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Is PAX getting too big?

pillarofdawnpillarofdawn Registered User
edited August 2011 in PAX Archive
This was my third year at PAX and I had noticed that this year felt the most crowded than any year before(because it was :P). I realize that PAX is there for all in the gaming community to enjoy, but does anyone else out there feel as though it is hard to enjoy when you feel like a sardine in a can? I applaud the Penny Arcade staff for bringing us PAX and for trying to bring it to everyone. However the WSCTC only has so much room :/ Am I alone in wanting either more room or a capped number of attendees? What solutions do you think there to help this?

Disclaimer: I realize this is an issue that PA has most likely struggled with and tried to remedy. I am not criticizing them in the least. <3

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  • BigRedBigRed Seattle, WARegistered User regular
    There is a capped number of attendees but this year there was a /ton/ of counterfeit badges above and beyond the cap. Sadly, thats probably why it was far more crowded :(

    <MoeFwacky> besides, BigRed-Worky is right
  • mcdermottmcdermott Registered User regular
    There is a capped number of attendees. I can only assume you mean a lower cap.

    As for more room, it gets tricky at this point. You've already basically got the entire convention center, plus a floor of the Sheraton, plus the Paramount...where do you grow from there? Without fracturing the con? Even Benaroyal Hall was a pain, and it was like a couple blocks away.


    As for how to address lines, I don't know. Adding more "things" (panels, booths) to see only works if you add more space to go with it (or else it's just as crowded, though perhaps some lines would be shorter). Less "things" can reduce crowding, but means longer lines (same number of people, fewer lines). Reducing total number of attendees sucks (already trending towards a day-one sellout).


    About all I can come up with is expanding the expo hall hours, which might help. Or it might not. Or at least not much.


    I'm trying not to be super negative here, I just don't see any solution.

  • mcdermottmcdermott Registered User regular
    BigRed wrote:
    There is a capped number of attendees but this year there was a /ton/ of counterfeit badges above and beyond the cap. Sadly, thats probably why it was far more crowded :(

    It was pretty crowded last year.

  • RedwingedblackbirdRedwingedblackbird Island CountyRegistered User regular
    I noticed it seemed a bit more crowded this year as well... but not a whole lot. As mcdermott pointed out, it was crowded last year as well. I feel that it's not too big as far as attendees go, but as far as content goes. Two huge exhibition halls, multiple panels/events at any one time, BYOC, LAN freepay, console freeplay, tabletop freeplay, off site events... There's so much, it's impossible to do even half of it in 2 1/2 days. Just going to the panels alone would take up almost all of PAX... and you'd still only see a fraction of the total panels. Now I'm not complaining... I love the fact that there's so much to do. But I think they should consider making PAX longer... even if it's only extending the Sunday hours to match those of Friday/Saturday. What do you all think?

  • mcdermottmcdermott Registered User regular
    edited August 2011
    I noticed it seemed a bit more crowded this year as well... but not a whole lot. As mcdermott pointed out, it was crowded last year as well. I feel that it's not too big as far as attendees go, but as far as content goes. Two huge exhibition halls, multiple panels/events at any one time, BYOC, LAN freepay, console freeplay, tabletop freeplay, off site events... There's so much, it's impossible to do even half of it in 2 1/2 days. Just going to the panels alone would take up almost all of PAX... and you'd still only see a fraction of the total panels. Now I'm not complaining... I love the fact that there's so much to do. But I think they should consider making PAX longer... even if it's only extending the Sunday hours to match those of Friday/Saturday. What do you all think?

    Most of the problems with crowding/lines are in the expo hall.

    Seems like extending the hours for everything else (since the expo hall would still likely close at the same time) would simply increase crowding in the expo hall...because it would give people more time to do other stuff.

    I feel like most of the panels weren't that crowded (yes, Skyrim/Irrational, I know). Maybe I just have the right taste in panels. But overall it seems like, this year, most of the problem I saw with lines/crowding revolved around the expo hall, initial entry into the con, and (to some extent) tourney/freeplay.

    The second one can't be helped. Freeplay areas could be expanded, perhaps? Or, unless my memory doesn't serve, restored? Pretty sure console at least has shrunk since '09. If you could get exhibitors to add a couple hours to the expo hall, that would help that end. But like I said before, I don't know how much...or if the exhibitors would be willing.

