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Constructive Feedback - East 2016

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

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



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    iltailta Registered User regular
    I was so impressed by the expo hall this year. The wide aisles and the "please don't stop for cosplay photos" signs helped with traffic flow SO MUCH. The big standing-around booths like Twitch and Ark were also off the escalators, which made getting in and out less of a hazard, though putting the Twitch and Arena stages opposite each other made for some tight squeezes on the way to Tabletop and Cuttlefish. Overall, though, the flow was a huge step up; super great work by everyone.

    As always, indie games were a big highlight. I don't know where you guys find them, but there were dozens of interesting, varied, innovative games. Tabletop had a lot of neat games, too, with lots of demos happening so I could try the newest stuff.

    I think this year the weak point was, by far, the panels. I was just not that into a lot of them, and far too many seemed to be either celebrity-driven (and Internet celebrity, at that), or hour-long commercials. Not that I begrudge Newegg or Mafia III or the Banner Saga guys their chance to tell fans about what they're selling, but in my mind that's what your booth or special room is for. It felt like a lot of the fun, oddball panels didn't get scheduled this year, so I mostly stuck to the hall and Tabletop.

    Actually, speaking of celebrities, I just don't get the "Content Creator" push. I don't know any of these people, and I find it a little offensive that they were paid and promoted and pushed like I ought to care. If Markiplier wants to show up and say hi to his fans, maybe do a panel and autographs, that's cool; as the Doubleclicks would say, that's their jam, it doesn't affect me. But to hear the organizers flew them out and built so much of the con around them... I don't know. It feels unPaxy. It's not what this is about, or should be about.

    Saturday night concert was amazing (I'm sure Friday was too, but I didn't go). The only way VGO could have been better was to go outside Capcom for at least a few songs (their Purple Rain tribute cover was fantastic, and moving!), but they are on the Capcom tour these days so I get it. And not really something PA or ReedPop can do anything about. Just wanted to share.

    The two new close hotels (Aloft and Element) were a great pressure valve off (though hotels are always a mess, that's just how it goes). But the Westin and the Residence Inn being off the list then undid a lot of that. I hear more are opening up next year, so that's great.

    I wish the Make-a-Strip hadn't been written before the panel. I really like seeing M&J riff and refine the jokes. More time for questions and sea shanties (complete with double-exposure video), though, so that's a wash.

    Anyway, these are my random thoughts. If I think of more I'll add them.

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    danwisedanwise Registered User new member
    Allow the bar to sell alcohol again. Staff there confirmed that was a PAX decision, not BCEC. They were ticked, they did a lot less business and got less tips.

    Bring Rockband back

    Make Johan Sebastian joust areas official. It's always a huge draw. This year some random attendee brought his own rig and got permission to set it up at the last minute. This is exactly the sort of thing PAX should be actively doing for itself.

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    schussschuss Registered User regular
    Agreed on the Joust and bars. Just restrict the bar areas to 21+ only with wristbands. Not that hard to prevent underage drinking if that's the concern. If the concern is drunk people, you aren't going to stop that.

    Lines were a shitshow this year. From the massive entrance lines each day, to the generally not great signage and organization, just wasn't impressed at all. I know the enforcers were trying, but there may need to be more of them, as I was in an expo hall line where the enforcers took off until 5 minutes after hall opening, which meant our side got screwed on popular items.
    I really don't know why more reservation-style stuff isn't pushed. We have the technology to decrease the need to endlessly stand in lines, we should start using it more.

    Panels were ok, this year, at least the ones I went to.

    Tabletop needs some more enforcers checking people in, saw a constant long line there.

    Expo hall traffic changes were GREAT. Even though I inadvertently stopped to talk to a friend once and got yelled at, it was 100% justified for traffic flow. Just need a few people going around and correcting the people who try to go against the flow on each side.

    Swag bags were terrible. If there's not going to be much in there, maybe throw some stickers or other stuff in?

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    jdixon1972jdixon1972 Registered User regular
    My likes or dislikes in no particular order:

    1: Despite the fubarb with the lines on Friday, I do feel that the line situation was much better.
    2: The food situation was MUCH better. The food trucks outside combined with more food stations throughout the complex worked so much better (yes, the trucks were the cheapest, as usual, though)
    3: For the first time, the entirety of the whole bottom floor was used. Taking out the stupid carny food trucks gave much more room for tabletop and pc freeplay. Yes, there were fewer que lines, but they were longer.
    4: The expo hall felt more open this year. It was easier to travel around. I liked the cosplay signs too.
    5: Pushing the LOL stuff to one of the side rooms was a good decision.
    6: No Retro Video Game Roadshow made me sad :(
    7: What happened with the Handheld Lounge? It used to be such a big space, but this year it was limited to the space. Was it a fire marshal issue?
    8: I know I might get flak for this, but I think no alcohol was a good decision. I know that area was crowded, but it didn't feel as bad as last year.
    9: Is it time to retire the Just Dance stage? Maybe I was always passing it when it happened not to be used, but it didn't seem to me to be popular.
    10: The PAX merch booths seemed to run much better. The payment procedures were much smother and the lines were faster.
    11: I really feel that the whole inflatable toss thing in the que line area needs to stop. Normal size beach balls were one thing, but now with softball size balls, and large things like the shark and whale stuff, it's getting out of hand. Don't even get me started on the inflatable penis. That totally ticked me off. I had my 2 young sons with me and I DO NOT think that was appropriate. PAX has a problem with how much skin is shown on female cosplayers/for hire models but lets that happen? What happened to the "PAX is family friendly" motto they always spew out?
    12: Line management in general was much better this year. I know I heard the term Line Nazi used for the enforcers who did it, but being on top of line space is a great thing.
    13: I agree that it seemed that most of the panels just weren't of high quality this year.
    14: I have no problem with the ticketing process, but why was the Westin not included in the initial hotel options? I know a few rooms showed up much later, but not having THE closest hotel on the list from the start doesn't make much sense.

    I really have to say that, as a whole, with every year, the management of the convention itself gets better and better. I've been to every PAX east and i'm really happy that they learn from previous mistakes and make every effort to improve

    SIDE NOTE: Having to stand in line to play Ms. Pac Man???? What is this, the 80s??? Hehehehe

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    Le_GoatLe_Goat Frechified Goat Person BostonRegistered User regular
    The flow was amazing on the Expo floor this year. I kept saying that it felt like it wasn't as packed this year, but all signs seem to point to there being more people. Whatever the case, I was very impressed with the flow. Well done to whomever was responsible for that part.

    I didn't go to a single panel this year because nothing interested me. Not the end of the world.

    I know some people have been pointing out that if you need alcohol to enjoy yourself, then you may be at the wrong place, but this is my one vacation for the year, so it's the only time of the year when I have no responsibilities. That being said, having zero alcohol within the convention was pretty weird and annoying to get around. It's not the biggest deal, but seemed off.

    The layout this year was fantastically put together. The escalators in the front were finally (for once) not totally backed up at the bottom. That was quite reassuring. Putting all the AAAs next to each other and then putting almost all the indies together was something I'd been hoping for for years. It really added to the overall good flow and feel of the convention.

    The only complaint I have really is something that I'm not sure PAX has any control over. It seemed like every time someone with a "Hi, my name is bla bla so-and-so on Twitch" badge showed up, all attention at the booth was thrown at them. I had a few exhibitors in mid conversation leave to go talk to Twitch people. I get it, it's Twitch (actually, I have never understood what is so great about Twitch), but it just felt like I was a second class citizen. Hell, I even saw a lot of instances where the Twitch people totally skipped lines. It ended up causing a big scene at the Dead by Daylight booth when that started happening while I was cashing in my line pass from Friday where the booth shut down when I was next to play after waiting in line for almost an hour; they gave me a pass and said to come back during the weekend so that I wouldn't have to wait an hour again. There was all this finger pointing, yelling, and accusations; the staff tried to diffuse the situation, but those guys were crazy pissed. It was an incredibly uncomfortable situation to be put in, and maybe it wouldn't have been so bad had 4-6 other Twitch people just skipped the line while this was going on. I don't know how to combat that stuff; it's really on the exhibitors., but I noticed the whole "special treatment for anyone who streams on Twitch" a lot this year.

    Overall, I had a blast. I may have also for the first time avoided PAX Pox!

