Would anybody think it’s not a bad idea for Blizzard to rebuild the Anaheim Convention Center in World of Warcraft engine, and host a Virtual BlizzCon 2020 exactly as how it looks like if it was held in person as usual?
Definitely there will be tweaks to the game’s engine like you shouldn’t be able to turn other attendees into sheep, and there would need to be big screens in the game live casting all the CGs, demos, and e-sport events. They would want to turn on layering so that attendees wouldn’t be standing on top of others in Hall D during the opening ceremony. Like each layer can host ~25k people in the convention center just like how it is like in real life. I can imagine that the server would probably explode if we cram 25k people into Ironforge, but for the purpose of attending the convention, the interaction doesn’t need to be as real-time as in WoW, which could ease the load on the server by quite a lot. And also people should just use real names to register like how we need to for attending in person to avoid trolls, but people should only be able to see other people’s name when their avatars are in close proximity, like how we can see others’ badge in person. Also when you “talk”, it should only be “audible” by people right next to you, so that you can still have your random interaction with other fellow gamers like how we usually do it. Maybe you can form parties just like in WoW, so that you don’t need to yell into your phone to check which hall your friends are in.
Blizzard staff would also join the servers and do the same things as usual like providing directions to attendees, signing posters (which could be put into the “bag” of the avatar and delivered to attendees’ home after the event is over, for $4.99/poster maybe), doing Q&As (people should actually need to stand in queue for this, but they should still be able to talk to people in front and behind them to for small talks, or even exchange goodies), etc.
As for new game demos, maybe collaborate with services like Stadia? So that the demo version of the game wouldn’t need to get out of Blizzard’s control, and I guess companies like Google wouldn’t mind have this opportunity to promote their game streaming service.
For Darkmoon Faire, it could remain the same where people can have stands to showcase their collections and other folks can approach to offer for exchanges. Blizzard can still sell all those blind boxes virtually, and by the end of the convention, would just ship the physical goodies to the gamers according to what they have in their virtual bags. I guess the difficult part would be exchanging items for previous BlizzCon’s for the collectors. But it’s better than nothing, I guess?
I wouldn’t mind pay $99 for an experience like this, and if this becomes a thing, maybe other conventions like comic con can also reuse the engine (another stream of revenue)?