Help the First time to PAX East thread - What did you learn this year?

FrugusFrugus PhotographerMontrealRegistered User regular
edited April 2014 in PAX East
Is this your first time at PAX East? READ THE MAIN FAQ STICKY FIRST, a lot of valuable information is there!

After that, this is a good place for first timer specific advice that isn't really FAQ material. If you have some first timer advice for others, feel free to post it!

--

Thanks to Zerzhul who made a trimmed down version of my first post, because I can't help writing walls of texts.

Be this news to you or not, you have to understand one thing about this convention - it is not like other conventions. Well, of course all conventions are somewhat different, but their themes tend to be the same: Get a bunch of things people like and put that in one room. PAX however is about getting all the people that love the same stuff in one room, the rest will naturally follow. In a certain way, Penny-Arcade and everyone that's behind it represent the glue that holds all our common interests together. This is why there are so many community driven events that work amazingly well. This is why the attending corporations don't get in your face too much. This why people have so much fun and leave with such a great experience.

AND most importantly...
heels wrote: »
Be excellent to each other.

Weather: Boston in April can be cold! Bring a REAL coat and a scarf! There was no snow to be found at East from 2010 to 2012 (leftover piles from earlier in the year have been spotted before). We did not need winter boots. Bostonians often warn us not to take the past few years for granted as snow is always a remote possibility in March. Note that we did get a light snowfall at East 2013.

Travel within Boston to and from PAX: How you travel to and from the convention is up to you, but if you do not have a car, you have the option of using public transportation and Taxis. And yes, after hours is something you must think about if you go to PAX. It's not just the concerts which last up to around 2 am, many other events such as free board game rooms may take up your time as well. And then there are the other events, be them official or not, that will be organized around the city. Public transportation stops before PAX closes its doors, at which point you can grab a taxi, but if you wait until closing time you will wait in a long (yet well organized) line before you can catch a ride. For those who have a car, you can park under the BCEC (not overnight), but be warned: Boston is known for being difficult to drive around, a GPS is pretty much a must. Many hotels which are registered with the PAX event have a shuttle service, you will want to check and see if that service is available to you.

Get yourself some form of mobile data access: Bring one. They are a near absolute necessity. First and foremost, Guidebook is the official event schedule app which is available on all platforms. Any updates or last minute changes will be updated to the schedule which can be setup to send reminders on certain events that you do not want to miss. It also contains a list of vendors, maps, and all matters of very practical information about the event. Also consider Twitter which is heavily (and smartly) used to communicate information on line capacity, contests and attendees who are looking for players. Keep an eye out for hashtags like #PAX, #PAXEast, and check out the specific Twitter forum thread which comes up every year. Last but not least, QR codes are a thing now, and you will want to have the ability to scan them for various reasons. Exhibitors often give out codes in this form while attendees favor it more and more to pass along compressed contacted information.

Traveling long distances to go to PAX? Call your bank first: Take it from @TechGamingNews. "One major thing everyone should do is contact their bank, If you have never been to PAX or even if you have It is a great idea to contact your bank and let them know you will be heading to Boston MA. Why? because almost all banks have security features on their account bank cards that will automatically freeze your credit card if it sees spending limits different then what it has seen, it is always a good idea to let them know so you won't be embarrassed or stuck waiting to get it figured out or getting upset because the clerk keeps telling you its declined when you know there is money in the account." I could not agree more, since I had such troubles on my first two trips to PAX East.

The schedule only shows the tip of the iceberg: The schedule mostly mentions tournaments, concerts and panels. The floor plan does not come with a complete explanation of every exhibitor. This being said, both items only give a small sense of what you can expect to see at the event. This is not due to lack of proper effort on the organizer's part, the problem lies with the fact that Conventions are somewhat "living" events. For instance, you can't accurately tell what you will see on the show floor, nor is it possible to convey the mood of any free play area... Some places, such as the American Classic Arcade Museum (a PAX regular), JamSpace or the Hand Held Lounge, have no schedule. They just runs all the time, and so it may not appear on the schedule, but rather as a blip on the floor plan.

But wait, there's more: There are many community and company sponsored events/parties that happen in and outside of PAX during the entire weekend. Some start well before the event kicks off, sometimes they go beyond it. These are not official events and so they do not appear on the PAX Schedule, and they range from the simple to the most organized. You can learn about most community created events on the forums. For company sponsored events, many will eventually make their way to the forums as well, but the often enough that information will be shared on their own web site. If you are a fan of a specific company, keep an eye out for what they have to say online when PAX will be around the corner. You never know. You don't need to attend any of these parties to make your PAX experience worth while, this is just (cool) optional stuff.

