Sunday, November 6, 2016

The BlizzCon Virtual Ticket: Not Worth It

I'll have more to say about BlizzCon 2016 soon, but for now it's just how I saw what was on the schedule.

I won my Virtual Ticket from a giveaway done at the Final Boss Twitch channel, and I chose the Ticket from the array of choices at hand. For the most part, I knew that the goodies for the games were neat. (Who doesn't like the silly Murloc pets?) What I hoped for was that the streamed stuff behind the paywall would be worth the ticket price.

That hope was in vain.

First: Not all panels were streamed at all. The panels stage and mainstage were the only locations with livestreamed content that wasn't some form of esport tournament. Being that World of Warcraft is my main game, I care most about the WOW panels; these were livestreamed behind the paywall, but in years past it wasn't long before they appeared for free on YouTube. This year I wasn't disappointed; within 12 hours I saw the Friday panel up at YouTube in its entirety, and in High Definition. Saturday's Q&A was up within 8 hours. WOWhead had recap articles up before it was over. What the fuck am I paying for?

And the dark panels (those not streamed) likely were recorded by someone, so I expect those to pop up online shortly, wholly negating both the reason for making them dark (so to drive foot traffic to that venue) and the reason to bury them behind a paywall (so to increase Ticket value- again, why pay for this?

Second: The real draw was on Twitch, and thus streamed for free. All of Blizzard's esports programs have their year-end events at BlizzCon, and there is no way those will be behind the paywall due to the inability to enforce paywall exclusivity. So why pay for the Ticket, and access to that, when I can watch live on Twitch for free? I still get the adds either way (as they're part of the stream, and not inserted otherwise), so I lose nothing. Why pay for this?

Third: The VOD access is moot. To add value to the Ticket, they keep the paywalled stream archives behind the wall for a few weeks after to let buyers watch what they couldn't see live. For the tournaments, you can watch those on YouTube and Twitch. For the panels, you can find them up at YouTube before the con is over. VOD access, therefore, is mooted and irrelevant. Why pay for this?

Fourth: Ticket holders, physical and virtual, get access to the BlzzCon store ahead of time. If there was anything truly exclusive of value to be had there, that would be worth something; there isn't, so it's not.

Conclusion: I should have instead gotten $40 of Battlenet credit; that would've ensured that I could buy the next WOW expansion. The Virtual Ticket is a waste of money, and the virtual goodies--the only thing of value left--are not worth $40.

You may note that I did not talk about the Weird Al concert. That's because it deserves its own post. Tomorrow, folks.

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