My Weekend at PAXEast

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So first off this is my first trip to any PAX. Friday the floor was full but it was flowing. You could easily get by booths and find where you needed to go with only the occasional stoppage when a booth would be having an event. On Saturday it seemed as though there were almost twice as many folks on the floor. Several of the walkways between booths were completely obstructed by lines and people gawking.

I had a short list of things for myself to do and another list of things some of my friends asked me to look at or try to get some beta access to.

One of my top things was getting a look at Borderlands 2. Friday morning I made straight for the booth and by the time I got there the line was completely wrapped around the booth and there was a second line feeding the first that was several rows deep. The kicker? They only opened the line once an hour and let folks in. So that was a bit of a let down. However I saw the game in action from a short distance away and managed to nab one of the exhibitors for a few minutes and he answered a few questions that I was really hoping to get answered.
1. Was there still procedurelly generated weapons? Yes! And the guy mentioned that the algorithm had been improved. Not sure what that means but its something to look forward to seeing.
2. Did they get split screen working? Yes but it was not on demo at PAXEast
3. Did the drops/rewards mechanic still reward groups? Yes. Which was actually something I hoped they would tweak. Sometimes I just want to solo play but the solo drops used to be pretty terrible. So I am not sure about this.

I am not sure how TERA made it under my radar but I am glad I wandered into the Alienware booth when I did. I had seen the TERA game booth and I wasn’t interested in another MMO as I already have 3 loaded up on my system. I signed up for Alienware shwag and grabbed my shirt and there was a couple Alienware machines running TERA.  And a gentleman standing there running the machine who didn’t look like a regular PAX  goer. And sure enough after talking with him for a few minutes I learned he was a dev for the game. He was incredibly well spoken and friendly.

So why will I try this game? TERA unlike other MMOs requires many of the things we have come to expect from PVP in the PvE aspect of the game. You can move out of the way of attacks from mobs and in order to hit with your attacks you have to be facing and in range or you simply miss. Simply pressing buttons will not get you through a fight. So he let me play for a bit. I know you cannot really get a sense for an MMO in 10 minutes but I have to say if I spend money on one game this summer it will be TERA.

I have been playing LOTRO for a few years on and off. Its an MMO with a consistent level of quality and follows a storyline that I hold dear. I know its not everyone’s cup of tea but for me this is a go to game. What I have to say is getting to stop by the booth and talk to the Turbine Folks like Rick Heaton (@rickheaton).  The people at Turbine are great folks.  They are very helpful, care about their products and really have a ton of enthusiasm.   I happily said happy birthday to LOTRO  and swung by the DDO side of their booth to see what was new.

What’s up with Lolth,


Both DDO (from Turbine/Warner) and Dungeons and Dragons from Wizards of the Coast is putting a huge emphasis on the underdark. There was a huge statue of Drizzt and a huge Drider avatar of Lolth. in the Dungeons and Dragons booth and it would appear that Lolth herself kicks your ass in DDO online from Turbine. Essentially this year the dark elves are coming for your souls.

Just across from WB was the SWTOR booth. They had some regular PVP matches and were giving away some minor in game pets. I didnt feel the need to play this one as I play it a couple times a week but I wanted to grab the pet and hopefully meet up with Stephen Reid(@Rockjaw). I had recently made an open jab at Corso and his habit of naming weapons in strange ways. It was cool to meet him in person and see some serious PVP played out LAN party style.

The Max Payne Line was impossible. The game generally isn’t a title I would run out to get but I certainly wasn’t going to wait for an hour or more in a line just to get a very short glimpse of a game.

The Secret World
I really had not heard anything about The Secret World until a friend asked me to check it out and look for beta access while I was at PAX. I wandered into the booth and managed to jump on a computer for about 10 minutes. For those of you that don’t know the game is broken up into three factions who are all reacting to a very real evil that is spreading. The three factions are Dragons, Templars, and Illuminati. I ended up playing the illuminati but I really didn’t get enough time. That was Friday.

On Saturday I made a quick run to the Nvidia gaming area where a ton of folks were waiting to sit down with Diablo III. I was just happy to find out that The Secret World was over there and the cool Enforcers got me a spot to sit down for quite some time playing. I grabbed the Dragons and saw enough of the story to know that I am going to try this game out as soon as it comes out.

Someone handed me a beta code for the game and they asked me if I wanted to play Diablo III without going back into the line. Not sure they were supposed to do this but I didn’t say no. I went over to the diablo seats and having not really messed with the prior games I was pulled into the game immediately. Good game certainly fun in a hurry and cool to co-op with a couple other people. I played the monk character and it was lots of fun. I did find that closing the gap before the ranged folks annihilated the enemies was difficult but not impossible.

World of Tanks
I had not heard of this game at all. The game is free to play with micro transactions it is  a team on team death-match type game but instead of running around with a gun you – Tanks game with 1930s to 1950s era equipment. I didn’t sit down with this game but I watched and asked lots of questions of the woman that was ministering to a group of players. I have to say this isn’t something I would pick up just looking at the box in the store but since they handed me a copy of the game on DVD and some keys for in game gold and a pin and a bunch of other goodies…..I may just fire it up and blow up some tanks. I am sure I will get owned a ton but it did look like loads of fun.

Novus AEterno
There was a small booth that I didn’t really even notice they had this game Novus Aeterno. It didn’t grab my attention and the booth seemed to have very little going on but one of the booth folks pushed some information into my hands and I did sit and watch for a little bit. It might be worth checking out. If you do please contact me and let me know what you thought of it.
Geek Chic – Gaming Tables
Along one of the outer aisles there was a booth with some pretty amazing gaming tables.

On Saturday towards 1:30pm I took a bit of a break and did something I have been meaning to do for a while….learn how to play Settlers of Catan. I got a chance to sit down at a vendor booth. A group of four teens had just sat down and so I hunkered down to listen to the game explanation and watch most of the game. Now they all played strategic denial refusing to trade or help each other in any way. But I guess that’s about how the real world is so I should not have been surprised. The result of me having the short class and watching most of the game was me picking up a basic game set to bring home. I really want to get a game of this going.

Having watched the new youtube channel Geek and Sundry from Felicia Day the Tabletop segment with Will Wheaton covered the game Small World. I enjoyed it so much I simply had to buy it while I was at PAX. If you aren’t subscribed to Geek and Sundry use the link i just put up there and go do it.

The Utilikilt booth…
For the last couple years my wife and I have talked about this Utilikilt business. She loves the idea and I stand somewhere along the lines of “My legs should not be seen by anyone who doesn’t really want to” But I have always said that I would try one if I got the change. So walking down a length of booths there was Utilikilt. Free fittings. So I said why not….and got fitted. I admit I wore a kilt once as part of a wedding. It was a traditional wool kilt. It was unbelievably heavy. Utilikilt was exactly the opposite. Light, cool…everything they claim. The didn’t have the exact material I was looking for but now that I have the right size I think I will take a look over at their site.

Here are some more sights and sounds of PAXEast 2012

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