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Anticipating BlizzCon 2013

Reza Lackey Posted:
Columns All Things Warcraft 0

Last week BlizzCon tickets went on sale and milliseconds later they were sold out. This happened with both batches of tickets. For those of you that were lucky enough to score some, congratulations! For everyone else who tried, I can’t imagine your frustration and hope you’ll be able to find a way to watch the event with the virtual ticket (details on virtual tickets have yet to be announced). This week I’d like to share what I hope we’ll see at BlizzCon 2013.

The Details

After an absence last year, BlizzCon will be returning to the Anaheim convention center in southern California November 8 - 9. This will be the sixth BlizzCon since it began in 2005. Attendance over the years has grown with each event from an estimated 8,000 in 2005 to nearly 26,000 at the last BlizzCon in 2011. Each BlizzCon brings with it game announcements, hundreds of demo stations, panels with the developers typically with time for Q&A, tournaments and much more. 

The most exciting news to come out of the last BlizzCon was the announcement of Mists of Pandaria and a plethora of details surrounding the expansion. Immediately after the unveiling players were able to queue up to be the first to play the Monk class and the Pandaren race in their new starting zone.

Mists of Pandaria announcement at BlizzCon 2011

One of the highlights of the last BlizzCon was the live raid in which two guilds, Blood Legion and Vodka, raced to defeat Ragnaros in a modified version of the Firelands raid. There was a live commentary by some of the WoW developers as both guilds raced against each other simultaneously. From what I could see (and hear) this was a hit and I hope it returns this year in some form.

BlizzCon 2011 Live Raid

Other WoW related panels typically include the story and lore of WoW, art design and one focused on classes, items and professions. There is also typically a Q&A panel with WoW developers representing the major teams working on the game.

For most fans, it’s the class, items and profession panel that seems to be the most sought after as Blizzard discusses changes and philosophies behind upcoming enhancements to WoW’s game systems and mechanics.

The Next Expansion

Obviously, we want to see what the future holds for our beloved World of Warcraft. As far as I can tell based on past events, there seems to be a good chance that we’ll see the announcement of the nest expansion at or possibly before BlizzCon 2013. As of this writing, patch 5.3 is currently several weeks into testing on the Private Test Realms and seems to be nearing release somewhat soon, possibly this month. From what I gather, patch 5.4 will be the final raid of this expansion cycle, the siege of Orgrimmar.

I don’t know this for certain but based on what has been hinted at and where the story currently places us, I don’t think I am that far off. Of course I would love for Blizzard to have some crazy surprise up their sleeve but for now it seems that patch 5.4 will be the final content patch. If 5.3 hits this month and 5.4 goes live roughly four months later, that would put us somewhere around the September/October time frame. That would then mean the next expansion could possibly ship as early as that winter or spring making a November announcement at BlizzCon likely. Further, every other year since 2005 an expansion has been announced for WoW and always at this event. In 2005 - The Burning Crusade, 2007 - Wrath of the Lich King, 2009 - Cataclysm, 2011 - Mists of Pandaria. Here’s hoping!

See You There

Of course my favorite part of attending Blizzards massive convention is meeting and hanging out with so many like-minded individuals who are incredibly passionate about this wonderful hobby we share. If you live in or close to the SoCal area and weren’t able to get tickets, it might be worth taking a trip to some of the nearby hotels (specifically the Hilton next to the convention center) each night of the Con to hang out with fellow nerds and discuss all the latest. Although I will warn: it gets rowdy in the best possible way.

Here are some BlizzCon related links for more information:

This week's throwback item: Illidari Runesheild

Follow me on Twitter @rezalackey

Reza Lackey / Reza is a giant nerd who loves video games, board games, film and way too many other things. Works in the film industry, on some startups and thinks science is cool. Also launches rockets.

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Reza Lackey