PAX Prime 2014 Constructive Feedback

zerzhulzerzhul Registered User, Moderator mod
Please post civil constructive feedback of the show here

As always, it's fine to disagree and dislike things and all of that, just don't be a dick about it.

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Posts

  • Rhea_starstormRhea_starstorm Portland, ORRegistered User regular
    edited September 2014
    Most people were awesome but I did have someone cut me in line in the expo hall, at the tales from the borderlands booth, after waiting 2 hours in line >.< I'd like to see better line control. Also perhaps better line estimate times for uncapping- I know the enforcers did the best they could- it just seemed impossible to play anything demos in the expo hall without arriving at 8am and bee lining straight to one booth.

    Rhea_starstorm on
  • ASimPersonASimPerson And they will tremble again at the sound of our silence.Registered User regular
    Speaking of the Telltale booth, I realize that this is entirely up to them, but I really wonder if there should be a cap on wait times. The line cap enforcer told me Monday that there was a three hour wait, which seems just a tad excessive?

    The problem is, of course, what to do. I can see the arguments either way. On one hand, I (and probably others) feel like that is a very long time to wait in line. The flip side argument is hey, if you do that you're probably super dedicated, and if you aren't that dedicated, the expo floor is huge and that the long lines for the big boys also push people toward the smaller devs and give them the attention they deserve. One can also argue that hey, it's Telltale's booth, they can do whatever. In the end, I'm not entirely sure there's a good solution here.

    One thing that I think might be more tractable as a problem is lines spilling into the corridors. I really think that booths, at least for large developers/publishers, should include space to hold a good portion of their queue. There were some booths that actually did a good job with this. Others, like the 2k booth (which used the walls on either side of the corridor in front of the bathrooms) did not.

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  • bacon_avengerbacon_avenger Defender of Pork Products Pacific NW, USARegistered User regular
    10 year pins, it really could have been handled better.

    Selling a small batch once in the morning was a less than optimal choice IMO.

    More than once when I was 'doing laps' per enforcer request because of the line cap (hiya RGB!), I would miss a chance to get into the line sooner than I did because the line would advance and someone who just happened to be closer than I was would get in before I was able to walk over.

    Another time I was in the line, I saw an exhibitor get turned away from the line due to the cap, and that was his only available time to try to get one.

    Myself, I was only able to get my pair for myself and my friend who traveled with me to PAX by making sure I was queued up around 5:30-6AM on monday (and I was in that line every day of the event).

    My suggestion would have been to take the daily allotment of pins, break them up into smaller chunks and sell those smaller amounts at various times throughout the day. I think this would have given more people a better chance at getting one. It also would have the same effect as the overlapping panels do now, making people decide which one they really want to do/see, giving others a better chance as that is one less person who would otherwise be taking a spot in the queue, if you follow what I'm getting at.

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  • DashDDashD Dread Pirate Chef Seattle, WARegistered User regular
    While I enjoyed Acquisitions Inc on Saturday night, I feel it would be better to have the concerts on Friday and Saturday and do AI on Sunday instead. By the end of the third day everyone, including the bands, is exhausted. If AI was scheduled in the Sunday slot, they would have the time needed to run the campaign and the musicians would be able to do their shows while they, and the audience, still have energy to burn.


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  • Chuck Liddell FanChuck Liddell Fan Registered User regular
    Not saying it was anyone here but part of me wishes some folks would be courteous in lines / walking around. Numerous times someone in line would fart, which I know can't always be helped but sometimes when your eating at a table and someone clearly takes a step or 2 out of the line (other person holding their spot) to pass wind directly in front of the tables its a bit frustrating and gross if your having your lunch / dinner / snack etc. If your on the receiving end of that you wouldn't like it so don't do it to others.

    As others have echoed some of the lines were a bit disorganized and the capping seemed like a good idea in principle but I always found what normally happened was that people would crowd around and it would end up being a waiting game for the next time the line was open (Evolve is the perfect example of this).

    I am at the point where I am wondering if the Swag bags are really even worth keeping around. I have only been going for the last 3 paxes (1 day in '12, 3 in '13 and the full 4 days in '14) and they have gradually become worse and worse. I know its just something for fun but I thought the '12 bags were awesome (they gave the Magic: The Gathering Bags), '13 was okay but still seemed to be loaded with ads and this year seemed to be predominantly all ads with the exception of the 30 card magic decks which on monday they were essentially passing out by the bucket load. My self I would not be that upset if they elected to have a swag bag every other year or even every 3rd year to maybe add something a bit extra in them, but I guess the main issue with doing that is you get the folks who end up taking a ton of bags each day.

    Lastly I also would not be upset if they elected to move the LoL to a different venue all together, I am not sure if its entirely feasible to have it at the Beyanora for example. I know this would put people out but I am not really a fan of LoL so moving it out of the expo hall potentially means more space for another booth or to have a large game (like Evolve for example) in that part of the queue room. Saying that I did not mind having the LoL in the queue room as it was at least its own separate area and didn't interfere with anything happening in the Hall (that I know ).

