by Lesley Smith
If last year's BlizzCon is anything to go by, it won't be too long before the goodies (and the bag itself) given to attendees at this year's WWI start appearing in auction sites. Sad but true, some people will just put the swag straight on eBay in order to make a quick buck or two. But how much should all this swag set this back and is it worth the £55/€70 ticket or the even bigger sum you might end up paying via an auction site?
Fortunately, as Blizzard have a shop selling many of these exclusive goodies, we can tell you.
Blizzard's concept of a shop, however, is not something you'd recognise instantly; with one per floor they only stand out thanks to the humongous sign and the enormous, never diminishing queue. Rather than go in an browse, attendees can drool over items for sale which are handily displayed in several glass cabinets, they then fill in an order form, wait in the queue for what must seem like for ever, hand over fistfuls of Monopoly money (sorry, Euros) and depart with their goodies.
A glance at this form reveals very little by way of exclusive goodies, much of the goody bag can be purchased if you so inclined and, aside from a few event-specific items like posters and T shirts, many of the items - like the Trading Card Game - can be purchased from anywhere.
Take the huge mouse mat depicting the official event artwork, that's on sale for €20, the notebook is €13 for an Alliance or Horde version, rather than the actual exclusive Diablo version found in the bag. The signed Miniature is the only other proper exclusive as the game doesn't launch until later this year; how much you'd pay depends on how much you like Orcs. The bag itself isn't on sale and it's one item which is genuinely worth buying, a sturdy satchel emblazoned with the WWI logo which would probably set you back around €45 if it were to be sold. The TCG starter pack retails in the WWI shop for €15 but the really important item - the one which sends the price skyrocketing - is the Beta key and in-game pet.
A staple of such events the beta key is actively sought by many fans dying to get an early look at the next big game and expansion. Except Blizzard haven't even announced when and what owners of the card will be able to play. The pet on the other hand is equally as mysterious. Believed to be a penguin by some, the unnamed pet won't go live until later next week with the introduction of patch 2.4.2 and the lack of confirmation will either enhance the worth or send it plummeting.
While the WWI is not about the freebies given to attendees, it's clear from the interest in items as well as the number of people on the official forums obsessing over getting their hands on one that the goody bag is on a par with the announcements which come out of the event. Whether it is worth shelling out a small fortune for these 'exclusive goodies' remains to be seen.