    While I agree that being insensitive is an issue, so is being oversensitive.
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    WolfieeWolfiee Web/Graphic Designer and Illustrator MARegistered User regular
    edited April 2016
    This was my 6th PAX and first time not getting 3 day passes and I'm glad we didn't. We got Friday+Saturday passes and completely skipped Saturday.

    In all the years there has NEVER been a massive line at the door to the convention center coming from all directions. We got there around 11 expecting to waltz right in and instead waited for a half hour. I understand they were using metal detectors this year, which was awesome (I felt very safe), but they only had like what, 4 bag lines? They eventually opened up two more while we were waiting, which we jumped into, but there needs to be more if they're going to continue with the scanners.

    There were barely any AAA titles this year and the ones that were there were already playable or in some cases, already released.

    Panels were super uninteresting to my group.

    The lines were terribly managed - I tried to play Outlast II like every half hour and it was always capped, but there were only like 20 people in line.

    What the hell was with the swag bags? We didn't even bother getting them they were so bad.

    Badge security is infuriating. Why the hell do I buy passes when I can just walk right in? The only time I have ever had my badges checked were years 1-3.

    Few Pros:
    Traffic felt MUCH lighter on Friday. Not sure if it's just because of it being Friday, but crowd has always been my main gripe with PAX and it felt awesome this year. Easy to navigate.

    League related booth was in the far back corner away from the stairs thank god.

    To the booth giving out free pizza rolls, you da real MVPs.

    Wolfiee on
    Badges [ ] Hotel [ ] Complete [x] Excitement [x]
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    TARBEAR2TARBEAR2 Registered User regular
    I had a decent amount written about how much better the show was when it was smaller, more personal etc.., but that ship has obviously sailed a long time ago (but it will always be in my memories).

    Constructive Feedback:

    1) Convention hall flow - (when inside) was a lot better (having the streaming/competitions in the middle was great).

    2) SWAG Bags - this is both a pro and con, pro as I throw out the majority of what is in those bags. The con was just how little time it felt was put into what was actually given. There needs to be a balance here.

    3) Indie Games - always enjoy the continued focus on Indie games. I would like to see more space in the lanes as it gets incredible tough to move and see the content when the lines for the games shoot out backwards.

    4) Food - moving the vendors to the sides, in a more easily accessible area, was a smart move


    1) Entry Lines - please hire more people who understand how line management and security should be handled. The first day was an absolute disaster and a disgrace that it devolved into a mosh pit where people could get hurt. Even on Sunday when the gates had been set up the line's were still not even close to professionally managed.

    2) Line Queue's - every year I see and play less and less due to the 2 hour plus waits that not make up the main convention hall. We should use more technology like the playstation experience had to schedule a time, as well as require people on the floor to restrict demo's to a reasonable time period to keep things moving. I get that companies want the "illusion" that they have the hottest item on the floor...but at this point (with the amount of people you let in) any booth is going to be packed on the main hall regardless.

    Additionally, requiring vendors to have better signage for where a line ends or begins would be a big bonus.

    3) Panels - one in particular, Gearbox, was absolutely terrible this year. The panel went on for an hour and 45 minutes, which was 45 minutes too long. The condensed panels times force presenters to come prepared and condense a show into meaningful bits of information, when you give them an open window they are going to waist it.

    On the less constructive front, Gearbox as a company should either not show up next year or seriously rethink how they present to the fans. They did multiple things that made the panel painful including 1)Referring to characters in a franchise that no one is familiar with until the game is available, 2) provided useless stats (i.e. of course your starting characters are played more), 3) Did not invite any cos players up, or anything more than a quick cheer and keep moving and 4) Gave away absolutely nothing to the fans, not even a single giveaway. They set a precedent in the past, and by no means am I saying they need to give away free games, but stating they are giving t-shirts away to people who play the game on the demo floor, but then giving a big middle finger to the people who come to their just not a way to treat your fans

    4) Tabletop - line was way to long to check out/in the game. They need to separate the queues and add more people, as there should be no reason it takes me 20 minutes to hand you back a game.

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    MelSnyMelSny New JerseyRegistered User regular
    I agree the Expo Hall was well laid out this year! Keeping the huge standing crowd booths away from the escalators makes a huge difference.

    Aside from the getting in the entrance on Friday, which PAX apologized for and fixed on Saturday (from what I saw), I didn't have a problem with the lines. For the hugely popular panels like GiantBomb or Cards Against Humanity, there is not much that can be done. Only so many people can fit in the panel, so people try to get there early, there is no where to put the super early people because there are prior panels, so the enforcers have to disband the early liners, but they cant just banish people...people will always wait just at the border of the boundary and rush in once the line starts. This starts the mad push into the room, which the Enforcers try to control as best as they can. The demand is so high there isn't much anyone can do. The only real solution would be to move these panels into the Main Theater and they would have to be during the day because the Main Theater busy with concerts at night.

    I do not spend much time on the Expo floor because there is never enough time to stand in line for me to see a game between one panel and the line up time for the next. If there was some kind of reservation system it would be cool. I'm sure this would lead to other logistical nightmares, but maybe there could be a system like Disney where you have a time window?

    I enjoyed all the panels I went to this year, though I wish there were some smaller ones that interested me more. Two years ago, there was a workshop where the different tables were assigned different aspects of a world (clothing, weapons, technology, etc.) and at the end the whole room came together with their ideas to create a world. This was a great experience. It was an interesting concept, we got to talk actively with other PAX goers and we created this really cool Steampunk world. I wish there were more active workshops like this. I know it is all up to who submits what, and how much time there is in the day, but small workshops rather then Panels where people talk at you are always fun.

    I agree that the swag bags were terrible. I'm sure they are just filled with whatever the game companies give to put in but, when a swag bag doesn't even have swag...whats the point?

    Also, not anything to do with PAX really but the Coffee at the convention center is TERRIBLE and the line over at the Starbucks is forever long as a result.


    "You want to kill me? You couldn't even kill my boredom" - Roronoa Zoro (One Piece).

    Attending PAX East since 2011.
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    LimondLimond Registered User regular
    edited April 2016
    Expo Hall - layout was much better this year. I never saw any massive jams that happened in previous years, still a few hang ups, but nothing on the scale of previous years. That being said I didn't really spend a whole lot of time in the expo hall this year, and what time I did was mostly spent at the smaller booths.

    Table Top - I was so happy to see that the typical sprawling MTG tournaments were much more reigned in. They didn't seem to take over half the table top space. Always would want to see more free play tables though.

    Food - The placement of convention food vendors was awesome as they mostly kept people out of the way and there wasn't the huge throngs of people at the back of the queue room.

    PAXAMANIA - Thank you for giving PAXAMANIA the Main Theater, they did some amazingly awesome, stupid stuff with all that extra space and I hope they filled enough of it to warrant them getting the Main Theater again next year. Seriously, everyone needs to check out PAXAMANIA, even if you don't know the people involved, or like video games about wrestling, or even like wrestling. It is pretty much the reason I buy a Sunday pass because it is just so completely different to every other panel or thing at PAX.

    Panels - Adding the 13+ designation to panels was a good idea. I feel like most of the panel offerings gets worse each year. Hearing scuttlebutt about some panels that seems they were poorly vetted, if they were vetted at all.

    Swag Bags - Well making them terrible is one way of preventing swag bag clusterfudges of previous years.

    Musical acts - Letting us know the general theme of the musical acts would be great. I seem to be cursed with the VGO because every year they are at PAX they play stuff I don't have interest in. One year it was more of a rock show, this year it was all Capcom music. Just giving a little more information about what direction the show will be taking would save a lot of frustration.

    I don't know if there is any truth to what @itla said about youtubers being paid to come to PAX by the organizers, if it is true then I think something has gone wrong. PAX is about games and player. While youtubers (and others like Giantbomb) are an important part of the industry and PAX they should not be given higher billing then actual game creators, which in the end make it all possible. I'm sure it is a business decision though and in the end everything is about the dollar bills, it just isn't the path I want to see PAX go down, there are other places for that.

    Ill be updating with more thoughts as I think on it.

    Limond on
    One clip, one kill.

    I am a monster truck that walks like a man.
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    schussschuss Registered User regular
    To be fair to the PAX staff, I don't think it's PAX that's putting them above normal players, I think it's the game companies.

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    stardust462stardust462 Leominster, MARegistered User regular
    Exhibit Hall - Agreed on the better layout. Only big crowd I saw was I think on Saturday when Bethesda was doing a raffle. I get that raffles are exciting, but Square Enix did text messaging to alert their winners. Maybe all the companies should do that?

