One eventful BlizzConline weekend is behind us now, and it largely proved that at least some of that special experience and spirit could be channelled across in this particular format. Considering that everything was filmed beforehand and seamlessly edited together, the production values looked fairly smooth. Perhaps the next edition will be able to go back to its more personal, slightly more crowded roots.
For many of us from faraway lands, watching online has always been the way to go. This event was also notable for having all proceedings accessible and free for everyone, whether live or through VoDs once things wrapped up. It's something we can certainly appreciate if you remember the pricy Virtual Tickets and content locking from the past.
So there was a wealth of Hearthstone news covered around these parts, and on top of that, we were also treated to several entertaining segments - smaller and larger - that had something in common with our card-slinging game. In case you have missed any of them or usually don't pay attention to such panels, it's well worth a watch when looking for some good-natured fun. Let's have a look:
Hearthstone Battlegrounds Exhibition
As hosted by Frodan, it featured 8 Hearthstone streamers duking it out across 4 consequent Battlegrounds lobbies. Points were given for each place and then summed up - similarly to some previous competitions of this sort. The contestants, as follows: Kripparrian, Brian Kibler, Thijs, Slysssa, Dog, Rdu, EducatedCollins, TwlevewinsHS. The prize? Not some petty cash, but one peculiar (if rather unwieldy) crown.
The segment also offered a different take on the standard casting, which made it all the better. Instead of just reviewing what was going on all by himself (as that could've been pretty boring), Frodan was instead going around to check in with each respective player as the action unfolded, engaging in friendly banter and allowing contestants to share their personal takes on everything. Even if you are not much of a Battlegrounds player like myself, it makes for an engaging experience. More so if you are familiar with and like any of the Hearthstone personalities involved here.
Do mind that it was all recorded before the surprise patch that hit the game servers during BlizzConline, meaning that the Darkmoon Prizes and Elistra the Immortal were still there to influence the outcome of the games.
Hearthstone Streamer Showdown
Streamer Showdown has been around for a while, covering a host of games beyond just Hearthstone or Blizzard titles. The concept includes several personalities pitted against one another in a battle of wits (and sometimes reflex), accumulating and losing points across various competitions: trivia and lore questions, art familiarity, and other imaginative takes. The selection should appeal to most everyone fond of similar game shows.
The BlizzConline edition was hosted by ChanmanV, the creator and one of the producers behind the whole thing. Featuring 4 contestants (rather than the usual amount of 3): two streamers with Kripparrian and Alliestrasza, and two Team 5 members with Liv Breeden and Alec Dawson. It's not often we get to see the developers in action and it's all in good fun, so you can always count on a lighthearted atmosphere.
If you like this particular format and were looking for more blasts from the past, then the episode from a few years ago featuring the very same Kripparrian along with the former Showdown champ Disguised Toast and former Hearthstone boss Ben Brode while hosted by ever charismatic Noxious still ranks as one of the very best to date.
Blizzard Art Studio: Reno Jackson
For all art aficionados out there, we could follow along as Senior Concept Artist for Hearthstone, Rafael Zanchetin, shared some tips and tricks on drawing the infamous celebrity Reno Jackson from scratch.
Celestalon from Team 5 was certainly up for the challenge, along with a few other brave souls. If you dare try to follow, perhaps you might uncover your inner artist in the process without even knowing.
Hearthstone: Innkeeper Impressions
Terrence Stone, the voice actor behind the likes of Harth Stonebrew (your friendly Hearthstone Innkeeper) and Sir Finley Mrrgglton, went through several impressions from various Hearthstone personalities - each trying their best to emulate the dwarf in question. They were then subjected to the critical appraisal from the master.
There might have been some roasting involved. If there was one problem with this segment, it's just being criminally too short. Such an awesome idea deserved a lot more spotlight! Hopefully to be explored again in the future. If you have only got a few minutes to spare, definitely catch this one for some hearty laughs.
Hearthstone: Bartender Bob's Advice
Who doesn't love Bartender Bob. From offering us a safe haven between various single-player adventures to hosting Battlegrounds, the man has had plenty of wisdom and warm personality to spare. Now here are some more.
Various known individuals from the Hearthstone community got to ask their most important questions to Bob - some of them might surprise you. Another very short segment, worth it for the smiles and the feels.
The Full Experience
That about sums it up. If you would rather revisit it all again in one streamlined form over separate videos, or prefer to subject yourself (at your own risk) to Twitch or Youtube chats in order to see what other people had to say as it all unfolded, then you can go here for Twitch (Day 1 and Day 2) and here for Youtube (Day 1 and Day 2). There are some musical performances and other small bits to be found between various Hearthstone panels. You might just have to fast forward to what interests you the most.
Any favorite segments that you have already seen or plan on (re-)watching? Anything in particular that stood out to you and that you would like to see again, or do you believe some opportunities have been missed?