This was my 3rd year “attending” BlizzCon. I say “attending” because my being there was purely digital. For the 3rd time since 2011, I happily shelled out the cash to buy a Virtual Ticket in order to experience Blizzard’s semi-annual celebration of their games and community. What is a Virtual Ticket you ask? Let me fill you in.
The BlizzCon Virtual Ticket is exactly what it sounds like. For $39.99 (USD) the buyer gets to experience BlizzCon from the comfort of their own home. Given access to streams, those unable to be there physically are able to follow along with and witness any breaking news, panels or eSport wins firsthand. From opening ceremony to talent & cosplay contents to closing act, it’s all available live. But what else do you get out of it?
No Shoes, No Shirt, All the Service
Being able to maintain a certain level of comfort when enjoying an event like BlizzCon is enough to win me over each year. As much fun as it is to be there, the crowds and lines at any convention can get downright tiresome and overwhelming. Being able to kick back on the couch to watch Chris Metzen and Duncan Jones discuss the World of Warcraft movie on your iPad while wearing your favorite PJ pants (or no pants) is the opposite of a problem.
Time Traveling Not Required
With a main hall, a panel stage and 3 separate e-sport events going on, getting pulled in different directions at BlizzCon is inevitable. Never fear, the Virtual Ticket comes with a neat video on demand feature that’ll let you replay any event or match after it has aired. That means you can tune into the Warcraft Q&A without the fear of missing out on anything said in the Future of Diablo 3 panel or the nail biting excitement of the Hearthstone World Championship.
The VOD recorded items are available to virtual attendees after BlizzCon has officially ended, making it easy to go back to catch up or rewatch that close call in the Heroes of the Storm semifinals.
The Loot Goblins Provide
Along with access to the event, each Virtual Ticket holder gets awesome in-game items for each available Blizzard title. From mounts and pets to transmog items, player portraits and card backs, each of Blizzard’s current IPs has something specially created for it for each BlizzCon. You’ll also access to the real-life BlizzCon items in Blizzard Gear Store. From shirts and posters to solar powered Murloc bobble heads, these items are in high demand and you get to order them with the click of a button.
In the end, the argument still remains that a virtual presence can’t be compared to the rush of being there physically, surrounded by other excited gamers. That may be true, but circumstances can keep even the biggest of fans from their passions. Whether its distance, cost or the anxiety that goes hand-in-hand with events like this, everyone should have the opportunity to get involved. It’s really nice that Blizzard thinks so too.