    Swag Bags - Awful. I had a better swag bag at a Market Research conference I went to earlier this year. Either have actual swag in them, or don't bother. Maybe PAX needs to look into whether this is something to even do going forward. It's expensive to create swag for that many bags, and they might need to pay PAX/Reed to be able to do so (at conferences in my industry you do). If the ROI is horrible, I can see a lot of companies opting out from it.

    Panels - I know this is personal preference, but there wasn't really anything I felt was interesting on the schedule.

    Food Trucks - Fantastic, I hope they're there every year.

    That's all I have for right now. I'm sure enough will be said about the lines to get in that I'll probably agree with, so I won't touch on that.

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    MidnyghtChildeMidnyghtChilde NYRegistered User regular
    This was my 6th PAXEast, having only missed 2015. First time Cosplaying.


    Food: Way better situation than previous years. Food trucks were awesome - I tried almost all of them throughout the weekend, and they were really just great. The little areas outside were nice too to sit and relax. I didn't see any shuttle to other food areas offered through, which is a little sad, but probably a fair trade for the food trucks. I saw a LOT more food stations inside the BCEC too, which seemed to help with the crowds.

    Expo hall: Layout was way better, traffic flow was impressively smooth. No huge clusterfucks at the escalators as in previous years. It seemed over all like a better layout and design of the space. Line capping was well managed (if annoying) and seemed to help. No booths did those "throw things at people" give aways that gather huge crowds and make a mess of things.

    Indie Booths: I loved that there were was the Megabooth, then the CAH Minibooth of indie stuff, along with PAXRising and the AUS spot.


    Outside signage: The line fiasco of Friday morning was poorly handled, but apologies accepted. I think what caused it was very poor signage on how to get into the line, and where it was wrapping. Line handling outside was just not happening, and it was a mess. I didn't see a single enforcer or BCEC staff person out in the crowd helping to get people moving where they should be, and the one massive line was actually funneling into like 3 metal detectors because of poor communication. There really need to be better - far LARGER - signs out front for instructions.

    Swag bags: Were useless, and the line Friday morning was a mess. Again it was understaffed, and the enforcers there weren't loud enough. If the Silver Shroud yelled at you Friday morning I'm sorry - but I was watching dozens of people trying to "sneak" into the bag line and stepped up and started directing people to the back of the line. The stuff in the bags was useless, and I entirely understand why as I saw people grabbing multiples throughout the weekend.

    Tabletop: The 10% reduction in side was very noticeable. Piling all the vendors into one area was also bad. There were less demos than previous years, and it was disappointing. The lack of Wizards, the tiny size of the MTG and D&D area were just sad to see.

    Spacing: It felt like everything was packed into the main expo hall/ground floor and there wasn't much anywhere else. Many hallways felt quiet/empty compared to previous years. The condensed feeling made it seem both more crowded and more frantic than previous years, and less social.

    Twitter: Continues to go all the time, and then the official feeds were not updating as much as I would have liked them to. I felt like the PAX_Lines was less helpful than in years past, and was surprised by how fast many panels capped out. Maybe it was fewer panels than previous years or more interesting ones or a combo of both.

    BCEC security: Was the very epitome of "Security Theatre" - bag checks were a joke, they barely looked inside most of them. The mandatory metal detectors for everyone was ridiculous - especially with the outside food trucks and those areas not counting as "secure" and requiring reentry. It was clear BCEC staff had no idea how to actually conduct bag checks and inspections, and I say this comparing them to other places with large crowds (IE Disney) who instituted metal detectors recently. The BCEC is a great facility, but their staff continue to fail to impress me. I mean, I still saw BCEC marked staff laughing and gawking at us - and a few cosplayer - in line on Friday, instead of helping to director the line-clusterfuck. It was someone important, as all 3 wore suits with fancy badges as they strolled past the line-monster and pointed and laughed.

    Suggestions for improvements:

    Cosplay: Was bigger this year than ever before. While I understand the "no stopping for photos" signs, it'd be nice if there was a designated "cosplay meetup" area for the cosplayers and photographers to hook up and what not. Maybe one of the side rooms, or the space near Cuttlefish theatre that was so empty after the morning queue room emptied.

    Signs: This year seemed like a less signs everywhere - even outside the rooms on the 2nd and 3rd floors that I usually rely on to figure out what's going on in those rooms. More communication never hurts!

    Tabletop: It would be great to see this returned to its glory, and maybe expanded into other parts of the building. It also needs more LARGE signs - denoting where the Tabletop HQ is, where demos are, and someone orchestrating a LFG feature with big signs to help keep it all humming along.

    Streaming eSports: Keeping these separate was nice, but it felt like so much wasted space. It was empty for a lot of the time. Couldn't they have shared one area? Additionally, the sound was awful and I know I tried to watch and couldn't hear a damn thing. I feel like these would be better placed in their own area out of the expo hall.

    Lines and line capping: Honestly, the capping was fine for crowd control, but inconsistent based on booth size. It was hard to see when capped from a distance - enforcers really need signs on like tall paddles they can hold up high over the crowd. I'd love to see exhibitors encouraged to create some sort of "Fast pass" system where you could take a ticket and return at a later time for their booth. I walked past Nintendo over a dozen times trying to get in line and it was always capped, and there was no clear means of finding my way into it without trying to hang out in that area and get yelled at for interrupting traffic.

    Enforcers; Where they understaffed this year? I felt like I didn't see nearly as many, and I didn't see many regulars. I had considered enforcing and now wish I had, as I felt like they needed help this year, which I haven't felt like they did in years past.

    Swag bags: Honestly, just do away with these. Encourage the booths to hand more stuff out at their booths themselves, preferably without some ridiculous swag hunt. At this point, the bag is just a handful of glossy printed ads, and a waste of paper and plastic. Go green, and ditch it - or email badge holders the list of codes that were in the bags.

    I'll probably have more later, but these were the things running through my head after the drive home.

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    EradiKateEradiKate Registered User regular
    The addition of security checkpoints at the hotel bridge and shuttle drop-off was hugely helpful. The lines went so much quicker this year, it was amazing.

    Please, please have a stricter dress code for Enforcers--I noticed a few cases where either the Enforcer logo was obscured or the Enforcer was wearing a mask that made them not immediately recognizable.

    PAX East Attendee. Professional Tabletop Gamer. Donut Enthusiast.
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    WolfieeWolfiee Web/Graphic Designer and Illustrator MARegistered User regular
    TARBEAR2 wrote: »
    We should use more technology like the playstation experience had to schedule a time

    This is ann awesome idea. Like Disney does for fast lanes or whatever.

    Badges [ ] Hotel [ ] Complete [x] Excitement [x]
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    BinaryPieBinaryPie Registered User regular
    As always, PAX was largely great. Insert the standard call-out to all the great enforcers, panelists, exhibitors, etc. here. Mostly calling out neutral or negative things because I think generally that is more useful or actionable feedback.

    Expo hall felt much better compared to previous years. I didn't have any trouble moving around the whole weekend, which is a huge improvement compared to previous years. It's really unfortunate that the queue area seemed to be the cost of this improvement. I didn't arrive as early as I would've hoped Friday, and the being in the queue in the hallway sucked. It was too hot (guessing that hall doesn't have the ventilation of the main floor), we got packed in so tight there wasn't a hope of sitting, and it just doesn't have the same fun atmosphere of the main hall queue. It seems like it should be possible to swap out the queue space for tabletop tables pretty rapidly, but maybe it's just not feasible to have the manpower available to do that at that time of day. Still, I do think the trade off was definitely worth it for the improvement to the floor layout. There's only so much that can be done with the limited space of BCEC. I wouldn't be surprised if at some point we see the queue room eliminated completely, and all the queuing done in the hallways.

    Just get rid of the swag bags. They've been worthless for years. It'd free up enforcers and space in the middle of the day, and always results in a huge mess of all the crap in the bags (90% of the contents) that nobody wants. Make them worthwhile or just drop it.

    The security continues to be a joke.

    This isn't really feedback so much as something I noticed, the panels I attended were almost exclusively in Cuttlefish or Condor. I didn't go to any panels at all in Bobcat, Bumblebee, or Dragonfly. The main differences between rooms seem to be capacity and if the room's panels are being streamed? Made me wonder if there were any thematic links for specific rooms, or if I just like smaller/unpopular panels or something. But then it could easily just be a coincidence.