    On that note, I do want to say that Prime '14 was a great time & I thoroughly enjoyed myself (as did my friend) and of course want to go to Prime '15 if we are lucky to land badges again next year!

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  • Rhea_starstormRhea_starstorm Portland, ORRegistered User regular
    edited September 2014
    I liked the hand stamps that borderlands the pre sequel gave out in line to prevent people from re queuing I'd like to see more game demo booths do that. I thought the paramount worked out well for autographs and swag bags but I was disappointed by the swag bags this year...the only good part were the mtg cards

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  • zerzhulzerzhul Registered User, Moderator mod
    I assume you mean Paramount? The Paramount was where autograph sessions and swag bags were handed out, as well as having the twitch stream on the screen.

  • Rhea_starstormRhea_starstorm Portland, ORRegistered User regular
    zerzhul wrote: »
    I assume you mean Paramount? The Paramount was where autograph sessions and swag bags were handed out, as well as having the twitch stream on the screen.
    Yeah lol. I caught the pax plague so not thinking clearly atm. I fixed that.

  • PurpleSkyPurpleSky Registered User regular
    I think this year was the best location for LOL so far. It felt less cramped and it didn't seem to get in the way of other things (maybe the crowd noise might have bothered some but those are small bursts of noise that don't last long). I agree though, maybe a swap would be better. Put LOL in Paramount and have autograph and streams in the queue room? I've said this last year and I'll say it again, I love that PAX has LOL's NA playoffs and I really hope they continue it. Riot is an example of a company that understands and respects PAX's importance so I hope the relationship continues.

    BombClancyLucid_Seraphmcdermott
  • adias.angeladias.angel Tech-Savvy Wife Kalamazoo, MIRegistered User regular
    edited September 2014
    .
    THE GOOD:
    ♦ Pre-taped lines for Indie areas in Expo Hall
    ♦ LOL move to queue room
    ♦ Expansion of 6th floor for Indies


    First the person who thought to tape off certain Indie booths with lines - BRILLIANT! Was so much more organized this year and very clear where and how long you were waiting for something.

    Also the move of LOL to the queue was another stroke of brilliance. I have to admit I was doubting the move but the space was much better suited and over crowding into other areas was never an issues. DO THIS AGAIN! Love that Indies were expanded up to 6. Maybe a bit more communication about that down in the expo hall indie area would be good so those of us who love indies know there are more areas to go to! :)
    .
    .
    THE BAD:
    ♦ Freeplay Tabletop organization and lack of communication
    ♦ The escalator cluster
    ♦ Panel queue room temperatures (Sheraton)


    My biggest disappointment this year was tabletop. Cramped rooms at the WSCC/Motiff plus the removal of the lending library from the secondary location (Motiff) makes this year even worse than last year (and last year wasn't great). Tabletop needs to be moved into ONE central area. We need larger rooms similar to how pre-pax gaming is done. Both the Motiff and the Olive 8 had the issue of little side rooms that were hard to find unless you knew they were there or stumbled into them. WSCC rooms suffer from too small a space for the number of people so those should be used as secondary spaces and move the primary/library area into a different location to alleviate some of the congestion.

    If you have to divide into small areas perhaps divide up based on type of game with correct lending libraries in each location. Put miniatures at the WSCC, CC in another location and board games in another location. I'm a board game lover so for me what's most important is that other board game lovers are in the same area and easy to find so we can all try new games together.

    I also felt there was a serious lack of communication about the TT freeplay areas. Not only did we not have a great idea of what was where, we also found out by accident that every night from 8-12 at the Motiff was social board game meet up. Creating a location that listed this type of info that I could go to on my phone would be very helpful. I know we have the Twitter tag but events or location information should really be written down in an easily accessible spot. It is not practical to scroll through tweet to look for static information like this.

    Another issue this year was the escalators. I am not 100% sure what the issue was but we were told by WSCC staff that it's because people were not moving away from the top of the escalators and were causing a backup. If you have to give a enforcer a bullhorn and a box to stand on to yell "KEEP MOVING" please do so. Something needs to be done to keep the congestion down.

    Last issue was the temperature of the panel queue rooms in the Sheraton. It was MUCH better this year with the enforcers keeping the doors open but it still got kind of stifling in there towards the last 45 minutes. Made me a bit light headed. Just a couple fans near the doorways to push air into the rooms would keep the temperature low enough to be acceptable.

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  • melissadingmonmelissadingmon Squirrel Seattle, WARegistered User regular
    As an exhibitor, I was used to my XA bringing us some of the swag bags to our booth. We were told that they couldn't do that anymore, but since there was only a small group of us that had to work all four days, we never got the chance to get our bags. *sad face*

    *rides off into the sunset*
  • Spud387Spud387 Man of Inaction Vancouver, BC, CanadaRegistered User regular
    Only gripe I had was the tabletop organization. Having the entire library at the WSCC then the actual space to play at the Motif was less than ideal.

