There really isn’t anything else like it. I’ve been playing video games since the 16 bit goodness that was the Sega Genesis. A bit later than some but ever since I started digging into cartridge after cartridge of epic gameplay I was hooked. I stuck with console games for some time until I got into the real-time-strategy (RTS) world of Warcraft and Starcraft. After that Blizzard Entertainment. I abandoned them for a short while for Everquest which I was more than hooked on for a few years until the behemoth that was World of Warcraft swept in in 2004, though I didn’t start playing it until winter of 2005 (it was January or February before Dire Maul was released).
In 2010 I attended my first BlizzCon. It was the first gaming/geek conference I had ever attended and I had no idea what to expect. It was a whirlwind of 48 hours with a few folks that I had met online through the game. While we had spoken regularly each week for raids and what not, we had never actually met face to face. It was a little weird putting voices to faces for the first time but we ran with it and continued to go to BlizzCon in 2011 and 2013 as well.
This year was my first year flying solo. I was back to not knowing what to expect since I was so used to having a group of friends to hang out with. As I left Napa to head to Anaheim I even considered turning around and staying home but I weathered a late night drive and made it to SoCal at 2am. After a few hours of sleep I popped out of bed, showered, got dressed and headed to the convention center to grab my pass and hop in line to get the festivities going at 10am.
I could get into all off the details from the weekend from the opening ceremony to testing out the new Hearthstone expansion, to Overwatch (OMG awesome!) the competitions and tournaments but the experience was much more than that. 48 hours later, after a face-melting performance by Metallica to close things out, I was waking up to head back home. As I had done during the past couple BlizzCons I attended, I got up semi-early to head back to the convention center one last time just to look at it and sort of reflect on the weekend’s experience. It is more than just a weekend “geek out” session. It brings together thousands of people with a common interest – it is amazing how at-home you can feel amongst thousands of total strangers. My experience this year was very different than years prior because I had to “make new friends.” I met folks from as close to home as San Francisco to the East Coast to Norway and all of us had so much to talk about. As much as I had felt like a fish out of water, I wasn’t.
I started comparing this year’s BlizzCon experience to wine and how the two cultures are similar. There are definitely those of us that “geek out” about wine, wanting to pick up all the subtle notes and characteristics. If we happen to find ourselves in a crowd of other wine lovers there is always something to talk about. The biggest difference about wine, however, is that many folks who enjoy wine are still apprehensive about it.
In my experience, many people feel like they “have to” be able to geek out about wine when they enjoy it, that if they don’t pick out the “right” characteristics that they aren’t any good at enjoying wine when all you really have to do is decide whether or not you like a wine. They feel bad or maybe disappointed that they can’t pick out the characteristics. The same could be said about gaming. You have to find the right niche or genre that is right for you. I am not the biggest fan of first-person-shooters (FPS) and I really just play RTS games for the story line, not player-versus-player (PVP) gaming. MMOs, specifically World of Warcraft, tend to be where I spend my time. Just like Napa Cab Sauv might not be your thing but Alsatian white wines are your jam. It all comes down to a subjective decision of what we enjoy.
I guess the long story short is that you just need to do an drink what you like; and if you really care about the n00bz you pwnd after you popped recklessness, zerker rage, sweeping strikes, and bladestorm back in the day when it was OP, before it got hit with the nerf bat, then thats fine too (and let me tell you that was an awesome time for arms warriors).
For those of you that understood that last part you get bonus points.
Anyway, the good news is that if you really want to be able to geek out about wine then all you have to do is practice, just like gaming. Now get out there and enjoy the hell out of some wine (and games)!
PS: For the WoW or Blizzard fans in the crowd you can give me a shout for my real ID so we can meet up in the interweb and talk gaming, wine or whatever else comes to mind.