Making Friends: A great way to stay in touch with the new friends you will make is to get some cheap business cards. Stick your email address, gamertag, forum name, whatever on them. Hand them out to all the awesome people you will most certainly meet.

Carrying Your Stuff: Come Friday night, your one shoulder will be KILLING you. Trust me, you want to evenly distribute the weight. Go for something that you know will be comfortable over the course of a long day. I personally prefer a backpack, not a messenger bag. LABEL YOUR STUFF. either get a label maker, or some sharpies - I highly recommend putting your phone number on them. You never know when you may accidentally leave something behind.

Recharging your devices: Plan ahead. Recharge everything overnight, and perhaps find a compact charging solution to carry with you. Be considerate of outlet use and try not to use more than one at a time (bringing a small power strip can make you a lot of friends).

Food: With every new PAX comes a new Food thread by @Arsonisfun (it's not up at this time however) where you will hear people discuss their favorite places to eat, and sometimes places to avoid. Take special note of Foodler.com and Grubhub.com. These two services will show you which restaurants can deliver to your location. Yes, that may include your hotel room (I had no issues using this at the Westin). This is a plus for plus people who seek healthy options.

Beware of time sinks: There are many unique things to see and do at PAX, but some take more time than others. Some, maybe too much. What is worth your time is entirely up to you, but if I may, please read Rorus Raz's words of wisdom on the subject.
Rorus Raz wrote: »
You will either quickly learn this, or you will find that three days have passed and you spent 90% of them sitting in line: the Exhibition Hall is cool, but don't get expect to see what you want to see.

In 2011, the line for Star Wars: The Old Republic, had a wait for five hours. I went as fast as I could the second the Hall opened on Sunday morning without running (running is bad, do not run), and still had a 3-4 hour wait. In 2012, Borderlands 2 had a 4-6 hour wait. The bottom line is that the AAA titles that everyone wants to play result in huge, likely boring lines for maybe 15-60 minutes of game time. That's a goddamn waste of your time and money, so I would curb your enthusiasm for seeing whatever big ticket title is going to be appearing next March.

The Hall is still great though: you can find a lot of upcoming indie titles that you probably wouldn't have otherwise noticed. And really: you are going to buy that multi-million dollar game from Big Publisher anyways, so why not stay on the lookout for awesome titles that don't have millions to get your attention? You also tend to get to talk directly with the devs, who are hungry artists eager to listen to your feedback. I cannot say how cool it is to spend a half hour or so shooting the breeze with something who making the game and very enthusiastic about their craft. You aren't generally going to get that with the big brand titles.

There's also other neat stuff like board games and stuff. Just don't make the mistake of spending all your time at the Exhibition Hall. There is so much more to PAX than that.

Reposting The @CatBoy List from the FAQ. One should not underestimate its importance
What should I bring with me to PAX?
CatBoy wrote:
I better get this in just so everyone is kinda prepared and in the know of what to bring to PAX or any con that may come their way. (I'm sorry for the huge post, but a lot of people don't know what to bring.)


The Top Twenty Items Forgotten by Convention Attendees Checklist

1. Personal Towel (We know the hotel provides them, but if you're sharing a room with several people, this guarantees you your very own towel. Also, if you plan on using a lot of makeup for a costume or dying your hair *and* use hotel towels, you will be charged a hefty fee for damaging hotel property. Please bring your own towels if you plan to do this.) You may also dip the ends in liquid vitamins and suck on the corners when needed.

* A pretty cool tip involving this is bringing a small clothespin with your name on it to attach to your towel so people can differentiate between yours and theirs. In fact, bring a couple, so you can share with people.

2. Shampoo and Conditioner (Again, the hotel provides these, but the bottles are quite small. Bringing your own ensures you will have some, especially if you use a lot of shampoo or have long hair.)

3. Toothbrush and Toothpaste (You'd be amazed at what going three days without brushing tastes like. Gross.)

4. Deodorant (If you don't bring and use this, don't be surprised when people start edging away from you in packed rooms and theaters. Don't forget the strange looks and cringed noses you'll begin to see.)

5. Razor and Shaving Cream/Gel

6. Comb and/or Hairbrush (some people do use both. You'd be surprised.)

7. One shirt for each day of the convention, plus an extra. (3 days = 4 shirts)

8. Pants (Same number as shirts.)

9. Underwear (3 sets, plus an extra.)

10. Socks (One pair per day plus an extra pair.)

11. Swimsuit (You never know.)

12. Jacket or warm sweater

13. Shoes (If you plan on spending a lot of time dancing or on your feet, make sure you have comfortable shoes with you. Your feet will hurt if you don't have comfy shoes to at least change into.)