    Actual feedback about panels: It seemed like the panels I wanted to attend were disproportionately scheduled during hours the floor was open. I had a hard time balancing enough time on the show floor with seeing the panels I wanted to see. Previous years I felt like the stuff I wanted was much more evenly spread out. This too could be a total coincidence, but I do wonder if something could be done about it. Specific panels that were great (in scheduled order): Molding and Casting for Beginners, The Wild West of VR, Improv Fluxx Design, In Defense of Narrative Trash and Triumphs, 405th Presents Taking Cosplay/Armor to the Next Level, and Virtual Reality as Psychedelic. Ideally, I'd like to see fewer panels that are purely "be in a room with famous streamer/internet personality/etc." and more that are interesting discussions or information. Of the panels I already mentioned, the Improv Fluxx Design panel stood out as a really fun unique panel, I hadn't seen anything done like that before.

    In-booth in-person raffles should be banned. I get exhibitors like to do this sort of thing, but it gets out of hand pretty quick. These raffles were mostly responsible for the few times I saw parts of the floor get congested. The enforcers were always great about enforcing a travel lane and keeping people flowing, but I'm sure the ~6 people it takes to do that every time have other things they could be doing for those 15 minutes. There's plenty of other ways to both run a raffle and get people to visit your booth without generating a huge crowd at once.

    The no beer thing seems kind of absurd, especially since it seems like nobody knew about it beforehand, and there wasn't any official statement about it. Seems like there could've at least been a tweet about it at minimum. I don't really have strong feelings about it, never really drank at PAX, but it's just kind of strange.

    Yelling cookie brigade guy was annoying. There's no reason to yell as loud as you can in one of the panel queuing rooms that's only a quarter full and relatively quiet. This dude came by several lines I was in and it was obnoxious every time.

    That's everything that comes to mind immediately. I think there were a few things I was thinking during PAX that've completely slipped my mind now, will post again if I recall them.

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    FunnelKing27FunnelKing27 Registered User regular
    edited April 2016
    Another great Pax has come and gone. My feelings from this year are pretty mixed.

    I feel like the main problem this year was game demo length. They were all 30 mins to an hour. Its crazy. Just give a sample no longer than 15 mins. This created lines that looked small but were still 2+ hour waits. Some main examples were Paragon and Cup head. I hopped in line for cup head thinking it would be a short wait since the line was tiny. I watched these people play for over 30 mins and they died about 20 times and just kept hitting retry. Then at Paragon I see another pretty small line so I hop in, luckily I asked the sony rep how long the game demo was which was 45 mins...smh... At that point I realized I would be waiting for hours so i hopped out. Pretty disappointing. This was a trend at almost every booth.

    Con Bar not serving alcohol. I made the thread about it that got unnecessarily closed. I dont try and get a drink until around 3pm. I shouldnt have to run through hoops to do so when there was a bar inside the con that worked fine every year. It added to my con experience to meet awesome likeminded people there every year and take a load off with a brew.

    Panels were pretty rough this year. What happend to all the actual dev panels. I must say though The Lawbreakers and Gears of war panels were both great and really made the fans feel appreciated.

    Bring back Rockband stage upstairs and cut just dance.

    Swag bags...pretty sure you guys know what im talking about.
    Swag in general at booths. I love getting cool T-shirts, stickers and posters. I barely got anything this year with the combo of lack of swag and super long lines preventing me from actually demoing the games.

    Smell I know this is out of anybodys hands but the con goers. This was the worst smelling con i have ever attended. It smelled like sweaty buttcrack and bad breath everywhere. C'mon ladies and gents lol.

    I would have said con entry lines but after friday they sorted it out pretty well.

    Also it does seem like the Twich streamers get super special treatment. I witnessed it pretty often.

    First thing that comes to mind is the expo floor layout and traffic flow. Sooo much better this year. Keep those massive crowd booths away from the stairs. Nicely done.

    Great assortment of AAA and Indie, great games in general. The indies never disappoint.

    Everything else!!!

    I know i always list more cons. Its because those are the things I think they can improve on. My pros are usually things i have noticed have been improved from previous years. If I was going to list all the things i enjoy about pax we would be here all day lol. The people and atmosphere are what i enjoy most about Pax. The enforcers were extea helpfull this year as well.

    FunnelKing27 on
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    SleepSleep Registered User regular
    The flow of the expo hall this year was beyond top notch. I've been doing PAX east since it started and this year the flow from expo hall, to tabletop is exactly what we've needed for years. There was no vast desert between the two and you could find signs of tabletop throughout the expo hall.

    I used to be staunchly anti expo hall. It just wasn't my scene. Too crowded, and nothing to pick up real quick and play, always had to wait hours for games, and deal with overcrowded booths that were getting way bigger crowds than they expected. Between the expansion of the expo hall, the widening of aisles, and it's blending with tabletop, and the shunting of the food suppliers to the outer edges of the expo hall rather than the back end of table top, and how quickly folks moved through demos in the indie booths I spent the principle amount of my time in the expo hall this year and never felt as though I was standing around wasting time. I was either quickly watching a game I wanted to play or playing that game, and I never felt like I was a big guy standing in everyone's way because the aisles are too congested. If we can keep the expo hall we had this year I look forward to years of playing around the expo hall.

    Panels have never really been my bag except for the ones for my favorite products and I didin't even go near any this year so I can't even talk about their contents.

    Security wasn't that terrible after y'all figured some shit out Friday morning. After that everything was moving fine. However this was the year I also discovered, I don't entirely need a back pack. The pockets on my utilikilt can hold pretty much everything I need. (Event program, games, snacks, water bottle, wallet and phone) Maybe a new belt pouch or two will be required, but not having a ruck on my back this year was for the best, and allowed me to effortlessly pass through security every time. By Sunday it seemed like a lot of folks were ditching bags, or using really small ones, but that's mainly anecdotal of what I was seeing among friends and the few times I passed through security.

    My only note for security improvements would be to make another entrance on the lower level. This year it was a little annoying to walk from the garage behind the bcec parking lot past the tabletop end of the hall all the way up to the lower level entrance and then back down to table top. Also in colder years that will be a fairly untenable situation, but we also use shuttles in colder years. However If you could make all three doorways on the lower level both entrances and exits that would be even better. Especially for morning at the con. I think opening all entrances and security scanning at all entrances will speed up the process for doors open.

    Also yeah swag bags were pretty sub par this year. After getting my first one on Friday and seeing that it essentially had nothing in it but advertisements I decided to forego that wait on the other two days, and gave away everything that was in my bag. While I'm sad I don't have a new set of casual magic decks (seriously I carry the 5 decks from 2015 around basically at all times so I can randomly throw down some casual magic with whoever) I wasn't too heart broken. However if there's really no actual swag in the bags, y'all might as well save money and drop the practice entirely. If it costs too much to have the cool shit in there, and we can only get a pale imitation, while having all the other great stuff you were doing this year, I'll take more of the great stuff you were doing this year with expo hall flow, food, and the big shows and everything.

    Outside of these few minor things this was the best PAX so far. The layout was amazing and I hope we don't unlearn any of the lessons we learned on the way to this year's expo hall.

    Thanks for another excellent year guys!

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    SinoSambaSinoSamba CaliforniaRegistered User regular
    Really liked the logistics of getting into the Convention Center this year. I'm an early bird and getting into the building at 7:30am on Fri was a good surprise. It would have been awesome if that was implemented last year :P . Also liked the multiple entrances with bag check.

    Would like more developers panels. Indies, AAA or tabletop games are all good; as someone that is a gaming fan and not part of the industry, I like hearing about how everything came together.

    3DS FC: 3239-2323-6239
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    tripleR6tripleR6 Registered User regular
    edited April 2016
    Panels: I attended one panel, gearbox, and it was a waste of time. Please don't give out main theater slots to companies with nothing to show.

    Expo: Nice! I spent a grand total of half an hour there, it's not my thing - but nice!

    League: Putting league in their own hallway was a genius idea.

    Merch: I get that the hoodies were in short supply, totally understandable. But you should not sell everything your first day. Save some stock for day 2 and 3, not everyone has a 3day.

    Cosplayers: I met a bunch of you and you're all great.

    VRFP: Tried it, liked it, and now I'm sad I don't have $800.

