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Constructive Feedback - West 2018

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Posts

  • detective_of_bsdetective_of_bs Registered User new member
    I made this brand new account just for this. I've been going to PAX since 2004. It used to feel like an awesome party with a bunch of friends I didn't know I had. It kept that vibe for a long time, but recently it's been losing it. (I can't speak for any of the other PAXes as I've only been to Prime/West). I know this isn't very constructive, but something feels off... I think I felt it the first time I saw signs reading "PAX XP BROUGHT TO YOU BY DIRECT TV" (or whatever big corp it was) a few years ago. It's got a marketing feeling to it. I want the party gamer vibe again.

    Enforcers you keep rocking it! You guys never changed and I don't think you will. Keep being cool!

    P.S. Damn those stickers! And not because they were hard to peal off, but for their misleading label. What the heck? Was that intentional to get people to join by accident?

    every day's great
  • RamenBlizzRamenBlizz Registered User new member
    So this is my first PAX, and most likely will be my last.

    I attended E3 last year and it was super chaotic, with long lines everywhere and just overall an unpleasant experience. I then learned that PAX is a more customer centric convention, so I decided to skip E3 this year and try getting a ticket for PAX West. Turns out it's just the same. I don't feel the community spirit at all.

    Just echoing of what has been said above - The 4th floor was a total nightmare. It's almost impossible to get to the major booths like Nintendo, Capcom, or Valve without spending a whole day to just get on one booth. Nintendo was the biggest offender. Their booth was probably less than half of what they had in E3 last year, and it was already super chaotic. Allowing people to stay as long as they want once they're in the non-Smash/Mario Party was a BIG mistake. Not to mention the appeal of super limited pins and quest for swags (play 6 games). This basically attracted those that just want the pin or swags even though they're not interested in the game. Personally I couldn't care less about the pins or swags. I just wanted to check one game, Diablo 3, to see how it performs on Switch. But I definitely won't wait 3-4 hours in the line just for that.

    Speaking about the pins, can we just get rid of them from the exhibit floor? Either booths need to create a separate line for pin/swag hunters and those that just want to play the game, or just have a dedicated spot for people to trade/buy pins. Don't make people that genuinely want to just check out the games compete with pin/swag hunters.

    As Valve/Artifact. Yeah, I don't think anything else should be said here. They probably got the best swags from the whole convention. The codes for the Artifact beta is selling for quite a LOT, attracting scalpers that just line up to get the code. Valve need to just provide everyone that registered with PAX to get the code, or limit beta code to one per person, for example. It was truly madness the whole weekend. Not helping is the demo length. Someone managed to play for 2 hours because he kept winning. That's absurd. Just make it one tutorial match, and one PvP match, then you're out.

    So after day 1, I gave up on major publishers. I figure I'll check out the mega indie booths, and 6th floor. Should be better right? Wrong. It's almost impossible to walk in the mega indie booth without bumping into someone else. I felt so claustrophobic there and wasn't able to do anything else. There are a LOT of spaces that aren't used *cough* Facebook Gaming, Maple Story, TWITCH!!!! *Cough* that can be utilized for indies. Again, echoing with what other says, Twitch had a big section complete with barista just for partners, but whenever I swing by, I only see maybe 1-2 people there looking bored while playing with their phones. Why? Why even have that space?

    6th floor was a bit better, but it's still super crowded. I don't know what's going on with the unnamed duck game (or whatever) but it was creating a super long line and basically just got in the way of others. Please please please get rids of pins or fancy swags of whatever from the exhibit floor. My goal for the weekend was just to check out some games, but why was it so hard to do!!!

    Don't get me wrong.. I still had fun... well, some of it anyway. But for the amount of time and energy spent to get the 'fun', it's definitely not worth it. I had one heartwarming moment though. I was chatting with one of the enforcers in the squeenix booth, when someone approached us and asked me if I want to do the kh3 demo. I told him I want to, but I don't have a ticket. He said he has an extra ticket since his gf couldn't make it. I thanked him and happily accepted. That was probably the one thing that made my weekend after all the tiresome experience everywhere else.

    But yeah, most likely I won't be back next year. But hey, more tickets for you guys! :) I'll prob just stick to BlizzCon, since it seems they're the only gaming convention that really cares about the attendees' experience. Went last year and had a total blast!

    gorgeousplanet
  • KamikazeArchonKamikazeArchon Registered User new member
    I've been attending PAX for... 5? 6 years now? Not sure exactly.

    It's always a load of fun. Overall, this year was also fun. This is the first year I've wanted to give feedback, though.

    The biggest drawback for me was the lack of ongoing Magic tournaments (normally run by Cascade Games, at least in recent years). MtG at PAX is my main way to play Magic; it's the perfect balance of competition vs. casual, and it's the single PAX activity I most look forward to. Not having that available was a disappointment. I hope that this was just a logistics issue, and that Magic will be coming back.

    I was happy with the change from physical swag to PAX XP. I personally didn't get much of a chance to search out all the XP awards, but next time I might make it a higher priority.

    KazinEseellPotatoeman
  • every day's greatevery day's great Registered User regular
    edited September 5
    I made this brand new account just for this. I've been going to PAX since 2004. It used to feel like an awesome party with a bunch of friends I didn't know I had. It kept that vibe for a long time, but recently it's been losing it. (I can't speak for any of the other PAXes as I've only been to Prime/West). I know this isn't very constructive, but something feels off... I think I felt it the first time I saw signs reading "PAX XP BROUGHT TO YOU BY DIRECT TV" (or whatever big corp it was) a few years ago. It's got a marketing feeling to it. I want the party gamer vibe again.

    Enforcers you keep rocking it! You guys never changed and I don't think you will. Keep being cool!
    One recurring sub-theme in these comments is that the social and community aspect of PAX is one of the most important things to get right, and it might not happen automatically!!

    I think it's a good idea to think more about "PAX Onboarding" and community building and how to welcome everyone in and get every person having a good time as quickly as possible. Some things that helped out in the past - and possible ways to expand them:
    • A friendly "welcome letter" at the beginning of the printed PAX guidebook; the current one starts with safety and security policies and the rules of PAX rewritten by lawyers - yuck. Instead Gabe and Tycho and the godfathers of PAX should be welcoming us into the world of PAX and sharing the sense of wonder and awesomeness!! The app should have a "Welcome to PAX!" menu item and other help to welcome and guide you through PAX.
    • The guidebook should also orient newcomers to PAX and provide an overview of all that is good at PAX as well as why PAX is special; it should also maybe say things like "if you like this... check this out!" for both things that might be familiar and things that might be amazing new experiences that you've never had
    • Lots of banners advertising games in the escalator corridor
    • More tabletop exhibitors and tabletop game demos in the escalator corridor
    • Reaper miniature painting and Pathfinder in the escalator corridor
    • Being handed a gift bag with actual swag in it!! A whole starter deck of Magic cards! A special PAX exclusive card or foil! Energy bars! Eye drops or hand sanitizer! Mini-games! CAH cards! Little toys! Download and beta codes! Things like that were great. Not just digital advertisements. Having things in the bags that encourage people to interact is also good, like sets of cards to trade, or puzzle pieces or clues.
    • Fun and sense of humor in writing - probably add more of it!!
    • Lots of game playing in line! Don't compact lines too early because then we can't sit down and play games and meet people!!
    • More gaming opportunities around the bean bags; do you still have a lending library of handheld games? How about facilitating Switch and handheld game meetups in special areas? Maybe have TVs with switch docks too?
    Pre-PAX and post-PAX gaming are definitely good things as well!!

    PAX is very hard to navigate, which makes it less inviting. Having more and better signage as well as path directions could really help!! Have arrows and paths that we can follow to discover places both familiar and unknown! Some really great things seem hidden and hard to find. Also having more and varied colors and iconography in the signage might help.

    PAX XP has potential. I think team Gabe and team Tycho should each have a secret base/headquarters and also secret web pages/forum/discord/etc. to discuss strategy.

    So you've got all of these youtubers and twitch people - how about putting them to work editing together awesome videos that summarize each day of PAX in a positive, people-centric way? As well as newsreels about cool stuff you might want to check out.

    The PAX app could include a photo gallery of wonderful things (submitted by attendees and curated somehow) and maybe daily highlight videos as well as access to streams of panels that you might have missed.

    Is there a game jam at PAX Dev? If so, how about making some of the best entries available to PAX attendees (e.g. via URLs to visit or download links or codes.)