14. Any prescribed medication (Make sure to tell your traveling companions/roommates about any medical needs you may have.)

15. Tylenol/Aspirin/etc

16. Photo ID / Driver's License / Checkbook / Car keys

17. A phone card (Not only is this cheaper than having calls charged to your hotel room, but having several people using one phone can lead to billing confusion with long distance calls. Bring a phone card so you can let your parents/significant other know you made it to the con safely.)

18. An extra pillow and blanket if several people are staying in your room.

19. Some non-perishable food from a supermarket (Like peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, chips, pretzels and bottled water or juice. While there are a lot of restaurants close by, this is an easy way to save money. In addition, you'll be able to have your midnight snack without leaving your room.)

20. Your best public manners. (You'd be surprised how many people forget to bring these along.)

The exhibition hall is full of awesome. There are upcoming games, and hardware showcased as well as things for sale from games, to guides, to t-shirts, to dice. Prices are comparable with standard retail pricing, or a little cheaper, even. Also, there's tons of free shirts and other swag being handed out by various companies *cough*nVidia*cough*



A List For The REALLY Well Prepared

* Small tube of super glue
* 3 straight pins
* 3 safety pins: 1 small and 2 medium
* Hair pins: 3 medium and 3 heavy
* Small sewing kit (small enough to fit into the palm of your hand)
* Safety matches (1 pack)
* Disposable plastic razor
* Small emery board
* Tylenol/Aspirin (travel sized container)
* 6 chewable Vitamin C tablets (at least 500 mg each)
* 2 Vitamin B complex tabs, stress formula
* 1 pack Tums/Rolaids
* 6 bandaids (or a travel sized pack)
* 6 antihistamine tablets
* 1 travel pack of tissues
* Tube of chapstick or other lip balm
* 6 cough drops or throat lozenges
* Smallest size of tiger balm or camphophenique oil
* Travel size tube of spot remover
* Spare car and house keys
* Breath freshener
* 6 moist towelettes (for cleaning hands)
* Small pencil sharpener
* Small pen
* 1 small pack of post-it-notes (the square ones work fine)
* Clear nail polish
* Small amount of masking tape wrapped around a short pencil
* 6 rubber bands
* 3 unlubricated condoms
* Small penknife
* Small tube of neosporin
* 3 garbage bag twist ties
* Mustache scissors (small pair of scissors will work as well)
* Styptic pencil or qwik stop
* Hand lotion (travel size)
* Aloe vera gel (travel size)
* 3 nail polish remover pad
* Tampons or pads if you are the type to bleed occasionally


The next section is taken from @sary from last year, with some modifications
Color Guide: POSITIVELY MUST READ! | You probably want to know this. | The Details

3 PAX{East} RULES TO LIVE BY
  1. Wheaton's Law is... Law. - seriously, just DON'T BE A DICK.
  2. 5-2-(2)-1 - Common Con advice is you should have a minimum of:
    • 5 hours of sleep
      the hours of 3:30 to 8:30 am are a good choice, as that won't overlap with too much going on.
    • 2 (actual, balanced) meals
    • 1 shower - for yourself, to refresh for or after a long day of awesome
    EACH DAY.

    A common recommendation is that you add to that - with 2 liters of water.

  3. Enforcers make PAX{East} happen! Treat them awesomely.
___________________________________________________________________________
  • Remember: PAX{East} opens on Friday at 10AM. Book your hotel rooms and set your alarm clock accordingly.

  • Realize now that you will not be able to do everything you plan on doing. Even if none of the panels conflict, even if you swear to wake up early every day, even if you are the latest Companion and have a key to the TARDIS. You will not be able to do everything you plan on doing - Schedules get juggled, alarm clocks fail to go off, multiverses need saving...

    Block out your Must-Sees, your Want-to-Sees, and your Eh-that-sounds-cool-but-I-don't-really-care-one-way-or-the-others. Schedule, oversleep, reschedule, cancel, and reschedule (again) accordingly.

  • For those of you worried about winter clothing:

    The BCEC ran a very nice coat/bag check at East 2011 that was a reasonable price ($3? I don't remember exactly). If you are concerned about not wanting to bring a big coat, you can layer (spoiler for an example).
    • tank top/undershirt
    • long sleeve t-shirt
    • short sleeve t-shirt (because most of long sleeves lack amusing sayings...)
    • hoodie
    • hat (always) / mittens / scarf

    One thing you might consider in addition to a hoodie, if you're really worried, get something thin but waterproof, like a wind breaker. Just like it's not the heat, it's the humidity... it's not the cold, it's the wind chill.