    Music: Please beg the doubleclicks and P&S to come back next year.

    Cats: I didn't see a single cat. Disappointed. Your show needs more cats.

    Edit: Can I just add - I would love to see a cosplay photography area. We need a backdrop, professional LED photo/video lighting, and a few enforcers to watch the line and gear. That's it. We don't ask for much. It would help a TON with not only the quality of cosplay photography at PAX, but it would really cut down on people taking up hallway space and expo space doing cosplay photos for lack of a better option. If you need help with this get in touch and I'll manage the section myself. I would love to see this become a thing.

    tripleR6 on
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    SepiothSepioth Boston, MARegistered User regular
    There still needs to be more improvement on lines on the expo floor. Putting tape on the ground is no longer cutting it. Maybe start using an actual queuing system like most places in the real world use to gather up a line. Also PLEASE for the love of god make them shorten game demos. Its supposed to be a chance for people to "try" the game not play 256% of the games content.

    On Friday there was an autograph session. The had it in the back where they gave out the swag bags. The line was extremely long and went across a main pathway and out in to the expo floor. Yet right beside all this mess was a HUUUGE open area that is used for the morning queue. Where where the enforcers opening up this area for normal traffic flow by moving these people into that area?

    The floor was more open this year. Thank you for that.

    While the food is typical of this sort of event and was alright I would have like a place to go to actually EAT this food.. I know you can not seat everyone at a table but there was NO area to go except find a spot the floor somewhere. Past years there was at least a section with tables you could TRY to get a seat at. And you would usually find one or at least have a place to set your food down and stand and eat.

    Swag bags really need to go (or be dramatically improved) . They are an utter joke. There was not even any SWAG in the things. All they are doing is creating unnecessary trash and waste. Not very responsible.

    Lanyards... how do you run out and replace them with generic black ones on day 2???

    As someone noted earlier Enforcers need a stricter dress code. While I like the fact they can have some liberties in their style and mix it up a little it is sometimes hard to spot them in the crowd as they blend in to much. I saw a few with those armbands but not everyone had them.

    Better signage out in the halls. It can be very hard to know where stuff is when there is very limited signage.

    COMMUNICATE with the BCEC security better please. My cosplay had a gun. On Friday I did the weapons check and had the generic yellow zip tie put on it. On Saturday they opened up a side entrance to alleviate the main entrance crowd. They BCEC security lady told me I needed to go to weapons check and was about to ask me to go to the main entrance. I told her I went on Friday and she said I needed to go every day as every day was different and gave me directions to take the elevator instead of walking around to wait in another line. I went to an Enforcer and asked and she was unsure if I needed to go again (might wanna communicate the weapons policy to ALL enforcers). The BCEC security lady AGAIN came up to me and said I NEEDED TO GO NOW to weapons check. So I went to weapons check again cause I'm not about to argue with anyone to get removed from PAX for something stupid. Sure enough, as I already knew from last few years of cosplay, I did not NEED to go to weapons check again. A complete waste of time for me and my group one of which was only coming on Saturday.

    All in all though had a great timer meeting people and seeing some new games.

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    melzwaymelzway Registered User regular
    Overall I had a great time. Hopefully I'll return next year.

    1. I really like they layout of the expo hall. It seemed easier to navigate and less conjested.
    2. The panels were good. I liked there were more dealing with mental health issues.
    3. The swag bags sucked buckets. I didn't think they could get any worse than last year's. I was wrong
    4. The expo needs to plan better for first day lines.
    5. Cosplay contest??? Id love to see it! Lots of awesome folks this year.

    Thanks for a wonderful show!

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    millerm277millerm277 Registered User regular
    This was my 5th PAX East, so I'm coming at this from the perspective of a long-term attendee.

    Expo Floor: You finally really got it right this year. Very few areas too packed to walk at a decent pace through, and in most parts you could hold a conversation at the side or stop and watch a game for a minute or two without impeding traffic yourself. SO much nicer than in previous years. I barely spent any time on the floor last year or the year before on Saturday/peak times because of it, and this time I could really enjoy walking around looking at things, shopping, etc. I do think if possible PA needs to give some of the devs some more guidance. A lot of the AAA booths feel like they're setup for E3 or something where there's limited attendees. A lot of the demos are way longer than needed to give people a feel for the game, and a lot of their booth designs feel like they could pack in more demo stations easily. On the Indie side, a bunch of them had a low, comfy couch type setup for demoing, which is nice for the person demoing, but I'm not sure if they realized makes it so most of the traffic passing by can't easily see/watch the game. Really hurt the # of eyes on their game when their screens aren't visible to much of the crowd walking by.

    PC Freeplay: Terrible. All these nice computers, a Steam library that's got 60 games....and then only like 5 of them are actually installed on the computer? Everything needed for a great experience was right there....and then completely failed to be realized. I honestly don't understand what happened here.

    VR Freeplay: Awesome demo experience. Not sure if the appointment signups were a good idea or not. At least with just long lines, people can decide they want to wait and will get to try in X hours. With appointments, if you're not there in the first few minutes for a signup, you're then waiting for an even longer and open-ended timeframe hoping other people don't show up.

    Food + drink: BCEC was unexceptional but relatively efficient as usual. Even more food trucks out front in addition to on the side was a solid improvement. The side door to the Lawn on D could use another metal detector/security line or two to open up from about noon-4pm. Missed the bar, and in spite of it being packed 24/7 in previous years, I never saw anyone drunk/having problems at PAX from it. If there's been problems, pay some cops/security to watch it more closely (the bar was certainly busy enough to pay for it), don't take it away IMO.

    Panels: Mike Laidlaw of Bioware deserves a medal for consistently being a fantastic panelist, both this year and previous years. In general this year though, I felt they were somewhat underwhelming, although more consistent. I saw no awful panels, (and I have seen a few truly terrible ones in previous years), so having less of the "am I going to need to sneak out of this in 10 minutes because it's a disaster" feeling was great. On the other hand, the panel list in general had a lot of very overlapping topics, and seemingly fewer of the professional, credible people discussing things. Ex: Last year I saw a panel about the state of game reviewing with Alexa Ray Corriea (Gamespot), Greg Miller (IGN/KindaFunny), Jeff Gerstmann (Gamespot/Giant Bomb), Marty Silva (IGN), and Susan Arendt (Games Radar/Joystiq/Escapist). And that was an amazing panel to watch. People who know what they're talking about and can talk actually having a real conversation up on stage. There weren't as many panels with figures like that this year, especially multiple figures like that. I recognize who submits panels isn't directly under PAX's control though.

    General area: The new hotels made the whole event better. More people sticking around until later in the night in the hotel lobbies, better hotel availability in the Seaport, etc. Great to see.

    Enforcers: Definitely saw a few less friendly ones than usual, seemed like they might be a little short-staffed as well?

    People: Crowd seemed better. Fewer cringeworthy Q&A questions at panels, fewer people not adhering to basic hygiene/social norms that I saw (or smelled), etc.

    Overall, a pretty solid PAX and I'll be back again (assuming I get tickets), thanks again PA.

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    lifefeedlifefeed Registered User regular
    The enforcers were fun and omnipresent. There was one guy using a melodica to indicate that people needed to squeeze in closer in the AI panel line. It was perfect.

    The cookies and treats for sale in the long lines were lifesavers. However I would kill for them to have offered coffee.

    Swag bag: It's okay if it sucks, I just wished they had told us what to expect so I could skip waiting in line. However the line for the swag bag on Friday was hilarious. The fact that enforcers even knew how to manage that is quite a feat.

    I used to get a lot more tee shirts in the expo hall than I did this year.

    The expo hall layout was great. The crowd never got so bad I couldn't move.

    Every year the tabletop gaming area slowly encroaches further into the video game area, and that's great for my tastes.

    The guidebook app erased my schedule, which I put together the day the app was available. Then it kept pinging me on Friday about things I didn't care about.

    I couldn't find a list of exhibitors or a map on the website. Were they only on the guidebook app?

    The Dancing stage was a bit sad this year. Watching people go nuts on that stage used to be a great way to spend my lunch break.

    I couldn't find ice coffee for sale anywhere in the con. I had to go to Starbucks in the Westin.

    There were a lot of RPG demos going on, which made me so happy.

