BlizzCon 2010 Guide

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So you want to go to Blizzcon but you ask yourself "Now what do I do?"

Well no fear Crazy Unkey Lanc is here to share a little knowledge for the upcoming Blizzcon pilgrimage.

First things first a few questions and statements about Blizzcon.

What is your budget looking like?

Are you planning to go whole hog and buy everything available at the convention or are you going frugal? Really spend some time on this one as a you may be dealt with a reality check in that this trip may cost you more than you ever expected. Blizzard offers a lot of unique "you are only going to ever find it at Blizzcon" items. Not to mention that you are probably going to spend a lot more on food than you think you are. Pace yourself as I have met people who walked in the door determined not to spend a dime and end up spending over $500 before lunch was over on the first day. Try to stick to your budget but give yourself a little leeway just in case you find that one item or want to splurge a bit at dinner.

And beware of the greatest money sink in existence which is across the street!


Are you going to need to rent a car?

If so do yourself a big favor and try not to rent a car from the car rental places at the airport. Expect to pay 20% more for this convenience. Do not be afraid to shop around as you can find a lot of good bargains on the net. Want to save even more money? Try to coordinate and split the cost of a rental with a guildie who is attending.

What airport are you arriving from?

This one is a biggie in that October is still tourist time in So. Cal. and you are heading to one of the tourist Meccas in the area. John Wayne Airport is very close but odds are that you will be flying into LAX. If this the case give yourself some extra time for you probably have never had the privileged of being in soul destroying traffic. Another possibility is Long Beach Airport which is close by, remember keep your cool and try give yourself plenty of time by arriving on Thursday and shop around to see where you can get the beast air travel deal.

When should you arrive?

Thursday! Thursday! Thursday!

What do to about food?

Here is where people get into trouble. Expect to spend more money than you expected here but here are some pointers.

  • Do yourself a huge favor. If you can avoid buying food at the Anaheim Convention Center do so. That is unless you do not mind spending $9.00 for a hot dog or $3.00 for a bottled soft drink.
  • Plan ahead, pack various snacks and as many bottled drinks as you can. You might have a heavy pack at first but it will get lighter as the day progresses.
  • Drinks at a hotel are expensive

Are you going to buy stuff and how do you get it back home?

This one is important in that many airlines are charging you for checked baggage nowadays. You might find it cheaper to ship it back home (insured of course) via UPS.

 The UPS Store
 ANAHEIM, CA 92802
 Phone: (714)740-4248
 Fax: (714)740-4599

Flying into the land of traffic. Did I mention the traffic?

Here are some pointers and a link to the online traffic map:

  1. Avoid rush hour traffic. In Los Angeles, rush hour is generally Monday through Thursday, 7am-9:30am and 4:30pm-7pm, and Friday, 7am-9:30am and 3pm-7pm. Try leaving half an hour before or after these times, if at all possible.
  2. Find alternate routes. Before getting in your car, map out a couple different ways to get to your destination. Los Angeles has many streets that run from downtown all the way to the ocean. These may be excellent alternatives when you aren't moving an inch on the freeway.
  3. Leave thirty minutes earlier than you think you should. Los Angeles freeways are notorious for accidents that stop traffic for half an hour or more. Be prepared for this. And bring something to read in the sun in case you end up arriving half an hour early to your destination.
  4. Prepare your mind for a long car ride. Simply telling yourself that you will be driving through traffic for an hour will help keep you from looking at the clock every five minutes.
  5. Turn off your cell phone. The last thing you need is to hear your phone going off with calls, texts, alerts, and reminders. Concentrate on the road and give your ears and brain a break from cell phone disturbances.
  6. Listen to music that calms you. Whatever your favorite CD or radio station is, turn it on and let it soothe your mind.
  7. Carpool. Taking turns with other drivers is a fantastic way to decrease your stress in L.A. traffic.

I cannot stress this enough. Expect lots of crowds, screaming kids, upset parents, traffic and heat.

Just try to relax:


How to survive the actual convention.

  • Expect to wait in line for hours at a time -ticket line pickup, Blizzard Store, gaming demos. Gypsygirl and Pellel ended up waiting in line for 3 hours to buy murloc plushies.
  • Expect to walk a lot so get some comfy sneakers -Remember you will be walking on a smooth concrete floor so your feet and legs are going to take a pounding.
  • Wear a hat.
  • Wear sunscreen.
  • Treat yourself to a cool new pair of shades and wear them.
  • Drink lots of water/sports drink of your choice.
  • Eat plenty of snacks.
  • Pack a light sweater -You will be in a climate controlled enclosed space that is often kept a few degrees above freezing.
  • Get yourself a comfortable back pack for your stuff.
  • Pack a cheap but functional LED flashlight - The convention hall has poor lighting and is full of DJ style multicolor lighting, strobe effects and spotlights of varying intensities. This makes it very difficult to read anything and creates a tripping hazard. Also note, if you are predisposed to epileptic seizures which are triggered by flashing lights you may want to get yourself prepared. I witnessed two people suffer seizures within minutes of entering the hall.
  • Bring your Emergency Asthma Inhaler. The Hall is filled with "smoke" to make the Pay Per View video look good, if you are sensitive, you may need to hit your inhaler.
  • Pace yourself.

Planning out your convention.

Realize and accept that you are probably are not going to get a chance to see every panel that you may want to be at. Just go with the flow and enjoy what you can be at and do not stress it if you can't. If you absolutely need to be at a particular panel get there early and bring a book, mp3 player loaded with tunes or audio books or just talk with your fellow Blizzard enthusiast sitting near you.

Check the Blizzcon website for update panel discussion and keep an ear out for announcements of cancellation or schedule changes.

How do I get a hold of my guildmates?

The best way to communicate at the convention we learned was via text messaging and Twitter. The convention is just too loud for you to hear your cellphone so set it on vibrate and check it often. Remember to use the #AIEBlizzcon tag in your Twitter posts to let people know you are at the convention.

Also note that the convention bars anyone form bringing a computer into the convention. But they have no problems letting iPhones, Androids or Blackberrys into the event. Go figure?

What to do if you get into trouble?

I recommend the Buddy System

"The buddy system is a procedure in which two people, the buddies, operate together as a single unit so that they are able to monitor and help each other. In adventurous or dangerous activities, where the buddies are often equals, the main benefit of the system is improved safety: each may be able to prevent the other becoming a casualty or rescue the other in a crisis."

This post is just a beginning and I will be making further additions to it so I will be making it a sticky post the closer we get to Blizzcon. If you have questions about what to expect please post and I will try to address them as they come.