(Ditchcon folks took the photo above, and I am in it somewhere. Not proud of my facial expression in it, though!)
Last time, we talked about what Blizzcon has to offer as an event.
If you’ve been to any big convention, though, you know that the festivities don’t stop with the end of the event everyone is around for. Blizzcon is no exception – with an excellent multitude of events happening around the con in parallel. Whether going for the first time, or a veteran of past Blizzcons, there is something for everyone to discover!
All The Time, Constantly, Except for the Latest Hours of Night:
-Hilton lobby: if you haven’t been, the Anaheim Hilton is the hotel closest to the con. It lines one side of the plaza outside the convention center, and has a multitude of doors on that very side leading in to a lobby bar. You may have heard tales of this lobby bar, depending on what circles you run in. From early in the week when people start arriving, until maybe a day or two after, this lobby is packed to the brim at most hours of the day with con-goers hanging out, drinking, and having a good time. If you have the social energy to brave it, you will probably have a good time here. On Saturday night, and sometimes earlier, Blizzard employees tend to hang out here as well! You can snag photos with them if you are polite and respectful, as I have done many times!
The main event is the bar, constantly stocked with drinks, but be prepared – the prices here are standard hotel bar fare – $8 beer bottles, $10-ish for cocktails, and the beer selection isn’t terribly broad, but it’s serviceable. The real main event is in socializing – people here play board games, card games, hang out and chat, and if you approach respectably, you can usually join in. I’ve joined pickup games of Cards Against Humanity, various other board and card games, and shared the hype of Blizzcon with numerous strangers. They have also, recently, started showing the Blizzcon livestream on the TVs at the bar, which is a bonus if you dip out during the day!
If you’ve never been, do yourself a favor – go. Even if you just kind of wander, drink, and hang out with your friends, it’s a fun atmosphere. Sometimes you get fun bonuses, like the time we were intermingled with some Marine Corps event!
-Ditchcon: Night, Hilton, and free – Ditchcon is a newer, fun party that caters for the travellers coming in early. It’s a great little event with fun prizes, dancing, drinks and socializing. The event had a kickstarter this year to raise enough money for a more enjoyable event, and it looks to be a promising party on a night where not much else happens.
-Wowhead Party: Night, Hilton, and free* – Wowhead’s party is the biggest shindig pre-con. There are vendors present, prize drawings, photo booths, and more. Last year had gaming stations with Overwatch matches going on, and a Jinx-made arcade machine that would make adult jokes about playing with itself. This one has bonuses for pre-registration, hence the asterisk, but if you show up about an hour into the party, you can usually run right up and check it out. Last year it was on the pool deck at the Hilton, and I would expect the same this year – it’s just the right size.
-Con Before The Storm: Night, Hilton, and free – the best community event, bar none. Organized by a coalition of fan podcasts, sites, and blogs, with fan support from crowdfunding, this party has so much to offer. There are panels, an art show and silent auction, meet and greets with the staff behind affiliated sites, and fun little breakout rooms with other activities. It’s worth checking out, even if you just look at the art on auction and hang around.
-Blizznerds Dinner: evening, Sheraton Park, ticketed – an event put on by the Blizznerds group on Facebook, this ticketed dinner is a more relaxed affair, primarily centering on dinner and socializing. The dinner is a buffet, and is pretty nice, plus the community is pretty cool. They also offer tiered tickets allowing you to pay in extra for additional bonuses!
During Con (Friday):
-NewEgg party: night, House of Blues, RSVP recommended: this party tends to be pretty packed, and is a short distance away from the convention center. It can be a good time, with live music, demo areas, and giveaways – but it’s claustrophobically packed, and I’ve heard scuttlebutt (unconfirmed) that it might not happen this year!
There are usually Saturday night parties as well, but I have not seen any yet for this year. I’ll keep an eye out and update as needed!