This BlizzCon 2017 report was written by Brent Allen Thale on Novemer 10, 2017. Please do not use these pictures for any commercial purpose or post them on any web site without written consent from Brent Allen Thale, the copyright holder. It's ok to share these photos on social media, but please credit me correctly, "Photo by Brent Allen Thale".
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BlizzCon is a celebration of all things concerning Blizzard Entertainment, one of the oldest and most successful computer and video game companies. The WingedMammal.com photography team of me (Brent Allen Thale), Melissa Case, and 11-year-old Tobias headed down to Anaheim, California for the weekend of November 3-4, 2017, for a look at the cosplay and festivities of Blizzcon!
We weren't able to get a ticket this year due to some difficulties during the sale, so we didn't spend much time inside. Security doesn't let professional-looking camera gear through anyway so getting a ticket is becoming less useful to us. Anyway, inside they had a neat diorama featuring thousands of miniature WoW characters, and they announced the new Battle for Azeroth World of Warcraft expansion, which was fun for me. I believe they announced another new card set for Hearthstone called Kobolds and Catacombs. Other than that, this seemed like a pretty slow year for announcements. I wish they would announce a new classic Blizzard-style IP, since lately Blizzard has really diverged from their base by getting into MOBAs and shooters, which aren't my thing.
Driving our electric car, a Tesla Model S, to Blizzcon is fun because it's an easy straight shot down I-5 from San Francisco and there is no fuel cost with the free Tesla superchargers. The Model S is a joy to drive since it's so smooth and powerful, and I haven't driven it much lately since some guy rear-ended it a few months ago and it's been sitting in a body shop until recently. Oh well. The drive up and down was uneventful, and we made pretty good time avoiding the worst of the LA traffic. We tried a new supercharger in Burbank on the way back, which didn't exist until recently.
We didn't have much luck with host hotels, the ones right next to the convention center, I checked availability as soon as the hotel info was released, but the Hilton and the Marriott were somehow already taken. Fortunately I'm a big spender on my American Express account which gives me points to spend at Hilton hotels, so I saved the day and used my points to book a room for free at the Hilton independently of the Anaheim Housing Bureau! It was a corner room that overlooked the convention center and we could still see the Disney fireworks at night, was awesome. Ask for room 11-339 next time you're in Anaheim!
We saw quite a few high profile cosplayers, including megastar Jessica Nigri, although she was so busy all we could get were grab shots. Also saw Danille Beaulieu as Alleria, Byndo Gehk as Vampire D.Va, Kaybear as her Demon Hunter, Xeveria Cosplay as Sylvanas and Sonya, Hane Cosplay as Dragon Symmetra, Malis Vitterfolk as a Merida/WoW mashup, LittleSparkz as Chromie, Tiff as Blood Elf Jasmine, Dan Miller as Ned Pagel, Avery as Emperor Hakkan, Geeky Red as her Medivh... speaking of which, Party Medivh, which Geeky made famous last year, was incredibly popular, we saw at least four and they all brought their own martini glasses!
My personal favorite cosplay was a family of four World of Warcraft style orcs, I've never seen them before but they were really awesome. The work it must have taken to get four sets of armor, plus weapons, plus prosthetics, plus bodypaint... and one was a child, jeez! Sa-lute!
This year's weather wasn't quite typical for Blizzcon, it was mild and cool, with early morning clouds, it's almost always hot and blue skies during Blizzcon. We got a few cloud shots, but they burned off really fast, robbing us of dramatic skies. The Sunday after the con, it was awesomely cloudy but all the cosplayers had vanished, oh well.
Battle of the Shoes: Melissa ordered a pair of cat-covered shoes at the last minute, I didn't figure they would get much attention but it turns out people loved them, and she scored seven points (compliments) to my five for the Back to the Future-style blue velcro hightops and shiny reflective blue formal shoes. Turns out gimmicks work! Lesson learned.
The costume contest at Blizzcon is becoming increasingly important, it seems like most cosplayers want to participate in it, which creates some logistical problems for us. The con is only two days, and for one whole day, the cosplayers have to be in line for registering for the contest, getting their official photo taken, getting prejudged, and then finally lining up for the contest. This takes them out of circulation for most of the day, making it hard for us to get access to them. This year's winner was a great "Hogger" the gnoll from World of Warcraft, but we never saw this costume anywhere except during the costume contest, so all we got was a grab shot. Difficulties like this make me think we should attend some other show instead which is friendlier to photographers.
Expanding on that a bit, it kind of feels like Blizzard is trying to take a lot of control over how Blizzcon is portrayed in photos. I noticed they paid quite a few contractors to do photography around the convention center area, and they don't even let us go inside anymore with our gear. So basically, we just walk back and forth between the fountain and the food court area of the Hilton looking for cosplayers. This really minimizes our strengths as sort of a mobile studio, since we can't be very mobile at Blizzcon anymore. And add to that the ratio of photographers to cosplayers is way too high at Blizzcon these days, we waited patiently for several high-profile cosplayers to finish shooting with other people, and by the time they were done with that, they were either shuttled off somewhere by their handlers, or were just in a tired/bad mood after posing for too many photos.
So we are off for a while, no more cons in 2017 (and you would not believe the hell I caught for taking time off from work for this), our next con is the great Katsucon in Washington, D.C. next February! We are rolling the dice with the winter weather since we have to fly from San Francisco, and you never know what's going to happen.
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