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    iltailta Registered User regular
    edited April 2016
    I'll second the call for a spot to do cosplay photos. As a photographer, I'm always trying to get distance and window light for a good shot AND be out of everyone's walking path, which is basically impossible. Heck, I'd even get together with some other photographers I know and just man a proper step-and-repeat in a low-traffic hallway somewhere with a backdrop and lights so everyone who wanted could get great studio-quality pictures. I may contact ReedPop or PA about doing that. Who would I ask?

    ilta on
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    nevermore13nevermore13 Registered User regular
    edited April 2016
    As usual overall PAX was great a few specific things I want to mention that I loved seeing and one or two small critiques:

    Loved more indies in the expo hall, and special call out to the PAX rising area.

    Keeping riot off the expo hall floor and in their own area.

    Overwatch for the watch being in PAX arena and pax arena in general.

    Really cool to see the omegathon final round as an unreleased game.

    Three theaters streaming panels.

    Room for improvement:
    League for overly loud in PAX arena and made it sometimes hard to hear when playing a tabletop game.

    This may be a staffing issue but entrance to the convention center by the aloft and element not being open until well after the con starts.

    I know this was addressed as an unexpected demand but running out of the limited edition hoodies REALLY quickly.

    Also will always miss no longer having a theater named the corgi theater

    nevermore13 on
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    Pontifex42Pontifex42 Registered User new member
    Another amazing PAX is in the books! Every year I am amazed and overwhelmed as to what a great experience it is.
    - Overwatch for the Watch (as with any event featuring Mike and Jerry) should have been an event in the Main Theater. My party and I tried but failed to enjoy it as it was impossible to hear or see from the only vantage points we could get to.
    - Friday lines were atrocious
    - Alcohol policy - its not so much that I NEED alcohol to have a good time, but part of my experience is having some adult beverages while playing some games with my friends. Better communications so we can at least understand what went into the policy would be preferred.
    - SWAG - I specifically stay away as I feel it brings out the worst in humanity and depressess the poop out of me, but couldn't it be handled the way most major conferences do in that they are given out to people while scanning a badge, ensuring each person gets only one?
    - More consistency with entrances. It was hit or miss as to whether or not you could get in by the Lawn on D, and for people such as myself coming from the Aloft Hotel it became a guessing game
    - Hoodies - Broke my heart to miss out on that sweet PAX hoodie, there has to be a better way to assess demand or to cover yourself if demand outstrips supply.

    - Enforcers, as always, being ultra cool and accommodating
    - Q and A being on the first day. Last year I didn't get my "Hustlin" until the 2nd, and it really didn't feel like PAX until then.
    - Food trucks continue to be the best option for quality food at a reasonable price.
    - Saturday Lines (Yes lines are are a PRO and a CON!) Khoo and Co really did an amazing job of addressing a fault and improving on it. The caring as to what goes into attendee experience is what separates PAX from other conventions.
    - Hotels - I realize this isn't PAX specific but having more options around the convention center just makes the experience better and better.

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    rtm416rtm416 NYRegistered User regular
    My biggest complaint is raffles on the show floor. I didn't lose my voice until I helped with the Sunday Newegg raffle, shouting "Please keep right and single file" into the crowd. I know Exhibitors want the crowds, but there has to be a better way. AMD gave out tickets to everyone already in line and pulled the winner right then, this reduced the Enforcer count from 7 or 8 to 2, and kept all the aisles clear.

    My attendee friends also made it clear that they didn't like the panel selection and so they stuck with TT after Expo close.

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    LexiconGrrlLexiconGrrl Registered User regular
    edited April 2016
    I would have liked to see a list of the games that the booths were demoing in addition to the company name on the program map. When you heard about a cool game, if you didn't know the name of the company, the only way to find it was to look it up online and then try to figure out where that company's booth was. Kind of a frustrating PITA.

    LexiconGrrl on
    Happily on Sabbatical. Don't bug me.
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    SnowDogSnowDog Central MARegistered User regular
    Overall, another great time, thank you all!

    Lines: Not sure how much can be fixed here, with the addition of metal detectors, but the outdoor lines were painful. It used to be possible to time your arrival such that you missed the crush at the front and still got in and at a table by 10:30 AM, but it seems like that ship has sailed now (at least for Friday and Saturday).

    Agree the badge checking didn't seem to be a priority, though maybe it was spot-checked?

    Would love to see vaping/smoking prohibited a certain distance from the building, to avoid having to smell someone's nasty fruit-candy-whatever haze of vapor while stuck in line for an hour. I understand, it may not be toxic, but I'm just expressing my preference.

    Side note on lines -- you can get totally screwed by being five minutes too early to something; as someone just trying to go to tabletop, if you're too early you're forced to wait in line forever to get into the expo hall, and then navigate across it. Get in 10 minutes later, and you can shortcut right into TT. I don't know how to fix that, other than to forbid entry into the expo hall from the tabletop side during the first hour of the day or something.

    Tabletop: I spend all my time here. On average seemed slightly less crowded when it came to finding table space compared to last year. I liked how MTG didn't dominate the table space, and the mega-game seemed less disruptive than last year (though still took up a lot of space and had to be planned around). Also liked how the D&D groups were able to have curtained off semi-rooms for a bit easier time. That said, the lines to return games were very painful, leading people to keep games until lines got shorter, which in turn leads to people milling around looking for games because the games they want aren't there, which leads to longer lines, etc.

    There was also a lot of noise (no kidding, right) which is expected but the silly screaming and cheering for whoever was signing autographs as well as the loudspeaker screaming from the stage near the PC area were both very disruptive at times. I know, it's a big wide open con, whatever. Just giving my feedback.

    Food: This seemed better than prior years. Between the food trucks and the food courts, seemed like there were more options. Understand there was no beer served this year, but honestly it's been so jam packed in there the last few years I haven't bought a beer at PAX since 2013 or so.

    Swag Bags: Disappointing -- agree that we should just kill these, and put together an "eSwag" email to all badge holders. Once I saw what was in them, I didn't even grab one.

    Cookie Brigade: Mostly great, though the guy ringing a bell was kind of disruptive.

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    schussschuss Registered User regular
    I would have liked to see a list of the games that the booths were demoing in addition to the company name. When you heard about a cool game, if you didn't know the name of the company, the only way to find it was to look it up online and then try to figure out where that company's booth was. Kind of a frustrating PITA.

    On this note, it would be great if there were PAX standards around demos that limited them to 10-15 minutes and ensured there were enough demo stations for the AAA/Larger titles. If you want a longer demo, maybe have them spring for a separate space for that?

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    jddyslexiajddyslexia Registered User regular
    My mixed list of pros and cons:

    Getting into the BCEC was only a huge hassle on Friday, and the biggest issue I had was the fact that nobody was monitoring the queue lengths. I was lined up in a line to get into a side entrance for 45 minutes before I bailed on it and went around to the front, where there was next to no line. It would have been very helpful if people had been redirected to low traffic areas to reduce wait times. However, I only had this problem on Friday, and the other two days seemed to be normal backlog given the enhanced security.
    As for expo floor demos, most if not all of the lines were absurd. It may have something to do with demo length or popularity, but this year was the first time I didn't get to demo a single video game because I refused to stand in line for hours. Some of the Indie games, however, were a lot easier to demo, I just didn't find any that I was interested in. But, regardless of my tastes, there were plenty of Indie titles on display, and I'm always happy to see that.

    Expo Floor / "Level 0"
    A vast improvement over previous years. Have the wider aisles to cut through made traffic flow a lot more manageable. The separation of tournaments into the "Arena" area was also a big benefit, as well as the expanded space given to the expo floor and tabletop area by moving the queue out into the hallway. I think the Level 0 layout is finally where it needs to be.
    However, we STILL don't get a diagram for the tabletop area. The program and Guidebook map gives you a list of expo floor vendors and map to find them, but nothing for the vendors/publishers in the tabletop area, nor any diagram showing space for what games are being demoed by whom, nor any layout. The same goes for the PC area, which clearly had defined areas but weren't immediately clear on the map. I think the same attention to detail given to the expo floor should be given to the rest of the Level 0 space.
    While the Arena area was a HUGE bonus, it probably wasn't managed as best it could be, and there were times when Arena stages were just empty space. But, considering this was the first year, it wasn't going to be perfect. I'd like to see some of the other exhibitors start utilizing the Arena space for tournaments.
    The Expo Floor, is there a reason it shuts down at 6 PM? Why can't it stay open until, say, 10 PM?

