Last year I wrote a Blizzcon post with all sorts of details about what I was planning on doing. I wrote it because it was my first Blizzcon and I wanted to make sure I had my plan set out so I could make sure that I didn't miss out on anything. Now that I've got one con under my belt, I think I've gotten the hang of it. There are a lot of people out there who are going for the first time and so I figured I should help them out a little with a list of things to do before or at the convention to fully enjoy it all.
So without further ado, here is my small list of tips for Blizzcon goers:
1) Wear comfortable shoes
Most of the time at Blizzcon you will either be standing in line or walking to different panels. Comfortable shoes are a must! If you decide to get new shoes for the con, break them in BEFORE you wear them to the convention! Last thing you need is to find out that your brand new shoes cause you pain in your feet at the convention when you have no other alternative.
2) Bring a charger
If you have a smartphone, you will find yourself using it a lot in the convention center. Whether its to check twitter/facebook/etc. to see where people are meeting up or to check the Blizzcon app to see where the next panel is going to be. You will find yourself going through your battery life rather quickly. There are plenty of phone chargers out there and you can get some good ones for a good price. Most have a usb plug so you can plug in whatever you want to charge whether its a smartphone/tablet/camera. No reason to have your phone go dead midway through you live tweeting something awesome.
3) Decide what you want to do outside of the convention
There are a TON of external Blizzcon events happening in the convention center and you should take a look at whats going on and decide what you want to do. Realistically you wont be able to hit up every single party but at the very least you can pick which ones you really want to go to. Hestiah wrote up this cool post with info about parties that you should all read. Obviously the coolest party is the one that I am sponsoring: The Twisted Nether Party! Blizzcon parties are a good time and you will meet up with plenty of cool people at them. You don't have to have a written schedule for what you want to do but knowing what parties are available to you before hand can help you make sure that you don't miss out on something that you wanted to do.
4) Photograph everything
With all the cool stuff to see, why on earth would you not take plenty of pictures? There will be so much going on that if you forget to take pictures, you may forget things that you saw. Also there may be friends back home that are living vicariously through you and want to see all the pictures you take! If you see people cosplaying, ask them if its ok to take their picture before you do so. It's a respect thing and you should respect the people who are cosplaying. Just because they are cosplaying doesn't mean that they want you to run over to them and put your hands all up on them for a picture. Ask them if they mind before you do so. Also if you plan on posting pictures to twitter/facebook/flickr be sure to ask people if they mind if you do so with their picture. Some people are very wary of pictures of what they look like getting online so be sure to get permission before posting them.
5) Respect people's space
There are a lot of people at Blizzcon and some of them you may know and want to run up to and hug the everliving crap out of them. Resist this urge. Well resist it unless they have specifically told you that it is ok to hug them. Some people are not ok with random unexpected contact and the last thing you want to do is leave a bad impression with someone because you didn't respect their personal space. If you know people going and you want to hug them when you see them, ask them before hand if it's ok. If you are not ok with hugs and such, tell people before hand so they can respect your personal space!
6) Enjoy yourself
There is a lot to see and do but honestly the most important thing is to have a good time. You spent the time/money to go to Blizzcon and damn it, you should have fun. If you are with a group of people and they all want to see one panel while you want to see another, tell them you'll meet up with them after the panels and go see what YOU want to see. There is no reason why you shouldn't do what you want to do and see what you want to see. If the crowd at one party is too much for you, go elsewhere! There are plenty of alternatives that you can pick and choose from so there is no reason for you to be miserable or unhappy.
7) Take time for yourself
If you are like me, you tend to need some time alone away from crowds to recharge your personal battery so you can do more things. There is no shame in take a break from the crowds and finding a little quiet for yourself. If you don't take a little break, you may end up straining yourself and pushing yourself past your breaking point. This can lead to not enjoying the convention. Don't let that happen to you! I hit up the convention and before going out to dinner or a party I would take a little bit of time in my hotel room to unwind from all the crowds and noise. This allowed me to go to the parties/dinners/etc and not feel like all I wanted to do was get out of there and go back to my room.
8) Take advantage of the virtual pass
Last year they gave all Blizzcon attendees a free virtual pass and I believe its the same again this year. You don't have to feel like you HAVE to go to every panel because now you can go to a handful and then watch the rest through the virtual pass whenever you want! You'll have access to it for a month after the con I believe so you can watch every panel they have! Missed part of a panel because you had to go pee really badly? No big deal you can watch it later!
9) Eat and keep hydrated
With all the walking you'll be doing, it'd be silly to not recharge your body with food and drink! The convention center has plenty of food vendors inside with many different menu options so chances are that you'll find something you'll want to eat. If you are going to be going to the parties and drinking all the booze, make sure you drink plenty of water before bed and buy a water bottle for the next morning's panels. Nothing worse than not being able to pay attention to important game information during a Q&A panel because you're horribly hung over!
So that's my list of tips for first time Blizzcon goers! I hope y'all enjoyed it and if you're going to Blizzcon I hope to see you there. I will gladly accept hugs from people provided that they tell me who they are before they do so. Also if you're going I fully expect everyone to come hang out at the Twisted Nether Party, it really is a good time and they'll have a BAR! ALL THE BOOZE FOR THE BOOZE GOD!
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