    There is this magical feeling that I have had at previous PAX experiences where it kind of changed my perspective on humanity - instead of thinking of people as menacing and probably dangerous, I began to think of *everyone* I met as someone who might possibly make my life better by joining my game or inviting me to theirs - a potential source of joy and maybe even a future gaming friend. While safety is still obviously important, I really want to experience this kind of positive perspective and sense of connection again. It's one of the best things that can come out of gaming.

    I think it's important for people to feel like they really belong and are valued in a meaningful, non-superficial way. I too want everyone who would like such a thing to feel like PAX itself is your friend or at least a pretty cool neighbor or relative (who doesn't view you as a wallet to extract money from or eyeballs to attach to advertisements) and lots of those strange and unfamiliar people at PAX are simply friends you haven't met yet. And everyone should feel like a welcome contributor to and participant in the many awesome games and community of PAX.

    Failing that (and for anyone who doesn't want to join a PAX family/club/cult) I guess I'd settle for being able to play lots of fun games, discovering some amazing things I've never seen before, and scoring some sweet, sweet loot. If being at PAX feels like you've won the golden ticket, then you're probably doing something right! :)

    TL;DR: Make PAX as inviting and user-friendly as possible! Make an effort to personally welcome and engage every person and to help them find and do fun things. Be friends with your attendees, and make it easy to make friends by playing games together and participating in other fun activities at PAX. Try to make everyone feel like they've won the Golden Ticket. ;D

    And one final note: Those "PAX is xx% complete" tweets really bring me down. I would not miss them if they never, ever returned. But you should keep doing the "welcome to PAX" tweets and the "expo hall is closed for the day - but don't miss the other great stuff that's going on until laaate!" tweets. And the final thank you and wrap-up tweets.

    every day's great on
    SerenitykbschmidEseellPotatoemanvespachica
  • KazinKazin Registered User new member
    So, I too would like to echo KamikazeArchon about the feedback. Magic: the Gathering has always been a huge part of my PAX experience, and to find that this year it had been stripped to a tiny booth which mostly only gave tutorials to new players was hugely disappointing. Hopefully this will be something that gets brought back in the years to come.

    Additionally: When it comes to Panels and such, a basic "level" of what the panel might be on or even a brief introduction of what the panel themselves hope to cover would be nice for attending. I didn't attend any panels that I disliked, but I did feel there were a couple panels that were at the beginner level while I was hoping for answers/perspectives on an intermediate/expert level. All in all, I'm thankful for the continued host of PAX. This Expo is something I greatly look forward to each year, even if this year I wanted to try to leave some feedback. Looking forward to next year already!

  • CKingCKing Registered User regular
    Pros:

    Got a hotel room through OnPeak, stayed at the Olive 8 and got to look down at the Fortnite outdoor area when I was in the room. Good deal, nice view.
    6th Level was a delight, as was the indie megabooth. Best places in the show.
    I liked the PAXXP ARG, it was neat to run around and have a reason to visit multiple areas. Just need to make it consistent and have a way for it to work when the connection sucks.
    The panels I went to (Just Cause 4 and Nerdcore Hip Hop in particular) were all fun and the lines weren't so long that you couldn't get in.
    Enforcers were super helpful, anytime I had a question or asked for directions, they were on top of it.
    Bless Unleashed easily had the best setup. Tons of stations, line kept moving. This is what other booths should do.
    The concerts were fun as always. Super Soul Bros & Sammus were the best.

    Cons:

    The main show floor was kinda terrible. Tons of reasons already stated.
    Exhibitor and Media badges ruined the lines. The cutting and filling up before the floor opened was ridiculous. Kicking people off of games for press is absolutely ridiculous, let them finish the demo.
    Capcom was especially disappointing, with only 2 demos and no official merch store. The Mega Man 11 demo only had a few stations and the line was capped from minute one til the end of the show. RE was the same.
    Magic the Gathering events were held at MOX, so if you wanted to play magic you had to leave the con and find a way to their store. Also it opened them up to the public so it wasn't really "PAX" events.
    If you wanted to play Fortnite minigolf, you basically had to show up at 7am to reserve a tee time. Still not sure why they got 2 huge areas to themselves.
    No physical swag bags. If the ticket price keeps increasing, why are things like this are going away? The digital swag bag was underwhelming.
    No MC Frontalot? Weird.

    Suggestions:

    Cut the show back down to 3 days, and give the media & streamers their own day so they can do whatever it is they're doing without disrupting everyone else's experience.
    If you're going to have big booths like Facebook and Twitch that offer little to the average person, put them in a corner. There was a guy streaming Super Mario World at the Facebook booth. Why is that a thing?
    Mandate a certain number of stations for demos. If your demo takes 20 mins, bring 20 stations. Keep those lines uncapped and moving.
    Limit medical badges to +1 people they can bring with them. Having a person with a medical badge bring 5 people ahead in line is kinda suspect.
    Bring WotC back to the main show so we can have PAX exclusive events like in previous years.

    Medical badges are limited to +1. They should not have let multiples in.

    midnaEseell
  • midnamidna Greater Seattle AreaRegistered User regular
    CKing wrote: »
    Limit medical badges to +1 people they can bring with them. Having a person with a medical badge bring 5 people ahead in line is kinda suspect.

    Medical badges are limited to +1. They should not have let multiples in.

    Came here to say this. I got a medical badge for the first time this year, and they asked me if I needed a plus one as a handler/caretaker. I passed that up. I have a bad back right now, but I can walk without the assistance of a wheelchair/crutches/cane/caretaker. I simply didn't want to take up more resources than I needed to (I mostly needed it for sitting purposes, and I find it hard to stand for more than 1.5 hours). What probably happened was that someone had asked for the second badge for their caretaker, but then figured "hey I can move this extra medical badge between all of my friends and we can get in line easier." It makes me sad hearing that others were completely taking advantage of something others need to have a good PAX. It sounds like there needs to be a crackdown.

    8bkepvkebs5n.png

    ctiwolfRhea_starstorm
  • BunktaviousBunktavious Registered User regular
    This year was my 11th in a row. Honestly, not sure if I'll make the effort next year. It still had some great things; 6th floor was fun as always, Enforcers are always great, still some interesting little panels, and generally the expo hall wasn't bad to navigate. Sadly though, my highlight of the show was the Bethesda Party, which wasn't an official show event. It was also the only place I got free swag this year.

    Criticisms:
    - I'll repeat it: why was 40% of the show floor taken up by streaming booths that either offered nothing to the public, or were just demoing other people playing other company's games? They add nothing for most of us.
    - Favorite thing from last year - Indy board game designers demoing in ACT - was not there. Nothing in ACT at all, for the first time in years. I missed navigating the dark tunnel.
    - Big names gone, or almost entirely missing: Bioware (they did one panel), Gearbox, Wizards/MtG, Paizo, Reaper, Exploding Kittens and more...
    - The Annex. Uggh. Minigolf idea was cute. For the 0.0001% of attendees who got to play. Essentially, the entire Annex was pointless for me this year. One game does not need to take up that much space, especially when not using for anything accessible to the majority of attendees.
    - Demo lines. I hear that Artifact was being demo'd, lol. I managed to get near the booth once and gaze longingly at it. I don't go to PAX to do a four hour line. Ever. One contributing factor to these huge lines? How few big game demos were actually available, due to all the space taken up by Twitch/FB etc.
    - Table top/board games in general. I get that some companies may opt for unplugged, but there's a huge difference for me driving down the I5 versus flying to Philly. Second floor had a few games being demo'd, but that setup is really uninviting.
    - Pet Peave: advertising a big raffle/contest at an offsite location - hiking several blocks to get to it, only to find small print at the bottom of a banner on site mentioning, only open to residents of the US. This happens every year.

    every day's greatSerenitygorgeousplanetvespachica
  • Spokane_SnowManSpokane_SnowMan Registered User regular
    ctiwolf wrote: »
    Kind of miss he good old days when the exhibiters just let them in an hour early on the downlow to try out the games. Used to be a courtesy between vendors

    Spoke to a staffer at Nintendo. Exhibitors were lining up at Nintendo an hour early each day, but the booth wouldn't start turning them thru the demos until about 9:30. And there was just so much demand to see the Nintendo booth that they couldn't turn them all before the show opened.

    A lot of that had to do with the fact that Nintendo placed all their demos into the same area with a single line, then there was no time limit/turning of the people inside. People could wander from demo to demo and many spent over an hour inside the booth. Nintendo needed to have set times and a process to push people thru from one game to the next, and should have had their pin game running in a separate line with more stations so people who were interested in other demos didn't need to compete with that.

