Blizzard announced their launch day events for the upcoming Mists of Pandaria release on September 25th.
I’ve never been to an official launch event, so I looked to see if there are any within driving distance of me (Florida, USA).
Here’s the list of launch events:
- Irvine, California. FEATURING: Members of the WoW development team.
- Cologne, Germany. FEATURING Russell Brower - Director of Audio, Jason Hutchins - Game Producer, Gary Platner - Lead Environment Artist, Tina Wang - 3D Artist, Kelli Hoover - Associate 3D Artist
- Stockholm, Sweden. FEATURING Chris Robinson - Art Director, Thomas Pieracci - Producer
- Paris, France. FEATURING Greg Street - Lead Systems Designer, Carlos Guerrero - Senior Game Producer, Jonathan Dumont - Lead Level Designer
- Milan, Italy. FEATURING Tom Chilton - Game Director, Terrie Denman - Senior Artist
- Madrid, Spain. FEATURING Cory Stockton - Lead Content Designer, Candace Thomas - Game Designer
- London, UK. FEATURING Scott Mercer - Senior Game Designer, Darren Williams - Senior Software Engineer
- Moscow, Russia. FEATURING John Lagrave - Lead Game Producer, Paul Kubit - Game Designer
- Taipei, Taiwan. FEATURING Sarah Verrall - Senior Level Designer, Tom Thompson - Lead Software Engineer
- Mexico City, Mexico
- Santiago, Chile. FEATURING John Hight - Lead Game Producer, Marcio Martins - Senior Software Engineer
- Sao Paolo, Brazil. FEATURING John Hight - Lead Game Producer, Marcio Martins - Senior Software Engineer
What strikes me as odd about this list?
Lets look in terms of area. The continental USA (not including Alaska and Hawaii) has a total area of just over 8,000,000 square kilometers. In that area there are approximately 2-3 million WoW players.
Europe has a total area of just over 10,000,000 square kilometers and holds a similar number of WoW subscribers.
The numbers are fairly comparable as far as size and player base. So why are there six events in Europe and only one in the USA? Why does Europe have all of the big-name players in WoW development, while the Irvine event gets unnamed members of the development team?
Clearly the answer is that this is a perk for the Blizzard devs. Ghostcrawler gets a company-paid trip to Paris out of this. Tom Chilton gets to visit Italy. etc… I don’t begrudge them this perk. They do work hard and they deserve a reward.
However, as a USA WoW player I feel left out. Blizzard events are always held in Irvine, which is 2,495 miles away from me. Considering that the east coast of the US has more than twice the population of the west coast, it would seem reasonable for Blizzard to come out to my side of the country once every couple of years.
But they don’t. /sigh