    EDIT: Note that when I say panels weren't crowded, I understand there were lines. Often well in advance. But, in most cases, those lines were more about getting a good seat...from my (admittedly limited) observations, most panels didn't seem to fill up more than 20-30 minutes ahead of time. Often less. So you didn't need to wait that long, you simply chose to. Which, to some extent, is fine...because it got you off the floor for a while (crowd management).

    mcdermott on
  • mcdermottmcdermott Registered User regular
    I also kinda think that some people need to adjust their expectations of what PAX is. Or rather, what they want it to be for them. You can't do it all. Not even close. Not even remotely close. In fact, you can't even do all the stuff you want to. Not even close.

    Basically, I think attendees need to accept that an average PAX experience will probably consist of seeing maybe a half dozen high-profile games, hitting a half-dozen panels, getting an autograph if that's their thing, and spending the balance either in freeplay (PC, console, tabletop...and again, I do maintain that console may need to expand), hitting low-profile/indie/retail booths, or off-site "activities." Every single year you will need to make choices. Is Acquisitions, Inc. that important to you? Go then, but understand you may not get to see <AAA title here> now. It's all about tradeoffs.

    But for as long as you get nerds hell-bent on seeing every damn thing, you'll get half the attendees jumping from one line to the next all day long, making every line unbearable. Seriously, we need to stop that. Chill. There's another one next year.

    "Activities" = drunkenings

  • BanthaBantha Registered User regular
    I have a totally different take on the "problem" with the crowds. My issue is with the lines themselves. Both the lack of organization/coordination of many of the lines and with the vendors causing those lines.

    Firstly, the organization. Many vendor had lines that you never really knew where they were, were they ended, etc. They had lines that overlapped other lines, and interfered with movement. That's what makes an event like PAX seem "over-crowded", when there's little space to move about. If the walkways were moving (and moving with any sort of organization), it wouldn't seem as bad. But when you can't get where you're trying to because there are dozens if not hundreds of people physically in the way, that's when it seems bad.

    I think this could be solved by designating the direction of traffic flow in some areas, by making actual barriers between lines and walkways, and by people simply being more courteous to their fellow gamers. I can't count how many times I was walking through an area to find one or two people that were being completely disruptive to the flow of foot traffic. People that suddenly stop to look at something but don't move out of the path of traffic, people that insist on walking 3 or 4 people across rather than leaving room for traffic from the opposite direction, etc. I'm actually tempted to try and make some videos and submit them to PA for "foot traffic ettiquette" next year.

    The second part of my initial point is the vendors themselves. When a vendor (especially those with AAA titles) sets up an area that is not at all equipped to handle the number of people interested in their product, it creates a problem. For instance, let's say a title has taken 4 big chunks of floor space. Then they use 3 of those chunks for "fluff". The 4th, where the actual content of their display is (demo machines, typically), has a capacity of 16 people at a time. And each group of 16 takes 20 minutes. Even with 5 minutes between groups, you're not going to get much more than about 250 people through your demo in the ENTIRE DAY. That's at peak efficiency. This is the sort of setup that leads to things like 6 hour lines for Skyrim at 10:05 am. There's literally not enough access for the size of the crowd. More demo machines, less fluff, shorter times for playing based on interest... this would get more people access and thereby move the line much faster, which then leads to less congestion.

    Yes, there's the case of wanting to show off how popular they are by having huge waits. And if a vendor wants to pay for that much floor space, that's between them and the PAX staff. But the staff COULD say "no lines longer than" x people or y minutes. Keep it moving, give people access and make it enjoyable for more. Not just awesome for a select few and annoying for everyone else.

    Feel free to disagree with me, but that's my take.

  • akjakakjak Spooky GymRegistered User regular
    As I tell friends, there are multiple PAXs going on at once, and you could spend an entire weekend in any one of them.

    Tabletop PAX, with lots of tournaments and freeplay, and its own "expo" (Steve Jackson, etc)

    Expo Hall PAX, with all the pomp and circumstance of huge exhibits and long lines to play cool demos.

    Huge Event PAX, with concerts, celebrity panels and music geeks.

    Panel PAX, where you can listen forever to the people who make games (see also the official PAX DEV)

    WoTC PAX, with tons of MTG and D&D events

    Community PAX, with pre-, during- and post- PAX events and after parties. Hang out with friends all weekend!

    And this year there was even HALO PAX.

    I don't think PAX is getting too big, it's more that it encompasses more and more interests all the time, which draws more attendees.