    Megaman was the perfect example of the worst possible setup for a booth:
    4 stations (an absolute joke for a company like Capcom and a huge brand like Megaman).
    No time limit (5 lives, play til you die. I played for 20 minutes before intentionally killing myself off).

    every day's greatPotatoemangorgeousplanet
  • SweetCosmicPopeSweetCosmicPope Just Some Dude Lake Stevens, WARegistered User regular
    edited September 5
    I went on Friday, and while we had fun, I was a little disappointed comparing to PAX 2017 which was my first year. I waited until today when I returned to work to process everything and make my constructive criticism:

    First off, the good:
    The 6th Floor indie games section was awesome! I played all kinds of games I hadn't played before and had never heard of and left with a nice long list for me to get from steam/appstore.
    The crowd-management was on-point. At first, it seemed a little hectic, but I learned that the traffic was moving in ebbs and flows, so as one section got busy, another emptied out, which made it easy to navigate the place.
    PAX XP was still a little buggy, but overall it was a vast improvement from last year. The biggest issue for us was that we kept losing cell signal inside the convention center.

    The bad:
    Lines being capped to early. We went to square at about 10:30, almost immediately after getting inside the building, and were told they had given their slots away already at 10am and to try again the next day. Throughout the day there was hardly anybody playing it because they gave away so few passes in such a short amount of time. Nintendo had a much bigger line that last year, but it was still constantly capped. Megaman CLOSED the Megaman line at about 3:30 or 4, and there were only 5 people in line to play on 4 screens. I actually can't recall if I got to play one game from a major studio. Oh no, I take that back. I got to play Valkyria Chronicles in the Sega booth (and got a neat Shiba Inu hat). And they did handle their queues very well.

    Press getting to skip the lines. The first thing I was able to line up for was the oculus rift line. I was about 6th in line. After about 45 minutes of waiting, the person behind me asked what the wait looked like because the line had barely moved (I think maybe one person in line moved in that time). They said it was a 1 to 2 hour wait because they would have press coming and going throughout the morning and they got priority. We got out of that line because we weren't waiting that long to move six spaces in line.

    Lack of time limits on games, this is a criticism of the exhibitors and also a note to people that you should be considerate of the other visitors. There were a handful of games we went to play, all indie games, and there was no time limit. We would queue up behind the person playing, and they would play, and play, and play, and play. One in particular, some zombie vegetable game I forget the name of, we waited behind a person for about 20 minutes and she never stopped, so we came back later. Another person was playing and played all the way through the first level, while we watched for about 20-25 minutes. When he wrapped up that level, we kind of expected he'd stop and hand over the controller...nope, he was ready to take on the next level too. To me that's just rude, and should be policed a little better.

    Some of the lines were ridiculously long for unknown reasons. We wanted to play Donut County, one, because it looked cool and we wanted to try it, and two, because of that cool trash panda pin. When we went to queue up, the line was enormous and the attendant said it was a minimum 2 hour wait. We opted not to wait, since the game is already out and I'm not waiting for two hours to play a game that's 6.99 on the iOS app store.

    Lack of fun free swag. We had a ton of fun last year going to the different booths, and getting free pins and other swag for playing games, but it seemed like most of the booths weren't giving anything away at all, even if you could get into the line.


    Overall, we still had a blast, and we'll likely go back next year (after that we'll have to see). But it was noticeably less fun than the previous year's was, and it seemed less of a gamer-community event, and more of a press event.

    Edit: Oh, I forgot about the digital "swag bags." Those were lame. Just discount codes for stuff I didn't want.

    SweetCosmicPope on
    Rhea_starstormvespachica
  • kropotkinkropotkin Forum Badge Creator London UKRegistered User regular
    edited September 5
    I have been attending PAX West for 10 years now (as you can see from my Sig Pic below) and have always attended as media. I know we get a lot of flack for skipping lines and speaking for myself, I refuse to do this as I know how infuriating this is. PAX West is not and never will be an industry event. That is for Gamescom, GDC and E3; not PAX. It is for this reason that if a developer/publisher offers to shove someone off a demo I'm about to see I will not let them. I never, ever, cut in line as I know many have been waiting for 2-3 hours in some cases. The only exception is when they have a special press area that is blocked for use by anyone else. TinyBuild do this as well as a few others.

    Press does get an extra hour in the morning of the first day to try stuff out before everyone else. I use this time to go to the larger booths and to find where all the interesting games are. It was actually only 45 minutes this year for reasons never explained, but it's better than nothing.

    Now for my feedback on PAX West 2018:

    Pros:
    • Panels were excellent and well spaced out
    • Indie Mega Booth and 6th floor continue to delight and entertain
    • The Enforcers were brilliant this year, especially with regards to maintaining passage between booths
    • Tabletop game testing was fun and well organised

    Cons:
    • Some booths had crowds of people being asked to yell at the top of their voices for the chance of winning something. At one point there was over a dozen people actually screaming to the point where I had to stop playing the game I was demoing until they stopped doing it. At what point did anyone think this was acceptable behaviour?
    • Travelling between venues resulted in being accosted by chuggers (charity fund raisers), people asking for badges and a lot of people trying to shove CDs in your had in exchange for $10-20. I really hated leaving the WSCC for this reason.
    • I see no reason why there are booths for Mixer and Twitch. Why are they there? Can someone please explain to me what do they provide in terms of unique content?
    • Dilution of tabletop thanks to the creation of Unplugged. While this does not impact me that greatly thanks to UK Game Expo and Dragonmeet here in the UK, I do feel that the reduction in tabletop presence at the regular PAX events is not the way to go as I got into that side of gaming thanks to PAX.

    kropotkin on
    ccdgyepcoh2y.png

    midnaevery day's greatSerenityKeroanRhea_starstormSinoSambagorgeousplanetvespachicaVolkat
  • every day's greatevery day's great Registered User regular
    edited September 5
    These comments point out a clear social aspect: many attendees got the strong impression and feeling, based on experience and visible evidence, that PAX is now more for media/press, industry people, and streamers. That might be the main purpose of E3 (or Twitchcon), but PAX should be for the regular gaming community and attendees first and foremost.

    I like the suggestions of: no media/press priority for anything; no line cutting/jumping/kicking people off demo stations; no reserved demo stations for press/media; no space reserved for streamers/twitch/mixer/fb/etc. in the expo hall or WSCC (or other high-visibility/highly useful spaces); no morning queueing for exhibitors and media so that they fill/cap the lines and occupy all of the demo stations (nintendo) or grab most of the tickets (square enix) before regular attendees arrive. Putting media, exhibitors, press, streamers, and regular attendees all in the same bucket would set PAX apart from E3 and make attendees feel like everyone was being treated fairly.

    every day's great on
    SweetCosmicPopeRhea_starstormDracilSerenitygorgeousplanetvespachica
  • RoundtopRoundtop Pathfinder Vancouver, BCRegistered User regular
    So some of my thoughts.

    #1: I had an exhibitors badge, and did not line jump (or try to) at all. My time was limited in the 4th floor, but I waited in line like everyone else.
    #2: This year I was really disappointed with the (lack of) panel selection, especially after 6pm. There were only a handful I was interested in, and they were all around 1pm.
    #3: Floor 2 tabletop area in the convention center - PAX is driving the vendors away. There was no paint and take this year, FFG/Asmodee had a couple demos and that was it. Steve Jackson games was only doing some learn to play. The only things on that floor are Uncle's Games, Catalyst Game Labs, MDG, and Wyrmwood. Every year fewer vendors are in that space (as evidenced by something like 5 rooms of open tabletop play). Honestly I wouldn't be surprised if there are fewer there next year.
    #4: I know PAX can't really help this, but due to the cost of PAX, a lot of vendors are running events off site, up to 40 minutes away (Microsoft, MTG to name a few), and evening club events which are a 20 minute drive away. We need to bring this back into the downtown core so people from out of town can be involved without having to Uber all around the city.
    #5: Where is the spectacle? In 2016/2017 we had multiple booths with massive displays (thanos throne, multiple dragons, the aztec temple, the Dishonored house, Doom, Wolfenstein, The Raid), but this year they were absent (except for a small GW2 dragon and the RE house). Heck, in 2016 Bioware had their N7 training facility.

    SerenityRhea_starstormgorgeousplanet
  • mcdermottmcdermott Registered User regular
    Fortnite Minigolf taking up the entire first floor of the annex, in addition to their huge offsite space, was...meh. I can think of a million better uses for that prime real estate than a mini golf course that was effectively linecapped before the doors opened in the morning. Literally just putting some tabletop vendors and tables in there would be better IMO, though I don't know if there are any vendors left itching to get into that space anyway.