    Move all of tabletop to one external location please

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  • vespachicavespachica SeattleRegistered User regular
    Bad:
    Swag bags. Seriously, just do away with them. I didn't look very closely at any of the cards in there and I'm certain I can't be the only one. I looked only for LoL stuff only because a coworker asked me to get him codes if possible. Other than that, into the recycling it went except for the MTG cards. Such a waste.

    Lack of table space for games. Yeah, that sucked. And having to check out in WSCC and then walk a few blocks to somewhere you might be able to play the game is lame.

    Escalators / entrance to expo hall first thing in the morning. What was up with all that? It was nuts. Related: the convention center personnel were kind of assholes. I didn't have any problems with any of the enforcers but the CC people were dour and just looked like someone pissed in their Wheaties. I mean, whatever, it's their jobs but they could at least be pleasant or courteous or, I don't know, professional.

    LoL. I think it's time they had their own convention.

    Programs. They were only available on the first floor of the convention center, I guess. I wish they had been available over with swag bags.

    Expo hall (4th floor) crowding. It seemed worse this year and I experienced a lot more pushing than in previous years. Also farting (wtf was with the farting this year?!). I mean, I realize it happens but holy crap I did not want to be near people. I normally don't complain about body odors but it seemed particularly bad this year for whatever reason. Also, people who seemingly have left their clothes in the washer two days too long. I hope that doesn't make me sound like an asshole but it was a factor for me. I also realize there is nothing that can really be done about it so it's a useless complaint. Anyway, I know expo hall crowding is a standard complaint so I guess I just have to live with it.


    Good:
    Streaming at the Paramount. Excellent. So grateful.

    Taped off areas. Fantastic and clear which made a lot of things much easier.

    Indie area on the 6th floor of the expo hall. This is my favorite area and I am afraid the secret is out now as it seemed to be a lot more crowded than in past years.

    Benaroya. I love that this is the main theatre.

    Life sized games. Shout out for Tsuro!

    Magic: The Gathering personnel. I have rarely experienced people so willing to help and explain and friendly. They were great.

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  • CaptaimManiCaptaimMani Olympia, WARegistered User regular
    I think it was mentioned on the PAX subreddit, but I think the idea of fast passes, "text when it's your turn," or demo sign ups would be great instead of line capping. I know that would make a whole lot of extra work and it would still be just as crowded, but it would feel more fair IMO. I got cut in line several times and never got a chance to demo the one game I was really looking forward to. :(

    Rhea_starstormbloatedhippo
  • PurpleSkyPurpleSky Registered User regular
    I believe part of the escalator issues were due to the fact that WSCC was trying reduce the load on them. I remember previous PAXes where the escalators were breaking down during the middle of the convention.

  • vespachicavespachica SeattleRegistered User regular
    That's true, re: escalators, but it was inconsistent. Lots of times throughout the day they would be full but it seemed like at the very beginning of the day they filled one but left the other empty and then alternated. It was kind of strange.

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  • alegriaalegria Registered User regular
    I filled out my survey this morning, so I hope everyone here is doing so as well!

    1) I know this is super minor, but the streetlight signs didn't go up until halfway through Friday. I usually spend the week before PAX getting excited every day I ride down Pike on my way home, and I was sad to not see them this year. Lots of things seemed to be not done on time this year, judging from what I saw going on when wandering around with the [E] husband on Thursday while he checked in and went to his theater and so on.

    2) For the limited edition pins, please publish IN ADVANCE the numbers available each day, so that people getting in line know if they've got a shot or not. I was 116 in line on Friday morning, and I was worried that there would be only 200 pins and I'd be wasting my time. Turns out there were 300 so I was fine, but I would've appreciated not having to worry.

    3) On a related note to (2), if the doors are going to open earlier than before, please announce this. The halls to the queue room (and thus the Merch queue) have never opened before 8am as far as I know, yet this year on Friday they were open at 7:20am. I instantly went from "mmm breakfast" to "OH SHIT HAVE TO RUN TO MERCH RIGHT NOW" because of this. I do NOT mind getting there early, please understand, I just want to know when things open so that I have an equal chance without having to get there at 4am "just in case."

    4) Line management for panels was really well done, especially with Hedgehog, and I appreciated the Line Entertainment crew. Thanks guys! :)

    5) I feel like the Pinny Arcade partner pins need to be better managed somehow. There were some games I demo'd just to get a pin, not because I gave a crap about the game, and some games I did NOT get to demo pretty much because of the lines caused by the pin. The Order was the worst offender, as they weren't even guaranteeing a pin if you demo'd (I think it was 1 in 4?). That may make for large lines that make the developer/publisher team feel all important, but it's not fun for the attendees, it's not fun for the Enforcers, and it ends up causing a different set of problems. I'd love to see the option for people to buy pins OR get them for free by playing the demo - that might help considerably with the "pin congestion" caused by the insanity that is Pinny Arcade.

