BlizzCon 2013 – Day 0 – Thursday

Blizzplanet writers Danny Perschonok (Naka), Red Shirt Guy and Montoya had a blast on Thursday meeting staff members of other fansites and podcasts; the Blizzard developers and Community Managers during the Blizzard Community Mixer.

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Alex Afrasiabi and Red Shirt Guy got together for a well-deserved lore discussion.

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Daniel Montoya and Diablo III director Josh Mosqueira.

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More photos over at Danny Perschonok’s gallery.

Activision Blizzard Q3 2013 Finacial Results Conference Call – Mike Morhaime Transcript

The Activision Blizzard Third Quarter Financial conference call took place on November 6th, 2013 at 1:30pm PDT.

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Bobby Kotick, Chief Executive Officer of Activision Blizzard, said: “Our third-quarter results exceeded our expectations, and we are able to raise our outlook for 2013 net revenues and earnings per share.

Robust continued engagement with our core franchises drove digi tal revenue, which constituted a majority of all revenue. This quarter demonstrates that games like Call of Duty and World of Warcraft engage and entertain our fans year round.”

Kotick added, “We recently released new titles in two of the most popular franchises in entertainment, Call of Duty: Ghosts and Skylanders SWAP Force. We are thrilled by the quality of those games and we are excited to show what we can do with them on next-generation consoles in the coming weeks. We are also in the process of a beta launch for our first major free-to-play game, Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft.

However, we continue to believe that the fourth quarter this year presents a unique and challenging landscape due to increased competition and uncertainties surrounding the console transition.

We are confident in our ability to navigate these challenges successfully, particularly in light of the recent completion of our transaction with Vivendi and the focus and flexibility provided by our return to independence.”

  • As of September 30, 2013, Blizzard Entertainment’s World of Warcraft remains the #1 subscription-based MMORPG, with approximately 7.6 million subscribers.
  • In North America, Blizzard Entertainment’s StarCraft® II: Heart of the Swarm® was the #1 PC game for the first nine months of 2013.

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Morhaime: Q3 was an eventful quarter for Blizzard. We launched our first console game in many years with Diablo III. We also announced an expansion pack for Diablo III — Reaper of Souls.

Additionally, beta testing for Hearthstone kicked off and we released significant content update for World of Warcraft.

All of this activity has netted out to a strong quarter where we ended higher in net revenue and operating income versus Q2 mostly due to the Diablo III console launch on September.

Revenues and income were down year over year — as expected — due to the successful launch of Mists of Pandaria and the ongoing sales of Diablo III during the same quarter last year.

Going into more specific details with World of Warcraft, we’re very pleased with the response to Siege of Orgrimmar — the massive content update we released in September. This update included a huge new raid dungeon with major story elements, as well as a new area to explore and features that improved the game’s accessibility.

Flexible rates now allow groups of variable size to participate in the end-game raiding dungeons. Meanwhile, the Proving Grounds feature trains players to improve their play in specific roles, preparing them to participate in end-game content. Player response to the content has been good, and we saw increased engagement that has contributed to maintaining relatively stable subscribership quarter-over-quarter. We’ll continue to invest heavily in World of Warcraft to deliver frequent, high-quality content to our players.

Moving on to Diablo III, we are pleased with the response to the games launched on PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. Lifetime sell-through of the game across all platforms has reached over 14 million copies, and reviews have been very positive about how the game plays on console. Much of the praise has been centered on changes we made to the loot system and our decision to keep the auction house off of the console platform. Players and critics alike have noted that these changes have resulted in a more fun and satisfying game experience. That reaction factored in our decision to remove the auction house from the PC version of Diablo III effective next March, which players have also responded very positively to.

We’re building upon those design philosophies for loot and incorporating them into Reaper of Souls, the Diablo III expansion pack — which is coming for PC and PS4 in 2014.

In addition to the new loot system, Reaper of Souls will include an additional player class, the Crusader, and more gameplay modes for the endgame to keep players engaged. The reaction to Reaper of Souls at Gamescom was very positive, and we are looking forward to revealing more about the game at BlizzCon.