    The Gris booth was a specific glaring example I saw, but by no means the only or worst, but PAX as a convention should not allow exhibitors to boot standard attendees off a demo early for press. It's one thing to give them priority in line, but yanking somebody early who has already waited in a line watching press cut in front of them the entire time, that's not acceptable. No, having a handwritten notecard taped to the screen telling them you might do this (as Gris did) doesn't make it okay. It's positively fucked, and if there's any way this can get written into the booth contracts the same way they did with booth babes and the like that would be super.

    Ideally I'd like to see a "no more than X% of demo stations may be reserved for press/exhibitor priority, and if regular attendees are slotted onto those stations when not in use by press/exhibitors they may not be removed early" rule, basically.

    Serenity
  • mcdermottmcdermott Registered User regular
    edited September 5
    These comments point out a clear social aspect: many attendees got the strong impression and feeling, based on experience and visible evidence, that PAX is now more for media/press, industry people, and streamers. That might be the main purpose of E3 (or Twitchcon), but PAX should be for the regular gaming community and attendees first and foremost.

    I like the suggestions of: no media/press priority for anything; no line cutting/jumping/kicking people off demo stations; no reserved demo stations for press/media; no space reserved for streamers/twitch/mixer/fb/etc. in the expo hall or WSCC (or other high-visibility/highly useful spaces); no morning queueing for exhibitors and media so that they fill/cap the lines and occupy all of the demo stations (nintendo) or grab most of the tickets (square enix) before regular attendees arrive. Putting media, exhibitors, press, streamers, and regular attendees all in the same bucket would set PAX apart from E3 and make attendees feel like everyone was being treated fairly.

    I don't mind a few large, high-viz booths like Twitch/Mixer/etc. Honestly now that we use the old queue room and the entire sixth floor there's more than enough booth space to spare, IMO, even if that crap isn't my thing. But yeah, they really need to figure out how to make regular plebe attendees feel like we're the reason for the con again, assuming that's indeed the case. It feels like across a large part of the WSCC proper, that feeling has been lost. Little tabletop, few panels, the expo hall is just a streamer wonderland, etc.

    I'd also point out that Monday passes never did sell out, or at least didn't sell out until a week or two ago (I remember getting spam from PAX hawking Monday badges in my inbox a couple weeks back). People who got into queue like 20+ minutes after the tweet still got Saturdays. And scalper badges weren't really that expensive either...you could pick up a Sunday for like $60 and a Saturday for like $70 or $80...on the street that is...as long as you weren't looking on the morning of the badge. I don't know whether Reed is selling more badges now by including more space, or whether demand is actually softening, but it's pretty noticeably easier/cheaper to get in than it's been for years.

    I'll take one moment to go against the grain a bit and say I like booths hawking products, in addition to all the game booths. I usually buy something stupid every year, and it's fun getting up close an personal with ridiculous hardware I can't bring myself to splash the cash on. I see the hardware booths as being just as important to the expo hall as the software booths.

    mcdermott on
  • grune-wurfelgrune-wurfel Registered User new member
    Good:
    • Floor 6.
    • Tabletop and Free Play
    • Great panels
    • PAX XP was neat

    Bad:
    1. Twitch/Facebook/etc "Airport Lounges" on the 4th floor. These booths are just a nuisance to anyone who isn't cool enough to get in. Move these to side rooms- making the majority of your attendees second-class citizens is not a good look.
    2. Too much retail on the 4th floor- a lot of this space could have been used to make the line capping situation less infuriating.
    3. Line Capping was ludicrous. Having to circulate the aisle for the chance to be at the tip of the line to get in to smash bros was frustrating. Maybe concentrate the retail in the space that was used for Fortnite mini golf- a lot of con-goers would appreciate one-stop shopping.
    4. Pins for Demos- People who are there for the game lose out on opportunities because of people who are just in it for the swag.
    5. Demo length- If a game has a 90+ minute demo, it should be sign-up based.

    vespachica
  • nemesislestatnemesislestat Registered User regular
    This was my 10th year going, but first time offering my opinion. For the most part I love PAX there is nothing like it. Unlike a lot of people here I love the swag. And to be honest I will be buying most of the games being shown. I have no problem waiting in line, the problem I have is finding out where the lines starts and after waiting so long having some jerk with a media badge jump in front of me. Any media outlet that can jump in front of me like I haven't been standing in line for 2+ hours doesn't have an opinion I am will to hear. The capping was annoying as well. So to kind of help this me and my friend would share turns when we were allowed to. Demos should be shortened to 10 minutes.
    I do have say that the most fun part was with Bethesda at the Hardrock Café. They know how it should be done.

  • SerenitySerenity Registered User regular
    I made this brand new account just for this. I've been going to PAX since 2004. It used to feel like an awesome party with a bunch of friends I didn't know I had. It kept that vibe for a long time, but recently it's been losing it. (I can't speak for any of the other PAXes as I've only been to Prime/West). I know this isn't very constructive, but something feels off... I think I felt it the first time I saw signs reading "PAX XP BROUGHT TO YOU BY DIRECT TV" (or whatever big corp it was) a few years ago. It's got a marketing feeling to it. I want the party gamer vibe again.

    Enforcers you keep rocking it! You guys never changed and I don't think you will. Keep being cool!
    One recurring sub-theme in these comments is that the social and community aspect of PAX is one of the most important things to get right, and it might not happen automatically!!

    I think it's a good idea to think more about "PAX Onboarding" and community building and how to welcome everyone in and get every person having a good time as quickly as possible. Some things that helped out in the past - and possible ways to expand them:
    • A friendly "welcome letter" at the beginning of the printed PAX guidebook; the current one starts with safety and security policies and the rules of PAX rewritten by lawyers - yuck. Instead Gabe and Tycho and the godfathers of PAX should be welcoming us into the world of PAX and sharing the sense of wonder and awesomeness!! The app should have a "Welcome to PAX!" menu item and other help to welcome and guide you through PAX.
    • The guidebook should also orient newcomers to PAX and provide an overview of all that is good at PAX as well as why PAX is special; it should also maybe say things like "if you like this... check this out!" for both things that might be familiar and things that might be amazing new experiences that you've never had
    • Lots of banners advertising games in the escalator corridor
    • More tabletop exhibitors and tabletop game demos in the escalator corridor
    • Reaper miniature painting and Pathfinder in the escalator corridor
    • Being handed a gift bag with actual swag in it!! A whole starter deck of Magic cards! A special PAX exclusive card or foil! Energy bars! Eye drops or hand sanitizer! Mini-games! CAH cards! Little toys! Download and beta codes! Things like that were great. Not just digital advertisements. Having things in the bags that encourage people to interact is also good, like sets of cards to trade, or puzzle pieces or clues.
    • Fun and sense of humor in writing - probably add more of it!!
    • Lots of game playing in line! Don't compact lines too early because then we can't sit down and play games and meet people!!
    • More gaming opportunities around the bean bags; do you still have a lending library of handheld games? How about facilitating Switch and handheld game meetups in special areas? Maybe have TVs with switch docks too?
    Pre-PAX and post-PAX gaming are definitely good things as well!!

    PAX is very hard to navigate, which makes it less inviting. Having more and better signage as well as path directions could really help!! Have arrows and paths that we can follow to discover places both familiar and unknown! Some really great things seem hidden and hard to find. Also having more and varied colors and iconography in the signage might help.

    PAX XP has potential. I think team Gabe and team Tycho should each have a secret base/headquarters and also secret web pages/forum/discord/etc. to discuss strategy.

    So you've got all of these youtubers and twitch people - how about putting them to work editing together awesome videos that summarize each day of PAX in a positive, people-centric way? As well as newsreels about cool stuff you might want to check out.

    The PAX app could include a photo gallery of wonderful things (submitted by attendees and curated somehow) and maybe daily highlight videos as well as access to streams of panels that you might have missed.

    Is there a game jam at PAX Dev? If so, how about making some of the best entries available to PAX attendees (e.g. via URLs to visit or download links or codes.)

    There is this magical feeling that I have had at previous PAX experiences where it kind of changed my perspective on humanity - instead of thinking of people as menacing and probably dangerous, I began to think of *everyone* I met as someone who might possibly make my life better by joining my game or inviting me to theirs - a potential source of joy and maybe even a future gaming friend. While safety is still obviously important, I really want to experience this kind of positive perspective and sense of connection again. It's one of the best things that can come out of gaming.

