People get excited about Blizzard’s annual fan convention for many reasons. Some look forward to meeting up with friends. Others are eager to hear news about upcoming games and expansions. Me? I’m mainly here for the ridiculous in-game items rolled out for World of Warcraft, Overwatch, Diablo, StarCraft, Heroes of the Storm and Hearthstone every BlizzCon.
It used to be that one had to physically attend BlizzCon in order to reap the in-game rewards. The first three years the show was held, goodie bags included physical cards with codes to enter on the Blizzard website to redeem digital items. Those cards would show up on eBay in large numbers as soon as the show started each year. Sometimes the codes on them wouldn’t even be used.
My first BlizzCon was in 2008. The card included in the swag bag handed out to attendees included a code for one of the game’s silliest mounts, the Big BlizzCon Bear. Nothing breaks immersion like a goggle-wearing polar bear ridden by a murloc holding a BlizzCon pennant. I am ridiculously proud of this stupid thing, even if all I did to receive it was type in a series of characters into a website. I missed out on BlizzCon 2005’s World of Warcraft Murloc vanity pet and 2007’s Murloc suit, but I got my bear, dammit.
In 2009, Blizzard started selling the BlizzCon Virtual Ticket, a pay-per-view style package which allowed fans unable to attend the convention to watch remotely. More importantly, the Virtual Ticket came with codes to unlock whichever virtual goods BlizzCon’s physical attendees got in their bags. No longer would Blizzard game lovers feel the gut-twisting anxiety of knowing a select few people were getting a thing they couldn’t acquire without a substantial eBay investment. All they needed was $60 or $70 and a dream. Or just the cash.
Some people would say allowing everyone to pay money to receive in-game items once reserved for a select group of convention attendees makes those items less special. Those people can suck it. Who would deny their fellow fans a chance to own the Diablo III Murkgoblin pet (2015)? Or the Heroes of the Storm Nexus Charger mount (2014)? Would I survive if I didn’t get the Overwatch BlizzCon Winston skin (2017)? Yes, but I would not be happy about it.
Anyway, this is all to say that the BlizzCon 2019 Virtual Ticket was just announced, offering the ability to watch the upcoming convention, from the opening ceremonies the morning of November 1 to the closing concert in the evening of November 2.
I’ve already acquired mine, which is how my characters are already sporting the fetching Wooly Wendigo onesie and hanging out with Finduin and Gillvanas, Murloc versions of the leaders of the Alliance and Horde.
And while I am not much of an Overwatch player, the Switch version is coming out soon, and I would look really nice playing it in the Illidan Genji or Tyrande Symmetra skins, based on two of World of Warcraft’s less crispy night elves.
The cross-game mash-ups, the Murloc mayhem — I love it, and I look forward to BlizzCon’s bonuses every year. One day, these games will all be dead and none of these virtual items will exist, but neither will I.