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  • akjakakjak Spooky GymRegistered User regular
    Bantha wrote:
    But the staff COULD say "no lines longer than" x people or y minutes. Keep it moving, give people access and make it enjoyable for more. Not just awesome for a select few and annoying for everyone else.

    This is a good suggestion.

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  • matguymatguy Registered User regular
    edited August 2011
    Bantha wrote:
    Yes, there's the case of wanting to show off how popular they are by having huge waits. And if a vendor wants to pay for that much floor space, that's between them and the PAX staff. But the staff COULD say "no lines longer than" x people or y minutes. Keep it moving, give people access and make it enjoyable for more. Not just awesome for a select few and annoying for everyone else.

    Or, maybe vendor lines need to stay within their floor space. If they expect a line, they should budget their own floor space for it, not walking floor space.

    (Edited for word miss-placement)

    matguy on
  • mcdermottmcdermott Registered User regular
    akjak hit it. It's nearly impossible for any person to experience more than a couple of these different PAXs in any real depth. Like, this year I didn't get any tabletop time in at all...it was nothing but Expo, Panel, and Community.

    Last year, it was more Panel, Community, and Tabletop.

    First year, Tabletop, Expo, Community.

    God help you if you're into WoTC, or concerts, etc.

    And even trying to get three different facets in means you miss out on a lot from the other two. That's just how it is. This is, to be honest, why I am considering hitting PAX East in addition to Prime. Sure, a lot of the stuff is vaguely similar between the two...but I missed 90% of the shit at Prime. So, like, this means I would only be missing 80%. A 100% improvement!
    I think this could be solved by designating the direction of traffic flow in some areas, by making actual barriers between lines and walkways, and by people simply being more courteous to their fellow gamers. I can't count how many times I was walking through an area to find one or two people that were being completely disruptive to the flow of foot traffic. People that suddenly stop to look at something but don't move out of the path of traffic, people that insist on walking 3 or 4 people across rather than leaving room for traffic from the opposite direction, etc. I'm actually tempted to try and make some videos and submit them to PA for "foot traffic ettiquette" next year.

    This is people in general. Everywhere. Fucking hate it. I used to be the misanthrope that would just walk full on into people on the sidewalk on campus if they decided to walk four abreast and force me off into the snow/grass...nope, my sidewalk too, pay attention and be considerate. I'm a little nicer at something like PAX, because there's more reason to be distracted...but seriously, people, situation awareness is your friend. You are standing where 3,000 people are, at this moment, trying to walk...this is not the place to check your twitternets.
    The second part of my initial point is the vendors themselves. When a vendor (especially those with AAA titles) sets up an area that is not at all equipped to handle the number of people interested in their product, it creates a problem. For instance, let's say a title has taken 4 big chunks of floor space. Then they use 3 of those chunks for "fluff". The 4th, where the actual content of their display is (demo machines, typically), has a capacity of 16 people at a time. And each group of 16 takes 20 minutes. Even with 5 minutes between groups, you're not going to get much more than about 250 people through your demo in the ENTIRE DAY. That's at peak efficiency. This is the sort of setup that leads to things like 6 hour lines for Skyrim at 10:05 am. There's literally not enough access for the size of the crowd. More demo machines, less fluff, shorter times for playing based on interest... this would get more people access and thereby move the line much faster, which then leads to less congestion.

    Yes, there's the case of wanting to show off how popular they are by having huge waits. And if a vendor wants to pay for that much floor space, that's between them and the PAX staff. But the staff COULD say "no lines longer than" x people or y minutes. Keep it moving, give people access and make it enjoyable for more. Not just awesome for a select few and annoying for everyone else.

    Yeah, this was touched on a little in the suggestions thread, but "closed" booths in particular aren't helping this any. But they really need to reign in some of these exhibitors that want to fit a AAA title into a shoebox of a booth. I mean, we can make fun of Firefall all day because their booth was, like, bigger than Bethesda and Bioware combined. But doesn't this also say something about the relative size of the other exhibitors as well? That maybe their booths were too small to handle demand?
    Or, vendor maybe lines need to stay within their floor space. If they expect a line, they should budget their own floor space for it, not walking floor space.

    I'd say a single person-width around their booths is a reasonable limit. Which, in many cases, is about what was enforced.

  • BanthaBantha Registered User regular
    matguy wrote:
    Or, maybe vendor lines need to stay within their floor space. If they expect a line, they should budget their own floor space for it, not walking floor space.