    I think it's important for people to feel like they really belong and are valued in a meaningful, non-superficial way. I too want everyone who would like such a thing to feel like PAX itself is your friend or at least a pretty cool neighbor or relative (who doesn't view you as a wallet to extract money from or eyeballs to attach to advertisements) and lots of those strange and unfamiliar people at PAX are simply friends you haven't met yet. And everyone should feel like a welcome contributor to and participant in the many awesome games and community of PAX.

    Failing that (and for anyone who doesn't want to join a PAX family/club/cult) I guess I'd settle for being able to play lots of fun games, discovering some amazing things I've never seen before, and scoring some sweet, sweet loot. If being at PAX feels like you've won the golden ticket, then you're probably doing something right! :)

    TL;DR: Make PAX as inviting and user-friendly as possible! Make an effort to personally welcome and engage every person and to help them find and do fun things. Be friends with your attendees, and make it easy to make friends by playing games together and participating in other fun activities at PAX. Try to make everyone feel like they've won the Golden Ticket. ;D

    And one final note: Those "PAX is xx% complete" tweets really bring me down. I would not miss them if they never, ever returned. But you should keep doing the "welcome to PAX" tweets and the "expo hall is closed for the day - but don't miss the other great stuff that's going on until laaate!" tweets. And the final thank you and wrap-up tweets.

    THIS. This is what I meant by PAX 'not feeling right' this year.
    Thanks for articulating is better than I could have. :-)

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  • SerenitySerenity Registered User regular
    @zerzhul out of curiosity, do you happen to know who reads this thread from PA/Reed?
    And probably not something you can answer but how much weight does this suggestion thread have on planning for other years?

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  • zerzhulzerzhul Registered User, Moderator mod
    edited September 6
    I know that this thread is read in its entirety by PAX Staff. I do know who some of those people are, but I am not going to bring them up directly. They can self-identify if they wish. Community feedback is always incredibly important. I have been told and trust that attendee experience is at the forefront of the mind of the staff when thinking about how PAX is going to work, and this part of the community is as important as any other. I know that's not specifics, but since I am not a member of that team I can't speak for them on specifics. I also know that decisions on the show are not made lightly nor without significant contemplation of the positives and negatives of any given thing.

    zerzhul on
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    kbschmidevery day's greatRhea_starstormSerenitymcdermottvespachica
  • lectiolectio Registered User new member
    This was my first Pax -- I went with friends who are Pax veterans, so they knew the shortcuts and had a plan for moving around the convention.

    Pros:
    • the volunteers were very well trained and well-supported. Happy volunteers are a very good thing to see.
    • the Pax spirit was pretty amazing -- it was great to see that in action, too.
    • I really appreciated the clear statements on harassment policies and the 'see something say something' banners in all of the spaces. That culture of respect was really important to me, and went a long way to creating a safe space.
    • The merch lite at the Sheraton was a fantastic alternative to the main merch area...really nice and laid back.

    Cons:
    • As a first-time goer, I must admit that the lines were pretty dismaying. I'd heard that there were lineups but didn't expect it to be so widespread, nor that lines to get into lines to put your name for a timeslot would be capped two and three hours before things got started. This really struck me as being a problem, especially given the ticket price.
    • I didn't really understand why there were so many Twitch streamer spaces -- seemed like a lot of the time they were empty.
    • I really, really expected there to be more in the way of Dungeons and Dragons. The D&D Adventurer's League space was really small (and it got SUPER loud).

    Suggestions:
    • Earlier start to the day or longer hours to give more people a chance to get into events. An 8:30am start on Saturday and Sunday would not seem beyond the pale.
    • a better map. I got very, very lost.
    • Somewhere to donate my badge -- I didn't need my Monday badge and I would have liked to hand it over to something like Child's Play for resale.
    • D&D!

    I really enjoyed my weekend, and had a great time with my friends. It was fun!

    vespachica
  • KeroanKeroan Chicago, IllinoisRegistered User regular
    I had a lot of fun this year playing console freeplay & tabletop freeplay - the lines for these were like 5 minutes tops to wait for a popular console. It was nice to get a small break from the crazy - my husband was getting really overwhelmed and upset on Monday so I let him sit in one of the tabletop freeplay rooms while I grabbed a card game from downstairs. The room was completely empty and we were able to eat some snacks and play a cool new game. I honestly can't believe that the games were free all day and that I could take them anywhere? Such a cool portion of PAX that I never had known existed before.

    I tried to get into Nintendo's line about 20 times but it never panned out. The enforcers were pretty cool about it though and I'm glad they were opening a large line at longer intervals rather than the luck based 1-2 people at a time. I think the best organized booth I went to was the Soul Caliber demo where it was about a 3-5 minute demo round. The line moved quickly, there were a lot of screens to play off of, and the booth attendants were really friendly. I played that demo every single day of PAX! I just didn't understand why some of the demos were so long or so locked off in huge capped lines. Kinda a bummer - I would have liked to see Nintendo put their Nindies in a completely separate booth with the same kind of setup as Soul Calibur like they did in 2015 (they were on the 2nd floor of the Sheraton).

  • pigpig Registered User new member
    Pros:
    I got to play artifact. It was amazing. The booth and the entire setup was really something. I know the demo took long, but i appreciated the nature of being allowed to actually get a good first look at a game without being moved aside or hurried along.

    6th floor was nice. More chilled than the rest of the areas.

    Everyone on the slack/discord are awesome. I got to meet several of you and you all are the reason that PAX is great.

    Everyone that I met and talked with in line. Awesome people who helped make my PAX experience better than it would have been. I went solo, but never felt alone as I was always running into people for a few minutes, meeting up with folks to do something, or otherwise just interacting with the fellow con goers.

    Pin trading was good. I 'm more of a pin acquirer than a trader, but I was able to interact and meet with several pin folk and made a few trades.

    Cons:
    Lines capped immediately every day. I'm from the east coast and woke up between 4a-5am every morning. I was in line waiting from about 6am each day. I was one of the first 30 people in the annex entrance. I tried to make it to artifact to play it again on Sunday and Monday. Each day it was capped by the time i got up the stairs. I'm talking the first set of people allowed in and I'm staring at a 3+ hour wait. Reasons? Other entrances let in earlier, med badges let in early, exhibitor badges let in early. Sunday and Monday I saw a stream of med/exhibitor badges at the front of the line. Artifact had 100 stations. Yes the demo was long. But the fact the first 200 people were let in early for some reason is ridiculous. This left me to look for other booths, but almost all of the major stuff was also capped minute after 10am. The fever pitch for artifact was reached due to the secondary market resale of swag being handed out and the rumors of $100 per beta key and more if you sold the rest of the gear. Some even said $1000 for a full swag bag.

    People not following Wheaton's Law. A lot of super dickish people. I've been to a lot of events, but i've never been treated so poorly by random folks ever. One guy pretended he was in the NFL and was just lowering his shoulder and pushing through people on his way to whatever. I get excitement, I get being caught up in the moment, but actually knocking people out of your way? How selfish are you?

    Rude enforcers or ignorant enforcers. Having someone just be rude arbitrarily is kinda bullshit. I get that on a long con schedule having to deal with people can be exhausting, but you dont have to be rude about. Enforcers telling people to "get the fuck out of the way" so some streamer can get "content" sucks. Being annoyed at someone asking a question also sucks. You are supposed to be there to answer questions and help people. I asked one enforcer about table top and he was just like "i dont know its somewhere dont bother me." Thanks bro. thanks. Enforcers stationed in the street or outside routing traffic or directing people should know where things are. I asked two enforcers standing in an area talking where something was. I think it was the Hyatt. Neither could give me directions. Both admitted they were staying in that very hotel. I know its volunteer, i know its a choice to be an enforcers, but at least be able to answer the questions about the area you are stationed in/around. The Hyatt ended up being on the opposite corner of the block we were on.

    Seattle in general. I dont know about anyone else, but it was scary as fuck. Leaving Benaroya Hall after AI was terrifying. So many shady types were just waiting for the show to let out and immediately harassing people for money, drugs, whatever. Doubling down on the shootings a week prior, I would have thought more security would be in place to try to mitigate some of this. Every day I was harassed by someone on the street for money. While waiting in line at the Sheraton merch booth a soaking wet (im assuming homeless) guy came up to the line and started begging. When I told him to back off he got aggressive and started cussing us out. He moved down the line and no one addressed it for upwards of 30 minutes. I dont ask for much, I dont expect PAX to secure the entire area of Seattle for the attendees, but at least try to secure the areas directly related to the event. Pushy scammers with CDs at the venue, homeless/druggies hanging out at the theaters late at night, other undesirables being allowed to come into the hotels and harass people. It was all a bit much. I've been all over the world, cities big and small, and never felt as unsafe as I did in Seattle.

