Where do I even start?
I could tell you how massive and impressive the competition stages were, decked out with countless lights, sounds, and effects. Or how incredible the craftsmanship was on so many cosplay outfits I saw wandering around the outside the hall. Instead, let me begin with the morning of the first day. With my snazzy exhibitor badge, I was able to get in early and walk the floor before they opened it up to everyone. I was blown away by the sheer scope of the place, and how much care and attention had gone into crafting a full experience for the fans.
But what really stuck with me was a moment of calm before the storm, when the event staff opened up the doors to the excited crowd in the lobby, and I was hit by a wave of…
The deep affection and camaraderie shared by that mass of strangers out in the lobby, their mutual excitement formed a profound bond between everyone out there. I was so impressed all weekend by the level of cohesion that seemed to be present amongst all the attendees. I’ve been to my fair share of other cons, but none where everyone was there for so clear and united a purpose: fun and celebration of the games they love.
I had four signings and an informal Q&A session in the community amphitheater, both of which happened upstairs on the third floor, which had been decked out to look like the Darkmoon Faire. With strings of lights and tents and props scattered around, plus the Faire music playing in the background, a dash of atmospheric fog really completed the festive feel of the place.
I was surprised to learn about the Q&A session when I arrived, but that’s probably for the best, since it meant I couldn’t fret about it too much. I was delighted with the full attendance, despite the fact that it coincided with the incredible costume competition downstairs. There were a lot of great questions, like which dish would be best prepared over an actual cookfire (Dirge’s Kickin’ Chimaerok Chops) and which recipe gave me the most trouble to perfect (Rylak Claws, among others). During that panel and multiple signings, I heard from fans who were professional chefs alongside fans that were buying their first cookbook ever. One set of parents were purchasing the book for their young daughter, who aspires to be on one of the junior cooking competition shows. Another was a guy who had traveled around the world to be at the con, and who was unbelievably excited to learn that I had also written the GoT cookbook, which he has pulled from for the restaurant where he works. The cookbook fans were a great representation of the Blizzard fandom in general: every walk of life, every part of the globe, and all just so excited to be there.
- Supershuttle from airport? Check. 1 mile walk from hotel? Check.
- hanging out with that random guild at the overpriced beer truck (hi guys!)
- getting my first pin (thanks, Charlotte!)
- the variety of people and stories of how they joined the fandom
- seeing my name on the screen through the Darkmoon Portal? Surreal.
- Epic cosplay! Those Reinhardts, man…
- that short film before Opening Ceremonies (I got a little teary)
- seeing the looks of nostalgia as people flipped through the cookbook
- signing books at the same table as Christie Golden and Timothy Zahn (WHAT?!)
- those murloc holiday sweaters…
I came away from the event feeling humbled and honored to have been able to give something back to this incredible fandom. I hope those cookbooks that have been newly released out into the wild will continue to keep everyone Well Fed for years to come, and that you and your families enjoy the adventure of playing with new recipes. I certainly had a blast putting them together!
In short, BlizzCon put a little magic back into our real world. If only I’d been able to gather enough to power my hearthstone for the journey home…