How much will BlizzConline cost? Nothing at all
Save your gold and your Arcane Dust: BlizzConline will be free to any and all viewers. The virtual event is February 19-20, 2021, and it will cost nothing to watch and engage with the festivities.
Blizzard President J. Allen Brack shared the news in a fireside chat video, posted around the time that the annual BlizzCon celebration usually takes place. “We look forward to channeling as much of the BlizzCon spirit as we can into an online, virtual celebration,” he said.
Brack also provided some brief status updates about the company’s franchises, shared its latest successes around community management and inclusivity efforts, and dropped some entertaining facts and figures. For instance, World of Warcraft has seen more than 10 million Barbershop visits since the Shadowlands pre-patch. Way to be fabulous, all!
Many of us have shifted our entire professional and social lives to video conferences, so the idea of yet another one going on the calendar isn’t exactly a huge source of joy. But going to an in-person conference means ticket price, travel costs, Anaheim Convention Center’s terrifying parking fees, and so on. Even the Virtual Ticket has cost $40 in the past. Given how many people have had their budgets pinched and squeezed for pandemic-related reasons this year, free access to BlizzConline is a good move from the company. It’s a small silver lining, and we’ll take what we can get these days.
Blizzard has already announced that BlizzConline will include the Community Showcase. This is a highlight for many attendees, and for the legions of cosplayers, artists, and creatives to show off their work. Personally, I hope the combination of “free” and “virtual” means we’ll see the kind of intricate and large-scale cosplay creations that could never survive transportation to and around a convention center. And yes, there will be a March of the Murlocs. (Mrrglrggl!)
And it’s a particularly good year to make the event open to all. Not only is February the date for the virtual BlizzCon stand-in, but it’s the 30th anniversary of Blizzard’s founding. You can bet they chose the timing with some big plans in mind. I’m guessing we’ll get some retrospectives and reminiscing with the old guard of Blizzard Entertainment, and I am ready to stay awhile and listen to whatever stories they have to share.
No, BlizzConline won’t be the same as the live convention. But it’ll still be a celebration of all things Blizzard. We’re people who put our time and passion into playing online games together. We know how to forge connections and have a great time via the interwebs. I’m optimistic that a fully online event has the potential to make powerful community moments happen.
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