    Everyone bitched about the streamers. I didnt really care. The thing that sucked was that booths like Capcom could have been larger and held more people if the streaming element wasnt so prevalent. I think back to South and East and while they had streamers/youtubers the areas were large enough to work for both. The small nature of the WSCC really outlines how much space that group took up. If anything I'd maybe like to see streamers stuff put in its own area and if you want to experience that, then you could goto that place. Just dont have it occupying prime real estate in the show floor.

    Overall:
    3rd pax, 1st West. I dont think I'll ever be compelled to come back to West. Least of all with my young son who loves PAX. My only wish was that this PAX was contained to a building like South and East. It's the inclusive experience of the convention center that adds a layer of safety to the event in my opinion. I want to goto an event and not have to explore an entire city to get what I want from the event. I greatly look forward to attending more PAX in the future, just ones that are confined to a safe/secure location with enough space to potentially accommodate more play area.

  • waffledogwaffledog OhioRegistered User regular
    Since I posted a negative, how bout a few positives?
    • Security *inside* was noticeably better. Lots of visible officers and security officials. For sure felt safer given recent events.
    • PAX XP was great. Less focus on prize towers made scanning all the spots much easier, and I loved that your adventure carried over from day to day. And the prize at the end [official mug] was really worth it!
    • Fortnite outdoor arena. Not a Fortnite player and was prepared to overlook what they were up to entirely, but after walking in it was a great place to crash and relax mid-PAX. And the free food truck was better than it had any right to be :biggrin:
    • Playstation VR online registration. They've been doing this for a while - I like it, but not sure everyone should follow. On one hand, it reduces crazy long lines; the appointment I set up had a quick <10 minute wait. On the other hand, the slots fill up very quickly each morning. I think it depends on what games they were showing; this year was much easier to grab an appointment versus than when they were showing something like Horizon a few years back. My worry though is if *everyone* does this in the future - would hate for PAX to be something impossible to experience unless you download each developers' reservation app or remember to sign up at X hour each day. The lines may be cruel, but at least you feel like you have an equal shot at them.
    • Concerts were great! Lots of variety and genres as always. Appreciated the ear plugs being handed out in back for stuff like Super Soul Bros and the Brigade. Only feedback I have was that most everyone this year had played at PAX previous (though I think this was Sammus' first West appearance?) Always open to seeing new acts perform, hopefully there's even more fresh faces next time.
    • Merch Lite booth was anything but lite - so much nicer of an experience than the "main" one. Seems like they're making more merch in common sizes - Large shirts didn't sell out as quickly this year, I noticed.

    And a suggestion:
    • Artist Alley. In addition to streamers, PAX attracts tons of creative types. I've been to anime and comic cons in the past and have always loved artists booths where they sold prints, stickers, zines, etc. A video game spin on that would be great, and would fit right in with the floor six "vibe" people mention here.

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  • SolelronSolelron Wandering Gamer Cornelius, ORRegistered User regular
    As my 10th pax, and only the 2nd one I have not worked a booth, I think I have a little different perspective.

    While the 6th floor was better than 4th, I was NEVER able to get into the Pax 10 at all, even to the point where my wife, who is mobility challenged, just skipped it (its one of her favorite parts of the event)

    The Line caps were annoying of course, but I understand why exhibitors and media try to get time before the floors or get in line early. its what they are paid for, and exhibitors are paying their staff by the hour so having them open longer is finances for little gain. Media takes the opportunity while the floor is lighter during that first hour to get in interviews. I do not condone them cutting in line, but that is in the purview of the booth.

    I do think a good part of the demos provided are too long. I don't need 30 minutes or more to try a game. 10-15 minutes should be enough to get my interest. if I need more than that, I can go to redbox or buy the game (Especially when the game itself is only a few hours). I loved how it was handled at both KH and WB. you had a flat 15 minutes. You could do whatever you wanted for those 15, but once it was done they brought in another group/person.

    Fortnite was interesting. I don't take time to get into tournaments, or 4 hour RPG sessions, so DnD/Pathfinder/Magic missing was not a huge thing. I do think space might have been better utilized (double set of holes, or shotgun style launches) I did think it was kind of crazy to have to be in line by 7:30 just to get a spot. With the way the Annex is setup, it may have been an option to start that earlier.

    Enforcers, as always, were awesome and I continue to consider joining their ranks.

    I'm sure I could say more, but. a lot has already been said.

  • kylechukylechu Registered User regular
    edited September 6
    For me, at this point PAX is pretty much just a framework for Dr. Exoskeleton, so I had a blast.

    With the streaming booth thing, I think the problem is way more with optics than with the space they actually take up. If they were just centralized to one part of the expo hall (maybe near the PAX Arena), I don't think there would be nearly this level of fuss about them.

    Also, special shout out to the playtest games at the Olive 8. They were a blast and it was a fun, chill environment. Out of the way spaces like that are why I'll always prefer West over the other, more contained cons.

    kylechu on
  • Farout FoolioFarout Foolio Registered User regular
    edited September 6
    I'll keep this to one pro and one con to make it easier to digest.

    Pro: WATER. I'm a thirsty bastard and my partner is diabetic, and in the convention centre as well as all satellite locations, there were coolers and fountains everywhere. Whomever went to the effort of organizing that is a saint, and made a remarkable impact on our days (some of the expo hall fountains were broken though. ;-;).

    Cons: I've been to every PAX West, and if there was a year that it didn't feel like 'Welcome Home', a year that didn't feel like it was for me, this was it. From huge swaths of the expo hall being gated for a tiny sliver of the community to lines and events that filled up impossibly fast (doubly so if you have mobility issues), a huge percentage of PAX was just...inaccessible.

    Farout Foolio on
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    Madpoetvespachica
  • Spokane_SnowManSpokane_SnowMan Registered User regular
    kropotkin wrote: »
    Press does get an extra hour in the morning of the first day to try stuff out before everyone else. I use this time to go to the larger booths and to find where all the interesting games are. It was actually only 45 minutes this year for reasons never explained, but it's better than nothing.

    That was a weird one. From a staffer, the floor opened late Friday morning because they had not cleared out all the equipment from setting up (ladders and so on).

    Then they held medical up until after all the media entered. So Medical only entered 35ish minutes before opening.

    Then they announced they were opening the doors to everyone early due to other issues.

    So the 1 hour early medical/media day on Friday was realistically only about 20-30 minutes at best.

  • SinoSambaSinoSamba CaliforniaRegistered User regular
    To make the main expo hall look more gamer-friendly: why don't we move the 6th floor indie folks to the 4th floor, expand the area for indie Megabooth and kick Twitch/Facebook/Mixer/whatever to 6th floor so they are literally separate from regular gamers and can have the 6th floor to themselves since they like to be exclusive instead of inclusive anyway?

    Also mentioned already: please don't open the main line 10 mins earlier if you are not going to do the same for the Annex line. That makes one line more important than the other and everybody should have the same chance at rushing into the hall.

    3DS FC: 3239-2323-6239
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  • PavioPavio Registered User regular
    I have some pros and cons, but, ultimately--this is the first PAX that has me seriously reconsidering if I will attend again.

    Pros:
    -Acq Inc was great as always
    -The people, as usual (I mean, inside the convention primarily :biggrin: )
    -Indie Megabooth and 6th floor

    Cons:
    For the first time, this didn't feel like a show for gamers. I have been to PAX West many times, and East twice, and South once.
    -Specifically, this year gamers didn't get to do as much. I have participated in PAX Arena games in recent years and it's been incredible--you have a crowd cheering for you while playing Overwatch or Rocket League or whatever. It was great. But this year PAX Arena seemed pretty empty most of the time and attendees couldn't participate.
    -Streaming booths were major detractors. That's been hit on a lot but it is seriously worth repeating.
    -It wasn't worth waiting in line for most things. Like others above, I was in the Annex line early, went straight to Artifact, only to find the line was already capped. I tried all 4 mornings first thing with the same result.
    -Big names/games were missing for the most part.
    -Just not as much to do for attendees.
    -Would have loved some Acq Inc D&D--that is what got me into D&D and it never came back.

    PAX Prime '07, '12, '13, '14, '15, '16, '17, '18
    PAX South '15
    PAX East '16, '17
    vespachica
  • havok978havok978 Registered User regular
    Synja wrote: »
    - Why doesn't Blizzard/Overwatch/etc. come to PAX?
    Probably because they focus primarily on BlizzCon. It's a shame though. Ion's keynote talk was great and I hope they get invited back next year. That was definitely a highlight of PAX for me.