    6) This is a comment that I doubt anyone at PA/Reed can do anything about, but the Disney Fantasia lines were a huge pain. Their demo songs were all quite long - 6-8 minutes on average - and they were not making (or even allowing in one room) singles pair up to compete to get through more quickly. I wish companies would keep in mind the possible throughput and how to make it move more quickly for their customers. I would've gotten the same flavor of the game with 3-4 minute songs (and arguably been less frustrated with the poorly calibrated Kinects in some rooms) as I did with the 6-8 minute songs.

    7) Pin trading on Sunday evening was awesome. :) I am so glad I got there early, as I didn't realize it was going to be a relatively short capped line. It was fun to have the option to actually trade/interact with the staff, but future sessions may need to go to a single line where you walk past each staff member to trade a pin for theirs without option to go back and forth and see what others are trading and so on. Perhaps a "trade with staff" session and then a more open "take a pin leave a pin" session afterwards?

    I had a great time this year, my ninth PAX Prime. I will be there again next year! :D

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  • Foo_DogFoo_Dog Registered User regular
    What about asking vendors to meet or exceed a minimum booth "throughput". If you have a long demo, make sure you have lots of stations, etc. As it is, lines become essentially PAX's expo currency. If I'm willing to pay 3 hours I can try Telltale's borderlands demo. I dunno - you can't do everything at PAX, but I'd be fine with shorter demos and play sessions if it meant more of my friends could play, too. And by friends I mean ALL OF YOU.

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  • PurpleSkyPurpleSky Registered User regular
    Foo_Dog wrote: »
    What about asking vendors to meet or exceed a minimum booth "throughput". If you have a long demo, make sure you have lots of stations, etc. As it is, lines become essentially PAX's expo currency. If I'm willing to pay 3 hours I can try Telltale's borderlands demo. I dunno - you can't do everything at PAX, but I'd be fine with shorter demos and play sessions if it meant more of my friends could play, too. And by friends I mean ALL OF YOU.

    Due to limited booth size more stations might not be possible but yes I agree short demos should be the norm. I like how Bloodborne did it this year :) If you died in that demo it was the end of it ha ha. Which meant very short demos knowing From Software's reputation with hard games :). But yeah a demo should be short just so a player can get a general feel of the game and its mechanics/play control.

  • DaPaladinDaPaladin Registered User regular
    alegria wrote: »
    6) This is a comment that I doubt anyone at PA/Reed can do anything about, but the Disney Fantasia lines were a huge pain. Their demo songs were all quite long - 6-8 minutes on average - and they were not making (or even allowing in one room) singles pair up to compete to get through more quickly. I wish companies would keep in mind the possible throughput and how to make it move more quickly for their customers. I would've gotten the same flavor of the game with 3-4 minute songs (and arguably been less frustrated with the poorly calibrated Kinects in some rooms) as I did with the 6-8 minute songs.

    I had the same problem on Friday. Friends did it on Sunday and they were doing doubles to help move the line and then on Monday they were giving two buttons for one song. Towards the end they were just handing the shirts out - they had a lot. I don't think they planned the flow very well.

    vespachica
  • IncarnadineIncarnadine Registered User regular
    The CAH "booth" was awesome. Whoever designed it did a great job and it was a welcome departure from the chaos that is the rest of PAX.

    I'm not sure who thought the morning line winding through the park was a good idea, but (at least on Friday) by the time I got back to the convention center, the doors had been opened to the public anyway.

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  • KrelliumKrellium Registered User new member
    Benaroya Hall Issues:

    Line management was great for going into Acquisitions Inc, however upon leaving it was considerably slowed down due to the swag handout lines. I feel things could have run more smoothly if people who didn't want swag didn't have to wait along with those who did.

    Also, while I'm certainly no expert, there seemed to be several issues with the lighting control / setup in Benaroya. If you were in the balcony for Acquisitions one of the lighting rigs was right in the eye line for the main screen. During the Patrick Rothfuss panel he had to ask several times for the lighting to be turned down, during Make A Strip the lights were turned up so high at one point people were shielding their eyes.

  • CrielCriel Registered User regular
    This may be just me from lack of attendance previous years, but for the popular games(Borderlands, Evolve/SSB/etc) I could not clearly tell where the line started and ended so with every single big game that had a huge line, I had to ask someone where the line actually began and it was never where I thought it was. I know the tape on the ground is to help but if there's a ton of people waiting for the game, it's hard to tell where exactly the start and end is. The only efficient way to find the end of the line is the Capped sign.

    It was constantly congested near the Evolve booth, and for good reason, those games are extremely fun to watch and I was caught catching a game or two a few times throughout the day. I'm not sure if there was a better place they could've placed that but it was congested 100% of the time.

    Is the only reason people play the 'popular' games is because of swag? Fri-Sun I wasn't about to wait in line for a shirt or a bag for three hours, come Monday the lines for the games that gave away swag was practically nothing. Lichdom(I think a tshirt was the swag), Sonic(bag?), SSB(towel), etc lines were nothing and could get in them quickly. I mean, it's great for the company that so many people play their game they are showing but is only for the swag? Me personally, I could care less about the swag and I will never wait in line for 3 hours to get a free t-shirt.

