PAX East Day 1 Recap – Studio 5, WildStar, Cosplay, and Indie Madness
By Darren Henderson (DizzyPW), OnRPG Editor-in-Chief
Day 1 of PAX East. The calm before the weekend storm. I had assembled a crack team of veteran photographers and editorial writers including JamesBl0nde, Bowen, Ardua, and Leliah to take on PAX East by storm. We hit the ground running at 9am to bring all the coverage.
Before even getting into the building you could feel the excitement in the air. An obnoxious looking full body suit Teemo and sexy Janna looked on as an imposing Fiddlesticks bounded around on pogo stick leg attachments scaring anyone not paying attention. As usual League of Legends’ cosplayers draw first blood. Unfortunately Janna whirlwinded Bowen away and made her escape before we could get a closer look.
As we descended into the showroom floor we knew we were in for one hell of a show. Bethesda and Blizzard side by side at PAX? Yes please! My personal favorite Dungeon Defenders was showing off the sequel in all its glory in the distance. A huge Riot Games stage in the far corner displayed an endless array of changing skin icons as endless crowds gathered around creating obvious fire hazards. HoN stood just next to them with a slot machine offering fans chances to win all kinds of goodies. Heck even Xbox and Nintendo were out in force!
But of course it’s the Indie Mega Booth that truly makes PAX East and there is no shortage of talent in attendance this year. We managed to meet up with Gabriel of Mechanist Games to get an updated look at City of Steam and wow has it come a long way since Leliah’s earlier beta articles. If this is a game you’ve been following you won’t want to miss James and Gabriel chat it up in our upcoming gameplay demo showcasing all that’s new in this unique steampunk world!
There’s certainly a lot to see in the Indie section but we had to rush off for the big Blizzard reveal. What could it be? I know Merry had plenty to say earlier this week on OnRPG’s WoW Wednesday article but in the end none of us saw this coming.
A Warcraft iTCG? F2P Mobile Device? Yea Heroes of Warcraft – Hearthstone was not at all what we were expecting from Blizzard’s big appearance at PAX. But even so the game plays pretty well and offers a lot of strategic opportunities while still being really casual friendly in true Blizz style and I have no doubt the game is going to do incredibly well, especially among Warcraft junkies looking to get their fix while on the road.
An MMOHuts Fan Recognizes James. Celebrity Achievement Unlocked!
I finally met Ardua and Leliah in person. And what better place to do it than at Bethesda’s booth! And Ardua and Leliah were certainly in for a treat when none other than Matt Firor, Elder Scrolls Online’s Game Director, walked out of the press room to usher us in. Inside they were given a crash course in the Elder Scrolls Online combat system as well as got to test out the character customization in-depth. Keep an eye out for their article as well as mine on the new Dishonored DLC, Knife of Dunwall, which is sure to make enthusiasts of the title cringe in pain from its intense difficulty while leave you hooked with one of the most unique story telling opportunities imaginable.
Fans stand dumbstruck at Elder Scrolls Online trailers outside the booth.
The closest we can get to showing you what went on inside that sealed off cubicle.
After that it was off to the Riot Games booth for the most important coverage of all.. Ahri cosplay.
Unfortunately Bowen missed getting a shot of this Soraka’s incredibly impressive hoof shoes.
But instead of the regularly scheduled meeting I managed to get an inside track after talking to Riot Lyte (aka Mr. Tribunal) and snagged an upcoming interview with Lead Content Designer Morello on Sunday afternoon so don’t miss out as I drill him on the important questions such as why there are so many Akali cosplayers and hardly enough Janna cosplayers and what they intend to do to fix this imbalance of power.
Next up it was on to the Red 5 Studios presentation and livestream on Twitch.tv and to be honest I had low expectations. I saw ‘free lunch’ and thought to myself ‘oh, is this not going to be interesting enough to get press to attend without a bribe?’ But thankfully the free lunch is just part of Red 5 Studios work hard and party harder mentality because what they had to show was a serious game changer.
