I am just back from Blizzcon, brainstunned with jetlag, so this will probably be pretty incoherent. I was there to help promote Illidan, my upcoming World of Warcraft novel, due in March 2016. Number one son, Dan, came along. Having accompanied me through the depths of Black Temple and across the wastes of Outland while I was doing my research for the book, it seemed only right that he brave the depths of Anaheim Convention Center with me.
We flew into LAX on Wednesday evening and spent Thursday wandering around, locating the convention centre and basking in the blue skies and balmy climate. Disneyland was just round the corner from our hotel. Somehow we fought off the urge to spend $300 to visit the Lair of the Mouse Lord. In the evening we had a very pleasant dinner with Sarah, Keith and Joe from Del Rey.
Friday was the first day of the convention. We had exhibitor badges so we got in before the crowds. This meant we were just in time to witness the human tsunami of 25000 plus attendees rushing in when the doors opened. We went with the flow and found ourselves in excellent centre row seats for the Opening Ceremony.
During the course of this we saw the cinematic for Legacy of the Void, the trailer for the new World of Warcraft movie and the cast and director Duncan Jones live on stage. I had to leave for my first signing before we got to the World of Warcraft section. I was sorry to miss this.
The signings were great. Everyone was so enthusiastic. I was very jetlagged and thus even more inarticulate than usual. My right hand felt compelled to write For the Horde instead of people’s names when it came to inscribing dedications. It just came naturally in the setting. Somehow I ended up on an artists panel at one point. I don’t think my stick figure Illidans were quite as impressive as the other people’s work but I did my best. Someone even recognised me as the model for Horus from Adrian Smith’s famous picture and introduced me to his wife as the Warmaster. That’s not something that happens every day.
The big thing for me were getting to try out the new Demon Hunter hero class in its starting zone. This was awesome. I am very much looking forward to getting to grips with the class for real when Legion goes live next year. As it was I spent a fair amount of time taking the war to the minions of Kil’jaeden.
Dan and I saw the Arena PvP semi-finals on Friday and the finals on Saturday. This was between two European sides, Skillcapped EU and SK Gaming. The two teams were perfectly matched and the battle went right to the wire. In the end SK Gaming won a well-deserved victory, while both sides were running on mana fumes.
The Anaheim arena was full of statues of familiar figures from all the Blizzard IPs. I trotted up to the Starcraft hall to pay my respects to the Queen of Blades. I attended to the WoW Designers panel—a lot of exciting stuff coming up there: artefact weapons, some interesting sounding class revamps and a whole new area to explore as the Burning Legion returns to Azeroth. I managed to get a brief glimpse of Overwatch which looks astonishing.
There was a lot going on and I didn’t get to see half of it. Mostly what remains are memories of the people—their enthusiasm and good cheer. It was a great weekend. Hopefully I will be back next year.