    Not a bad idea, at all. Would definitely help with the traffic issue, though not necessarily with the wait time issue. I'd even be happy with a simple barrier between lines and traffic areas. I myself accidentally cut in a couple lines because it was not clear at all where the actual line was. Of course, I was promptly informed of this by the people I cut in front of, and thus corrected my placement.

  • hml151hml151 Registered User regular
    I think the sad thing for me is that I have a massive spinal problem so line wait is not really an option. So if I'm going to play games it is usually medical/media pass day which was Friday this year. The exhibitors were not ready or no swag or we go to the booth and media shut it down. So there was no point really even try play games with any lines. Citizen Skywatch and Square Enix helped me out so I could play and I thank them. I love pax but I've realized that pax will just be there for me to get photos and maybe play a game or two. I still love PAX and will be returning for my fifth year in Prime 2012!

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  • BanthaBantha Registered User regular
    On a slightly different note, the awareness of door staff needs to be increased. Both on Saturday and Sunday mornings, staff (mostly actual Convention Center staff, but a few Enforcers, too) at various doors said "NO ONE GETS THROUGH THIS DOOR UNTIL THE QUEUE ROOM IS EMPTY" only to allow people through those doors 5 minutes later while the queue room was still quite full. On Saturday morning, my wife and I were both at a door that we were told would not be usable. She stayed there, I went to the queue room. She got through the door and was already in line at a booth while the queue room was easily 60-70% full still.

    Either allow lines at every door, or actually restrict access to those doors until the queue room is truly empty. Inconsistency is not friendly.

  • RedwingedblackbirdRedwingedblackbird Island CountyRegistered User regular
    mcdermott wrote:
    I also kinda think that some people need to adjust their expectations of what PAX is. Or rather, what they want it to be for them. You can't do it all. Not even close. Not even remotely close. In fact, you can't even do all the stuff you want to. Not even close.

    Basically, I think attendees need to accept that an average PAX experience will probably consist of seeing maybe a half dozen high-profile games, hitting a half-dozen panels, getting an autograph if that's their thing, and spending the balance either in freeplay (PC, console, tabletop...and again, I do maintain that console may need to expand), hitting low-profile/indie/retail booths, or off-site "activities." Every single year you will need to make choices. Is Acquisitions, Inc. that important to you? Go then, but understand you may not get to see <AAA title here> now. It's all about tradeoffs.

    But for as long as you get nerds hell-bent on seeing every damn thing, you'll get half the attendees jumping from one line to the next all day long, making every line unbearable. Seriously, we need to stop that. Chill. There's another one next year.

    "Activities" = drunkenings

    That's pretty much what I have done for the last 3 years... always done the exhibit halls, but concentrated on something different besides the exhibit halls. At PAX 10 I did more panels, some console, and LAN free play... not much tabletop. This year... I didn't do any panels, but did allot of tabletop gaming...

  • SecretAgentCowSecretAgentCow Registered User regular
    Something that would help is having a more clear idea of where lines are, and something that I think would help with that would be more physical barriers. There were several times when moving through the main expo hall was extremely difficult due to the lines for Mass Effect or TOR, where the line was very unorganized. I do applaud the Bethesda booth for having a longer area for a line than most of the other booths, but even theirs was okay at best. Also, Having some more organization and accommodations for people who want to get in line early for things. Me and several of my friends were caught up in the post-irrational pre-skyrim line confusion, and were moved into different lines three times before we were able to get into the real line.

  • LigerLiger Registered User regular
    The short answer is, YES. PAX is getting too big. Which is why PA is planning a third one.

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  • mcdermottmcdermott Registered User regular
    Liger wrote:
    The short answer is, YES. PAX is getting too big. Which is why PA is planning a third one.

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  • mcdermottmcdermott Registered User regular
    Quick question, though: what was the attendance this year compared to last year? I got the impression that it was relatively constant, aside from the forged badges. So...I guess what I'm asking is are there reasons PAX feels like it's getting more crowded, as far as policies or procedures, despite (relatively) stable attendance? Because simply adding a third con won't fix that.

  • LigerLiger Registered User regular
    I don't think the official numbers are released yet. The counterfeits definitely added a significant chunk to attendance, and I think another major impact (at least on expo) is the size of the displays that vendors are carting in. I don't know if you were there in 2007, but I remember the majority of displays being much smaller and simpler. This year I felt like I was walking among set pieces in some kind of production, and the box booths especially made areas feel more claustrophobic. They're getting more massive every year.

