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There was something surreal about Blizzard World, the newest Overwatch map, being announced within walking distance of a similarly brand-heavy theme park. Maybe it was unintentional (probably not; One anonymous source told me that employees referred to the new map internally as “Blizzneyland.”). Maybe it was a love letter from a company whose brand recognition in the video game space is comparable to the House of Mouse. Regardless, I knew it would be much easier to sneak into Blizzard’s new theme park than into Disney’s hallowed halls.
I tried once, miserably, but that’s a story for another time.
Posing as a “player,” I donned a Roadhog avatar and barged through the front gates of Blizzard World. I stayed close to five other individuals who referred to themselves as my “teammates.” We were there under the guise of defending a choke point and preventing a payload from reaching a Diablo-themed dark ride attraction. I was worried our story would be too convoluted; who would believe an assault/payload hybrid match existed? Yet, security let us through without a hitch.
(Side note: I know the park has not opened to the public yet, but I was appalled by the lax security present in Blizzard World. I walked in with a makeshift shotgun and a giant fishhook attached to a chain and the security staff didn’t so much as cough in my direction.)
Past the gates, we walked into a facsimile of Stormwind (throwback!). Off in the distance, I could see a Protoss-themed roller coaster. I was eager to ride it, but my avatar probably exceeded the weight restrictions. My teammates, on the other hand, seemed completely disinterested in the flurry of attractions that dotted the park. Instead, they headed over to Blizzard’s equivalent of Tomorrowland. A towering pylon hovered above a souvenir shop. Surrounding the pylon was a Terran siege tank and crystallized resources. I watched as a conga line of drones hovered above us, making their way to the resource crystals and began to mine them.
Our team stopped at the nearby souvenir shop. A little early for souvenir shopping, I thought, but seeing as we were the only ones at the park I guess it didn’t matter. Before I could even ask if they had a Kerrigan body pillow, we were greeted by gunfire. Six people, not my teammates, opened fire on the little shop. Talk about uncalled for! There was plenty of merchandise to go around. My teammates engaged with enthusiasm, almost as if they had planned on this outcome. I, however, not wanting my trip ruined, ran for Murloc Island.
Before I could check the hours of this clear homage to Tom Sawyer Island, I was shot down by an opponent. I respawned in a Heroes Of The Storm arcade. I attempted in vain to search for an employee who could give me some quarters to play skee ball, but the chatter in my headset was giving me a headache. I headed back outside to find my teammates in retreat. The payload was now in motion, and it was heading toward a gloomy-looking castle. The Diablo-themed dark ride attraction. I was planning on going there anyway.
I fired off a few rounds so as not to raise suspicions. Whenever possible, I turned my aim to the exact replica of the Skeleton King’s chair, in awe of the incredible virtual detail. I could not believe they built this park in such a small amount of time. The other team was intent on ruining my fun, however, as they continued to push the payload through the dark halls. Frustrated with their lack of appreciation for all things Blizzard, I activated my super and laid waste to the incoming opponents. One by one they fell by my fire. Hell hath no fury like a man just trying to enjoy a theme park.
The words “Victory” flashed across the screen, and I could not be more disappointed. While my “team” revelled in our last minute win, I shed a tear. I did not even have a chance to check out the Diablo-themed drop ride I saw next to the roller coaster. No time to stop for over-priced concessions. I know I should not complain, seeing as I did not even pay for a ticket, but as is always the case, when you go to a theme park with too many people, you are at the mercy of the mob.
Seems like I’ll have to wait for the official park opening.