I have to say, I hardly ate anything today. Not only was I hyped for tonight’s Warlords of Draenor event, it was just a busy day. I had a smile on my face just thinking of the pre-launch. It was my first Blizzard event. How could I not be excited? I was pretty quick to spot Navi in the queue a little after I arrived and heard the line filled up pretty quickly so I was happy to meet up with Navi, Neri and HK beforehand.
As the line started moving, we collected our VIP wristbands before heading through the smoke-filled Dark Portal – our gateway to the Vmax cinema. There were three lavish cinematic backdrops just outside the cinema doors as well as a camera crew interviewing some attendees. My photos didn’t turn out that well so most of these are courtesy of the official Blizzard team.
Once inside, I directed us to some great seats towards the front and immediately noticed two boxes on each chair as well as a bottle of soft drink. In addition to a box of popcorn, everyone received a pet Murky, Murkimus or Fishy figurine.
As we waited for the cinema to fill, I posted a pic of the screen. That’s when a few of us started playing twitter/phone tag as we tried to locate each other inside.
The event began with the original trailer using some upgraded graphics followed by Ion (WatcherDev) Hazzikostas as he looked back over the last ten years of WoW’s development.
It was interesting to hear how they learnt from past mistakes and opened up the game to so many different playstyles. The complicated talent trees were scrapped so players coming in would not feel overwhelmed with choosing a new class or returning from a break. They also wanted to eliminate any obstacles so people didn’t feel like they had to play through all the old content first. When asked about the ‘offline’ feature in Battle.net, Ion stated you may end up getting situations where you have 10 friends online but none of you can see each other. Then came the big announcement:
The crowd went wild!
By the time I had posted my little announcement on Twitter, I saw a handful of others who had done the same. There will be free transfers for a limited time from any NA servers back to oceanic but if you’re already on an oceanic server, you shouldn’t observe any differences other than improved gameplay from lower latency. So as Australia and New Zealand come down for an extended maintenance on Tuesday, the 24hr wait should be worth it. In the meantime, check out the FAQ for more info.
Before the event I had wondered why Blizzard chose this year (after so many) to come to Australia but now it was clear. When I mentioned this to Ion, he replied it would be great to see other developers make the trip so I hope to see bigger and better things in the future. Navi, Neri and I managed to snap a pic with WatcherDev (who looked pretty happy with himself) before I recommended he do a bridge climb and was gracious enough to sign my Fishy box before I left (thanks for the idea Neri).
Some great introductions were made at the afterparty with Dayani who happens to write a great blog over at Healiocentric and Toro from Wowalt.com. I had been talking to Moogyver and Natanie about 10mins earlier when Navi returned saying there were two people who would like to meet me. It turned out to be Moo and Nat but I assumed they had realised who I was because they were talking to Navi by the Dark Portal earlier. Never-the-less, it was lovely to hear how much they loved my Super posts and acknowledged the work that goes into them.
I have to thank Marie and the rest of the Blizzard ANZ team for a great night though. For a free event, it was great to snack on peking duck, sliders, pizza and a beer while getting to know some of the other WoW players and of course Ion. Thanks to everyone to helped make this a memorable night and here’s to the next one.