PAX East – Day Two – Where Are My Pants?

Is this real life? Who the hell left the window curtains open? God damn the sun is burning holes in the sheets. My white flesh cannot take this nonsense. Oh, legs, you need to work for a minute. Straighten out a bit, ow. Ow. Ok, fine, I’ll just hobble over here using the bed as support and close these curtains. Ugh, now I have to go back. My head hurts. I kind of need to crap. So tired. Maybe I can just crawl back up near the pillow. Oh, here’s my shorts, probably not a good idea to lay around in my underwear with another dude in the room. The snooze button means it’ll ring after a couple more minutes, right?

:Four Hours Later:

Well, we missed the PAX Keynote by about an hour before I woke up on Friday. I didn’t charge my phone or the battery overnight so that needed to be done before we could leave. I also needed to figure out how the hell to get to the convention center using public transit. This was a totally foreign concept for me. We figured out that parking at the convention would have cost something like 15$ per day, and taking the T Line cost us each 15$ total. Not to mention the novelty of riding a train. I think we finally ended up leaving the room by about noon or so.

There’s something about being underground that totally throws off my sense of direction. I’m pretty good with maps and all that, but the trains went underground, and half the roads were underground, which meant the surface maps were covered in all sorts of confusing markings that left me pretty baffled as to which way was up. The first day we got off at the Broadway station which was about two miles south of Summer street that the convention center was on. We eventually got up there, but it was about twenty minutes of extra walking and a cabbie trying to point us in the right direction as we looked pretty lost. There was a nice detour near the USPS mail depot and a lot of fences that I wish weren’t in the way, but eventually we found stairs up to Summer Street and got inside.

Finally, walking into PAX. This was my place, these are my people, holy crap these people are weird in ways I hadn’t considered being possible. Strangely, I was comfortable with this. We wandered around for a while grazing on the glow of the random screens of gaming goodness all around us. I knew the first thing on the agenda was to meet up with @FerrelES and see what sort of agenda was going on. There wasn’t one! I think @hawkinsa1 showed up around then as well. Now, I’m not really sure what I’m doing at PAX by this point, it was basically like all the things I derp around with on the internet, and all the people I socialize with on Twitter had suddenly come to life and congregated into a giant hall. Naturally, I had to poke everything.

Now, I’m not the sort of guy that waits for things. There were lines to get your hands on some of the bigger games. Borderlands 2 eventually had to be rearranged because the amount of people in line for it was a fire hazard. Max Payne had a similar issue with their lines. These are things that I don’t really NEED to see. They had big production set up for these games, it was obvious they had to sell big to make up for it. Screw lines, I was all about the open demos where people would walk up and queue behind the person you wanted to play after. Kayin waited for about 3 minutes to play TERA, handy enough there was a rep to explain to him some of the details about the game.

I had already written off TERA prior to this encounter, so I wasn’t really expecting anything that could possibly change my mind. The childlike race in skimpy armor left a sour taste in my mouth. I didn’t want anything to do with a game that could sexualize what might be interpreted as children. That’s dirty. However, it had some of the best actual gameplay of the show. The action MMO genre is kicking off this year pretty hard. TERA has targeting, but only as far as getting details on your target, there’s no way to lock on, and you have to aim your attacks to land on the critters. This worked quite smoothly from the looks of it. 

Now, I could see this becoming something of a burden after you kill the umpteenth mob, but he had a level 30 character that already had some interesting ways of keeping combat interesting. TERA has a system that allows you to set up reactionary abilities that fire off during one of your main abilities, and it’s customizable. You can create your own combos that you trigger mid-combat. The amount of skills at level 30 was pretty considerable, which makes the amount of combos that much more interesting. It looked like something that I should probably have a crack at, even if the art style isn’t really my cup of tea. They probably should have given out beta keys or something, if I can’t get some sort of demo time with it, I’ll most likely pass even though it was interesting to see in action.

Another game we had a chance to get our hands on was Raiderz, another action MMO. Now, normally I’ll quickly discount any game that has a z in the place of an s. It comes off as a less than serious game, or childish I suppose. They had shared a demo space with the new D&D game however, and had a considerably less populated line. Hell, it was a game, and why not? That’s all the encouragement I needed. Unfortunately, the rep they sent over to explain things to me spoke in pretty unintelligble broken English with a heavy asian accent. It was loud. I gathered he was going to allow me enough time to complete a quest with a characted. I picked the skimpy chick with the giant hammer. I have this thing for giant hammers, and skimpy chicks for that matter. I plowed my way through 10 mobs and got a feel for the combat a bit. Apparently there were ways to dodge, parry, counter, and other things, but I wasn’t quite savvy enough to pick it up on my own.