  • Pretty much mandatory for EVERYONE though... a warm HAT that covers your ears - so, knitted or fleece, etc., not just a baseball cap! (The reversible fleece hats they sold last year were pretty spiffy...) And for the love of gord, this ESPECIALLY if you have piercings. The metal conducts the cold like no other.

    You'd be amazed at how you can get by with a lighter coat, so long as you have an awesome warm hat. And maybe mittens.

  • As far as non-outerwear clothing goes: the Official FAQ says to bring a pair of socks a day, plus one extra - really, bring at least two pairs of socks for each day. Carry the spare with you. Middle of the day, your feet are tired (despite those comfortable walking shoes that you're wearing, right?)... change your socks, instant refresher.

  • If your mobile data plan sucks (or you don't have a smartphone), up your text messages - a lot of things have twitter accounts, and you can just push tweets to your phone.

    Bonus: texts seem to get through a tad more reliably when the circuits are in heavy use, than data or voice does. not guaranteed to be perfect, though.

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Posts

  • VGVideoGalaxyVGVideoGalaxy Northern VirginiaRegistered User regular
    Thanks for the post. This is going to be my first PAX. Quick question though. When did tickets go on sale last year?

  • FrugusFrugus Photographer MontrealRegistered User regular
    edited September 2013
    Thanks for the post. This is going to be my first PAX. Quick question though. When did tickets go on sale last year?

    That slightly changes every year and I do believe someone already asked this over the main FAQ. This being said.
    SmallLady wrote:
    For sellout history, see Handy Google Doc by Skelevader

    Frugus on
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  • Josh5890Josh5890 ChicagoRegistered User regular
    Thanks for the post. This is going to be my first PAX. Quick question though. When did tickets go on sale last year?

    As long as you check daily, you shouldn't have a problem getting a badge for East. The 3 days sold out in 1 day last year but all single day passes were available for almost 7 weeks. The thing I'm stressing out about is getting a hotel room at the Westin or Seaport. Those sold out FAST last year and I missed out. Granted there were random rooms available leading up to Pax but I had bad luck in getting in one of those hotels.

    This space for rent
  • EagleAlphaXEagleAlphaX New JerseyRegistered User regular
    Frugus wrote: »
    Weather: Boston in April can be cold! Bring a REAL coat and a scarf! There was no snow to be found at East from 2010 to 2012 (leftover piles from earlier in the year have been spotted before). We did not need winter boots. Bostonians often warn us not to take the past few years for granted as snow is always a remote possibility in March. Note that we did get a light snowfall at East 2013.

    This is a point I wanted to emphasize. Last year was my first PAX and about PAX time last year and things were starting to warm up around my part of the U.S. (Philly area). I thought to myself "How much colder could it be up in Boston?" Turns out, it was pretty cold. It snowed on our way through Connecticut and our first night in Boston and I foolishly only brought a light jacket with me. Needless to say, I was pretty chilly when I was outside.

    The first day of the con, I waited outside the Sheraton with my friend for the bus to pick us up for PAX. We ended up waiting about a half hour in the cold. Although we were cold, I had to feel bad for a girl who was cosplaying Oriana from League of Legends who was wearing a skirt. The poor girl was shivering while we waited.
    If possible, change at the convention center if your costumes are not weather appropriate. I'm sure other people are going to bring up the awesome coat check the BCEC has, so take advantage of that if needed.

    wjxmaepqs9k1.png
  • HalfazedninjaHalfazedninja Author of Jake Howard: Multiverse 101! Behind YouRegistered User regular
    Frugus wrote: »
    Thanks for the post. This is going to be my first PAX. Quick question though. When did tickets go on sale last year?

    That slightly changes every year and I do believe someone already asked this over the main FAQ. This being said.
    SmallLady wrote:
    For sellout history, see Handy Google Doc by Skelevader

    That doc is handy and terrifying all in the same breath. Luckily I get paid Oct 7th so HOPEFULLY they will go on sale about the same time as last year.

    My debut novel, JAKE HOWARD: MULTIVERSE 101!
    Switch FC: SW-7588-7027-0113, Steam/PSN: Halfazedninja

  • nsanensane That guy with the face. Registered User regular
    edited September 2013
    Frugus wrote: »
    Weather: Boston in April can be cold! Bring a REAL coat. . .

    I was in a hurry a forgot my coat in the car at the airport last year. It sucked. Make sure to quintuple-check that you have yours.

    nsane on
    wK2XwhV.png
    PAX East 2018: Passes [X], Hotel [X], Airfare [], coin []
  • FireWaterFireWater Registered User regular
    Pretty informative.