    I would imagine if all of the speculation is true that this year is shaping up to be a big Diablo year, its probably even more reason for them to hold off and focus all their attention on Blizzcon.

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  • NotoriusBENNotoriusBEN Registered User regular
    havok978 wrote: »
    Synja wrote: »
    - Why doesn't Blizzard/Overwatch/etc. come to PAX?
    Probably because they focus primarily on BlizzCon. It's a shame though. Ion's keynote talk was great and I hope they get invited back next year. That was definitely a highlight of PAX for me.

    I would imagine if all of the speculation is true that this year is shaping up to be a big Diablo year, its probably even more reason for them to hold off and focus all their attention on Blizzcon.

    I wouldn't say you are wrong. Blizz is gearing up for a big push with Diablo3 on Switch, and even with the 15minutes I had in a group conference, the game was legit on a Switch.

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  • PydePyde Registered User new member
    edited September 8
    This is my first PAX.

    Best event for me was the offsite Bethesda event. They did amazing. Also the fact that they had security searching bags and people was amazing. They could have stepped it up a little though. I enjoyed this event more than PAX itself.

    The lines at PAX are a real deal breaker for me. Never though you could go to 4 days of PAX and still miss a ton of stuff due to capped lines.

    Waiting in line the first day (Friday) was absurd. We waited in line at the Annex and the Enforcer yelling at the top of his lungs to get everyone to stand on top of each other was absurd. I almost jumped out of line due to this fact. It's really awkward to be butt/balls to the guy in front and behind of you. I already don't do well that close to people but having that many people standing on top of each other makes for a terrible experience. My brothers and I decided for the next 3 days to show up late so we didn't have to stand in line like that. The issue with this was we couldn't secure early access to any lines we wanted to try and get into early forcing us to miss many opportunities to check out games / booths we wanted to see.

    Diablo treasure goblin / off site venue was pretty cool. Hope they would plan on a bigger off site venue next time though. That Lodge filled up pretty quick. We even had people randomly sit down at the empty seats of our table and start ordering food/drink. I'm all for meeting new people but this just felt awkward.

    All in all we did have a fun time but it felt like we spent more time trying to find the things going on outside of PAX to avoid the lines and craziness.

    P.s. the Skybound games RSVP mini golf event was a real highlight. They did great with their venue / off site event. And there swag was amazing. I got a free PS4 game The Long Dark / comics / mini characters / The Walking Dead beanie and more. They really went above and beyond I thought.

    Have to add one more thing. The security at PAX was terrible. I or anyone could have walked into the event with a backpack stuffed full of weapons. My brother who was with me (he is military) commented on this each day. They had plenty of staff / enforcers / officers walking around but there are no proper security checks. Bags / people need to be checked. I realize they are trying to get people into pax as fast as possible because of the mass exodus of us. But there is no reason they can't setup check points at each entrance to verify no weapons are brought into the event. I feared for my safety and the safety of my fellow gamers while there constantly. But this is also a two fold issue. It's nice we are trusted enough to be let in without being searched like we are in line at the airport but in light of world events and recent events I personally think its within our best interests to verify these things to keep each other safe and the event safe. So again Kuddos to Bethesda for their offsite event. Checking people and their bags before entrance into the Hard Rock Cafe. My safety and the safety of those around me is paramount.

    Pyde on
  • ClixClix This guy I know Seattle, WARegistered User regular
    Give pin traders a place to trade!

    Thank you.

    IncreaseBlueaeurigaYoungFrey
  • PedroAsaniPedroAsani Brotherhood of the Squirrel [Prime]Registered User regular
    I've seen a few comments about pin traders on here, so I figured I should address them first before I go into my list and regular rant about booth throughput.

    If you see people queueing up at a game to get the pin, that means they are working as intended. They are a marketing tool for the exhibitors to attract traffic to their game that might otherwise not go. And it works. I have played games and bought games that I would otherwise have not known about if it weren't for the pins. Hell, I have pretty much all the Annapurna releases because of the Edith Finch pin. And because of that game, I also have a kick ass apple pie recipe. Bet Mike didn't even dream of that when he first pitched pins in 2012.

    Pin traders, particularly those of us with the MayWest bags, are visible. So when you spot us in a queue then I'm sure you start running a self-entitled internal dialog along the lines of "those people are taking up my place in the queue. I bet they don't even care about the game. Damn pins" which, first of all, it's not your place in the queue. It's ours. We are pax attendees same as you, we queued up same as you, only we did it just before you. And maybe we don't care about the game before we played it. We may not have heard of it. But if it's a good game, then likely we are going to buy it, talk about it, and help make something you purport to like a little bit more successful. So really, the only problem is that the queue is longer. "My car is a necessity, yours is a convenience, theirs is traffic." Realize that all of us like games, hate queues, and wish that everyone who attended paid as much attention to their personal hygiene as we do.


    I'm seeing all the good stuff already listed, and I went on long enough up there already. On to the problems then!


    Streaming booths: Yes, a lot has been said. But they are problematic for several reasons that I wanted to rearticulate. Physically, it's a lot of real-estate to have private streaming booths and stages. This isn't E3. The small crowd that gathers for your "fantastic livestreamed giveaway" are blocking aisles. Mentally, streaming booths create a tiered "privilege" system that I think is what people mean when they say the atmosphere at PAX isn't what it once was. The "us and them" feel runs contrary to the egalitarian ideal that PAX was founded on. That's why there are no "Access Plus" or "VIP" badges available to buy for the general public. (Yes, I know VIP is a tier, but I also know that us plebs can't get them.) I would suggest that you steer exhibitors away from this model and maybe have them use the Paramount or another venue for streaming booths and staged content. Although the latter is lost on me. People at home are watching attendees being given free stuff. Attendees don't care they are being streamed. Old man yells at cloud.gif

    Media access: This is the first year I have heard of exhibitors pulling attendees off demo stations mid-game so that media can play. What nonsense is this? E3 nonsense. I know it's not a thing under direct PAX control, but I sincerely hope you are going to put something in the exhibitor packets for next time that says absolutely not to do this. And people with media badges, if you get offered this decline and insist on waiting.

    Medical, media and exhibitors: All three groups appreciate early entry to the expo for different reasons. The current iteration is no longer working for several reasons. For medical, early access for one hour of one day is the only time expo floor is feasible for some. And if you need that access but can't make it on Friday? Well currently, tough. I would ask that medical access is open to all four days. That might seem a lot, but for those most hampered physically it would make a huge difference. Getting the exhibitors to understand that medical badges exist and why they do would be great. Hearing from exhibitors "We aren't opening until ten" or "I haven't heard about/seen that badge before" isn't ideal. Media should be allowed in early day one and to stay late day one. After the first day the exhibitors will have knocked out the kinks in their demo system (hopefully) and will have refined their pitches a little more. Exhibitors is a little more complex. The common complaint I heard this year was that it seemed EXH badges were being handed out to their friends and family, not just those working the show floor. If that is the case might I suggest just issuing them with regular badges, or something that allows access after day one opens until final day close. (Liability reasons too, don't allow them access during setup/teardown because Forklifts.) The other complaint was that queues were capped before show floor opened every day because they were full of exhibitor badge holders. Either way, I would suggest that EXH badges can stay late to demo games, but not do it early. So, 9-10 day one, Medical and Media. 6-7 day one, Media and EXH. 9-10 all others, Medical. 6-7 all others, EXH.

    Booth throughput: Yes, again. Dauntless booth in particular is the example of what not to do this year. They could have had three times the demo stations in that space, and with 5 minutes off the 30 minute demo time increased the throughput enough to remove the need to cap the queue. En Masse managed to have much more efficiency in a smaller booth even with a store taking up half their tiny space. It seems to be a real issue that even after more than a decade of PrimeWest, booths are still being designed with the E3 mentality. I'm not saying they should look like PC Freeplay, there is space to play with the designs and do interesting things. But it's the same thing we are seeing each year. With all of the problems with queue capping and hours waiting, very few seem to understand that more people playing the game during the show is a good thing. Hearing "the queue at PAX was capped the whole time" doesn't tell people your game is good any more. It says you failed to design a booth capable of reaching as many people as you could have done. And similarly, larger vendors need to be told that their minimum pin buy is more than the small indie booths. I heard about some horrible Diablo 3 pin stories involving a shoe store? Don't allow them to manufacture fake exclusivity. It's another thing that makes a mental "us and them" barrier that is detrimental to the PAX experience. 2,000 minimum is 500 people a day. I think that would help avoid what sounds like a terrible PAX experience for those who made the trek across town only to be disappointed because they underestimated the numbers of people who would show up.