    Some of the enforcers could've handled some of the line issues a little better and more calm, I saw some screaming at the people for line issues like around giveaways at Gigabyte booth and some were going crazy in the classic console room. I know with some instances like with giveaways it would be hard to manage the people but it can be done without screaming at people to quit blocking the paths.

    Not that I am complaining about the cosplay outfits... but I saw a few of them that I would never want my kid to see(no panties/extremely short skirt/showing the goodies). I only saw a couple of these outfits one time each so I don't know if they were grabbed by enforcers to change or what but these outfits will hinder me bringing my kids when they get old enough. Personally, not complaining about them, but concerns me in future PAXes with me and my kids.

    My brother cosplayed as Gangplank from LoL and brought in a prop gun and a plastic sword, he was able to walk into the floor room without having to check the weapons, which I was told was required to do(and he did after we realized that we just walked in without getting it checked). Do enforcers regularly check for weapons out on the floor? It doesn't seem very safe that we could walk in with anything under our coat without getting required to check.

  • FidchelFidchel Registered User regular
    I would like to echo complaints about a generally more rude atmosphere this year, from enforcers as well as attendees. I was shoved around a great deal more than in previous years, and the issues surrounding line caps were mildly ridiculous. The only way the boyfriend and I were able to get into The Order 1886 was because we happened to be walking by when the line opened up, and we were literally shoved in with the stampede; good thing we wanted to play it! I think the worst line had to be Shadows of Mordor, where there were three enforcers barking for people not to block Bethesda (we weren't, and ended up talking to the Bethesda people instead of trying Shadows of Mordor anyway) for a three hour wait to play a twenty-minute demo with maybe thirty people in the line. The line was too small, the demo too long, and the enforcers entirely too rude to people who were not actually blocking foot traffic, while at the same time getting through the aisles around Evolve was nearly impossible.

    On the other hand, there were so many friendly and helpful developers this year, and outside of the swag bag (which sucked) this is the best year the boyfriend and I have had for getting nice free stuff. Major props to Nintendo, Capcom, The Order, Lichdom, and WB Games for the wonderful stuff, some of which we didn't even have to play the games to get. Taking a breather with the creators of Shovel Knight was awesome, and I hope that gal from Wander recovers from that broken leg soon. Best of all, my eternal gratitude goes out to the man from SMITE doing commentary for Twitch this year, who actually gave me a Saturday ticket because of the outrageous scalper prices.

    Speaking of scalpers....sheesh. I was tuned to the Official PAX Twitter, and apparently there were people mugged for badges or some such? Not to mention the ridiculous prices being charged out on the street, such as $100 for a Saturday pass; if not for our random benefactor, we probably wouldn't have been able to afford to attend Saturday and Sunday. There isn't much that can be done to combat scalping with the current system, so I think it might be time to look into a new system for distributing badges. Tying them to a name, for example, will slow down the sell-out process when badge sales go live (I was in queue within ten minutes of the first tweet and barely snagged Friday and Monday badges) and reduce or eliminate scalpers, thereby ensuring that more people can attend for a reasonable cost. Yeah, it would suck if you suddenly couldn't go and were stuck with a ticket, but some form of transfer process could be implemented or however other conventions of this size and nature have handled this in the past.

    Not a fan of LoL, so I would much rather see the queue room used for a centralized tabletop space and LoL get its own convention. Having tabletop so spread out and off-campus, so to speak, is really frustrating, especially since PAX is supposed to be about more than video games and Magic cards. It doesn't really help that Wizards apparently blew their D&D budget on GenCon, but....why isn't Wizards saving D&D money for PAX if PAX is still tabletop friendly? We need to have the tabletop games taken out of the corner and given a large, centralized spotlight, where folks can come and talk to the authors and developers while play-testing new systems and just having fun with one-off campaigns.

    I have no idea where the concerts were this year, but is there a reason why they weren't at the Paramount again? We ended up skipping Triforce Quartet on Friday because we were just not in the mood to be hiking off to parts unknown at the end of the day.

    We loved having so many indie developers on the sixth floor; indie on the fourth floor was a nightmare to navigate. Maybe they should all be on the sixth floor?

    There needs to be some sort of official cosplay panel. The cosplay community at PAX has grown a lot in recent years, and the few contests there are that are sponsored by developers are small and not well-advertised/organized. I was so happy to see a contest by S2 Games, and the judges were really fun to talk to, but the lack of a public stage to have everyone show off their beautiful creations was a bit of a let-down. If it takes a company like S2 to sponsor a panel to make this happen, then we need to do it already.

    I liked the Diversity Lounge and I hope that in the future we see more booths and organizations dedicated to diversity included, both in the lounge and out on the main floor.