    I usually stay at the Westin or Seaport, so I generally just have a sweatshirt or something at the hall, it can really heat up in there.

  • gonexallgonexall PhiladelphiaRegistered User regular
    For those not staying at the Westin or Seaport, I recommend a puffy coat that can be packed down into it's own pocket. Backpacking stores sell them and they are very warm, but also light and also very compact when folded. I wore one the last two years and just carried it around in my small backpack in the convention itself. Also, if you wear backpack, it's very important that it be a small backpack that does not bulk out much, otherwise you will find it hard to navigate the crowds and could bump some people with it by accident.

  • CoanCoan TorontoRegistered User regular
    Recharging your devices: Plan ahead. Recharge everything overnight, and perhaps find a compact charging solution to carry with you. Be considerate of outlet use and try not to use more than one at a time (bringing a small power strip can make you a lot of friends).

    So many friends, especially if you hang out in HH Lounge, though I nearly lost mine last year when I left it there and wanted to grab it later to avoid forcing people to unplug and confused some enforcers in the process. It's a long and slightly amusing story. :P It was also good when i sat down for lunch and borrowed an outlet, people already using an outlet don't mind unplugging for a sec to move onto a strip, as long as they can continue to charge.

    Mobile data access: wifi can be spotty at bcec, westin charges for it last I checked (Seaport is free) as an out of country visitor, I have a phone that can access TMobiles network (in my case, a phone with the right bands and is carrier unlocked) and they can do a 3 dollars/day prepaid plan with unlimited talk/text/data. I had very little problems using this last year and may be cheaper for some people coming in who would otherwise be on their carriers roaming (which as a Canadian, i know they all suck to some degree). Other US carriers usually have some sort of cheap pre-paid that usually come in cheaper than what Bell/Rogers/Telus offers.

    money/calling your bank: some credit cards/banks allow you to set travel notices via your online account as well, if you hate talking to your bank or credit card company over the phone. I know I do and have 2 credit cards, one with and one without the online travel setting, so normally I will set it and just avoid using the other+carry cash.

    Posting on the phorum again like its 1999
  • Jake CappsJake Capps San Antonio, Texas(Lackland AFB)Registered User regular
    Next year will be my FIRST PAX! I can't wait. This group looks like they make it a real fun event.

    X4hAlPn.png

    My Pinny Pal's Lanyard

    "Players are artists who create their own reality within the game." - Shigeru Miyamoto
  • FrugusFrugus Photographer MontrealRegistered User regular
    Coan wrote: »
    Mobile data access: wifi can be spotty at bcec, westin charges for it last I checked (Seaport is free) as an out of country visitor, I have a phone that can access TMobiles network (in my case, a phone with the right bands and is carrier unlocked) and they can do a 3 dollars/day prepaid plan with unlimited talk/text/data. I had very little problems using this last year and may be cheaper for some people coming in who would otherwise be on their carriers roaming (which as a Canadian, i know they all suck to some degree). Other US carriers usually have some sort of cheap pre-paid that usually come in cheaper than what Bell/Rogers/Telus offers.

    Mobile Data solutions for people outside the US could merit it's own thread. Really. Canadian carriers (at least the ones that I know) have charges and packages that are simply unacceptable. I also second the fact that BCEC WiFi, which is free, is also spotty and unreachable in certain areas. This being said, I am still glad it exists, and should I be really, really desperate, I would simply wait until I would go back to my hotel for some sweet sweet connectivity.

    I heard that some fellow Canadians deem it worthy to either a) do what you just said - Have a phone that is unlocked and get a different SIM card to access other phone carriers through limited plans or b) buy a second phone once they are in the US. Mostly, one that is cheap enough and can do whatever you need to do once you are there which will justify the cost. Before I had my phone unlocked, I noticed this option would actually be cheaper for me should I ever use my phone only twice...

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  • PurpleBekPurpleBek Manchester, EnglandRegistered User regular
    This thread could be useful as we've always thought about picking up a couple very cheap phone and text phones on a pay as you go sorta deal. Never found anything cheap though and gettinf split up in that place with just unreliable wifi isn't fun. Any suggestions would be amazing.

    pax%20sig.png
  • CoanCoan TorontoRegistered User regular
    I've tossed a post up, I targeted it via smartphones though for the data aspect, and i'll try to update with more info plus I imagine people will put in their own 2 cents on best ways to handle it.

