The BlizzCon Virtual Ticket Experience
A few weeks ago we purchased the “Virtual Ticket” for BlizzCon 2015, to give it the low-down and see if it was worth the expense. Part One of that article can be found here, and now the weekend for BlizzCon has come and gone and I’ve spent quite a few hours with the Virtual Ticket and what it gets you – I wanted to follow up the question with an answer… of sorts.
So, the price of the ticket was $39.99, or about £25. This gave you access to the entire show live, as well as archived videos (over 40 of them) with lots of hours to catch up on, available for up to two weeks after the Con was over. This is useful due to the time difference of a lot of the live broadcasts taking place in the middle of the night for people like me. It’s also great because I can watch panels that took place simultaneously, without missing a moment.
As well as access to the entire show, it came with a few free virtual goodies and a special sale on the Blizzard store merchandise. I was hoping the virtual goodies would come as a code so I could give these to you guys (I’m not fussed for mounts and skins) but unfortunately I think they’re tied to my battle.net account, which is a shame. As well as the announced goodies, it came with a couple of surprise give-aways.
The one I found really interesting was the exclusive “viral” brand new character to Heroes of the Storm Cho’Gall. A character only playable using two players, and only obtainable via owning a Virtual Ticket or partnering up with someone that already has the character. It sounded completely gimmicky and I had my doubts it was just a ploy (albeit cool one) to sell more Virtual Tickets. But after watching a panel on the introduction of this character it seems some extensive balancing has gone into this and he is going to be a viable character for game play. Looking forward to trying him out! (If you do want me to help you get him then add me and I’ll see you online, yiskofski#2580)
My particular interests lay in the Heroes of the Storm and StarCraft World Championships, and I spent most the weekend watching these. These however, were watched by me via Twitch on the Xbox, which was more convenient for my set up than using the Virtual Ticket. I’ve watched a few of the Panels since, I really enjoyed the Cosplay competition, big fan of those creative geniuses and some of the costumes on display were just amazing. I’ve also geeked out to some of the in depth “Making of” discussions by the developers, having been part of the Games Industry for 7 years myself, I find it so interesting seeing the processes a behemoth company like Blizzard go through to get the games out.
Well, was it worth the money? Well, yes and no. Out of the all the archived videos, about 60% of them required a Virtual Ticket, and only about 20% of these I was bothered for watching. And it only looked decent in the default boxed stream, the full screen just looked todge. But I really did enjoy what I watched… The rest can be found on Twitch which is much easier to access on devices for me. The freebies weren’t really a draw, save for the surprise “Cho’Gall” drop, and I didn’t bother with the sale due to any money saved would probably be spent on shipping overseas and VAT prices added on.
It’s a decent idea and the production values that go into the event are generally excellent, professional and excitement inducing. Perhaps if the price was a little lower I’d be more inclined to recommend the Virtual Ticket, but I’m sure bigger geeks than me are going to rinse every last ounce of entertainment out of their tickets. I think next year I’ll start saving up to enjoy it in person.