It was also a busy quarter for Hearthstone, our free-to-play digital card game for PC and iPad based on the Warcraft universe. In Hearthstone, players build decks of cards that feature familiar spells and creatures from World of Warcraft, and battle against each other using the cards. Players can collect cards simply by playing or by purchasing digital packs. They can also purchase entries into a special competitive mode of play called The Arena in exchange for either in-game currency or a small fee.

We’ve seen a great response from the community with the closed beta test, which kicked off in August. Hearthstone quickly became one of the most popular streaming games on Twitch, and we have been expanding the beta test to encompass more regions and a wider group of players. We’re continuing to work on polishing the game as we drive towards open beta testing.

Rounding out our big announcements since the last call is the name change of Blizzard All-Stars to Heroes of the Storm, which is our take on free-to-play hero brawlers. We’ve done an extensive internal test on Heroes over the past several months, and as the game has evolved, we felt it was appropriate to change the name to something more fitting of the gameplay experience.

We’re looking forward to sharing more details about Heroes at BlizzCon, which is taking place this weekend at the Anaheim Convention Center. This is another sold-out show, with more than 20,000 attendees coming to Anaheim from more than 40 different countries.

Our global community will also follow along through DIRECTV, online pay-per-view on blizzcon.com and partner broadcast in other regions. We will be showcasing our biggest pipeline of games ever and showing our appreciation for our community through contests, meet-and-greets and of course, major eSports spectacles.

The World of Warcraft Arena invitational and the global grand finals of the StarCraft II World Championship Series will be taking place, along with an invitational tournament for Hearthstone, featuring popular community personalities.

All of us at Blizzard can’t wait to get back to BlizzCon and connect with our players. We hope you’ll join us there or follow along online with a virtual ticket available online at blizzcon.com.

We are looking forward to celebrating a shared passion of gaming with our players, hearing their feedback on our newest game content and taking that energy and knowledge back to work as we drive towards an exciting 2014 for Blizzard.

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BlizzCon 2013 Returns This Week – Press Release

Blizzard Entertainment sent a press release to all Battle.net subscribers giving a round up of events to happen at BlizzCon, and the goodies obtained by purchasing the BlizzCon Virtual Ticket to watch the livestream.

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IRVINE, Calif. –(BUSINESS WIRE)– BlizzCon® 2013, Blizzard Entertainment’s two-day gaming festival, makes a long-awaited return on Friday, November 8 , at the Anaheim Convention Center in Anaheim, CA. The sold-out show celebrates all things geek, featuring sneak peeks at what’s going on behind the scenes at Blizzard Entertainment .

This year’s BlizzCon includes discussion panels with Blizzard developers; community cosplayers; and Duncan Jones , director of the upcoming Warcraft® film. Also taking place are the StarCraft® II World Championship Series Global Final and World of Warcraft® Arena Invitational, in which top pro gamers from around the world will be competing for cash prizes and ultimate glory. Jay Mohr is back this year to host the ever-popular community contests, and SoCal punk legends Blink-182 will be performing an epic rock concert to wrap up the show on Saturday night.

BlizzCon tickets once again sold out in seconds, but anyone can still attend the event from the comfort of their home with the BlizzCon Virtual Ticket. Viewers will receive over 60 hours of live HD coverage of the event (including Blink’s sure-to-be-wild performance) across five channels over the Internet. Virtual Ticket holders will also receive all the BlizzCon-exclusive in-game goodies:

  • World of Warcraft in-game pet—the valiant Murkalot
  • To-be-revealed Hearthstone™: Heroes of Warcraft™ card
  • BlizzCon-themed “Mark of Death” Diablo® III banner
  • “Tearin’ Stitches” StarCraft II portrait and Stitches’ Hook decal

DIRECTV® customers in the United States can also order BlizzCon 2013 as a Pay Per View event and receive a free Virtual Ticket. In addition, the BlizzCon opening ceremony and eSports tournaments will be streamed free online at www.blizzcon.com. More info on the Virtual Ticket can be found at www.blizzcon.com/virtual-ticket/.