Incompetence aside, the game played quite well. The abilities were like the other action MMO game in that you needed to control yourself as to when you timed them going off or else they would just miss and the cooldowns would be burned. I’m not sure if the hammer chick was the best choice, it seemed a couple of her buffs were pretty trivial and the rest were on longer cooldowns too. I had a charge, and AOE, and a leaping attack to go with my basic swings. I have to admit, I died before the first 10 mobs dropped, mostly because I was just mashing buttons trying to get a feel for things. When you’re getting rocked by multiple attackers in that game it’s really hard to recover. Apparently, I was supposed to wait until after I finished the quest, because I could have won a nifty plastic cup with the game logo emblazoned on it. Impatient, confused, and thirsty I let some other guy behind me start a new game before the rep came back. I think they gave out a beta key. I don’t think I’ll be activating it.

Now, I can’t speak much about playing GuildWars 2 seeing as how I haven’t at all just yet. Other people might say it’s the best action MMO out there, but until it launches or an open beta happens, it’s pure conjecture. Between TERA and Raiderz, there was quantifiable evidence that TERA won out in the ease of use, flow, and general use of action in an MMO space. While it might not actually beat out GW2 in the end, there’s no way for me to determine that.

We made a stop down in the PC Freeplay area. I had a hankering for some League of Legends, and really wanted to get my win of the day in. I didn’t bring my PC or anything, so all the gaming for the weekend was going to be done at the show or not at all. Unfortunately, as one might expect, the internet was an unusable flaky pile of garbage. Wifi didn’t work, I’m not sure why we expected the wired connections to work. I was able to look at my characters, but actually starting the game just didn’t happen. We sat around dicking with things for probably a half an hour before giving up a
nd walking away. It seemed like a common theme at the time. The dudes seating people could have said something. Dicks.

Shortly following this, we decided it was time to go eat. The food court upstairs greeted us kindly with a Sam Adams bar. Holy shit, whose idea was this and when can I give him some man-hugs? I’m guessing over the weekend I dropped at least a hundred dollars on beer there. Love me some Alpine Spring, and the Brick Red on draft was great while they had it. We met up with @GettCouped while at the bar and he introduced me to the Guidebook app for Android. It was delightful. I realized at this point that we had missed a whole pile of the conferences that were going on in various rooms. Or maybe that was the beer talking. After about four, we decided it’d be pretty cool to see the guys from Extra Credits do their thing.

Well we ended up in line for The Future of Online Games instead. I told no less than four random people that we were in line for Extra Credits, and no one bothered to correct me. We were slowly funneled into the Main Theatre, given a Defiance t-shirt (PvE Shooter by Trion) and introduced to a panel of badasses including Curt Schilling from 38 Studios, James Ohlen from Bioware, Jon Peters from ArenaNet, Brian Knox from En Masse (TERA), Rob Hill from Trion, Craig Morrison from Age of Conan, and Bill Murphy from MMORPG.com hosting the event. They all had different takes on a whole bunch of topics. It was interesting to hear right from the top where the MMO space is going and how much innovation was taking place. They were split when it came to monetization, but there was some pretty serious applause when one of them mentioned just making games fun and worrying about money later. I think that was Curt.

DLC and the separation of F2P vs Sub came up as well and they were split on it. They were given a minute to explain what game they were currently working on then there was a short Q&A session of people from the crowd asking questions. I almost wish I hadn’t had that fourth beer because things aren’t really clear what went on past that, if it’s even accurate. Linking the video in the previous paragraph will probably help clear up that confusion! Anyway, at the end of it there was a gameplay reveal from GuildWars and they gave everyone in the theater three beta keys to play amongst their friends. Sorry, my extra two are already accounted for. I’ll be installing that shit as soon as I get home. If I like what I’ve been hearing about, and the political system is all that and a bag of chips, you might well see my focus stray from Rift and lean more on the guildy warring side of things again. I’ve been missing me some factional conflict and power struggles.

Of course, after that conference the main floor show had started to wind down so we went BACK to the bar again to get another drink or two before @GettCouped talked us into going out on the town for some really expensive steak dinners at Abe and Louies. This was the sort of place you’re not allowed to wear a hat. We walked in wearing hoodies, hats, sneakers, and generally in a partially unsober state, but they let us sit down anyway. My hair was doing interesting things. I had a pile of Tuna Tartare, along with a nice big slab of Filet Mignon. The steak, cooked medium mind you, was so tender I could pull it apart with my fork. No cutting with a knife needed. I briefly fantasized about replacing pulled pork sandwiches with pulled steak sandwiches that were equally tender. It was by far the best 65$ I had spent on a single meal in a long time.

We caught a ride back to the hotel, unloaded a bunch of the swag that we had accumulated while we were there and I think everything faded to black by about 11pm amid some League of Legends rap videos and Cartoon Network. Day two was complete.

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