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The fourth BlizzCon has been announced today. This annual celebration of all things Blizzard will take place in the Anaheim Convention Center in Anaheim, California, on Friday, August 21st and Saturday, August 22nd. The BlizzCon 2009 event will take place at the same place as the 2008 BlizzCon.

Last year’s event was a massive success, with all tickets sold out in just one day – prompting Mike Morhaime to add 3000 tickets to the pool to meet demands. Mike also mentions 2008’s runaway success in this year’s BlizzCon announcement.

“We’ve been amazed by the incredible response to each of our previous BlizzCon events,” said Mike Morhaime, CEO and cofounder of Blizzard Entertainment. “We’re pleased to be bringing the convention back to Anaheim this year, and we look forward to this new opportunity to meet Blizzard gamers from around the world.”

Blizzard fans should expect an event of similar proportions, and it is highly unlikely that the ticket availability window will be any wider. If you plan to attend BlizzCon 2009, you should follow the news feed closely and grab a ticket as soon as they become available.

BlizzCon will offer a wide variety of activities throughout the two-day event. In addition to serving as a gathering place for Blizzard Entertainment gaming communities, attendees will be able to enjoy:

  • Hands-on play time with upcoming Blizzard Entertainment games
  • Discussion panels with Blizzard Entertainment developers
  • Competitive and casual tournaments for players to showcase their talents
  • Community contests with great prizes
  • Commemorative merchandise based on Blizzard Entertainment’s game universes
  • A silent auction
  • More exciting activities and attractions to be announced

Speaking of grabbing, three winners of the StarCraft 2 comic contest walked away with a StarCraft 2 goody bag, each receiving

  • StarCraft II Hat
  • StarCraft II T-Shirt
  • StarCraft II Poster

With the 1st place winner receiving the coveted StarCraft 2 Beta key, as Karune has recently announced.
Here are the January 2009 winners. You can visit the official winners page to to browse through 12 more StarCraft 2 Comic sketches from the previous four months.

Starcraft 2 Comic Winner 01-2009 Third Place

Starcraft 2 Comic contest Runner up - 01/2009Starcraft 2 Comic Winner

While the community was buzzing about beta keys and beta release date speculations, Cavez, Blizzard’s Lead Designer, was busy writing his reality check FAQ and has now released it to the forums:

I see lots of questions about timelines. Here is a little FAQ.

Question: “Why hasn’t Blizzard released the Beta?” or “WTF have they been working on, I played it at Blizzcon last year and I thought it was done!”

Answer: Solo campaign is under heavy construction as is Battlenet. When these things have enough work done that we know when our release date is going to be with strong confidence we will announce the Beta. Unless something crazy happens, the Beta is going to happen this year.

The above statement, coming from a senior member of the development team, should effectively put an end to any speculation that puts the StarCraft 2 beta release date before June 2009. Considering the fact that game development usually has a 60% chance of “something crazy happens”, we might be reading a similar FAQ a year from now.

Question: “Why don’t you just give us your target dates if you don’t know the final date? We promise, we won’t get mad if Blizzard misses target dates.”

Answer: Let’s be realistic. Our target dates are not something we hit more than half the time. Putting those out there would be pretty close to lying to the fans. We are not going to do that. We want to be able to give good info, not info that we know is suspect. We’ll give target dates when we think it is very likely that we will hit them.

Question: When can we have the next Battle Report?

Answer: We were waiting on getting some improved graphics in (some of the new stuff looked REALLY rough). That was finished last week and we are now playing and looking for a good game. Once we get that game the process is reasonably quick to get it out. Once we go Beta, you guys can do these and put them up. When that happens I’m sure there will be a ton of them and I’m sure the quality of the games played and the announcing will go way up.

Question: “I notice that you haven’t actually given us any dates….”

Answer: Yeah. Sorry. We don’t want to lie about the Beta, and we don’t even want to lie about the next Battle Report. When we know a date (for anything) for certain, we’ll let you know.

Hang in there. We’re in the final stretch.

Just kidding.


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