PAX East – 22 days away!

We are about three weeks away from PAX East 2015, and more details about the event are starting to appear.  Here is a roundup of some news items:

  • Acquisitions Inc., the ongoing D&D campaign, is essentially confirmed to return to PAX East this year:

  • Lots of parties have been officially and unofficially announced.  An excellent listing of everything we know so far can be found in a dedicated party thread on the Penny Arcade forums.
  • Badges have started to arrive for a lucky few, so keep your eyes on the mail if you are expecting badges!
  • The PAX Pokemon League has started to announce its East gym leaders.
  • Looking for something fun to do while wandering around?  Looking to meet fellow PAX East-ers?  Check out the Assassins Ball.  It’s a community social game in which you play an assassin joining forces with one of five factions.

I’ll be posting as I see interesting stuff come through.  Get hyped…

PAX East – 34 days and counting

PAX South ended this past Sunday. By all accounts, it was a tremendous success, especially for its first year. I watched a good amount of videos on Twitch from the event – lots of interesting stuff discussed, and the attendees sounded enthusiastic. Overall, sounds like a pretty good start.

But now that it’s over…let the PAX East countdown begin!  This year, it’s being held early – March 6-8, 2015. And it might be a little colder and a little snowier than years past. And there’s a small gap between South and East, so there are fears of PAX exhaustion. But I still expect this year’s con to be stellar.

I’ll be posting on a regular basis leading up to the event, but here are some initial comments and thoughts:

  • Start planning, people! There is so much to see and do at PAX East. You won’t be able to do everything, so take note of things you must absolutely do and put a schedule together.
  • If you are with a group, be sure that you do something that you personally want to do. Experience PAX with friends is certainly fun, but don’t lose sight of your own interests. Be sure you get to see what you want to see.
  • Riot Games will not have a presence on the expo hall floor this year, but they will be available in other areas of PAX East. So if you are a League of Legends fan, be prepared for a much smaller presence than years past. If you don’t care about LoL, be prepared for a little extra breathing room in that area of the expo hall. :-)
  • I’m hoping to try a wide variety of games this year. I haven’t played a tabletop game in years, so it would be nice to try some out. I’ll be playing a Smash Bros. game for the first time ever (3DS version), hopefully with others. I’d like to try Magic the Gathering or D&D again…haven’t played that since I was in middle school. And of course, I always enjoy playing indie games…there is always some really interesting stuff on the expo hall floor.
  • I’d love to meet some new PAX friends this year. I’ve been confined to groups in the past, but I’m mostly solo this year.

News is gonna come fast and furious over the next couple weeks…I’m so ready for PAX East to start!

Why Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn’s early server issues are good for all gamers

I saw a lot of people complaining on Twitter and Facebook today about how it’s terrible that Square Enix have so many server issues with the Early Access launch of Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn, causing emergency maintenance periods and low login limitations.  Gamers had to resort to “doing other things,” like “doing chores around the house,” “reading a book,” and even…”sleeping.”

Guys and gals – if you are a gamer and have ever followed the launch of a MMO, especially a MMORPG, you know that nothing goes smoothly during launch day (especially an Early Access launch day), or during launch week, or during launch month.  Hell, I’d argue that companies have a rough YEAR of fixing a MMO before it truly hits its stride.  This is Square Enix we are talking about…not some small, two-person shop running a MMO on a Commodore 64.  They are going to get things fixed – it will happen.

These server issues are actually quite good for gamers like me, because we are forced to do things that we normally wouldn’t do with a recently-released MMO.  Things like…sleeping normal hours.  Or socializing with others.  Or taking a walk.  There’s a reason why Nintendo constantly reminds you to take breaks after playing for extended periods of time…it’s not good for you to be slammin’ that Mountain Dew and Domino’s Pizza for 16-20 hours every day.

Yes, we did pay money for Early Access, and yes there shouldn’t be so many unscheduled maintenance periods.  But if you were able to play the game at all, even just for a few minutes, you were able to witness its beauty, its complexity, and its value.  Yeah, I had to suck it up and start another character on a JP server…but this was good because I got to try another race, class, birthday, starting city, hair style, hair color, tattoo style, etc.

These issues were a good thing.  In fact, if this happened to be something that was done on purpose or with some thought, I would say it’s one of the more brilliant things that could be done for our welfare.