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  • courtneyjcourtneyj Registered User regular
    Liger wrote:
    The short answer is, YES. PAX is getting too big. Which is why PA is planning a third one.

    So, please don't go to all 3 otherwise they'll all be too crowded :)

  • ArcoArco Registered User regular
    As others have mentioned, there were a very large number of counterfeit badges that allowed thousands of extra people to get into the show this year. This caused unforeseen congestion issues, shortages of swag bags, etc. I imagine the extra-crowded feeling stems from this, since as far as I know, PAX didn't really add much space this year.

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  • DehumanizedDehumanized Registered User regular
    If Riot Games had bought as much booth space as Red 5, I think that'd have alleviated like 40%* of the congestion in the expo.

    But yeah, better line management in the Expo (this would take collaboration between the Enforcers and the exhibitors) and around 3-5000 less forged badges would probably fix a lot of the congestion. Civ 5 style lines for really long game sessions, capped line lengths for things that are super popular, and more open air booths. Having BYOC & Freeplay restored to size might help. A restored handheld lounge, too. Places for people to go that aren't in a 4-hour-long line to play League of Legends, basically.


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  • mcdermottmcdermott Registered User regular
    If Riot Games had bought as much booth space as Red 5, I think that'd have alleviated like 40%* of the congestion in the expo.

    But yeah, better line management in the Expo (this would take collaboration between the Enforcers and the exhibitors) and around 3-5000 less forged badges would probably fix a lot of the congestion. Civ 5 style lines for really long game sessions, capped line lengths for things that are super popular, and more open air booths. Having BYOC & Freeplay restored to size might help. A restored handheld lounge, too. Places for people to go that aren't in a 4-hour-long line to play League of Legends, basically.


    *i kid, i kid

    To my knowledge, both '09 and '10 were at "fire marshal capacity," more or less. Yet '10 felt more crowded than '09. This is why I'm not willing to write off crowding to the extra 5K attendees. They surely had some impact (especially on obviously things like swag bags) but I think there's more at play when it comes to turning the expo hall into a living hell and choking up the free play areas.

    Which is why regardless of a third PAX, this is a good thing to look at. Because then you'll just have all three at capacity.

    I think that "closed" booths are becoming more common (I don't remember any at '09, though there may have been some, and there seemed to be less at '10). So I think that's one thing. I guess I'm just trying to figure out what else is making PAX feel "too big" when, at least from '09 to '10, it didn't necessarily grow that much.

  • pillarofdawnpillarofdawn Registered User
    Yea I remember 09 feeling WAY less crowded but the Expo floor and panels being no less spectacular. I can't quite put my finger on it but I do think that capping each PAX at say 60,000 - 65,000 attendees and then having 3 PAX's around the world would alleviate some of the issues of overcrowding.

    As for the counterfeit badge issue, I believe a lot of the blame falls on the convention center staff for not being very diligent(not to be a dick or nothing) a lot of the time my badge would be flipped over and they would let me pass with no questions. Sometimes me and my friends joke that we could just bring our last years badges and still pass through(not that we would).

    Also I had never thought of PAX in the way AKJAK described it. Maybe my expectations are too high lol.

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  • KaneBlaireauKaneBlaireau Registered User regular
    Yeah, in '08 I got to do basically EVERYTHING I wanted (in the Expo Hall) with little to no waiting. Every year since has been more and more difficult. I'm thinking badge holograms are a necessity to keep counterfeiting to a minimum.

  • TOGSolidTOGSolid I don my top hat, and adjust my monocle, Like a god damn sir.Registered User regular
    Yea I remember 09 feeling WAY less crowded but the Expo floor and panels being no less spectacular. I can't quite put my finger on it but I do think that capping each PAX at say 60,000 - 65,000 attendees and then having 3 PAX's around the world would alleviate some of the issues of overcrowding.

    As for the counterfeit badge issue, I believe a lot of the blame falls on the convention center staff for not being very diligent(not to be a dick or nothing) a lot of the time my badge would be flipped over and they would let me pass with no questions. Sometimes me and my friends joke that we could just bring our last years badges and still pass through(not that we would).

    Also I had never thought of PAX in the way AKJAK described it. Maybe my expectations are too high lol.

    09 didn't have the issues with the closed booths from what I can remember. I would really encourage the PAX gods to not allow people run those things because all they do is piss people off and cause massive lines.