Look out G4TV you sell out of a station you. Red 5 Studios is bringing indie back with their new Internet based station, Stage 5, featuring shows like the one shown above, cosplay shows, and various showcases of top notch Indie gaming teams from around the world. This is poetic justice that I applaud Red 5 Studios for taking the risk to make a reality. Beyond this FireFall received its biggest update ever yesterday and plenty more is on the way soon to completely change how this game feels and plays. It’s honestly going to take a dedicated write-up to explain all the awesome going on with this company but for those that can’t wait, I suggest you catch the replay of the livestream and see for yourself!
Finally it was off to the Twitch.TV booth where we snagged some time with HiRez’s COO Todd Harris while I snuck off to collect a rather bulky pile of PAX 2013 Kali skins for an upcoming giveaway. Keep an eye out for our interview for details on how to enter for your chance to win this rare skin!
Deep respect for Bastet managing to wear those heels all day. Todd Harris slipped up and told us she was the Goddess of Whips which is pretty kinky.
All that would have qualified for a pretty good Friday of coverage… but we decided to push a bit further and go all-in on WildStar to finish the day off! Ardua and Leliah caught the community panel to get a briefer on the game while our video team caught the expert level tutorial courtesy of Executive Producer Jeremy Gaffney. We have the entire demo recorded for your upcoming viewing pleasure but long story short, this game is designed to keep you entertained from start to finish!
From mutant vending machines that dynamically rain from the sky to regions of the world with lower gravity, you can expect the gameplay to be constantly changing as you venture through WildStar’s Planet Nexus. Gaffney expressed a rather unique problem they’ve been having with testers. There’s so much dynamic content going on at once that only the astute gamers even notice it all! And it’s such an odd mix of the unusual, the weird, and the serious that I couldn’t tell whether to keep my serious face going or break out in laughter as their driver took us through many various scenarios.
And then there’s the housing and what a glorious system it is. First off after purchasing your land, you have to then battle to control your land in a variety of ways, though the one in our demo involved trying to build a house on top of an ancient pet cemetery with hilarious results. Then once that’s settled, there’s placing the house, the anti-gravity bounce house, the hedge maze, the garden, the personal portal to your favorite raid dungeon complete with customizable buffs, the ceiling treasure, the mineral ore foundry, and of course, a white picket fence. Nearly everything you place has some kind of impact on gameplay that even the average player is going to care about. More cool stuff in your house? Better rest experience for you if you log off at home. Garden? Food for crafting. Mine? Minerals for crafting. Anti-Gravity bounce house? Anti-gravity bounce house (duh!).
And though it’s not currently implemented, they are looking into creating the options to allow permissions to let other players organize your house for those who want to hire a interior decorator on the auction house… or those who just have very overbearing girlfriends that demand your love nest be personalized to her liking. You’ll also be able to open your house to the public for special events or host smaller invite only parties at your discretion.
Oh and here’s a kicker that I guess just slipped by me for the last few weeks unnoticed. Those nasty goons from the Dominion faction that Carbine Studios has been releasing trailers introducing since February? Turns out that’s not just AI baddies. They are a playable faction! Which just brings so many new elements into gameplay I hadn’t even considered when we awarded this game our Most Anticipated 2013. And for those that doubted us on saying this game was going to make it by 2013.. let’s just say you might want to keep your eyes on your email box for NDA closed beta invites in the very near future.
That said the show is now underway and I need to rush to the WildStar booth to get some hands-on gameplay with the title and learn everything I can about the Dominion. My apologies to those expecting further coverage of big titty bunny girls (The Aurin to be politically correct) but the Dominion not only have revealed themselves as a playable faction but also have denied us access to the obviously inferior Exiles’ faction for the duration of PAX.
Keep an eye out for our Day 2 Recap featuring information on:
The Future of SOE
Wargaming’s Esports Plans
Final Fantasy Reborn
Heroes of Newerth
Civilization 5 – Brave New World
And a closer look at Red 5 Studios’ PAX announcements!
At that I leave you with Bowen’s personal cosplay picture collection:
I was wondering who this couple was for nearly a day until it hit me!