The day before BlizzCon ended up having a little treat in store because we managed to head to Blizzard HQ in Irvine for a tour and to see that amazing large orc statue at the front of the campus. I know the word campus might not convey the size and scope of the venue but it really is around the size of a university with some 27 buildings. It also has one of only two Starbucks run on company property, complete with a nerdy secret menu and Baristas making amazing chalkboard art about Blizzard titles.
We only got to see a fraction of the campus and many areas didn’t allow pictures or recording, but there was a great museum set up with a history of Hearthstone and a library, where staff read books, comics, pick up a game or play roleplaying games on a fairly large wooden table. Everything from coding books to games to DnD sourcebooks and a hefty gaming shelf filled the library, which didn’t seem to mind the noise.
We couldn’t take pictures of the wellness area where staff can get massages or learn aikido and jiu-jitsu, or the ops centre that had a cool window into it so you could see all of the people that sit and watch how servers and services are coping, and fixing problems as they pop up. We could take pictures of a lot of the art on the walls and some of the massive statues that Blizzard has collected over the years. Some were already at BlizzCon so there were just empty spaces with a little blurb about the design, the height weight and how long they took to sculpt and assemble.
Here is a gallery full of images. I had to reduce the size a lot so that SA Gamer wouldn’t suddenly lose storage space, so if you want to see something bigger, like the initial designs of some of the Hearthstone elements, let us know in the comments. Have I mentioned the statues? Oh wow, the statues.