    I think that about covers it o.O

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  • jthom252jthom252 Registered User regular
    Honestly, the only thing I could think of is that the megabooth feels wayyyyy too cramped now, I really feel like it should be swapped with something like one of the big headphone booths or something where it has more open points of entry / exit. I know being stuck at the back wall is kind of a bummer for anyone, but it really feels like the megabooth is deserving of a more accessible floor spot. Being next to Nintendo and Blizzard also seemed like it was making things a little tighter. Would also like to see some kind of more detailed listing for the people in the minibooth, there happened to be a couple of Kickstarter games I had looked into that were there and I didn't find out were there until after the fact.

    The 6th floor stuff was really awesome this year and being able to check stuff out at the Hyatt / Sheraton / etc. felt like it helped spread things out a little more, it feels like it's the best way to handle the panels if nothing else.

    Also, I know it's not directly PAX related but the Seattle Indies Expo was pretty cool, and gave me a lot more to do on Monday - would be interesting to see if there was any more partnership that PAX could do with them.

  • DaveRHDaveRH Registered User regular
    Veteran here, I think this was my group's 13th or 14th PAX.

    PAX is always amazing, but since this thread is for constructive criticism, I'm going to focus on the few things that I noticed this year.

    I have never seen the type of crowding that happened multiple times in the lobby of the WSTCC this year. I'm not sure if it was due to poor communication with new staff, the LoL area taking up the entire Queue room, or something else....but there were several times where I'm pretty sure a Fire Marshall would have been very upset had they seen the state of the lobby. I think at least part of it was miscommunication, because they weren't letting people up the back escalators, only the main tiered ones.

    I'm not sure why they weren't allowing people up the back escalators, there was a lot of space up there that could safely hold people and the expo hall entrance could remain closed up there (it was during opening that things were at their worst).

    It was clear many of the staff were new this year, but I noticed none of the new staff were dismissive or rude to con-goers (which has historically been a problem at PAX, mostly east though).

    I would prefer LoL to be off site in the Benaroya or Paramount.... it just doesn't make sense to dedicate so much of the limited on-site space to something that isn't the main focus of the con. I'm sure Roit wants to be in the main building, but I really don't think that serves the con best.

    Scalpers were the worst they have ever been this year....I saw a scalper selling a "SPC" badge this year as well. I'm not sure that anything can be done about this, because I am pretty sure scalping is legal in Wa.

    When it comes to lines, and all the related issues, it's huge amounts of people...it's not going to be perfect, and PAX always does an amazing job compared to pretty much every other con I have been to of a similar size.



    vespachica
  • zerzhulzerzhul Registered User, Moderator mod
    Fidchel wrote: »
    Speaking of scalpers....sheesh. I was tuned to the Official PAX Twitter, and apparently there were people mugged for badges or some such? Not to mention the ridiculous prices being charged out on the street, such as $100 for a Saturday pass; if not for our random benefactor, we probably wouldn't have been able to afford to attend Saturday and Sunday. There isn't much that can be done to combat scalping with the current system, so I think it might be time to look into a new system for distributing badges. Tying them to a name, for example, will slow down the sell-out process when badge sales go live (I was in queue within ten minutes of the first tweet and barely snagged Friday and Monday badges) and reduce or eliminate scalpers, thereby ensuring that more people can attend for a reasonable cost. Yeah, it would suck if you suddenly couldn't go and were stuck with a ticket, but some form of transfer process could be implemented or however other conventions of this size and nature have handled this in the past.
    Not arguing, but since you mentioned this it made me think of a point I had been thinking about all weekend. I have never been to a sold out pax prime during which I saw so few scalpers. It seemed like they were near non-existent this year. I tend to think that's what led to the badge-snatchers and reports of counterfeits. I'm sure they were around, but it always used to seem like they were totally unavoidable and prevalent, and this year the scalping crowd seemed subdued.
    Fidchel wrote: »
    There needs to be some sort of official cosplay panel. The cosplay community at PAX has grown a lot in recent years, and the few contests there are that are sponsored by developers are small and not well-advertised/organized. I was so happy to see a contest by S2 Games, and the judges were really fun to talk to, but the lack of a public stage to have everyone show off their beautiful creations was a bit of a let-down. If it takes a company like S2 to sponsor a panel to make this happen, then we need to do it already.
    Like every other panel except the Omegathon and the PA panels, this would need to be submitted during panel submissions. The general rule of pax panels is that if you want to see certain content, create it, or find people to create it! The best panels are the ones created/run by passionate folks who want to see expanded content horizons.

  • adias.angeladias.angel Tech-Savvy Wife Kalamazoo, MIRegistered User regular
    edited September 2014
    Fidchel wrote: »
    It doesn't really help that Wizards apparently blew their D&D budget on GenCon, but....why isn't Wizards saving D&D money for PAX if PAX is still tabletop friendly? We need to have the tabletop games taken out of the corner and given a large, centralized spotlight, where folks can come and talk to the authors and developers while play-testing new systems and just having fun with one-off campaigns.