“We can’t wait to get back to BlizzCon and share details about our latest games with our most passionate players,” said Mike Morhaime , CEO and cofounder of Blizzard Entertainment . “It’s going to be a truly unforgettable weekend.”

BlizzCons of years past have featured an array of exciting panels, unveilings, and entertainment, including the world debuts of the latest World of Warcraft content, the first-ever public hands-on with StarCraft II and Diablo III, and epic rock performances by Foo Fighters and Tenacious D.

BlizzCon would not be possible without the enthusiasm of Blizzard Entertainment gamers around the world and the generous support of the event’s partners, who provide demo-station hardware, peripherals, and more. This year’s sponsors are Intel, NVIDIA, Sony Computer Entertainment , DIRECTV, SteelSeries, GIGABYTE, Rosewill, and EVGA.

Anyone attending BlizzCon who’s looking to join the ranks at Blizzard should bring their resumes, portfolios, or business cards. The Blizzard recruiting team will be on hand to review materials and discuss any job-related questions. More information on available Blizzard career opportunities can be found at http://jobs.blizzard.com, LinkedIn Blizzard Careers, and http://twitter.com/@blizzardcareers.

 

SoCal Punk Legends Blink-182 to Close out BlizzCon 2013

Blizzard Entertainment sent out a press release to reveal that Blink-182 will play music during the closing ceremony at BlizzCon 2013 on November 9th.

This concert will be aired via DirecTV and through the Virtual Ticket’s livestream. Visit the BlizzCon Virtual Ticket order page.

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IRVINE, Calif. –(BUSINESS WIRE)– Thousands of gamers are about to come to a party and celebrate all the big things (and all the small things too) . . . and maybe even fall in love with a gnome at a rock show when legendary Southern California punk rock trio Blink-182 headlines the closing concert at Blizzard Entertainment’s sold-out BlizzCon® gaming convention, taking place November 8—9 at the Anaheim Convention Center.

Acclaimed worldwide for their influential and groundbreaking pop-punk sound, Blink-182 has achieved massive critical and commercial success, with over 35 million albums sold. Their third album, Enema of the State, went quintuple platinum and catapulted the band into superstardom.

Unfortunately for fans of Blink-182’s “What’s My Age Again?” video, Anaheim city ordinances strictly forbid the band from running naked through the streets around the convention center. BlizzCon attendees are kindly asked to adhere to the same policy.

“After two days of hard work watching games and playing games and talking about games, we can’t think of a better way to kick back and relax than to have your face melted by Blink-182,” said Mike Morhaime , CEO and cofounder of Blizzard Entertainment . “We’re thrilled to have such an awesome band helping us bring BlizzCon to an epic conclusion.”

“Nothing beats touring and playing in front of a live crowd,” said Tom DeLonge , Blink-182 guitarist and vocalist. “Our roots are in Southern California , so playing at BlizzCon will be like having a show in our own backyard—only with a couple thousand more orcs and elves in loincloths and bikini armor.”

BlizzCon is a celebration of the global player communities surrounding Blizzard Entertainment’s Warcraft®, Diablo®, and StarCraft® game universes. The show will have an array of activities, including discussion panels, competitive and casual tournaments, contests, hands-on playtime with current and upcoming Blizzard Entertainment games, and more.

While tickets to the convention are no longer available, viewers at home can join the excitement by ordering a BlizzCon Virtual Ticket, which offers comprehensive live coverage of both days of the event, including Blink-182’s performance, via multi-channel HD Internet stream for $39.99 USD (pricing and availability may vary by region).

DIRECTV customers in the United States can order the BlizzCon 2013 Pay Per View event, priced at $49.99 USD , which includes access to the Virtual Ticket online stream. Visit www.directv.com/blizzcon for more details.

