What Blizzard are doing at Gamescom (aside from the WCS Season 2 finals, obvs)

StarCraft II

I’ll bet the crackle of anticipation has reached the pitch and tone of a freshly-splashed bowl of rice crispies in Cologne today. Months of training have enabled next week’s events. That’s right: PCGamesN’s Julian Benson will be at Gamescom this year, and he’ll be riding a bicycle all the way home.

As if that weren’t enough raw sportsmanship for one weekend, Gamescom will also host the StarCraft 2 World Championship Series Season 2 finals. Blizzard will be attending in full force – and if by some bad luck you turn out not to be among the top 16 StarCraft players on planet Earth, that doesn’t mean you can’t play StarCraft at Gamescom.

While the world’s best clash in Hall 8, Blizzard will be hosting low-key invitationals at their booth on the show floor – Ukranian Protoss favourite White-Ra will be one of the players fans will be free to ogle close-up. And it’s not just the pros who’ll be ogled – the developers will bring punters on-stage to play on a selection of SC2 Arcade maps.

Blizz’s full Gamescom schedule boasts some quite ingenious events. Consider: the Mists of Pandaria Levelling Competition, which asks players to reach level 5 as quickly as possible, and the Blizzard-themed Mega Bloks contest. There’ll also be Hearthstone presentations galore, and a live drawing session from lead artist Ben Thompson. All will be regularly interspersed by performances of songs from the developer’s games live on stage.

Most of the events will repeat throughout the four days of Gamecom, but not the costume competition – for that, you’ll need to be around on Saturday 24 at 15:30 sharp.

“Barbarian, night elf and troll outfits are great,” write Blizzard, “but one of our fondest memories from 2011 was the guy in the Protoss Pylon costume. A bit of imagination goes a long way, so we’ve got our fingers crossed for something equally crazy and StarCraft-related this year’s costume contest.”

Are you in Cologne this year? Or will you be following the WCS stream from the comfort of your own underpants?