Schramm.)

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Events, Fan stuff, BlizzCon, Comics

What's in the BlizzCon bag? You won't know until they're gone

This seems like a strange deal, but in fact it's business as usual -- Blizzard says they won't tell you what's in the BlizzCon bags this year until all of the tickets are sold out. Seems weird, right? Wouldn't knowing what you'll get with the bag encourage you to buy tickets? But apparently not -- they've always announced the goodies post ticket sales and pre-event, so we'll just have to wait and see what comes up this year.

That won't stop us from guessing what's in it it. Our guess: a lot of stuff. Last year's bag was huge, as you can see in the gallery below, and this year's will probably be even bigger. There will definitely be some silly items, like the QQ noob tissues and the Diablo III mints from last year. There'll be promotional stuff for sure, maybe a pack of TCG cards, a few licensing partner ads, and/or a sample mini (last year they gave out Voidwalkers). And of course there'll be an ingame item card, maybe a sweet mount or a vehicle. Personally, I'd love to see a special edition novel, either a reprint of something like War of the Ancients or even a special collection of short stories just for the event.

Whatever's in the bag, you can rest assured that we'll be one of the first few folks sifting through the goodies again. And it's not outside the realm of possibility that, yet again, you'll have a chance to win one. Stay tuned.

Filed under: Items, Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, BlizzCon

WoW Insider Show live tomorrow at 3:30pm Eastern


It's that time of the week again, and even though Wrath is out and we're all playing up a storm, we'll be taking some time out of our schedule to put out our weekly podcast, the WoW Insider Show, and you should come join us. We'll be live on Ustream tomorrow afternoon at 3:30pm Eastern (time zone calculator), and this week, we'll welcome the site's other co-lead blogger, Dan O'Halloran on with us -- he was live on the scene in Anaheim with Blizzard and about a thousand fans during the launch, and he got to talk to Tom Chilton, so we'll get him to tell us all about that. And Chase Christian, who writes the Encrypted Text rogue column, will be joining us as well to talk about his experiences from 70-72 so far. Additionally, we'll be chatting about Blizzard issues with server downtime and how they've fared post-launch so far (very well, I think, queues notwithstanding), and we'll talk about that first to 80 player and all of our other experiences in Northrend over the past few days.

Should be a terrific show, definitely tune in on Ustream, or just come right back to this post, as we've embedded the stream after the break. If you've got a question for the show or something you'd like us to talk about, just drop a note: our email address is the show AT wowinsider dot com. And of course we'll be on for our usual aftershow -- after the show ends, we turn off the recording and chat directly with the people in the channel, so if you haven't listened live before, there's a great reason to tune in tomorrow. See you there!

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, WoW Insider Business, Odds and ends, Blizzard, Wrath of the Lich King, WoW Insider Show

Paul Sams and his Blizzard collection

The Orange County Register was all over the place yesterday -- being the hometown newspaper of Blizzard's hometown, they posted all day about the release and what Blizzard was doing for it (they've got some really good coverage of the event in Anaheim, which our own Dan O'Halloran attended as well). But perhaps most interesting is this post about Blizzard COO Paul Sams -- we haven't heard a lot from him in press before, but apparently he's a bigger Blizzard fan than any of us, with a collection of Blizzard items that includes a mint Spectral Tiger Card, Blizzard skateboards (which are apparently a licensing deal that never went through, so you can't buy those anywhere), and the second Frostmourne ever made -- we assume the first one went to Arthas.

And not all of it is Blizzard stuff -- he's got a first edition of The Count of Monte Cristo, and lots of sports memorabilia, too (but let's be honest -- a signed jersey is nothing compared to a Frostmourne. It's real.). Sams also collected his wife from Blizzard, too, apparently, and he says he'd be happy spending his whole career with the company. Sounds awesome to have someone who's such a fanboy sitting in one of your top exec positions.

Sams' favorite item, though, is probably the coolest: three drawings by the man Chris Metzen himself. That would be awesome to see. Check out all of Sams' collection in the OC Register's gallery.

Filed under: Items, Analysis / Opinion, Fan stuff, Virtual selves, Odds and ends, Blizzard, Wrath of the Lich King, Fan art

Reminder: Come meet WoW Insider at the midnight launch


Today's the day! After years of speculation and months of waiting, Blizzard is finally officially releasing Wrath of the Lich King. More than a few people have grabbed their copies already, but the vast majority of us are heading out to midnight launches all over the country (and indeed, the world) to pick up the game's second expansion.

Blizzard has their own launches planned (there's a rumor going around that the NYC event is canceled, but we've confirmed that's not true -- everything is still on as planned), and so do we here at WoW Insider -- in all the places that we're going out to take pictures and grab our own copies, we're inviting you to come along with us and say hi. We've reprinted all the meetups after the break -- I'll be in Chicago, we'll have people at the Blizzard events in Anaheim and Austin, and in North Carolina, California, Maryland, Minnesota and Florida, and our own Jennie Lees is hosting an event in Scotland. Take a look after the break, and if you happen to be in the area, definitely come out and meet us.

No matter where you are, good luck getting the game, and have a terrific time. We'll be around tonight with coverage of the event as it happens, interviews with devs on the scene, and of course in-depth coverage of our (and your) first steps into Northrend. Today is the day!

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Filed under: Events, Fan stuff, WoW Insider Business, Odds and ends, Blizzard, Expansions, Wrath of the Lich King

Meet WoW Insider at the Wrath midnight launch


Blizzard's holding official launches across the world, various retailers in all sorts of places are planning out midnight launches, and we here at WoW Insider are no different -- we'll be covering the release all across the world, and we're inviting you readers to come out and join us wherever we are.

We've got a full list of meetup locations after the break -- I'll be in Chicago, co-lead Dan O'Halloran will be at the Fry's in Anaheim covering the Blizzard event there (Chase Christian will be in Santa Barbara, also in CA), and Elizabeth Harper will be in Austin, where Blizzard devs will be meeting and greeting as well. We've also got reader meetups planned in North Carolina and Minnesota (where BBB will be passing out buttons), and our own Jennie Lees will be picking up Wrath in Edinburgh, Scotland. And if you're in Orlando, BRK and Mania from Petopia are holding their own event down there.

Stay tuned to this post for more updates (if we've missed anyone on the team, they'll add their information here), and feel free to organize your own meetups and events in the comments. The second expansion launches next week -- let's party!

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Fan stuff, WoW Insider Business, Blizzard, Expansions, Wrath of the Lich King

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