    We did GenCon for the first time this year and it was amazing. One thing that really opened my eyes though was how much space Wizards used there. They took up pretty much equivalent to the indie area on the 6th floor that included a life-size castle wall display. If I were to wager a guess I am thinking it's less about the money and more about a return on investment. Until PAX can give a good TT experience they don't have a reason to sink a large chunk of cash. Why sink in hundreds of thousands when only an extremely small percentage of the attendees will be able to find you.

    And yes I agree with you 100%, tabletop needs to finally get some love from the PAX organizers.

    adias.angel on
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    Fidchel
  • Rhea_starstormRhea_starstorm Portland, ORRegistered User regular
    edited September 2014
    With the scalpers problem have any washington pax attendees thought about contacting their state representatives/starting a petition to pass anti scapling legislation? It's illegal in plenty of other states so its not far fetched that it would pass and save us a huge headache in the future. This seems to me to be a more viable option since PAX staff has little to no control what goes on outside the con. I heard that one scapler got inside WSCC and was dealt with quickly. Also I'm not sure if this could work logistically but id like the see badges required for entry into wscc period and other panelsnot just the expo hall and merch booth. I'm sure he was a nice guy with good intentions but I had someone ask to borrow my badge while waiting in the subway line on 2nd floor which was unerving. Also I've seen people in Tabletop free play every year without badges and it just adds to the already over crowded space

    Rhea_starstorm on
  • PurpleSkyPurpleSky Registered User regular
    If Riot is ok with having the audience size they had for this year's NA playoffs then I see no problem with keeping LOL at PAX. If they want an even larger audience then they have to start considering moving things offsite. This year LOL was in its best location. Its clear that Riot has a lot of respect for PAX and I feel they should be commended for that. They understand how important the PAX audience is and the success of their game is partly due to their good customer relations. A lot of companies can learn from them (**cough Bungie cough**) so it would sadden me to see the playoffs go. So if they demand anything bigger then yes unfortunately they'd have to move on.

    BLaZuREadias.angelNymphodorah
  • vespachicavespachica SeattleRegistered User regular
    I am okay with scalping, personally. It creates an opportunity should I not be lucky enough to get badges and it allowed me to sell my extra Saturday pass before going in (only $5 over face). I also noticed far fewer than last year. I think I only saw one or two guys with stacks of badges for sale vs. last year when there were a lot of them.

    ufq9gj8383nh.png

    SkeleVader
  • alegriaalegria Registered User regular
    zerzhul wrote: »
    Not arguing, but since you mentioned this it made me think of a point I had been thinking about all weekend. I have never been to a sold out pax prime during which I saw so few scalpers. It seemed like they were near non-existent this year. I tend to think that's what led to the badge-snatchers and reports of counterfeits. I'm sure they were around, but it always used to seem like they were totally unavoidable and prevalent, and this year the scalping crowd seemed subdued.

    Every single time I left the WSCC I saw several people hawking badges, asking for badges for sale, and sometimes being real shits about it. They were spread out, usually 2-3 right at the main WSCC corner, one on the Sheraton corner, and one on the Cheesecake Factory corner, with more along each of the corners down Pike past the Motif. I don't remember there being so many last year, but perhaps I just ran into more that were actively hollering about their wares this time.

    Rw4xnu6.png
    PAX Prime Attendee since 2006, BYOC Attendee 2008-2012, Buttoneer 2010-2014
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    Rhea_starstormFidchel
  • Rhea_starstormRhea_starstorm Portland, ORRegistered User regular
    alegria wrote: »
    zerzhul wrote: »
    Not arguing, but since you mentioned this it made me think of a point I had been thinking about all weekend. I have never been to a sold out pax prime during which I saw so few scalpers. It seemed like they were near non-existent this year. I tend to think that's what led to the badge-snatchers and reports of counterfeits. I'm sure they were around, but it always used to seem like they were totally unavoidable and prevalent, and this year the scalping crowd seemed subdued.

    Every single time I left the WSCC I saw several people hawking badges, asking for badges for sale, and sometimes being real shits about it. They were spread out, usually 2-3 right at the main WSCC corner, one on the Sheraton corner, and one on the Cheesecake Factory corner, with more along each of the corners down Pike past the Motif. I don't remember there being so many last year, but perhaps I just ran into more that were actively hollering about their wares this time.

    I had a few heckle me to sell my badge rudely mainly near the sheraton

  • HingoHingo Minneapolis, MNRegistered User regular
    LoL does not need their own convention. The queue room was WAYYY better than 6th floor last year. Even then, the queue room was capped for LoL this year. I love LoL, but would still like to see them migrate to a place like the Paramount to allow more guests to view it (since they clearly have capacity issues), as well as it being a more comfortable experience than standing on concrete for 6 hours.

    Also, the people that go to LoL stay at LoL. Whereas the people standing around the Evolve booth in the walkways with complete disregard for the interruption of foot traffic will relocate to a different area to block foot traffic. Yeah, I'm a little salty this year about the amount of people with no situational awareness of where they are standing around and deciding to have a conversation with friends. I know Wheaton's law is supposed to be in effect, but I felt bad for the Enforcers around the Blizzard booth that I saw since they constantly had to remind people not to stand still in the middle of a walkway and have a 30-minute conversation elsewhere. I don't have any bright ideas as of yet for how to solve this issue.

