Since 2005, tens of thousands of gamer fans have flocked to southern California each year (with the exception of 2006) to take part in BlizzCon; Blizzard's celebration of its complete IP lineup. The first convention took place on October 28, 2005 at the Anaheim Convention Center in Anaheim, CA, and it's remained there ever since. About 8000 people were in attendance; a fairly substantial turn-out when you consider that no one knew exactly what to expect.
By the end of the weekend though, fans were thrilled with what they had finally found: a convention for gamers, by gamers. Technically, BlizzCon is similar to a trade expo in some functions, but Blizzard knew from the get-go that it wanted to offer its fans something other than the stuffy, industry-only direction in which tradeshows were headed. One weekend out of the year, Blizzard wanted to throw a massive party disguised as an expo, where its fans could gather and celebrate the entire array of the Blizzard franchise—including the Warcraft RTS series, StarCraft, Diablo…and of course, World of Warcraft.
For those of you lucky enough to score tickets to this year's convention (Aug. 21 and 22), ZAM has you covered, in this preview guide to BlizzCon 2009. You'll find a round-up of this year's highlights, along with some sage advice gleaned from attendees of years past. And if you weren't able to purchase tickets this year (along with seemingly everyone else who tried), don't worry! We'll give you all the info you need to consider the live "virtual pay-per-view" service being offered this year—which also entitles you to receive the same "Grunty the Murloc Marine" in-game vanity pet in this year's swag bags.