    It's really exciting to see the amount of cosplay happening at PAX East slowly increasing over the years, but this year PAX itself fell short on facilities available. In previous years, the PAX set up a Cospitality Suite and Photo Shoot area independent of vendors. This year, these areas were grouped in with Riot in the League of Legends hallway but this information wasn't published anywhere. I spent large portions of Friday and Saturday asking enforcers about these areas, because while they weren't on the map, I heard second and third hand of people talking about them. I finally managed to see the sign when I walked down the Riot hallway on Saturday afternoon {side note: Giving Riot their own hallway was also a brilliant idea}. When I finally spotted these areas and checked them out, I was pleased that Riot did a great job, but it should have been listed in the program and enforcers should have been notified of the existence of these spaces. I understand it fell into this weird gray area that PAX wasn't setting the space up but Riot was, but that doesn't mean it shouldn't have been noted somewhere.
    That said, if the cosplay continues to increase over the years, it may not be a bad idea to set up more than one cosplay-friendly area. In the expo floor, for example, there were plenty of signs asking people not to block traffic with cosplay photos (which was a great idea), but there was a lot of big empty space out towards the side walls (for example, over near the Sanshee booth) that you could have easily set up a marked area for cosplayers to meet up and photograph while down on the expo floor. I didn't mind having Riot sponsor the Cospitality Suite, but it seemed pretty busy, let alone how crowded that hallway was most of the time.
    I will second the request for an organized photo booth area for cosplay. I went to my first Anime Boston this year at the Hynes, and they had a full room dedicated to cosplay photography with two different stations. You could even get prints of your photos (one per person) by going to a separate station in their dealers' room and pay for a printed copy of a photo. AB also posts the photos from their photo booth online (though this year's aren't all up yet). This would be a great addition to PAX East if the cosplay ramps up. Might want to talk to the Anime Boston people about the logistics of this, if interested.

    Jackbox Stage
    Amazing. I want this every year. Sorry if people missed the Rock Band stage, but I don't. The Jackbox Stage was hugely popular, and the Jackbox games do a great job incorporating more people than just the ones playing the game (the Friday night panel was even more awesome).

    Overall, I had mixed feelings about the panel selection. There were certainly plenty of interesting panels and some popular staples from previous years, but some seemed to be lip service for specific companies or vendors. I didn't mind the sunday "Cutting Edge PC" panel sponsored by Newegg so much, but giving Alienware, Oculus, and Epic one full hour to call themselves "the driving forces behind VR" when every other major VR competitor had their own set-ups on demo in the expo hall was just terrible. I'm sure that's a little nitpicky, but I'm calling it as I see it. If companies want to have a panel to push their specific product or games, I understand. But seeing this VR panel on the list made me cringe.
    The CAH and Giant Bomb panels. Please try to find some way to move these guys into a larger space. Dragonfly (where CAH was) seemed smaller than Condor, Cuttlefish, and Albatross (where Giant Bomb was), and all of these are even smaller than the Main Stage. These are easily two of the most popular panels of the weekend and it deserves to be treated as such. PAXAMANIA was wildly popular last year and it was moved to the main stage. If it's the panelists that refuse to take a time slot in a larger space, then honestly just call them out on it. Nobody likes the idea of having to sit in line for 90 minutes just to make sure you get into a panel you like, and it reflects badly upon PAX if these panels aren't put into spaces to accommodate their demand.

    I personally wasn't affected by this, and I don't think it's some horrendous slight to not serve alcohol at the BCEC. I know some people were upset by this, but I'm confident that the decision to not serve alcohol had some basis on a previous incident (or several incidents). Whether it was BCEC or PAX, I trust it wasn't an arbitrary decision. However, It would have been nice to notify people of the change and why. Someone above mentioned the food court staff were upset they got less business and tips, but I rather see the quality of the food served in the BCEC be improved before serving alcohol. Maybe if it wasn't subpar food they'd get more business/tips. I expect the food trucks outside to have better food at a cheaper price, but if the food in the BCEC was at least halfway decent, I'd settle. Though, I will say the expansion of pop-up food stations by the BCEC and other vendors within the convention center was great and really helped the cause in general. I just wish it was better food.

    Swag Bags
    Ugh, seriously? A magazine marketing PC products, some Steam codes, and only Skybound did a product promo? Steam codes are great and all, but are a dime a dozen. I don't want a repeat of the CAH Oatmeal fiasco, but let's get some more companies to put some variety into those swag bags.

    Price and Badges
    Seriously, it's starting to get out of control, and scalping isn't helping one bit. 3-Day passes sell out in literally minutes, and even day passes are gobbled up hours later. There's literally no delay between the time passes go on sale and the time listings show up on E-Bay or Craigslist at double the price or more. Can we get on the one-pass-per-name train? It's something a lot of major conventions do, and it's not unreasonable to print people's names on their badges and require ID to pick them up.

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    Streetlight345Streetlight345 Seekonk, MARegistered User regular
    Loved the Friday night concert
    I arrived at 8:30 am on Friday and didn't have a problem getting in. It felt more like a perfect storm of people showing up at same time but that's me playing devil's advocate.
    Classic console enforcer running around grabbing extra controllers so my friends and I could play 4 player double dash.
    The enforcers handling the divinity raffle mess were absolutely amazing. They deserve medals for creating walk ways for attendees and keeping the flow moving.
    Food trucks.
    I thought even the crowd/attendees this year was the best.

    The LE PAX East sweater sold out of my size on Friday. I thought they might have more the next day only to find out that the stock was all they had. I feel bad for anyone who tried to get something and only had a Saturday or Sunday badge. I thought they fixed this issue with scarves in previous years.
    Some panels had a "#gamergate"y feel to them.
    Unpopular opinion, I was let down by the PAXAMANIA. I go to it every year at East and this felt more like the Greg Miller show (who was hilarious, #TURNONTHEFOGMACHINE). Maybe I hyped it up to much in my mind. I thought with the Main theater they would go balls to the wall. The joke was made during the panel but it felt so true, there was as much wrestling video games in the panel as wrestling in WWE.
    Save your time, Get rid of swag bags.
    The cop by the skybridge on Sunday was an asshole, straight up unnecessary the way he talked to people. A family of 3 asked if they exit the BCEC through the metal detector or go around it. The cop asked if they were afraid of the metal detector and asked them what they were hiding.

    PAX East 2019!
    Badges [X] Hotel [X] Time off request [X]
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    zambixizambixi Neko Nanny Washington, DCRegistered User regular
    I've been to several other cons, but this was my first PAX. Some feedback:
    • Friday's line was horrible; however, I know this was mostly due to the BCEC staff and not PAX. Anime Boston was similarly bad due to the new requirements of the convention center. I was so impressed that PAX handled it for the remaining days and I didn't have any problems getting in Saturday or Sunday
    • Lines for the expo hall were poorly managed. On Saturday we were able to go to the other side and bypass the entire line because there were no enforcers around. We saw a ton of people using the elevators to get onto the floor early on both Saturday and Sunday. There needs to be clear direction for where to line up, and someone there to ensure everyone plays by the rules.
    • Line management for panels, on the other hand, was great. I've never been to a con where there is a dedicated line entertainment team. It was so much fun to participate in all the games and most of them were very low-pressure. It was also a great way to get free swag.
    • Swag bags were far below my expectations though. There was absolutely no reason for me to waste my time to go get a swag-bag -- they were worse than swag bags from any convention I've ever been to. I wasn't expecting amazing stuff, but there was no physical swag in the bag. Everything could have been delivered electronically with the confirmation e-mail. Either have a swag-bag with actual, physical, stuff in it or don't have one at all.
    • The Pokemon booth in the expo hall on Sunday is an example of how all booths should have been run. Their demos were short, and they capped the line at a point where the wait was 30-45 minutes. There were games that were capped for the entire day at 3:30PM on Saturday. That is absolutely ridiculous. I don't know how much control PAX has over this, but it was really frustrating. Cap the amount of time demos can take, cap the waiting time on lines, use a reservation system (like the VR section in the back)... just do something.
    • The tabletop area was awesome, but my friends and I had no idea there was a tabletop library/check-out system until 3:00PM on Sunday. It just wasn't well-advertised or well-marked. It would be nice if the return system was a bit easier/faster.
    • There was almost a complete lack of content after the expo hall closed (outside of tabletop). Very few panels or other activities. Most other cons I've been to (even the larger ones) go until 1-2AM, but it felt like PAX was over at 8PM all three days (parties aside). If the expo hall is open for eight hours, and a line for any given large game takes 2-3 hours, then there's very little time for me to get to panels during expo hours. There need to be more after 6PM
    • The three panels that I did get to see were awesome.
    • Indie games were awesome too, and there were a ton of them. I was almost always able to get a demo for an indie game in under 15 minutes and they were all high-quality games.