  • ImsoradImsorad This guy I know United StatesRegistered User regular
    The conterfeit badges should have had a solution a long time ago. As soon as I got by badges in the mail I looked at them and thought of how similar they were to last years badges. I mean really, how much would it really cost to slap a hologram or some other countermeasure into badge production?

    Anyways, I had a blast. I just wish I had another day to enjoy the show. I spent so much time waiting in lines for demos, waiting in lines for panels, and waiting in lines for waiting in lines... As the expo hall was about ready to cloase on Sunday I was running around still trying to see stuff I hadn't had time for.

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  • SrenaebSrenaeb Registered User regular
    edited August 2011
    mcdermott wrote:
    Every single year you will need to make choices. Is Acquisitions, Inc. that important to you? Go then, but understand you may not get to see <AAA title here> now. It's all about tradeoffs. But for as long as you get nerds hell-bent on seeing every damn thing, ...Seriously, we need to stop that. Chill. There's another one next year."Activities" = drunkenings

    I second that. Since '07, I used to be one of those people who rate the "success" of my PAX experience on How Much/Many: how much swag? how many panels? how much further ahead than the rest of the people stampeding into the hall...etc. This year I developed a parasite (human baby) that slowed me WAY down. I really had to sit down and name one thing per 3 hours of PAX, with manageable crowds/lines, that I feel I cannot afford to miss, and go to those, forsaking all other sorts of lining up/waiting for swag/being in a raffle/squeezing into things in general. And the surprising thing was: I saw just as much, I came home with just as good of a time, and I was way less tired at the end of the weekend than previous years since '07. I did come home with fewer "swag", but those that I did take were from less obvious sources, and they were sweeter as well: I did not come home with a single shirt that did not fit, this year. (One year I had 10 or so in 3 sizes too big....yes, the greed, I know...)

    So, my advice would be, like mcdermott says, chill. Don't rate the success of your experience on quantity, but on quality: did you talk to awesome people? Did you make a friend? Did you find a new game that you didn't know already existed before PAX? Did you learn something cool from a panel? etc.
    Bantha wrote:
    Firstly, the organization. Many vendor had lines that you never really knew where they were, were they ended, etc. They had lines that overlapped other lines, and interfered with movement. That's what makes an event like PAX seem "over-crowded", when there's little space to move about. If the walkways were moving (and moving with any sort of organization), it wouldn't seem as bad. But when you can't get where you're trying to because there are dozens if not hundreds of people physically in the way, that's when it seems bad.

    That's the other issue of "too many physical bodies in a finite space". Star Wars the Old Republic game out some badges that said "come back at BLAH-o'clock and we'll fit you in." Last year's Civ V preview was also on a sign-up first basis. I think all vendors should be required to do this. It may not look as good for them publicity-wise, but PAX is for us, not for them to snap media pictures and say "look how popular we are".

    One more related thing: Some of my friends actually did check out FireFall, and the staff there were all worn out and didn't want to talk to them about the game. That was retarded, and I blame their company for buying too much space and not thinking about how much face-time each person who wanders into their sphere of influence will actually get. Perhaps PAX can request for a sort of "business plan": how are you going to accommodate all those people you will attract, within our hours, without being a nuisance to adjacent booths and taking up floor space?

    Srenaeb on
  • SrenaebSrenaeb Registered User regular
    edited August 2011
    hml151 wrote:
    I think the sad thing for me is that I have a massive spinal problem so line wait is not really an option. So if I'm going to play games it is usually medical/media pass day which was Friday this year. The exhibitors were not ready or no swag or we go to the booth and media shut it down.

    I got a medical badge this year too, and couldn't make it to Friday preview due to personal reasons. I did, however, get to go in 5 minutes ahead of opening on Sat and Sunday, in the queue room, which allowed me to demo 1 game per day (Citizen Skywatch and Star Wars, respectively.) For Star Wars, I still had to wait 30 minutes because of media and exhibitor people already standing in line ahead--I'm so thankful my +1 carried a little chair around for me to sit on, otherwise even with the massively helpful head start, I'd have to bail.

    For those of us with physical conditions, we need that 5 minute head start to move toward the one booth that we will be seeing all day. People were literally running into the hall once it actually hit 10 o'clock -- we would've been Mufasa in a Stampede even if we managed to be first in line.

