BlizzCon 2013 is Nov. 8-9 in Anaheim, CA. Our writer wishes she still cared.
On November 8th and 9th, video game goliath Activision Blizzard is hosting BlizzCon 2013, a not-quite-annual gathering dedicated to Blizzard's wildly popular Warcraft, Starcraft and Diablo series. The event brings together gamers from all over the world to compete in World of Warcraft raids, massive Starcraft PvP tournaments (which are so dominated by South Korean players that even on Californian soil anyone competing from anywhere else is considered a “foreigner”), and...whatever it is Diablo players do competitively. Gold farming? But let me wax personal for a bit, because, for me, BlizzCon evokes a certain nostalgia for a time long past for myself and many others. A time when we actually cared about World of Warcraft. I was an addict. No, seriously. At one time, I spent more time playing WoW in a week than I did at my full-time office job. I got cranky if I was kept away for too long. I logged on when I came home from work and didn't log off until I went to bed – and for much longer on weekends. I would pick on younger friends who logged off for family dinners, telling them they should eat at the computer “like an adult.” And what's worse, I was a role player, using the game as a sort of virtual LARP. I wrote thousands upon thousands of words about my characters and spent many of those hours not playing the game at all but socializing in character in some in-game tavern. Since the event is used as a stage to announce new expansions for WoW, BlizzCon was a time to gather with friends around the computer to watch live-streamed events that would tell the futures of us and our characters. Where were we headed next? The broken wastes of Outland? The frozen mountains of Northrend? What new things would we learn about the world we played in, what villain would we gather together to fight next? And then lots of people, literally millions of people worldwide, lost interest. It may not be a coincidence that the biggest drop in the game's popularity came with Cataclysm, the first expansion made after Blizzard Entertainment was absorbed into gaming megacorp Activision. It may have been that, after 6 years, many of the game's players had experienced and accomplished everything they wanted to and Activision was unwilling to let Blizzard be innovative enough to create new content that would hold their interest. For me, that feeling of stagnation certainly played a part. Too many good characters in the setting had been killed without being replaced by anyone nearly as compelling. The fights I wanted to be a part of had been fought, and I didn't care enough to pay $15 a month (the game's subscription fee, which has remained unchanged despite the growing popularity of MMOs with lower or no fees) to be involved with any of the new ones. So this weekend, while thousands of people will be attending BlizzCon and perhaps hundreds of thousands will be watching the livestream, I will be missing that feeling of excitement, nostalgic not for the game itself so much as for how much it used to mean to me.