    Posting on the phorum again like its 1999
  • RaughnRaughn Registered User regular
    Two tips that may not seem related, but very much are:

    1.) Several sections of the BCEC look identical. You might think you are at a particular location, but you're actually on the floor above it.

    2.) Most of the restroom blocks have the same layout in regards to which sides are for men or women, but there are a few where the layout is flipped.

  • CoanCoan TorontoRegistered User regular
    Raughn wrote: »
    Two tips that may not seem related, but very much are:

    1.) Several sections of the BCEC look identical. You might think you are at a particular location, but you're actually on the floor above it.

    2.) Most of the restroom blocks have the same layout in regards to which sides are for men or women, but there are a few where the layout is flipped.
    and/or you're on the right floor, but wrong half of the building. Did that countless times last year on the first day or so...

    Posting on the phorum again like its 1999
  • DelaneyDelaney Registered User regular
    As far as negotiating the BCEC goes, one suggestion I've seen made before is for there to be some signs (even just posted on easels) that translated PAX Theater names (Phoenix, Wyvern, Corgi, etc.) to actual BCEC room numbers. Speaking from experience, that would have helped with some navigational difficulties like being in the right place but on the wrong floor.

    "I will participate in the game. It's a wonderful, wonderful opera, except that it hurts." - Joseph Campbell

    Steam: delaney_a

  • zerzhulzerzhul Registered User, Moderator mod
    There will be a community map that does that exact thing most likely. It will be available via these forums if the person who has made them in the past has the time to do it in the future.

  • DelaneyDelaney Registered User regular
    edited September 2013
    I know there was a link with BCEC floor plan maps last year since I used them to acquaint myself with the facility ahead of time, though I will admit to not noticing the room numbers under the larger theater names at the time, nor did I have any idea how much I'd need them. (Thanks for the maps, dya!)

    Things like this definitely help and I'll be better prepared this time. I still think it would be nice if PAX could put up a few posters with the information, though. The themed room names do add a nice touch, but since doing so is the cause of confusion, it'd be good to also take the steps to counter it.

    Delaney on
    "I will participate in the game. It's a wonderful, wonderful opera, except that it hurts." - Joseph Campbell

    Steam: delaney_a

  • KaronethKaroneth Elder Scrolling Online Co-Host Lakehurst, NJRegistered User regular
    Here is a link to a handy brochure I found about the BCEC. Although it won't help map the PAX event rooms to the room numbers, it at least gives an overview of the facility itself which might help new PAX attendees. It seems useful to me as I have never been to the BCEC yet. The BCEC has four floors, levels 0-3. The brochure even lists area restaurants and stores.
    http://massconvention.com/assets/pdf/attendee_guide/bcec/BCEC_Attendee_Guide.pdf

  • PurpleBekPurpleBek Manchester, EnglandRegistered User regular
    That is really useful, especially even just for the food guide on p.20.

    My sense of direction seems to go AWOL, as I always think the BCEC is facing towards the centre of Boston for some reason.

    also, damn, Lucky's is really close to the BCEC, I think I ended up on the over side of South Station looking for it :S, I might need to print one of these off/otherwise acquire one.

    pax%20sig.png
  • RaughnRaughn Registered User regular
    PurpleBek wrote: »
    My sense of direction seems to go AWOL, as I always think the BCEC is facing towards the centre of Boston for some reason.

    Indeed. Trying to get anywhere in the BCEC just by point of reference reminds me of the YouTube videos that analyze Kubrick's perspective tricks in The Shining. "The coat check was here earlier, now it's the line for a theater..."

    Experienced East-ers know to keep their eyes on some kind of map by now - as should newbies reading this thread - but some shopping mall style "You are Here" postings would go a long way for everyone else.

  • PurpleSkyPurpleSky Registered User regular
    I found what helps me with navigating the BCEC is just remembering that the main entrance to the center (and also the main theater) are always the north end of the center. Using the north as a point of reference all I do is just remember which side of the big oval I'm on, either east or west.

    xenard
  • BekerBeker Child's Play Program Director SeattleRegistered User, Penny Arcade Staff regular
    Far as navigation tips. The center signs are color coded. Can't think what the colors are off the top of my head, but the North (main theatre side) is one color, West (food court) is a differnt color, and East (bus side) is a 3rd color.

    -Beker/Erick
    gQPRxvs.png
  • jdixon1972jdixon1972 Registered User regular
    Ooh, I never grasped the color thing. Then again, i'm not that bright, hehe. As for the north thing, yeh, I usually get my bearings by remembering one thing on the opposite side, then everything kind of falls into place. But hey, this is the fourth in the BCEC and I still have a hard time remembering which escalators are where.

