I have been a Blizzard fan since 1997 when I first saw someone play Warcraft 2 on their Macintosh. I thought that game was amazing, and just like that I became a Blizzard Gamer. So, it makes sense, I would go to Blizzcon, right?
I do a lot of content around video games for Blizzard Entertainment.Our two highest downloaded shows at Spazbot Studios are Stormcast and The Starting Zone. They each cover one of the games Blizzard Entertainment produces, Heroes of the Storm and The Starting Zone! I have been producing Podcasts about Blizzard since 2009. That is about six years worth of content, and through the years I have met many amazing and wonderful people through our shows. Blizzcon provides me with this awesome opportunity to meet some of those people. This is really the reason I go to Blizzcon. Well, that and I have to cover the event anyway for the shows.
My first Blizzcon was in 2013. My partner on The Starting Zone, Jesse Kobaashi, and I really went to Blizzcon as fans who happened to do a Podcast. The Podcast was a part of our experience of Blizzard, so we did record a show at Blizzcon from our Hotel Room, but we focused more on soaking in the experience and connecting with fellow gamers. We met folks from our Guild went Bowling. It was amazing! However, I felt in a lot of ways we missed out on an opportunity to connect with other Content Creators in a real tangible way. Sure, we were able to sit on a panel at World of Podcasts, and folks were very nice to us, but in the end, I felt I had squandered an important opportunity. I vowed to change that.
I spent the next year learning how to NETWORK. I am a painfully shy person. That may shock some of you reading this. I enjoy being alone, I do not like crowds, Attending events where I do not know people brings up a lot of fear an anxiety. I knew, that for me to actually become the Content Creator I wanted to become, I really needed to CHANGE all of that! So, I sought out training and coaching on the issue, and put in a lot of time, money and effort. I also started to network more with other creators through online resources like twitter or facebook. I actively started booking more guests on the show and simply started to enage our audience more frequently. This process was incredibly rewarding, and made me feel more like a legitmate content creator and less of hobbyist.
Blizzcon 2014 was a different experience. Spazbot Studios had gone from a dream to a reality. I knew some people! My shows were a part of the Signals Media All Star Network. I was going to co-host the Signals Media SMASH BASH on the Friday Evening at Blizzcon. I also set forth a completely different approach to our coverage of Blizzcon! I set up individual interviews with other creators and well known people from the Blizzard Gamer Community, and cut together this documentary style presentation of my Blizzcon experience. It was well received, and I made a ton of new friends. Blizzcon inspired a lot of new ideas about how I was going to approach my work with Spazbot Studios moving forward.
Blizzcon 2015 was in many ways a barometer for all the work we had put into Spazbot Studios in 2015, and it became less of an event I would attend just as a fan. It became an event I attended as the Founder of Spazbot Studios. Each Day was jam packed with interviews and meetings. I flew from one thing to the next thing, and when the con wound down each night, I found myself spinning from friend to friend, talking, posing for pictures and sharing an adult beverage or two.
There was also a few big changes this year! The Spazbots were out in force! Blizzcon 2014, I was a one man band with my first Blizzcon Press Badge overwhelmed by trying to do something new with our shows. This Blizzcon, I came with some back up! Notch, Dills, Jason Lucas, Spencer Downey, Kris Ahlman, Tyler Rivers, David Troy, Darrell Goodwin and Chris “Cuddles” Case were ALL at Blizzcon! These guys had all appeared on either Super Heroic, Stormcast and The Starting Zone! I even had time to steal away for some lunch to hang out with them and their girlfriends and wives, it was just really great to see the community of content creators we had created together! I was also able to hang out with the guys from Convert To Raid, a show I occasionally co-host, and we had a blast on Saturday night. Just a ton of good memories made with people I appreciate. My only regret, I didn’t have enough time to hang out more with each of them.
The other big change? People, actually knew who I was. I would be stopped in elevators, in the hallways of the hotel I was staying at, people would tug at my arm after I wrapped up an interview and ask for a picture. It was awesome. It felt so great to connect with fans who had listened to the show for years and up until that point were an avatar on twitter, but now they were a real live person! I met a woman who goes by Mommanatrix on Twitter who listens to almost all our shows and has supported us for years! I met people who show up in our chat room when we record shows on Twitch, or share EVERY link to EVERY show we produce. All of these moments were great memories; however, there was one experience I wanted to share with you!
I was sitting front row WAITING for the Heroes of the Dorm Tournament to start, hanging out with Jon Jagger from Azeroth Round Table and Core (podcasts you should check out). A Gentlemen in a wheel chair came by where we were sitting and I saw him stop. He turned his chair towards me and pointed to me. It was clear he could only say a few words, but he was able to say ‘Spazbot’ when he pointed to me, and he indicated that he wanted me to sign his Poster for Blizzcon. I was stunned. I have been performing for a long time. I have autographed a lot of things for a lot of people, but for some reason, this one just hit me right in the feels. And to quote Ric Flair, “With a Tear in my eye…” I asked him if he wanted me to sign his poster. He nodded yes, and I signed my name right next to Jaycie ‘Gillyweed” Gluck and Anna Prosser Robinson. He thanked me and went on about his day hopefully to have an awesome Blizzcon! That moment really stuck out to me for a number of reasons that I hope to share in a different post someday.
Despite the fact I was terribly busy and terribly over-booked. I had a few moments at Blizzcon where I just stopped and looked at the people who were attending, cosplayers, hardcore gamers, eSports fanatics, families, and friends. This WAS my community. These were the people who supported the work I do at Spazbot, and I was very grateful for each and every one of them. Was blizzcon 2015 exhausting? Yes, of course it was exhausting! However, I walked away from the experience with this tremendous feeling of accomplishment and inspiration for 2016!
I plan on posting a separate BLOG about what I learned in regards to content creation that I hope to share with you very soon! There were definitely mistakes that I made, and some things that I did right! Look for that post later!
Did you attend Blizzcon? What was your experience like? I would love to know! Leave a comment below or tweet me on twitter!