With multiple games in development, Blizzard Entertainment has numerous positions currently available—visit http://jobs.blizzard.com for more information and to learn how to apply. As BlizzCon draws closer, further details about the show will be announced at www.blizzcon.com.

 

Blizzplanet BlizzCon 2013 Ticket Giveaway

Blizzplanet is giving away a BlizzCon ticket courtesy of Blizzard Entertainment. We’d like to give this ticket to a lucky fan. This is a ticket only with no flight nor hotel accommodations.

Several fansites have similar giveaways (check them out at the bottom of the page). You should participate in as many of them as possible to increase your chances at winning one.

The winner must show a Photo ID at the Anaheim Convention Center’s entrance and the name in the Photo ID must match the winner’s full name.

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That said, read the instructions to find out how to participate.

1. You must either be following us on Facebook or Twitter (click the links to reach our social pages). The winner picked must be in the list of followers.

Privacy Policy: Blizzplanet will not share any of this info with any third-parties. Only Blizzard Entertainment will have the info of the winner to be able to print the BlizzCon Badge. After the winner is chosen randomly, all data will be deleted permanently. By participating in this giveaway you give us authorization to share this with Blizzard Entertainment.

This giveaway ends on Saturday, November 2 at noon (EST / New York). The winner will be contacted shortly after. Please, respond within 48 hours.

Visit the www.BlizzCon.com website to see the panel schedule for November 8-9th.

If you were not a winner, don’t forget to order the BlizzCon Virtual Ticket which allows you to watch the livestream on your internet browser. VODs will be playable for two weeks. Or check details with DirecTV.

2. Fill the form below with accurate information (The selected winner’s full name, email and character name will be provided to Blizzard Entertainment to create the BlizzCon badge). Only one entry per participant allowed. Duplicates will disqualify the participant.

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Other Blizzard Fansites – BlizzCon Ticket Giveaway

BlizzCon 2013 Virtual Goodies

BlizzCon goodies incoming! Not attending? Snag these in-game bonuses with a Virtual Ticket! Don’t forget to buy your tickets here: http://us.battle.net/blizzcon/en/virtual-ticket/#goodies

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World of Warcraft Pet: Murkalot
StarCraft II Portrait & Decal: Tearin’ Stitches & Stitches’ Hook
Diablo III Banner: Mark of Death
Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft Card: Mystery Minion

For people wondering who Stitches is.. He is from Blizzard All-Stars.. Looks like Blizzard’s MOBA will be releasing soon.

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Bring BlizzCon to You with the BlizzCon 2013 Virtual Ticket – DirecTV

Blizzard Entertainment has announced the BlizzCon 2013 Virtual Ticket is now on sale. The Virtual Ticket allows you to watch live the different panels either on DirecTV or online.

Fans do not need to purchase anything to watch the WCS and Warcraft eSports Tournament Streams. Which is real nice.

What does this virtual ticket offers?

  • BlizzCon-exclusive in-game goodies for World of Warcraft®, StarCraft II, Diablo III, and Hearthstone™: Heroes of Warcraft™ (details coming soon).
  • access to an exclusive, limited-time online pre-BlizzCon merchandise sale featuring a selection of commemorative items that will be available for purchase at the show for 5 days.

Read the press release below:

Bring BlizzCon(R) to You with the BlizzCon 2013 Virtual Ticket

Experience Blizzard Entertainment’s epic Warcraft®, StarCraft®, and Diablo® community celebration online this November 8 and 9—live and in HD Order NOW at www.blizzcon.com

IRVINE, Calif. –(BUSINESS WIRE)– BlizzCon® 2013 is just two months away—and while tickets to attend the show sold out in seconds, you can still get a virtual front-row seat at Blizzard Entertainment’s epic gaming convention with the BlizzCon Virtual Ticket, now available to order at www.blizzcon.com.