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    coflroptercoflropter Registered User regular
    Overall a great PAX! I had a less than stellar time this year due to a broken ankle and friend wanting to leave early Saturday and Sunday. But that's not PAX's fault.

    * The expo hall was laid out so much better this year. Thank you.

    * The panels were pretty meh this year. I saw Co-optional and that was about all I wanted to see.

    * This may be a lower priority, but it would be nice if there were more food options for us herbivores. As it stands right now, the only substantial food that I could find was the Mex kiosk. And that kisosk usually had the longest lines around lunch's just a pain having to bring all my food for the day.

    * I didn't even bother with swag bags this year. Last year's were awful, and I heard these were even worse. Either cut them altogether, or improve them.

    * Hand Sanitizer! Maybe place some hand sanitzer stands around the convention center. Could help with the infamous PAX Plague.

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    VermillionDeVermillionDe Registered User regular
    This may just be my opinion, but I was very early both days, in the front of the first line. Both days a group of people whipped out a bunch of fold out camping chairs and took up a huge amount of space in the line, making it difficult for anyone else to sit down or get comfortable around them. I wonder if its possible (outside of a medical excuse) to ban these chairs from the queue lines. I don't see a reason for them, if you want to sit then bring a cushion. They were even asked to "pile in" and they just looked at the enforcer.

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    schussschuss Registered User regular
    This may just be my opinion, but I was very early both days, in the front of the first line. Both days a group of people whipped out a bunch of fold out camping chairs and took up a huge amount of space in the line, making it difficult for anyone else to sit down or get comfortable around them. I wonder if its possible (outside of a medical excuse) to ban these chairs from the queue lines. I don't see a reason for them, if you want to sit then bring a cushion. They were even asked to "pile in" and they just looked at the enforcer.

    To be honest, I can't blame them. Half of PAX is standing in line, so why not make yourself more comfortable? Until they find ways to better allocate people or alleviate the line pressures, you'll see even more of this.

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    nevermore13nevermore13 Registered User regular
    Per your question about the expo hall the companies have employees working their booths so it's 10-6 which is an 8 hour day not counting any setup or cleanup. It's been this way for years would be very surprised to see it change.

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    klzklz Registered User regular
    Pros -
    Great use of space around the booths in the Expo Hall. It wasn't too claustrophobic for the most part, where normally it feels congested as son as you walk in until you leave.

    Grouping the Indies and even tabletop booths together helped too. Indies didn't seem overwhelmed near the AAA booths and seemed to be more easily found/easier to chat with. The tabletop booths were also in good shape for demos since being mostly away from the noise made it easier to learn new games. At the same time, with the exception of the couple of vendors with booths in the Tabletop area as well, there was no way to pick up copies of the games after the expo hall closed. I'm sure the vendors would rather be in tabletop with a slightly different schedule than Expo Hall.

    Panel line management seemed to be smoother than usual.

    I wasn't sure how I felt about it before seeing it, but the Arena was a good way to soak up a lot of people, as shown by the surprisingly packed Hearthstone and Overwatch open gaming/tournaments. It did feel like a huge event. Only caveat: League's areas are always going to be packed, so it hurt when across the way was another extremely crowded event (Overwatch for the Watch, in particular). Not sure if there is any way to help control the crowds enough there.

    The side entrance for the food trucks, Jimmy Johns, and the two new hotels was awesome in the middle of the day, and helpful on Sat and Sun mornings too.

    The Jackbox stage was more fun than I expected, though some games weren't as successful in the large area (like Earwax). Still, audience participation worked better than I would have expected.

    Cons -
    Stated above many times, but the Friday debacle of trying to get in at 10:15 and not getting in until well after 11:00 (with tons of people still trying to get in) was really bad. Glad it was rectified for the most part the rest of the weekend, but I wonder if this isn't a case like the removal of most of the gender neutral bathrooms despite the nearly even gender mix of PAX back in 2014 because the city/BCEC didn't have a clue how to handle the PAX crowd. I'd also say that the food trucks likely were hurt because people didn't want to leave and then wait to get back in through security yet again.

    Why is there still no listing of Tabletop vendors or map prior to the con? It's obviously a huge part of the con and a great place to go after the expo hall closes. It really would help with knowing which publishers/vendors are there.

    The lack of places to rest/eat was surprising this year. Losing the tables and chairs all around outside of tabletop) makes it a lot harder to plan gathering spots for groups and lunch/dinner felt weird without a place to really relax while eating.

    I'm usually working during a part of the Expo Hours, but the panel selection after 5pm felt lacking compared to past years. Looking up the list and other people's posts above, I have to agree that there were a surprising number of overlapping panels this year that seem to focus on inclusion compared to the ones about the development of the games themselves, and both seem to be a large percentage of panels in general. I'd hope there would be more of the lighter panels mixed in with these serious topics. Unfortunately, most of those lighter ones are competing against each other and capped out fast (game shows, CAH, Appjunkies).

    Swag Bag was pretty worthless, but when companies have to commit to over 80,000 units of something, I can see budgets being stretched too far this way. I would hope there would be an easier way to handle some kind of discount advertising or way to distribute codes, but only to attendees on site. Hopefully someone has an answer here.

    I do also agree that there should be a way to identify the games presented as well as the publishers, even if that info can't be released until after the first day. Cross referencing them gets more and more difficult with the indie companies starting to have a few games now, and with a multi-day pass, it's hard to remember where you saw something that was interesting.

    The Dance Stage broke down a lot and kept getting stuck loading the music list. It's a real shame because it sometimes took half an hour to finally get it working again.

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    PurpleSkyPurpleSky Registered User regular
    Nice to see I'm not the only one that felt the panels were lacking this year.

    For someone who has never felt annoyed by the expo crowd issues that has been complained about in previous years, even I noticed a difference this year. So I guess it cannot be stated enough that the layout of the expo hall was done perfectly this time.

    I am a long time PAX veteran and every show the swag bags are complained about. I've stopped bothering trying to get one so yeah these need to go. But for some reason this is a complaint that seems to be ignored. I can guarantee for Prime this'll be a complaint again.... However it is a minor issue so I can see why it has gone on for so long.

    Please do more of the game video advertisements on the big display outside. That turned out to be really helpful as two games (Hob and Go Go Electric Samurai) that I did not know were at PAX I found out about through that display. Went to see both of them because they mentioned the booth number. Please encourage more developers to make use of this as it is a great idea.

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    DameonBrassDameonBrass Registered User regular
    Being my first PAX may not have the context of previous years but a few thoughts worth sharing:
    Food: I'll echo the sentiments that the food trucks were an excellent option for convention goers. I wish there was a way for people who had only walked across the way for lunch didn't have to queue up in the same line as everyone else to get back in b/c that was more chaotic than trying to get in during the morning.

    Tabletop: This is where I spent 97% of my day it was such a blast. The only parts where it got tricky were:
    1. Checking games back in later in the day at the lending library. I heard people in line say they waited over 30 mins just to give something back, which kind of sucks.
    2. Also really enjoyed the tabletop tournaments but would be helpful to have a larger Enforcer presence for these just to help facilitate getting these games started. There was a large amount of uncertainty in the Dixit and Fluxx tourneys as to when we could actually start. I don't know if possible but the enforcers working should probably have a base understanding of the game they're helping with. On paper the staff was great but they seemed rather confused setting up the tables for both events I attended.

    Expo Hall: I didn't get to spend a lot of time here partly because the lines moved so slowly but moreso because you couldn't tell if a line was capped without walking over and being refused. When turned away from the line for RockBand at the Harmonix booth we asked the Enforcer if we came back later how we would know if the line was was capped or not he said you just have to come up and find out. Not an efficient use of our time and didn't promote wandering over to other booths to attempt the same thing.

    Overall it was a great time and none of these were deal breakers to come again, simply areas to improve upon in the coming year.

    Formatted for this board by placing it on a piece of wood and banging a few nails through it...
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