BlizzCon 2011: A Retrospective

BlizzCon comes and goes, but the memories last a lifetime . . . even if they fade a little over time. To help bring them back into focus, we’ve compiled some of the highlights of BlizzCon 2011.

Opening Ceremony

The BlizzCon opening ceremony sets the stage for the weekend, and sometimes that means making a big announcement or two. With thousands of Blizzard gamers in attendance and many thousands more watching from their homes around the world, the anticipation for the BlizzCon 2011 opening ceremony was palpable. 

The Big Reveals:

  • Diablo III: The Black Soulstone cinematic  made its debut. Featuring Leah’s encounter with an awe-inspiring Azmodan, the cinematic set the tone for the horror that awaited Sanctuary’s heroes.
  • StarCraft II: The Heart of the Swarm preview showed just what the StarCraft II game engine could do with a fully in-game-rendered cinematic teasing the (now) soon-to-be-released StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm.
  • World of Warcraft: The mists parted with the announcement of the fourth World of Warcraft expansion, Mists of Pandaria, revealing the new pandaren race, their homeland of Pandaria, and the new Monk class.

The Panels

Developers from the StarCraft II, World of Warcraft, and Diablo III teams were on-hand to share all of the latest news on the development of games in all three Blizzard universes, giving an inside look behind what they’d working on.

Tournaments & Events

BlizzCon 2011 features more than enough eSports action for any fan of competitive gaming, with both the World of Warcraft Invitational and the StarCraft II Global Invitationals. As an added bonus, for the first time outside of Korea, the GSL finals pitted fan favorites IMMvp against SlayerS_MMA in a head-to-head battle to decide who would emerge as the GSL October Champion.

World of Warcraft Invitational

Ten teams from around the world were invited to take the stage in a series of round robin matches with the top 4 playing each other in a single-elimination bracket. After two days of fierce competition, four teams rose to the top as Skill Capped took on DNAW Trio while OMG took on Yaspresents. In the end, Skill Capped faced off against OMG . . . and in the end, Korean team OMG used clever tactics and immaculate teamwork to take the championship and a grand prize of $75,000.

StarCraft II Global Invitationals

In the StarCraft II Global Invitationals, 16 players from around the world were invited to participate in double-elimination competition. Fan favorites Jung “Mvp” Jong Hyun of Korea, Jaeduk “NesTea” Lim of Korea, Yang “Sen” Chia of Taiwan, and Johan “NaNiwa” Lucchesi of Sweden climbed through the ranks with superior unit control and quick thinking to make it to the final rounds. In the end, Mvp played brilliantly to emerge triumphant among a truly intimidating pool of rivals to take home the title and a $50,000 cash prize.

GSL October Finals

For the first time outside of Korea and playing to a packed house, eSport pro players Moon “MMA” Sung Won was matched against Jung Jong Hyun, also known as Mvp, in the GSL October Finals. With fifty million won at stake for the winner, the action was fierce—and after five grueling matches, Moon “MMA” Sung Won took the championship. You can read the full recap here.

World of Warcraft Live Raid

The Live Raid pitted Horde guild Blood Legion and Alliance guild Vodka head-to-head in a race through the Firelands to take down Heroic Ragnaros. The competition between these two top-rated guilds was close, with both teams racing neck and neck and reaching Ragnaros at nearly the same time. But Vodka suffered a series of setbacks at the hands of the Firelord, and ultimately they were wiped out. In the end, Blood Legion kept the pace and took the victory. Another attempt on Ragnaros was almost in the cards for veteran guild Vodka . . . until Hogger made a surprise visit to finished them off.

Entertainment & Contests

Day one closed out with comedian Jay Mohr hosting the traditional BlizzCon Friday-night contests, as competitors /danced and strutted their stuff in the epic costumes they crafted.

Coming out on top in the costume contest were: Avery Faeth - StarCraft II Adjutant, Christopher White - Paladin with Ashbringer, and Justin Floyd as Deathwing.

For an in-depth look at their costume creation process, check out the interviews with Avery Faeth, Christopher White, and Justin Floyd.

For a complete list of all of the BlizzCon 2011 Contest Winners, click here.
For more costume winners (voted on by you!) click here.

Foo Fighters Close the Show

Foo Fighters rocked the house and closed down day two of BlizzCon in style, ending the night with a bang . . . and leaving the Anaheim Convention Center roof thoroughly busted off.

But That Wasn't All: A Bounty of BlizzCon Activities

There’s almost too much to do every year at BlizzCon. Here are some of the other great activities that took place in 2011:

  • Retro Arcade - Featuring classic Blizzard games like Rock n’ Roll Racing, The Lost Vikings, Blackthorne, and the original Warcraft: Orcs & Humans
  • Artist and Developer Signings - Blizzard artists and developers met with attendees and signed their favorite Blizzard goodies.
  • Charity Auction - Attendees had the opportunity to bid on Blizzard artwork and memorabilia (and help a good cause) in a silent auction that lasted both days of the show.
  • Artists Stage - Blizzard artists including Samwise, Mark Gibbons, Glenn Rane, Alex Horley, and Peter Lee spent time drawing, painting, and sculpting original pieces of work right before attendees’ eyes.
  • Sound Booth - Attendees were able to venture inside the Blizzard Sound Booth to do voiceovers of their favorite Blizzard cinematics and take the results home to enjoy.
  • Retired Server Blade Display- During the event, attendees could check out a special display of the retired server blades that would be up for bid for the St. Jude Charity Auction. After the auctions were over, more than $330,000 USD was raised to benefit St. Jude Children’s Hospital.
  • And more!

We’re sure to forge plenty of fond memories again this year. We hope we’ll see you there!