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The BlizzCon Virtual Ticket provides comprehensive live online HD coverage of Blizzard’s Warcraft®, StarCraft®, and Diablo® community celebration, taking place November 8 and 9 at the Anaheim Convention Center . Available for $39.99 USD , the Virtual Ticket grants viewers access to both days of the show with two exclusive channels featuring unmatched BlizzCon content, including:

  • Developer Panels: Get the latest news and behind-the-scenes insight into your favorite Blizzard games—straight from the people who make them.
  • Exclusive Interviews: Dig deeper into the Warcraft, StarCraft, and Diablo universes through exclusive interviews with Blizzard developers.
  • Community Contests: Witness the spectacle of the legendary BlizzCon Costume Contest and the new-for-2013 Talent Contest, both hosted by comedian and BlizzCon veteran Jay Mohr .
  • Closing Ceremony: Be a part of the closing festivities on Saturday night, capping off two full days of Blizzard gaming and eSports action (more details to be announced later).
  • On-Demand Replays: Rewatch epic moments with the Virtual Ticket’s DVR functionality, and catch content you might have missed for up to two weeks after the show’s over.

Bonus Loot! Anyone who orders a Virtual Ticket will also receive this year’s BlizzCon-exclusive in-game goodies for World of Warcraft®, StarCraft II, Diablo III, and Hearthstone™: Heroes of Warcraft™ (details coming soon). The Virtual Ticket also grants access to an exclusive, limited-time online pre-BlizzCon merchandise sale featuring a selection of commemorative items that will be available for purchase at the show.† This special pre-BlizzCon sale is scheduled to take place over a 5-day period in the weeks leading up to the show, and will be followed by a public sale offering a more limited selection of items. More details will be announced at www.blizzcon.com in the weeks ahead.

ATTN: DIRECTV® Viewers! DIRECTV customers in the United States will once again be able to join the excitement by ordering the DIRECTV BlizzCon 2013 Pay Per View event, priced at $49.99 USD , which includes the Virtual Ticket online stream and in-game goodies mentioned above as part of the purchase. More information on the DIRECTV Pay Per View event, including how to order, will be announced at a later date.

Free eSports Streams! Even if you don’t purchase a Virtual Ticket, you’ll still be able to catch plenty of BlizzCon action online. Coverage of the BlizzCon opening ceremony and this year’s BlizzCon eSports tournaments—including the StarCraft II World Championship Series Global Finals and the World of Warcraft Arena Global Invitational—will be streamed for free in HD at www.blizzcon.com and the official WCS website (www.starcraft2.com/wcs).

BlizzCon 2013 would not be possible without the passion and enthusiasm of Blizzard Entertainment gamers around the world and the generosity of the event’s partners—Intel, NVIDIA, Sony Computer Entertainment , DIRECTV, SteelSeries, GIGABYTE, Rosewill, and EVGA—who provide demo-station hardware, peripherals, and more, and whose support helps make the broadcast possible.

More information on the BlizzCon 2013 Virtual Ticket can be found at www.blizzcon.com/virtual-ticket/. Further updates on BlizzCon 2013 will be available at www.blizzcon.com as the show draws nearer.

With multiple games in development, Blizzard Entertainment has numerous positions currently available—visit http://jobs.blizzard.com for more information and to learn how to apply.

†While supplies last. All orders placed in the online pre-BlizzCon merchandise sale will be shipped from the United States ; international shipping rates may apply.

 

Win the Ultimate BlizzCon 2013 Giveaway & New Blizzard Game Hint? Speculation

UPDATE: Sunday, August 11 is the last day to submit your entry.

SteelSeries, J!NX and The League of S.T.E.A.M. have partnered to brew together a cool promotion that will send a lucky winner and a friend to BlizzCon 2013 (November 8-9th) free along with flight and hotel expenses covered. This contest only applies to North American residents: which includes United States, Canada and Quebec. The follow up winners will get SteelSeries and J!NX prizes.

Make sure to read my personal speculation about this strange and unholy partnership — there is something odd about this partnership that [might] or [not] be a hint of a new Blizzard game announcement. Don’t you love Blizzplanet’s speculations?