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  • CrielCriel Registered User regular
    vespachica wrote: »
    I am okay with scalping, personally. It creates an opportunity should I not be lucky enough to get badges and it allowed me to sell my extra Saturday pass before going in (only $5 over face). I also noticed far fewer than last year. I think I only saw one or two guys with stacks of badges for sale vs. last year when there were a lot of them.

    While I can see your point, scalpers do not help the population outside of Washington. If scalpers take any amount of badges from people like me over in South Dakota or any state thousands of miles away from Washington, I will probably not be traveling to Seattle in hopes of getting a cheap badge there from a scalper when if they were unable to get them in the first place, I might have had a better chance of getting enough badges to make the trip worth it.

    Not to mention, I asked a ton of the scalpers out front on prices for the tickets and they were jacked up higher than Ebay($140 for Sat, $100 for Sunday, etc)

  • DreamwriterDreamwriter Registered User regular
    Unfortunately, I'm not sure what the solution is, but yeah, too many scummy scalpers who were only there to scalp - they would offer to buy passes off of people for small amounts, and then sell them for a huge amount higher than that. They were everywhere. When it came time for me to sell my 4-day pass on Saturday night, since I could only attend two days, I made sure it was obviously someone who had already been in PAX that day. Though the scum scalpers made that harder to do.

  • DaveRHDaveRH Registered User regular
    I don't believe there is a realistic solution to the scalping problem. Also, with as many as I saw, it's a limited number of tickets. Couldn't have seen more than 100 over the course of the weekend, and there are like 20,000 passes a day. I know it's annoying, but it's not a huge number of passes being eaten up.

    There is no solution, someone above suggested printing names on badges...that won't really help. Is every single person going to have their ID checked every time they enter the expo?

    vespachicaSkeleVaderadias.angel
  • Rhea_starstormRhea_starstorm Portland, ORRegistered User regular
    I think getting rid of scalping outside the con could help with the counterfeit badges problem which results in overcrowding

  • paxmanateepaxmanatee Registered User new member
    I had a lot of trouble finding places to play tabletop games. In one case I checked out Pandemic and ended up walking to the hotel the tabletop tournaments were being played to find a table. It would be nice if tabletop tournament and freeplay were in the same place with lots of tables available.

    Fantasy Flight Games did a very nice job explaining NetRunner to my friend and I. We had a fun game there. Sadly, when we went to check out games NetRunner wasn't available. Someone should try to coordinate with them, if they are going to the trouble of being at Pax to promote their products, they might be convinced to donate some copies of their games to the tabletop library. It would be better exposure for them and a better experience for convention goers.

    The convention center staff did a great job keeping crowds moving, mostly people didn't get to the top of a crowded escalator and then just freeze up trying to figure out where they were. Generally Pax enforcers were nice too. My only bad experience was waiting in line for the Cards Against Humanity panel. An enforcer said "Everyone needs to stand up or you aren't in my line anymore." Which could have just been phrased, "Hey, stand up please, we're going to be moving out of this hall soon." No need to put a threat in there, we're all here to have fun, right? And when we moved into that room in the Sheraton it was so hot, crowded and miserable I left and gave up on that panel. I wanted to go, but not enough to put up with the sweltering heat in that room.

    adias.angel
  • mcdermottmcdermott Registered User regular
    edited September 2014
    I bought two of my my badges scalped, and didn't go on Saturday because it wasn't worth $120+ to me. I paid $50 for Friday (just before 10) and $60 for Sunday (just before 10). That wasn't crazy to me.

    Scarier was Sunday morning, when all but one of the six scalpers I talked to just plain didn't have any. I finally found one guy with a Sunday and Four Day, paid $160, and sold the four day to a friend to use in Monday for $40.

    (Edit: was with another friend Sunday morning, to be clear, hence two badges. But between my excess Monday and the one I picked up Sunday, my neighbors were very happy nerds!)

    So aside from Saturday not crazy expensive, but availability is an issue. I'll never support an anti-scalping law though (aside from maybe a hundred yard or so radius of the venue) in WA. I wound up down in San Diego during comic con, and not being able to get a badge regardless of willingness to pay sucked ass. As long as the bulk of badges still go to fans (and they do) I'd prefer to have the option.

    That aside....

    Morning entry was a mess, and people going straight in before I wound through freeway park was bullshit.

    Like the location for LoL. Doesn't disturb nearby locations (expo floor is already loud), and central for those that dig it.

    Tabletop library wasn't at Motif? That's bad.

    Swag bags are pointless now. The amount of trash is minor compared to the con, but a waste of a walk to the paramount.

    Expo floor felt pretty good this year. I think aggressive line capping is helping, even if it makes getting in tough.

    CAH speakeasy was the shit.

    Pushing some booth space (like Fantasia) out to the hotels is good, as long as they're close (like Hyatt and Sheraton...not Motif).

    mcdermott on
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