Last month we paid Blizzard's head quarters in Irvine, California a visit to take a closer look at World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria. Naturally we were given a tour around the premises, even if weren't allowed to photograph all areas.
We did, however, take pictures of what we were allowed, and you can take a peek at the photos below.
The first thing you see as you make your way into Blizzard's campus is a massive monster of a statue with an orc riding on a giant wolf. It was designed in the States and manufactured in China, was delivered in two parts due to its size, and had to be put in its place with a crane. The crane itself was so big that they had to tear down the gates to get it into the campus. The things you do for... giant orcs.
The lobby area was also decked out. Underneath a glowing logo there are statues of a dwarf from World of Warcraft and Nova from the Starcraft universe, and a couple of cute meter high stuffed toys based on gryphons and windriders from World of Warcraft.
The buildings are littered with these screens that show the number of players currently in World of Warcraft in real-time. Who is that player just east of Madagascar? Our tour guide Bob reveals, that one day he hopes to see a small glowing dot in Antarctica.
Blizzard create a statue for each BlizzCon that is meant to welcome visitors to the convention at the entrance. Last year it was Tyrael from the Diablo series who greeted fans, while Illidan, Jim Raynor, and Kerrigan have greeted fans in the past. The statues have all been designed and created by the same sculptur. "I'm not quite sure what holds Tyrael up", our tour guide Bob adds as we gaze upon the statue that hangs suspended in thin air.
Next to the lobby area lies the museum, filled to the brim with concept art, prototypes of action figures, and lots of other stuff. The mug is given to Blizzard employees who have been with the company for two years. After five years you are given a sword, and after ten years you get a shield. Blizzard employees who stay on for 15 years get a ring.