    Panel streaming/recording: More people want to go to PAX than can attend. Some people are limited by funds and/or geography. There is little that can be done to replace the expo floor, but having all the panels streamed and/or recorded for viewing online would go some way to helping with this. I'm aware that having PAX and PAX2 channels requires technical costs and time running them. However, if I was told "PAX and PAX2 are free to view, but for $nominalcost you can see PAX3 and PAX4 (5, 6, etc as needed)" I would jump on that.

    Security: I'm running hard in the opposite direction of @Pyde on this. Having been to East and their garbage security theater, I am forever grateful that West and South don't do this (Unplugged, we will see). Knowing that steps were taken for West this year is enough for me. No, we don't need to bag check 40,000 people to avoid the chance that one wingnut goes bananas. I have been an Enforcer at PAX, I've worked SakuraCon and ECCC. I know that security is more than the visible presence, and that security theater distracts from actual security and can enhance problems rather than mitigate them. I would urge PAX/Reed to speak with Boston at length about steps they can take other than bag screening, which has little security value, creates a large public crowd (large, publicly accessible target) and leaves people waiting for hours in the freezing cold. @Pyde the fact that you didn't hear about any security issues at West is a sign that security did their job. There are always security incidents at gatherings this size, any demographic, anywhere in the world. If you don't hear about them, then everyone did what they were supposed to.

    Street level problems: With the change in leadership for Seattle, maybe now is the time to approach the City and ask for some help during West 2019. Street vendors pushing their CDs and scalpers hawking badges are making some people wary of going outside the WSCC. Additionally, traffic there is going to knock someone down at some point. Closing Pike between 7th and 8th Avenue for even just show open and close would eliminate a lot of the risk.

    kbschmidCKingYoungFreyLoonyEclipsemidnavespachicaScunosiP.D.B. Fishsticks
  • IncreaseBlueIncreaseBlue Registered User regular
    PedroAsani wrote: »
    I've seen a few comments about pin traders on here, so I figured I should address them first before I go into my list and regular rant about booth throughput.

    If you see people queueing up at a game to get the pin, that means they are working as intended. They are a marketing tool for the exhibitors to attract traffic to their game that might otherwise not go. And it works. I have played games and bought games that I would otherwise have not known about if it weren't for the pins. Hell, I have pretty much all the Annapurna releases because of the Edith Finch pin. And because of that game, I also have a kick ass apple pie recipe. Bet Mike didn't even dream of that when he first pitched pins in 2012.

    Pin traders, particularly those of us with the MayWest bags, are visible. So when you spot us in a queue then I'm sure you start running a self-entitled internal dialog along the lines of "those people are taking up my place in the queue. I bet they don't even care about the game. Damn pins" which, first of all, it's not your place in the queue. It's ours. We are pax attendees same as you, we queued up same as you, only we did it just before you. And maybe we don't care about the game before we played it. We may not have heard of it. But if it's a good game, then likely we are going to buy it, talk about it, and help make something you purport to like a little bit more successful. So really, the only problem is that the queue is longer. "My car is a necessity, yours is a convenience, theirs is traffic." Realize that all of us like games, hate queues, and wish that everyone who attended paid as much attention to their personal hygiene as we do.

    You know, this is a fair point. I'm definitely one of the folks that vented their frustrations at the pin stuff, but this puts it in a better perspective for me, thanks.

    PedroAsani
  • kbschmidkbschmid Calgary, ABRegistered User regular
    We are all going to have different reactions to security measures, and I think there were some really good points made on the "Convention Centre Safety" thread. Frankly I feel like they did a good job - there were certainly more visible measures than previously (I don't ever recall seeing as many uniformed cops in the building), and I even saw a few "quieter" measures throughout the con.

    What I do find interesting though is the security culture. Coming from Canada, it is quite (pardon the pun) foreign to me. I mean, basically the only reason we have metal detectors at hockey stadiums is because the NHL mandated it. One of the things I have always loved about PAX is the multiple-location open feel of it - I know I can leave the WSCC to go to a talk at the Sheraton and come right back with little delay, and frankly I feel quite safe at PAX. I don't know about other foreign travellers, but I would say I feel less safe simply travelling to the US than worrying about PAX in general. I know it came on the heels of another incident, but at no time was I actually worried about PAX security when I was there.

    Again, people will have different reactions to it, but I was quite pleased with it and security quickly faded from thought and was quickly replaced by OMG There's Jerrry!!!

    By day, a mild-mannered charity guy
    By night, a gamer.
    PAX Prime 09, 10, 11, 13, 15, 16, 18
    Rhea_starstormCKingScunosi
  • vespachicavespachica SeattleRegistered User regular
    edited September 10
    lectio wrote: »
    [*] Somewhere to donate my badge -- I didn't need my Monday badge and I would have liked to hand it over to something like Child's Play for resale.

    Oh, this is such a great idea. I had an extra badge as one of my kids decided not to come (always one of them, it seems, decides they'd rather not go). An official PAX reseller that accepts donated badges would be amazing if they set it up and gave the proceeds to Child's Play. I sold a Friday to a scalper for $20. My Mondays went unused. As a long time PAXer, I don't care much about getting top dollar for my badges because I would rather SOMEONE be able to use it and have fun vs. making a profit. (In the past, if I sell badges to someone I only sell for face value.)

    vespachica on
    ufq9gj8383nh.png

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  • ElmoFuntzElmoFuntz Portland, ORRegistered User regular
    edited September 11
    I'm glad I'm not the only one who noticed an awful lot of dedication to streamer space I just completely ignored. Mixer, Twitch and their huge exclusive area, that giant arena thing over by the AKRacing vendor, FB gaming, and who knows what else I missed. I hope next year we can give more of that back to game devs. Every time I went to look at the AKRacing chairs (at least once a day, had to make up my mind on buying..) that giant streaming pen with all the seating was never once full. This is all my personal opinion and observations of course.

    ElmoFuntz on
    Go for the eyes Boo, GO FOR THE EYES!
    LLKAHMh.png

    Canderson1989bacon_avengerTOGSolidDinny
  • Ssor22Ssor22 Kansas CityRegistered User new member
    After reading all of these comments of Pros and Cons, I feel the need to toss my 2 cents in...

    My PAX History for reference: West 15,16, 18; South 16, 18; East 18

    Pros:
    -Atmosphere was great, I felt good vibes from other attendees, enforcers, and the city itself
    -The Mini Map is still the best "new" feature to PAX I have noticed.
    -Isle Space on the 4th floor seemed to be better managed from years past IMO.
    -I had no difficulty finding swag, especially on Saturday as it just seemed to magnetize to me.
    -Abundance of Law enforcement allows me to enjoy the show and not worry about anything but the show.

    Cons:
    -I did not know until Monday that you could try your luck at both PAX XP prize towers each day.
    -Convention Center Staff and some of the enforcers seems like they had never either experienced PAX/behaving like this was the first time a event like this has ever happened. (Ex line management confusion, general interaction with the Center itself, ect)
    -Lack of Table top was a small detail as I am not big into that but its worth noting
    -Lack of Panels after 6pm. Not just quality ones but just not really much of a selection.

    Note worthy comments that don't really fit above...
    -Media Badges. While this did not personally effect me, I feel like the complains that people are having don't fall 100% on PAX but share the blame with the developers and who they sent to run their booth. While yes, PAX doesn't have to give out Media badges, exhibitors don't have to punish attendees as much as they do. Instead of removing Media, maybe exhibitors can give them special treatment WHEN they get their turn and not bump them up. Remember, Media are just there making a living. (No I am not a person in the media)
    -Seattle itself. I have seen a few comments on this regarding safety or the troubles of a Big City so I will break this down. Like before, the extra Law Enforcement was appreciated and I hope it continues in the future. The scalpers and CD guys are VERY annoying but like one person I was talking in line with, they TECHNICALLY are not breaking the law and are welcome on any public space like you and I, just like the homeless. If these folk really bother you take this advice, Hands in pockets, don't make eye contact, and say "no thank you" to anyone that you don't want to speak with. These problems come with any major city that I have been to.
    -Lastly, the lack of "X" thing. If the Devs don't want to host something, it wont be there. Reach out to your favorite developers, thank the ones that already do come, this is how the stuff you want has a chance to be at PAX.

    That's all I have to say and I hope it helps some one out there in internet land.

    PAXES attended
    Prime 2015
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