CHICAGO – July 29th, 2013 – With the return of BlizzCon this year to Anaheim, California, SteelSeries and our partners JINX and The League of S.T.E.A.M want to send YOU to the festivities in style. This once in a lifetime chance to be a part of gaming history is completely FREE to enter by visiting the contest landing page – http://steelseri.es/blizzcon. Sweepstake entries will be open from July 29th through August 11th to all North American residents.

The grand prize features two BlizzCon Show Passes, airfare and accommodations for you and a friend PLUS one custom costume by award winning costume designers The League of S.T.E.A.M! An additional $2500 in sponsored prizes will also be given away including World of Warcraft Wireless MMO mice and JINX gift cards!

To keep up to date with the latest happenings of all the companies that made this giveaway possible, please visit the following websites.

The Contest runs from July 29th, 2013 to August 11th, 2013.

Current SteelSeries promotional offers here.

 

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Speculation-Mode On

I’m sorry to Blizzard Entertainment, but I will shield up with the first amendment of the United States Constitution: Freedom of Speech. Of course, I’ll eat back my words silently if I misfire … oops!

I have seen several promotions and giveaways from licensed partners for several years, but I find the League of S.T.E.A.M to be a very strange partner which is not directly a Blizzard Licensed Partner.

I do know the BlizzCon 2013 Costume Contest sign ups begin on August 5 (approximately) as published recently at the official BlizzCon website. The League of S.T.E.A.M will create a costume for the Ultimate BlizzCon 2013 Giveaway announced in this press release.

I was curious about this League of S.T.E.A.M, and searched online for their website. After reading through their About page, this is what they say:

The League of S.T.E.A.M. is not your average performance group

Our talented group of inventors and actors take the audience back to a time of scientific adventure; a common ground between the paranormal and the Pythagorean. We are monster hunters from the Victorian era. From up on the stage to mingling the crowd, our members engage the audience with proton packs capable of firing blasts of “steam,” zombie manservants on chain-leads, net guns and titillating electro-shock packs and ethereal glowing ghosts. Every piece of machinery is meticulously designed, detailed, and fully functional, from the steam cannon to the extendable “Punchy Fist”. The League travels with an archive of past adventures, preserved and documented for the ambient pleasure of the viewer, featuring exotic specimens and chilling relics from the ancient Orient. Audiences for this extravagant experience continue to grow. The League of S.T.E.A.M. is one of the fastest-growing entertainment groups of its kind, and our series of filmed exploits has ensured us a popularity that fills our events to capacity.

 

Wait … this is a Steampunk-effing-League?!! I’m sorry, my geeky blood-pressure is going high at the moment. Don’t blame me for speculating, but what if this giveaway is subtly throwing hints about a new Blizzard Entertainment Steampunk-themed video game to be announced at BlizzCon 2013? Is that even feasible to imagine or a loooong-stretch?

Blizzard Entertainment is currently developing two MMOs: the Next-Gen MMO codenamed Titan and a unannounced MMO.

If this speculation doesn’t excite you, I don’t know what will. A Steampunk Blizzard game — would you play something that wicked sweet?

I might be totally wrong on this one, I admit. However, tell me straight to the face you won’t get excited after reading what the League of S.T.E.A.M is and after viewing their photos. I present to you … the League of S.T.E.A.M

BlizzCon Mobile Countdown Web App

Blizzplanet is proud to announce its very own BlizzCon countdown web application for your mobile device. This is designed to be used on your iOS or Android mobile phone. Follow these steps on your phone and get excited for BlizzCon!

1. Browse to http://www.blizzplanet.com/blizzconcountdown/ or http://is.gd/blizzcon if you want a shorter URL to type in.

2.If you are on iOS a button should popup with instructions. If it doesn’t, tap the Arrow button on the bottom bar of Safari. If you are on Android it varies from device to device but look for an Add Bookmark to Home screen option.

3. Tap Add to Home Screen

4. Choose a Name and hit Add.

You will now have a nice BlizzCon icon on your phone’s home screen.

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