PAX Prime 2012 OnRPG/MMOHuts Day 3 Recap
By Darren Henderson (DizzyPW), OnRPG Editor-in-Chief
Co-written by James Hunt (JamesBl0nde), MMOHuts Content Editor
It’s been a loooooong 24+ hours but we’re finally settled and ready to continue pumping out coverage of PAX 2012. But before we even get to our Day 3 coverage we have to share a bit about our Day 2 evening because Starcraft II’s new tournament styling blew us away.
After hitting up some amazing sushi at Blue C Sushi with James’ old roommate ColbyCheeze and a fellow LoL shoutcaster from IGN, AJ Mazur we headed over to snag our VIP seats in the on-going Starcraft II tournaments. Although he went on to place 2nd overall, iNcontroL was true to his name all night on Saturday, reacting with superhuman speed to the constant barrage of heat seeking missiles, planet crackers, and all other sorts of disasters that the community was voting to throw at him. Even knowing as little about Starcraft II as I do, I couldn’t help to get pulled into the excitement in the room as units dodged vortexs and lighting storms in the nick of time to keep matches lasting over half an hour with resource leads switching between teams every few minutes.
It was also incredibly humorous to watch the players prior to each match try to win over the audience with their charisma in the attempts to gain an advantage in the voting during the matches. I feel Blizzard has really hit a goldmine with this new method of tournaments and I look forward to watching future matches like it as our awesome local Buffalo Wild Wings that is cool enough to stream esports matches for me.
One last mention of this: We’d like to congratulate Bomber for not only taking home the championship but also being a cool enough guy to hang out at the Barcraft earlier Saturday night to play matches with the fans.
The following day our time finally arrived to bring our forum community members what they wanted. We entered the convention center and were first in line to follow a parade through the showroom floor led by none other than Sonic the Hedgehog! The destination? SEGA’s Phantasy Star Online 2, one of the most popular online titles in Japan that was making its English debut appearance in North America.
I received an impressive run-down from SEGA’s Senior Producer Ken Ogasawara on the three class types, customization, the on-the-fly weapon swap outs, and even got to carry my team through a fantastic and challenging lava dragon battle that nearly resulted in a party-wipe on multiple occasions. With all skills being aimed and monsters interacting depending on the elemental skills you use and areas on their body parts you hit, this is the first title I’ve seen in a while that I feel can go toe to toe with my current action RPG favorite TERA. Following our play session we watched some fans test out the incredibly in-depth character creator and got a chance to interview a girl with a hardcore southern accent on her personal thoughts on the customization options. Look forward to a video on both coming your way later this week!
After learning a bit about Phantasy Star Online 2 and splashing my memory back in the old SEGA days with Sonic, I left Dizzy and Bowen to get a head start towards the pretty hefty crowd around Marvel Heroes. I interviewed one of the Associate Producers from gazillion entertainment. The game takes a lot from the older Diablo games except with open world actions and events were large groups of people aid one another in taking out raid bosses, all while being your favorite Marvel Hero.
During the interview I was interrupted by two awesome people, the first was Spiderman himself, and the second was David Brevik the president and COO of gazillion and original creator of Diablo I.
While James was checking out Marvel Heroes I snagged some time to check out Nvidia’s newest graphics card, the GeForce GTX 660 TI. I was overwhelmed as Andrew Coonrad, their Technical Marketing guy, went over just how far technology has advanced with this latest addition to their roster. There’s literally so much going on with this new card that it’s hard to summarize it all but the feature they were most proud of was the PhysX technology that can combine the most advanced detailing including cloth, forcefields, see-through elements, liquids, and realistic skin textures all together in graphics that put even the movies to shame.
But fortune truly smiled on me at this booth as I got a chance to meet a member of the Borderlands 2 team who snuck me into their demo that normally carried a 3 hour line to gain access to! Although we weren’t allowed to record the demo we got to see a gigantic tentacle monster destroy the 4 man dev team in 3 minutes flat. They also demoed two new classes including Astin, a turret master than can place turrets on any terrain, and the never before seen Mechromancer, a female character that builds clap traps of mass destruction. As soon as this article is published I’m immediately going to get to work recapping all we saw from Borderlands 2 as it was the highest requested game on our community forum thread!
Sometime later I found myself on the 6th floor to check out a new indie title designed to cater to the old school D&D tabletop fans who no longer have the time to purchase and paint hundreds of figurines, or perhaps just moved away from their D&D crew. David Steinwedel, bitflip games' executive producer, set me up with a member of his dev team to get a crash course on all things MinionMasters. In MinionMasters you can build your own decks of fighters, action cards, and power-ups, and then sit back as hundreds of pieces from 6 competing players (or AI fill-ins) go to battle with simultaneous movements. This definitely looked like a fun side game I’d be into playing and I’ll probably pick it up and give it a full review later this month!
While DizzyPW was over chatting it up with MinionMasters I got in touch with the guys from Musegames and Guns of Icarus. These guys didn’t have a booth but they were still out telling people about their game and I was glad to be one of them. This game is so unique it really doesn’t have a particular genre. Get inside a flying airship as a Captain, Gunner, or Engineer , team up to take down enemy airships while staying alive. One interesting thing about the game is, although you may be one particular class the chaos in the game is very similar to, say, the show The Most Deadliest Catch, In that you can equip tools in the load out screen that will allow you to blend into one of the other classes, for example, if you are a gunner, you might pick up a wrench, or a fire extinguisher to be able to maintain your own close range fire breathing turret, or at least until your engineer shows up to get you back into action. Hopefully in the future I can get into a game with these guys to make a unique First Look.
Next I found myself playing a game called FORGE, a MMO focused around PvP and skill shots. The game handles like a third person shooter using the Unreal Engine 3, so much so that I wanted to crouch down behind objects to use skills. On the other side of spectrum the game mysteriously reminded me of Smite especially after I was told that they were working on a gamemode that featured minions pushing bosses. After getting the hang of the game I found myself pretty successful with a 1v3 victory. FORGE is an indie game with a small price tag but well worth looking into.
By now the energy levels in the convention center were beginning to wane as geeks from around the world began to feel the weight of their feet dragging across the floor. However one Dr. Pepper later and DizzyPW was back in action to finish up our coverage at the Dungeons and Dragons booth. We haven’t covered this title closely since PAX East so we got a chance to look at an advanced Druid class in action, got a peak at what exactly lurks in the forests surrounding Eveningstar, and witnessed the might of the Spider Goddess Lolth tear things up in her outer dimensional web. The part that really impressed me though was the graphics upgrades, though words don’t bring them justice. Keep an eye out for our DDO interview to get a glimpse of all this and more.
Leaving Dizzy at the DDO booth I ventured off for a drink as well but first I had to stop by the Gunner booth to look through a pair of stylish gaming glasses. These glasses, all with an amber colored tint, actually block all of the man made blue light rays coming from our computer monitors. Constant bombardment from this light will certainly cause headaches and bad eye strain. These glasses came in so many different varieties it made Oakley look bad, glasses for the long hour office worker or professional gamers (which featured lowered arms to accommodate for headsets). There is no doubt I am picking up a set of these, especially since they can replace prescription eye-wear.
That wraps it up for our quick recaps of PAX Prime but our coverage has only begun. Keep an eye out for dozens of interviews, more cosplay than you can flash a camera at, and some of the best giveaways we have ever snagged at any convention!
Update: We are now holding a contest to give out Planetside 2 beta keys! Check out our forum post HERE for more details!