Monthly Archives: January 2017

Enforcers: The Unsung Heroes of PAX

Enforcers: The Unsung Heroes of PAXBy Charles Perez (KingsDecree)

The Penny Arcade Expo is an exceptionally intricate machine focused on fan engagement and is held all over the world, but it couldn’t be done without the Enforcers. Participating on the panel are a few veterans of the scene with varying amount of years of experience under their belt including Trin, Carla, Andrew, and Chief Enforcer Kristin.

First off, what’s an Enforcer?

Kristin – Enforcers are the show’s staff, anything that needs to be done within the event is handled by the hand-picked crew; this includes customer service across the board like providing direct assistance on the show floor to helping manage the numerous panels, tournaments, and other activities.

What was your first impression of an Enforcer?

Trin – I admired the Enforcers because they had confidence while I had anxiety. I asked myself, “How can I do that?”

Carla – As the unobtainable elite. I took a long shot on an application and was invited to join the crew. I’ve been hooked ever since.

Andrew – I loved the comic. The comic is awesome, PAX is awesome, and as someone who reached the glass ceiling of what I could do as far as community interaction went I wanted more.

Kristin – I wanted to work with people that were a cut above the staff of other conventions like E3. It was difficult to build up the show from the ground floor with no experience, but it was worth it to have a fantastic community of helpers in the end. Our Enforcers also help out at other events like Child’s Play.

What makes you come back year after year?

Trin – I love being on the other side of game development. The fan expos are the best part of the industry and the Enforcer community is amazing.

Carla – I’ve worked with and have been disappointed by other shows and their staff, they just weren’t as friendly and couldn’t match the PAX/Enforcer energy.

Andrew – Because of the Enforcers. I have a lot of good friends here and will probably never retire.

Kristin – It’s my job! But more seriously I think of the Enforcers as my children.

How do you balance between professionalism and passion?

Trin – Enforcers cosplay all the time, I love the creativity, but I make sure to work hard to be there for the attendees. The fans come first, enthusiasm second.

Carla – Tone it down when necessary. I was assigned to help out a band I loved, but stayed professional regardless.

Andrew – Be passionate, but remind yourself when it’s appropriate and when it’s not. As far as cosplay goes, it’s welcomed with open arms – just make sure people know you’re an enforcer.

Kristin – Have fun. Follow the 6 rules of PAX. Don’t make people uncomfortable.

What’s the Enforcer culture like at PAX?

(Everyone points and laughs at a cardboard cutout of Shawn, an enforcer at the show.)

Kristin – Enforcer lore and stories. Lots of connections all the time about any number of things. Also, Shawn! There’s a Man of the Month calendar, but each month is Shawn, buttons of Shawn, but each day they get bigger, and there’s also a cardboard cutout of Shawn which we carry around. The goal is to embarrass him as much as possible. Lovingly of course.

Andrew – Lots of pranks.

Carla – Regional culture and recognizing each other by their handles instead of their real names.

Trin – Traditions like painting their fingernails with glitter and personal identifiers like buttons.

What’s a specific PAX moment that you cherish?

Trin – When the enforcer community came together in a time of hardship.

Kristin – My oldest child has a learning disability and he had a stuffed guinea pig that helped him cope, but it was unfortunately lost on a trip to Disney World. It devastated him, especially since we couldn’t find another. No amount of searching or calling everyone and anyone involved with the production of the stuffed animal could help. I had lost all hope until I was reminded I had an army of helpers. With the assistance of the Enforcers I was able to get the guinea pig back to my son. When I needed help, the Enforcers were there.

Andrew – A guy at the convention had gotten all the scavenger hunt codes, but couldn’t get the shirt for whatever reason and was pretty distraught. It took 5 minutes to talk to him, get the shirt, and come back; it totally made his day and will probably be something he’ll never forget. It’s the little actions that change someone’s life for the better.

Advice on becoming an Enforcer and for incoming ones?

Kristin – Simply apply on the website and take it seriously. It’s paid like a job so treat it like one. Ability won’t stop you.

Andrew – Be passionate.

Carla – Don’t be afraid of being overwhelmed. It’s not a competition of who’s played the most games or who’s been to the most PAXs.

Trin – It’s okay to have knowledge shortcomings. You’re not a soldier, you can’t do everything everywhere, play your part and support each other.

What’s a typical day like?

Kristin – Human resource stuff like grabbing badges and shirts then reporting to your assigned department. After your 6 or so hour shift you can do anything you want.

Requirements to be an Enforcer?

Kristin – It varies, be alive, employable in the US, 18 years or older, take it seriously, be able to handle the customer service part, and be passionate. You don’t even have to be a gamer.

