As you grow up, there are always certain milestone birthdays you reach, and as you get older these become few and far between – mostly because we don’t like to remind people how old we’re getting…
And with games this is no less the case. Most games have a pretty big turn around these days, with some of the biggest franchises releasing the new version of their game before the last one even got to see a year old. Many games don’t get the chance to stand the test of time because they release a newer version of it every year or two.
Which is why World of Warcraft (WoW) hitting its 10th birthday is quite a big deal, for both Blizzard and its huge community of fans. Hot on the release of their latest expansion – Warlords of Draenor (which is amazing – check it out if you haven’t already), WoW is back up to the 10 Million subscriber mark, and while not all of those people will be players who have been playing since the original World of Warcraft was released (or even back to the RTS Games… talking about showing my age!) all of them will be joining in the celebrations one way or another.
Blizzard have always gifted fans whenever another WoW birthday comes around, sometimes it is just companion pets, sometimes it is fireworks packs and usually it involves a short term tabard of buff that gives increases to experience and reputation gains. But this is THE big one, 10 years is pretty huge! So the celebrations are bigger in comparison. Anyone who logs in will be gifted the reputation & experience buff and a new pet – the Molten Corgi (I only got the reference to Molten Core last week -_-)
On top of that Blizzard have added a LFR version of their very first raid – Molten Core. With replica epic level helms of flaming goodness and a Corehound mount guaranteed to anyone who finishes the raid, as well as a chance to get another rare companion pet and a re-usable item which will apply burning flames of death to your weapons (well just a flaming effect, no actual death is added)
That keeps the PvE players happy, but any vanilla player will remember the open world PvP madness that ensued at either Cross Roads in the Barrens, or between Tarren Mill and Southshore. So Blizzard has made a new large scale PvP map based on Tarren Mill vs Southshore, unlike previous PvP maps this is a pure Team Deathmatch, first to 300 kills wins.
These in game extras will be available until January the 5th, which leaves plenty of time for people to level up to 100 and take advantage of the classic activities in game.
But what about outside of the game, a company as big as Blizzard aren’t likely to settle for only celebrating in game, and Blizzard are well known for getting their fans involved in celebrations – they run their own convention after all! So the celebrations came to the real world as well. On Saturday the 22nd of November Blizzard hosted Community event parties around Europe, and I was lucky enough to get one of only 800 tickets to the London event.
I travelled up to London with our very own Lefranzine (who is not a WoW player…) with our priority tickets in hand and at about half 6 we joined the queue. With so many WoW fans in one place you can be sure that the topic of conversation will be one you can join in, and within minutes we’d made new friends, chatting about our exploits in game. Blizzard reps then came out, got the crowd excited and gave out our first freebies of the evening – Some I <3 WoW glasses and a Blizzard Lanyard. At 8 the doors opened and shortly after we were inside handing our tickets over. We were then given our event wrist band and possibly the best freebie – a special commemorative coin for the event.
Being British we love our queues, and although we’d just been in one for nearly two hours we were straight into another one to have our photo taken on a green screen to then be printed off next to our in game character.
Then it was off to the free bar to grab some drinks before our our host, and also the host of the instance podcast, took to the stage and welcomed us and outlined the nights activities. Unfortunately I was too late getting in line to partake in the first contest of the evening – the Murloc Impression Contest. 14 WoW fans took to the stage to sound off in their best Murloc style. Everyone who entered get a prize with the top 3 taking home some rather pricy prizes, from Original WoW collectors editions to now out of print collectors statues – the same would apply to all 3 contents held throughout the night. (I totally would’ve won had I managed to enter, my Murloc impression is second to none!)
Threaded in between the contests were quizzes about the lore of the game, some questions being so obscure that not a single WoW fan present knew the answer. I knew a few, but only got picked once and managed to blag another lanyard and a Tshirt for knowing the Horde’s main base of operations in the Barrens – Cross Roads.
Next up was the Cosplay contest, it was pretty clear from the first Cosplayers I saw who was going to get third, second and first. But they invited all the Cosplayers to the stage, interviewed them about their Cosplays and then the judges announced the top 3. Third place going to someone cosplaying Anduin, second place going to a tier 8 Priest and first place going to one of the best Cosplays I have ever seen, a Night Elf Druid in full Tier 6.
The final contest of the evening, which I hadn’t planned to enter but did, was the dance contest. 14 of us had to replicate one of the dances from the game, and I knew I had a MEAN male Tauren dance from years of playing a male Tauren Druid! We all got on stage, made fools of ourselves and while I definitely should’ve won, I came 6th and won, rather fittingly, a Barrens Cross Roads themed WoW Mega Blocks set and some pin badges. See my ‘glorious’ efforts below:
A birthday party is not complete without singing happy birthday and blowing out candles on the cake, so a huge cake was brought out, we had a sing song and the cake was cut up and along with WoW cupcakes was handed out to close the night off. On our way out we took our photos with in the Blizzard cut outs, and wrote our WoW memories down and added them to the 10 years of memories wall.
It was an excellent night, as someone who regularly runs community events I learnt quite a lot about doing things on a bigger scale. My only gripe with the whole night was that I couldn’t adjust the pose my character had in the armoury before being added to it – I couldn’t show off my awesome shoulder armour because of the pose my character had! I’ve regretted for years not going to the big event in Paris years ago, and definitely can’t afford to travel to the US for Blizzcon, so knew I had to go to this one to have a little experience of it all. Fingers crossed there is more Blizzard events in Europe sooner rather than later!