  • StericaSterica Yes Registered User, Moderator mod
    I will say that wireless during 2013 was pretty usable and I never had any communication issues with my friends this year. It could be a fluke, but I'll say that you're pretty safe sticking with your phone.

    Also: if you want merch, then the merch booth should be your first stop. The merch booths get better with each year, but they will also have long lines until shit sells out. Don't set yourself up for disappointment, and just grab your shirts of whatever first thing. You should also make sure you have room for that merch: I personally suck it up and just lug my crap around, but some of you may either not want or are unable to do such a thing all day.

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  • NoisymunkNoisymunk Registered User regular
    Yeah, I made that mistake last year. Those red retro PAX East shirts were so cool, but the line was so very very long. "Oh I'm sure they will still be available tomorrow, they probably brought enough to cover all three days!" says I. I was wrong.

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  • shepdshepd Registered User regular
    edited September 2013
    Perhaps it depends on the provider. T-Mobile EDGE was completely unusable by myself and 5 friends. Text messages would get through after several minutes. Phone calls were iffy. WiFi was worse than being turned off--it was just a tease that let you connect and then didn't really do anything.

    Perhaps avoid T-Mobile, I guess? We had many different phones too, BB6/7 Blackberries, N900, iPhones, and a few Android phones, (yes, some of us brought multiple phones) all had extreme difficulty. What provider/phone were you using, Rorus Raz because we get SIM cards each time we come to the US and we'd rather get SIMs for a provider that works properly at the BCEC. :)

    shepd on
  • CoanCoan TorontoRegistered User regular
    I had tmo last year in a 920, but mines got the AWS bands unlocked so that likely makes a difference. Sister on koodo didn't have any problems with texts with who they roam with (Verizon I'd guess?)
    If you're looking to avoid TMO, probably your best bet would be straight talk, though I can't tell if it'd use tmo or at&t for gsm in Boston (someone would have to confirm).

    Posting on the phorum again like its 1999
  • mmpiemmpie Registered User regular
    As far as carrying stuff, last year I bought a AmeriBag Classic Distressed Nylon Healthy Back Bag and it was great. It's small but it still could fit everything I wanted, plus (a huge plus) it didn't hurt my shoulder.

    And for reception, I use Verizon and it was very spotty at the BCEC. :(

    PAX East 2014. Let's go.

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  • ChorazinChorazin Registered User regular
    After carrying a messenger bag to all the past Easts and every day for work, I'm glad I finally converted to a real two strap backpack. It's about a billion times more comfortable when wearing it for long periods.

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  • FrugusFrugus Photographer MontrealRegistered User regular
    edited October 2013
    Rorus Raz wrote: »
    I will say that wireless during 2013 was pretty usable and I never had any communication issues with my friends this year. It could be a fluke, but I'll say that you're pretty safe sticking with your phone.

    Also: if you want merch, then the merch booth should be your first stop. The merch booths get better with each year, but they will also have long lines until shit sells out. Don't set yourself up for disappointment, and just grab your shirts of whatever first thing. You should also make sure you have room for that merch: I personally suck it up and just lug my crap around, but some of you may either not want or are unable to do such a thing all day.

    I cannot agree more. I will definitely be adding this to the original thread.

    Another thing...

    PAX Pox: This is what we affectionately call whatever bug, germ or flu that some people catch while going to PAX. It’s not that you will get sick, but things could happen when you’re hanging around very large crowds of people who came from all over the place. PA corp takes this seriously and they have gone through a mini-campaign to encourage everyone to use the Ironguard instead of a shaking hands.

    Other things you should do to keep the nastiness at bay include washing your hands regularly, keep yourself clean, and having some hand sanitizer on you may not be a bad thing. Disclaimer: By no way is getting sick in large crowds unique to PAX, this is valid for any similar event you would go too. PAX Pox was coined after Gabe himself (and a couple of other people) got it bad in 2009.

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    On another note: Speaking of which, I've been giving a lot of thought to re-writing this thread (which is kind of old when you consider it started in 2011).

    Frugus on
    Frugus Eggbeater
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  • zerzhulzerzhul Registered User, Moderator mod
    I dunno, I think a lot of it still stands true. Especially for first timers. Just have to remember you're not a first timer anymore, so things will feel different :)

  • FrugusFrugus Photographer MontrealRegistered User regular
    zerzhul wrote: »
    I dunno, I think a lot of it still stands true. Especially for first timers. Just have to remember you're not a first timer anymore, so things will feel different :)

    I would not change the content, but I often feel like the flow of the content needs work. Then again, if it ain't broke, don't fix it... (too much)

    Frugus Eggbeater
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  • VapokVapok Just a Guy. BostonRegistered User regular
    edited October 2013
    Gonna add some sage advice that I've both experienced and have had other attendees ask me about.