What’s training like?

Kristin – Mostly learning on the job with straightforward tasks and instructions. High profile assignments watch webinars to learn the product and job expectations. However, we’re currently working on mentorship and streamlined training.

What would a PAX be like without Enforcers? Let’s hope we never have to find out.

PAX South 2017 Q&A: The Future of Twitch Broadcasting

PAX South 2017 Q&A: The Future of Twitch BroadcastingBy Charles Perez (KingsDecree)

Twitch is by far the most popular streaming platform on the planet not only for video games, but also for tabletop gaming, various forms of art design, and talk shows among others things. Over at PAX South 2017 a few of the head honchos over at Twitch (including the lead community manager @Aureylian) came in to chat about their future plans.

First off, and most importantly to the future success of Twitch, what are communities?

Communities are user generated groups showcasing a specific kind of broadcast, this allows streamers to more easily connect with an audience which have similar interests. So, for example, if you only want to see Overwatch gameplay featuring Soldier 76, then you can create your own community allowing only Soldier 76 broadcasts.

The service will be going into open beta soon, however only users with 3-month old accounts and verified emails may create communities.

How will communities be moderated?

Creators and hand-picked moderators of a community can ban someone from their group should they not follow the rules. However, this self governing system can’t be used to harass or abuse others and the ban only applies to that specific community.

What kind of properties can you edit in a community?

Banners and avatars can be customized, also you can set clearly visible rules.

Won’t there be confusion with both Game Directories and Community Directories?

Initially yes, and there’s not much that can be done to avoid that, but as time goes on users will create and seek out the more niche interests. Another example of a potential community is a speedrun only group for a particular game like Dark Souls.

Why hasn’t there been more communication on Twitch’s part regarding bans against specific games or users?

Essentially: privacy. However, there are people in place to prevent mistakes and miscommunication.

Why doesn’t Twitch do more to help support smaller streamers? For example, bits and cheering are not available for non-partners.

We want to help, but it takes time and manpower. While we try to do as much as we can, it helps tremendously if you have high quality content and participate in community outreach events.

Spill the beans! Tell us about the fabled Golden Kappa!


When are we going to be able to stream IRL with the mobile app?

Soon! Sign up for the beta.

How can we meet our favorite streamers?

Visit TwitchCon, the featured broadcasters will be announced roughly a month in advance.  

Why aren’t there TwitchCons on the East Coast or in Europe?

There are many factors that go into considering a location, including but not limited to: convention center availability, nearby airports, hotels, facilities, restaurants, and even what the weather is like. Maybe something suitable can be found elsewhere, but no guarantees.

What’s the deal with Justin.TV usernames?

Inactive accounts, and by extension handles, are being recycled for others to claim.

Why isn’t Twitch Prime available in other countries?

While we are working hard to get many of our features spread across the globe it can be exceptionally difficult or outright impossible due to the legal gymnastics required.

How are small streamers supposed to get exposure?

Utilize communities and auto-hosting! Also, we are working hard on improving our current systems like discover and search.

I have this great idea to make Twitch better!

If you have something you’d like to see then speak up! Many features come about because of the users, famously Twitch Plays Pokemon. We had no idea such a thing would not only be possible, but massively popular.

How does discovery work?

It’s complicated data science created and observed by the best in the business. Basically there are formulas in place to track viewer interest, i.e. if one person likes this broadcast, they probably like this other one too. Additionally, activity sharing through friends is a powerful tool in finding streams attuned to your taste.  

What is Automod?

It’s a super cool system that uses algorithms to automatically determine how to improve chat as a whole, currently it’s being utilized by roughly 10% of broadcasts.

What is the followers only mode?

It’s the non-partnered version of ‘subs only mode’. The goal is to prevent toxicity and increase followers while avoiding reducing chat participation.

Above all else the Twitch platform is focused on one goal in particular: connecting broadcasters and their audience. The various features and improvements over the years are result of that constant effort. 

Star Trek Online Season 12 – Reckoning Elachi Ornash Battlecruiser Raffle

To celebrate the launch of Star Trek Online: Season 12 – Reckoning, we’re teaming up with Perfect World Entertainment and Cryptic Studios to give lucky winners a Tier 6 Elachi Ornash Battlecruiser.

Star Trek Online is a free-to-play massively multiplayer online game where players can pioneer their own destiny as Captain of a Federation starship, become a Klingon Warrior and champion the Empire through the far reaches of the galaxy, or rebuild the Romulan legacy as the commander of a Romulan Republic Warbird. In Star Trek Online, players have the opportunity to visit iconic locations from the popular Star Trek universe, reach out to unexplored star systems and make contact with new alien species. Star Trek Online is currently available on PC, PlayStation®4 and Xbox One.


