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Old 10-20-2011, 08:47 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default What to Expect From BlizzCon 2011

Blizzard's annual fan convention, BlizzCon, kicks off tomorrow and runs through Saturday, October 22 at the Anaheim Convention Center. Despite an increase in ticket prices -- from $150 in 2010 to $175 this year -- the show sold out very quickly. Those who aren't lucky enough to be attending the event can still experience much of the event by purchasing a Virtual Ticket for $39.99 that will allow you to watch panels, take part in contests, get any in-game items given out to attendees, and more.

A map of the convention center can be found here. That could come in handy -- Blizzard may only be focused on three franchises but you probably wouldn't guess that based on the amount of space BlizzCon takes up.

On Friday and Saturday there are multiple events going on at any one time. The opening ceremony will kick things off at 11am Pacific on Friday at the main stage, though this will be livestreamed into the other halls of the convention center. That may be where we get some big announcements from Blizzard, and there are numerous possibilities for what those could be.

This December will mark a year since World of Warcraft received its third expansion pack, Cataclysm. We've been told a number of times Blizzard wants to release expansion packs for WoW more frequently. If it's serious about making that happen, it seems like Blizzard should be able to talk about its next expansion by now. There were rumors that the fourth expansion would be called Mists of Pandaria, though Blizzard has cast doubt on Pandaria being used as the key component of an expansion pack.

As for Blizzard's other two franchises, release dates would be more than welcome. The second part of the StarCraft II trilogy, Heart of the Swarm, is expected out next year and we should be getting a first look at multiplayer. Diablo III is without a release date beyond early 2012 -- it was potentially going to be out this year before Blizzard, as always, opted to take its time. It extended the ongoing beta and announced last month that the game wouldn't be coming until next year.

Following BlizzCon's opening ceremony, Friday is filled with StarCraft and World of Warcraft matches and panels covering subjects like WoW's class talent system, Diablo III's auction house, how Blizzard handles music and sound, and future updates to WoW. Comedian Jay Mohr will be back once again to host contests on Friday night like best costume, dance, and so on. Hopefully no one breaks their leg this year.

Saturday is again filled with more StarCraft II and WoW action with the each tournament's grand finals taking place at 4pm and 4:15pm, respectively. There will also be open Q&As for Diablo III and different World of Warcraft subjects as well as a live raid featuring some of the best guilds in the country racing against each other.

The show will finish up with the closing ceremony at 6pm on Saturday night. That's where fans will get to attend a live conert featuring The Artist Formerly Known as Level 80 Elite Tauren Chieftain, Blizzard's in-house band performing music from Blizzard's different games, and the show's headliners: the Foo Fighters.

1UP will have live coverage from the event. Keep your eyes on our BlizzCon hub for all the latest happenings from the show starting tomorrow morning with the opening ceremony.

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