    Differences Between PAX Prime and PAX East
    If you're visiting PAX East for the first time but are a seasoned PAX Prime attendee, there are somethings that will feel familiar and a lot more things that will feel different.

    For starters, at PAX Prime, you might have noticed that the venue is actually the majority of Downtown Seattle. Everything is close by and within walking distance of both all things PAX as well as a lot of the bars, restaurants, hotels, and tourist attractions of Seattle. There's a sense of cohesion between PAX and the City of Seattle. The convention center itself is split up among 6 different levels stacked up on top of each other and uses other venues in nearby hotels and theaters for many of the non-Expo departments (such as Tabletop, PC, Main theater, etc).

    PAX East is completely... different. You might sense familiarity because the signage within the convention center is relatively the same as you expect to see at Prime and though their color may be different, the Enforcers are just as friendly and willing to assist in almost any situation. However, unlike Prime, the venue of PAX East is specifically the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center (BCEC). It's a gigantic convention center with nearly 2 million square feet of space under one roof. Walking southwest end of the convention center around North Lobby and back to the Southeast side of the convention center is a significant 1.2 mile walk. It's technically three levels high, but the interior portions are all expo floor space and it's only the exterior meetings rooms that are three floors high.

    Then there's the rest of Boston, which is actually about 2 miles away from the convention center. Well, maybe not 2 miles as the crow flies, but it can take you a good 20-30 minutes by foot just to get into Boston. It can also take you 20-30 minutes by cab or train to get anywhere in Boston (and that's without traffic).

    So, if you're planning on attending community events, pub crawls, after parties, or just taking in the local flavor, give yourself some travel time and be sure to include that time when you're deciding what to do at PAX and outside of it.

    Because the BCEC is so far away from the majority of the lunch and dinner restaurant options of Boston, there are Restaurant Trolleys that leave from the BCEC and do drop offs and pickups at a lot of the restaurants participating in the program in Boston. I highly recommend these Trolleys, as they are a FREE service provided by the BCEC for PAX.

    Anyways, thought I'd add it. @Frugus, feel free to edit, use, or don't use at your will. =)

    Vapok on
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    Vapok
  • rascrushrascrush Registered User regular
    thanks for this info looks like I will have to have a few taxi numbers handy and plan a lil extra money for the taxi's. I have never had to pay more then 15-20 for a taxi and that was in horrible traffic the bruins game had just got out and I took the taxi from the garden. So I am not to worried about how much they will cost genereally as long as the place u are going is withen a 2-3 mile drive you should not have to pay more then 15.00

  • CoanCoan TorontoRegistered User regular
    Walking southwest end of the convention center around North Lobby and back to the Southeast side of the convention center is a significant 1.2 mile walk

    You know, I didn't need that sort of info. My feet are happier not knowing this sort of thing. As big as BCEC feels, it only really seems that big when you're tired or when you need to be at point X in short order and you're at point Y which is not anywhere close to X. Triple that time if going through the expo hall is required.


    Some events may have transportation, IIRC the elder scrolls party had its own last year that would pick you up at BCEC and drop you back off there. The Wildstar party was at Seaport (if you could get in). Some things are close, but don't count on it, most will have info in advance so you can plan accordingly.

    Posting on the phorum again like its 1999
  • zerzhulzerzhul Registered User, Moderator mod
    @Vapok it's BCEC not BECE

  • zerzhulzerzhul Registered User, Moderator mod
    Also while it's still true that there's not a ton right near the convention center, it's been building up over time. Just between 2012 and 2013 there were restaurants added, and it was even more noticeable between 2011 and 2012. It's going to improve :)

  • VapokVapok Just a Guy. BostonRegistered User regular
    edited October 2013
    zerzhul wrote: »
    Also while it's still true that there's not a ton right near the convention center, it's been building up over time. Just between 2012 and 2013 there were restaurants added, and it was even more noticeable between 2011 and 2012. It's going to improve :)

    While true, still not a lot around it. The Seaport area is up and coming, but also pricey. If you're looking for cost efficient foodstuffs you still you need to go into Boston proper.

    Vapok on
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    Vapok
  • PurpleSkyPurpleSky Registered User regular
    It should be noted that the PAX hotel shuttles also help alleviate the distance issues with PAX East. I've used the shuttles multiple times for non hotel destinations. Their only downside is that they only run during specific hours.

    Ana Ng
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