About the Tier 6 Elachi Ornash Battlecruiser
A tough and versatile design, the Tier 6 Ornash-class battlecruiser is a capable and deadly opponent – alone or as part of a unified force. It can swiftly deploy an array of support craft through the use of an Enhanced Elachi Subspace Transceiver, adding instant backup to the battle.

This starship features a Lieutenant Command Tactical/Command Bridge Officer Station and a Lieutenant Universal/Command Bridge Officer Station.

To Enter the Raffle:

  • Post in our forum thread and tell us what your favorite experience with Star Trek Online has been! With 7 years online, much has happened in the past 12 seasons. Tell us your favorite moment or storyline from the past to enter!
  • We’ll be raffling off winners on Monday, February 6th. Winners will be PM’d their code, so make sure to check back and see if you’ve won!


PAX South 2017: Home of the Indies & Cosplay Spotlight!

By Jason Parker (Ragachak)


I have to say, the list of developers at PAX South 2017 really surprised me! I didn’t see the huge Texas developers like Gearbox at all! I know Robot Factory were busy too, but I was a little disappointed they weren’t there! There were some big names there, though – Nintendo showed off the Switch for example. But for the most part, PAX South remains the home to highlight indie games. I love that though! There were so many fantastic games that were on display that we could not possibly get to, except on my last day where my mission was to find as many things as possible that need to be noticed.  So with that in mind, let’s talk about some indie games!


    • Super Dungeon Tactics: Oh man! I’ve covered this before, and without a doubt, it’s one of the most fun ways to play a tabletop strategy game, without being able to get out and be with actual people!

That’s not always an easy thing to do. So, being able to play a strategy board game, in a franchise as fun as Soda Pops Super Dungeon Tactics, makes me very happy. In fact, they are going to have new levels soon, and quite a bit more content that will be worth seeing!


    • Nefarious: NEFARIOUS IS SO FUN. You play an action platformer/twinstick platformer as the evil villain. You can point your attacks with the other stick to set up some on the fly chaos. Special attacks are amazing, as is bomb jumping, the amazing 1930s style music, and there’s even someone from the Skullgirls team working on it for bonus points. I forget exactly who it was, but it will show, I promise. It’s a single-player title, but it’s catchy and addictive.  It’s a very smart, self-aware title, and come on, the hero breaks up with the Princes on the first stage! Each princess in the game will change gameplay for Crow, the villain, and you will have fun exploring. I promise.
    • Holy Potatoes! We’re in Space!?: I’m so glad I got to go see them! I loved Holy Potatoes! A Weapon Shop!?  So seeing this one is just 100% better. Their devs were chill, and they showed us turn-based strategy game that is 0% serious. Tons and tons of pop-culture references, fun characters, an upgradable starship that you’ll do battle with, and just being there for 15-20 minutes to play some of the start of the game…I was disappointed that I had to get up and go do other things. I enjoyed picking the brains of their devs, admiring the adorable and funny art, and just laughing at every subtle [or not so subtle. . .] joke or reference. If you don’t look for this when it comes out on Valentine’s Day, shame on you! Even single people will have something to fill their lives that’s magical and lovely.


    • The Shrouded Isle: Just when I thought the Moon Hunters people couldn’t top themselves, they did it. The Shrouded Isle places you in charge of an island of paranoid religious nutjobs, and your goal is to find the right people to sacrifice to keep a dark god at bay and appeased. You don’t want him to wake up and consume everyone! Five families vie for power, and as it so happens, the normal traits might not be ideal. As in, someone who is a sadist might be a great candidate or someone who is a religious zealot. Sacrificing someone who is insanely into religion shouldn’t be a problem or upset people, because they know it is their duty to die for the cause. This is going to be uncomfortable for some, but for me? I NEED IT. I need to play this simulation, control this island, and put to death the right people.  Maybe that… says more about me than it should.
    • In The Shadows: A very retro-styled game where you play a child shrouded in darkness. You need to bring light to the world around you to scare away the monsters! They are hidden in a deeper darkness, and the game feels like it will be a wonderful, fun, distracting platformer.It’s hard to reinvent the platformer, and it is imperative that they stand out. I didn’t get a lot of time to see this in action, but what I saw captured my attention. We as humans have a fascination with what lurks in the darkness, but it would also feel incredibly satisfying to banish that darkness with your own hands.

