So you’re going to Blizzcon. Maybe it’s your first time, maybe you’ve been before. In either case there are going to be things you will need to remember. These can be items you need to bring, places you need to go, preparations you need to make, or people you need to meet. A lot of these you’ve probably already thought of, but maybe I’ll twig something in your brain that hadn’t occurred to you.
Obviously the biggest thing you need to be aware of is the old fashioned currency. By now you’ve gotten your hotel room, ticket, and whatever necessary travel arrangements you need. But if you’ve never been before you probably don’t have an idea of how much money you need to set aside for the actual convention itself. I’ve prepared a short list of items you should be prepared to spend $$ on (all prices USD):
- Food: Food inside the convention itself is really expensive for what it is, but you pay for convenience. Items available typically small things like wraps, salads, pizza, chips, pop, etc. Expect to pay around 25% more than you would outside of the convention centre (~$6 to $10). The Hilton has a small food court and is right next to the convention centre. There’s also typically some food carts outside, and numerous restaurants within walking distance. Last ‘con I ate breakfast and dinner at my hotel for ~$15 each.
- Drinks: Beverages are pretty readily available, and it’s very important to keep yourself hydrated throughout the ‘Con. There’s vending machines and vendors inside the ‘Con, and (at least last time I was there) a really decent smoothie place inside the Hilton’s food court. If memory serves I think a bottle of water is $2 in the ‘Con, but you can always bring your own or fill it up each day.
- ‘Con Vendors: The next thing you need to worry about is frivolous spending money for all of the vendors. Jinx and the Blizzard store both have gigantic booths every year, so if those are up your alley make sure you bring extra $$ for them. Depending on the kind of shopper you are you will probably want somewhere between $100 and $200 for ‘Con purchases.
- PARTIES: The parties themselves are free to get into, but you will always either end up drinking or buying someone else (or more than 1 person) a drink. The two biggest parties are on Thursday and Friday night (details below). I recommend going to both, but you should go to at least one. I typically budget $50 a party, but I always end up breaking that. You should know your own habits and budget accordingly, but tack on an additional $20-$30 for buying other people drinks.
Plan your Days
Blizzcon will typically have far too many things for you to possibly attend all of them. But in any case here’s some things to remember:
- You will want to be there for the opening ceremonies. I’m not kidding. To do so (and get a good seat) you will probably want to be in line by 8am at the latest.
- Remember you can always watch something you miss via the E-Ticket afterwards. If you have to pick between a tournament game and something else, always pick the tournament match.
- The lines for playing the demos at the ‘Con will be significantly shorter in the evenings – usually 2 hours before the doors close. Don’t bother during the day.
- REMEMBER TO EAT. Budget time accordingly.
- You only have to line up early the first day. Day 2 you can kind of show up whenever.
Before you Leave
Just a couple of things to remember before you head off to Blizzcon. These are mostly for people coming from outside the US (like me).
- International Texting: This is super important. Most Canadian providers offer unlimited international texting for some amount of $$. You do not have wireless data at the ‘Con, and cellular data is pretty much not going to work. If you’re a Twitterite you can set up twitter to text you when you get a new mention or DM, and you can use text messaging to send tweets. Definitely the most cost-effective method.
- Blizzcon App: Blizzard produces a smartphone app for Blizzcon every year. Super important to get, make sure you get it for your phone.
- Camera: Depending on your phone this is kind of optional. There’s always a lot of cosplay at Blizzcon, and you’ll want to bust out your camera (or phone) a lot. Try to avoid having to charge it during the day.
- Portable Gaming: You will most assuredly want some sort of portable gaming device. There’s a reason it’s nicknamed “Linecon”.
After Hours Activities
But what do you do when the doors close? GO PARTY. There are two big parties this year that I’m sure everyone will be at. The first is the WoWInsider/WoWHead/ZAM party on Thursday night. This is easily the biggest party of the ‘Con, and usually a couple thousand people show up over the course of the night. Gamebreaker does a special live broadcast, there’s always special guests, and literally everyone will be there. For details check out their announcement.
Friday night, the crew of Convert to Raid is doing a party at the Hilton hotel. I don’t have a link to an announcement, but Pat Krane did announce it on Legendary last week (not this week), so I’m sure it’s happening. I’m actually really excited for this, since I’m staying at the Hilton anyway so it’s a super short walk for me.
As a final note, Leonaidus put up a very detailed survival guide to Blizzcon over on the official forums. If you’ve never been before, I definitely recommend checking it out.