    I won't be needing a medical badge next year. But could we please allow those that do to go ahead in front of the media people?
    Bantha wrote:
    On a slightly different note, the awareness of door staff needs to be increased.... Inconsistency is not friendly.

    The Enforcers were super awesome. The staff less so: they were sometimes short, and sometimes downright hostile to us. I heard comments like "God, how many gamers CAN there be?!" One shouted "we have no room to sit down! MOVE IT" to me--I'm sitting down on a tiny camping stool because I'm 5 months pregnant, not because I'm entitled to more room or am too lazy to stand in line. Just because we are young, enthusiastic and dressed in T-shirts/shorts doesn't mean we should be respected less than the usual suit types that appear in the convention center.

    The fact that they sometimes have no idea what's going on and are inconsistent only adds insult to injury.

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  • hml151hml151 Registered User regular
    Srenaeb wrote:
    hml151 wrote:
    I think the sad thing for me is that I have a massive spinal problem so line wait is not really an option. So if I'm going to play games it is usually medical/media pass day which was Friday this year. The exhibitors were not ready or no swag or we go to the booth and media shut it down.

    I got a medical badge this year too, and couldn't make it to Friday preview due to personal reasons. I did, however, get to go in 5 minutes ahead of opening on Sat and Sunday, in the queue room, which allowed me to demo 1 game per day (Citizen Skywatch and Star Wars, respectively.) For Star Wars, I still had to wait 30 minutes because of media and exhibitor people already standing in line ahead--I'm so thankful my +1 carried a little chair around for me to sit on, otherwise even with the massively helpful head start, I'd have to bail.

    For those of us with physical conditions, we need that 5 minute head start to move toward the one booth that we will be seeing all day. People were literally running into the hall once it actually hit 10 o'clock -- we would've been Mufasa in a Stampede even if we managed to be first in line.

    I won't be needing a medical badge next year. But could we please allow those that do to go ahead in front of the media people?
    Bantha wrote:
    On a slightly different note, the awareness of door staff needs to be increased.... Inconsistency is not friendly.

    The Enforcers were super awesome. The staff less so: they were sometimes short, and sometimes downright hostile to us. I heard comments like "God, how many gamers CAN there be?!" One shouted "we have no room to sit down! MOVE IT" to me--I'm sitting down on a tiny camping stool because I'm 5 months pregnant, not because I'm entitled to more room or am too lazy to stand in line. Just because we are young, enthusiastic and dressed in T-shirts/shorts doesn't mean we should be respected less than the usual suit types that appear in the convention center.

    The fact that they sometimes have no idea what's going on and are inconsistent only adds insult to injury.

    Srenaeb, yeah PA events and some of the Exhibit booths were really helpful. Sherpa has informed me I will probably have a chair next year because of the pain and paralyze I faced this last year. I still love PAX and will continue to come and play!

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  • hml151hml151 Registered User regular
    courtneyj wrote:
    Liger wrote:
    The short answer is, YES. PAX is getting too big. Which is why PA is planning a third one.

    So, please don't go to all 3 otherwise they'll all be too crowded :)

    They have discuss a third one in the past, maybe Europe. The problem is the cons are not going to get any smaller because people go to multiple PAX's and there is now a huge calling for these events. They will always be capped and full. We just get really cuddly with each other and enjoy what we got!

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  • BuraisuBuraisu Innovator Seattle, WARegistered User regular
    Maybe they should limit it to one PAX per person.

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  • ptriz21_teamkillptriz21_teamkill Registered User regular
    Have you ever been to Disneyland? Have you ever stood in line for an hour an a half? Or have you ever been to a bar where everyone just squeezes in and hopes to be noticed? If the content is worth it to you, then you will wait. The lines are part of the expo. You'd be better off learning to have fun in them instead of trying to fix them. My friends and I have no qualms about sitting in line. If its an early morning panel, we will lay on the floor/against the wall and sleep. My friend downloaded Settlers of Catan to his Xoom and it made every line bearable.

    As soon as you start regulating things like lines and booth size, I think the expo will take a turn for the worse. The only reasonable response I can see for lines is to get those rope/barrier things. But then those just get in the way, and the line will always extend past them. I suppose the booths could hire someone to regulate the lines...but thats the problem, they have to pay someone to do that. These people are getting paid to do this and maybe not every vendor can afford extra people, let alone an entire extra day of the expo.

    This also coincides the with first timer advice thread. Don't go expecting to see a bunch of stuff. Prioritize your day and commit to a few things or else you will be disappointed.