Forsaken Castle

  • Forsaken Castle: Forsaken Castle is a Metroid-vania style platformer, with more Super Metroid than Castlevania going on. Lots of hidden power-ups and secrets to unlock, as you control Lily, a newly appointed Paladin to a run-down, decrepit castle where evil lurks around every corner. It’s adorable and looks and feels quite fun. You avoid traps, smash evil to bits, and explore all the nooks and crannies of the mysterious castle. It’s coming soon to Steam Greenlight and should not be missed at all. It’s definitely one of my favorite platformers I saw. I was always more of a JRPG fan, but at heart, platformers are fun. And I like fun, contrary to popular belief.
  • Monster Boy and the Cursed Kingdom: It’s a sequel to a game I couldn’t play as a lad, but am familiar with! Monster Boy debuted on the Wonderswan [a Japanese handheld], and in this sequel [which features many of the original devs/composers], you play an insanely adorable platformer where you can turn into various animal creatures to solve puzzles, overcome obstacles, and stop your evil Uncle from ruining the land with his ridiculous curse.It’s so bright and cheerful, I can hardly stand it! But it is fun. It’s so very fun.
  • Haimrik: Em. Gee. The most ambitious fun puzzle platform game I’ve ever played. This is a world where words have power, and Haimrik can take these words and wield them. Literally. There are words on the screen, and some can be pulled to life, whether it’s ‘sword’ pulling a sword from the air, or a torch, or the word lightning, to zap the other evil wordsmith, Haimrik needs to be seen to be explained/believed. There are so many ways to solve problems and overcome issues, depending on how you look at the word. It makes me so happy to see as a fan of the English Language. And the art is mesmerizing. Everything about it was magical, and I love seeing games that are not so straight-forward. They weren’t telling people how to do it, and were letting them do it themselves. And I was great at it! These titles are all really wonderful, and I really wanted these guys to get some exposure and credit for their work.


One of the most important, most difficult parts about being an indie developer is finding an audience and exposure. How else are people going to find these amazing up and coming games without a bit of help? That’s what my goal was here; they are definitely titles that deserve to be seen by a wider audience.

And finally – it’s time to enjoy the tons of great cosplay that was available at the show this year!

Elder Scrolls Online Goes to Morrowind!


Elder Scrolls Online is a pretty great depiction of the world Bethesda has created over the past few decades.  However, there’s something missing. Something vast, popular – something from the collective past of PC and console gamers alike. But what is that? Skyrim? Nah, it already looks kind of like Skyrim.  No, it’s not Arena, that’s not even an area! Come on, guys, think! Well don’t worry, I have the answer.  It’s Morrowind!  Elder Scrolls Online is going to the wonderful land of Morrowind! It’s time to go to the Isle of Vvardenfell, which, when combined with One Tamriel, can only mean one thing to me: We can start right on Vvardenfell, instead of starting on old content! Granted, it’s going to come with the previous content, so you’ll have hundreds and hundreds of hours of content to explore all told.  I feel like this will be a godsend to bring new users to the game, and rekindle the older users who might feel restless, bored, or craving something to do. So take heart! There will be something glorious for players to explore. The Morrowind update is the largest area added to the game to date, and I feel like it could definitely be considered an actual expansion.  It’s not free though, but it will definitely be worth purchasing. For those who already own the game, 39.99 gets you the new content, and for new players, you can get the whole game, with Morrowind for 59.99. There’s also going to be a massive pile of content, and all the important, legendary locales of the original game. However it takes place 700 years before the actual events of Morrowind, so you’re going to be actually shaping the events that you played out initially! That really blows my mind.  But is there cool stuff coming? Of course!


  • New Class: Warden! The nature-based magic master is coming to ESO. It’s the first new class since launch and will be able to select a variety of abilities, and have quite a few different ways to play, which is amazing. They also get a cool animal ally to help them kick asses across Cyrodill! The War Bear!  It stands by your side no matter what.


  • Story: Set 700 years before the original story as I said above, you’re going to help Vivec, the legendary warrior-poet, solve his mysterious illness, regain his power, and save the world. Are you ready to really be a hero?  You won’t have to wait long!


  • PVP: Instead of open-world PVP, which is what ESO is known for, we can expect 4v4v4 battlegrounds, set in an arena environment. Specifically, we go to do battle in the Ashlands. And it’s going to be fast-paced, intense battles to see which faction is truly the fittest and most powerful!

Of course, there’s going to be really cool pre-order bonuses, and a collector’s edition for the most die-hard fans, that will without a doubt be worth picking up!


It’s happening! Elder Scrolls Online: Morrowind! Are you ready to embrace your destiny as a hero?