    Obviously the crowding is some sort of problem and thats why they expanded to other venues. But I don't think its so bad that they will implement extra regulation or lower caps and I hope they don't. It's perfect just the way it is :3

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  • rnicollrnicoll Registered User regular
    courtneyj wrote:
    So, please don't go to all 3 otherwise they'll all be too crowded :)

    While there are people who will happily devote the time & money to go to all three PAXes, I'm fairly certain the vast majority of people will typically go to the PAX closest them, and possibly one other, per year.

    Of course, if it turns out I'm wrong, they can make a fourth PAX...

  • NormanPrideNormanPride Registered User
    Honestly I thought the chaos was managed beautifully. If you wanted to wait for three hours to play Skyrim then you could. Or you could walk five feet and demo MtG right away. The lines for the main theater were pretty easy, and if you didn't care about seating as much there was usually room in the line about half an hour before the event started. We only really waited for a long time on the major AAA titles.

    The biggest issue I had was that I had no idea what was going on until late on Friday. :) I feel like I could have used that time better now that I know all the little things that were going on.

  • beta_angelbeta_angel ColoradoRegistered User regular
    All this mention of counterfeit badges makes me wonder exactly how many people got in with them. I realize finding out the answer to this is next to impossible, but it would be a nice piece of information to have.

    Overall, I feel like any line that has a 5 hour wait should be considered an issue. Borderlands 2 was one that I felt was a bit unruly...at times, 3 hours and lining the walls. While the Enforcers did a great job keeping people on the wall, it still made for a bit of a congestion problem in that area. Skyrim, of course, was problematic.

    However, these problems are not necessarily Penny Arcade problems so much as they're vendor annoyances.


    I dunno. There were a lot of folk and yes, it was more crowded.

    Yes, I'm in favor of lowering the cap, but I have been for 2 - 3 years now. There was a sweet spot that seemed to be hit in 2008...I feel like that was the best year from an attendance/expo-hall perspective.

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  • zerzhulzerzhul Old General Registered User, Super Moderator, Moderator, SolidSaints Zerzhul mod
    Considering the massive available expo space at the BCEC for East, I feel that there is a real opportunity there to include a certain amount of line space based on expected popularity into vendor booth areas. The expo hall crowding at East was entirely artificial, and is something that can definitely be remedied by better use of the available space. Lines, however, will happen for popular things, there is nothing to be done about that. Prime obviously doesn't have the luxury of tons and tons and tons of space, but it would be interesting to see in-booth lineups be more prevalent when the space is available.

  • tvethiopiatvethiopia Registered User regular
    zerzhul wrote:
    Considering the massive available expo space at the BCEC for East, I feel that there is a real opportunity there to include a certain amount of line space based on expected popularity into vendor booth areas. The expo hall crowding at East was entirely artificial, and is something that can definitely be remedied by better use of the available space. Lines, however, will happen for popular things, there is nothing to be done about that. Prime obviously doesn't have the luxury of tons and tons and tons of space, but it would be interesting to see in-booth lineups be more prevalent when the space is available.

    i think in general it's worth noting that pax east, now that it's been relocated to the bcec, doesn't really have this crowding problem. at east 2011, everything felt really spacious and comfortable except the expo hall, which can easily be expanded in the future. so if we're talking about pax being to big overall, i would say probably not. it sounds like the real problem is pax prime outgrowing its location.

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  • ukiyo eukiyo e Registered User regular
    tvethiopia wrote:
    zerzhul wrote:
    Considering the massive available expo space at the BCEC for East, I feel that there is a real opportunity there to include a certain amount of line space based on expected popularity into vendor booth areas. The expo hall crowding at East was entirely artificial, and is something that can definitely be remedied by better use of the available space. Lines, however, will happen for popular things, there is nothing to be done about that. Prime obviously doesn't have the luxury of tons and tons and tons of space, but it would be interesting to see in-booth lineups be more prevalent when the space is available.

    i think in general it's worth noting that pax east, now that it's been relocated to the bcec, doesn't really have this crowding problem. at east 2011, everything felt really spacious and comfortable except the expo hall, which can easily be expanded in the future. so if we're talking about pax being to big overall, i would say probably not. it sounds like the real problem is pax prime outgrowing its location.

    I agree. The lines at PAX East never felt intrusive. Also the tall ceilings of the BCEC make it feel less claustrophobic when you are surrounded by a lot of people.

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