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East 2020 Constructive Feedback

zerzhulzerzhul Registered User, Moderator mod
Hello again! Please leave your feedback for the show.

Reminder: not liking things is fine. Being a jerk is not fine.


  • XenigmaXenigma Registered User regular
    I'll throw out some of my thoughts.

    Food Truck Corral - I only tried it on Sunday, and based on what I saw I wish I'd visited earlier! My big problems with them in the past were limited number of trucks causing very long lines and waiting in line again outside to get back into the building. Both were improved this year: there were far more trucks due to the large area reserved for them, which helped mitigate lines due to the number of choices available, and the security line had a space reserved inside so people didn't have to wait in the cold. The single biggest improvement I noticed this year, and I hope to see similar efforts in future years.

    Jackbox Relocation - I was nervous about this, but it turned out surprisingly well. The addition of beanbags, likely due to the nearby handheld lounge, was a nice improvement. Was also nice to have it be right by the food trucks so you could come in and participate in the audience while you ate. If anything were to change, I'd like to see more beanbags given how much nicer the area was with them present.

    GDQ Stage - What a cool thing to have at PAX! That being said, it was also something that I admittedly spent precious little time at: the schedule for speedruns wasn't particularly obvious (the listings on the app seemed incomplete), and there didn't appear to be a stream for it either despite being such an obvious candidate. I will say it was nice the area had a decent number of chairs, but I'd like to see the experience evolve somewhat for next year.

    Aisle Space - I know this is mostly due to Sony dropping, but the huge aisles around the major booths were a godsend. On the flip side, it made the cramped areas around the indie booths that much more painful knowing the space existed. Maybe next year that space fills right back up with booths, but should we get such a bounty again, I'd hope it's recognized that the major developers aren't the only ones that could use the extra room.

    Jamspace - Maybe this was cut for good reason (I never did visit the new quiet tabletop room), but I do miss both having this as a place to relax and also the extra musical performances held throughout the weekend. If you have the space, it would be nice to have it return.

    Steel Battalion - I finally got to check this out and it really is an incredible experience to have at the show. Please be sure to keep it around, and the spot by the tournaments and handheld wasn't half-bad either.

    Events That Should Return - Divekick remains a really fun console tournament, even simply as a spectator, and I hope to see it return. Law & Order VGU remains one of the most fascinating panels, and I hope all four panelists are invited back to do an "Episode 3". Finally, though I did not attend the Supergiant concert, I think those sorts of performances are really cool and I hope you continue booking them as appropriate (Final Fantasy XIV in particular would be absolutely amazing if possible).

    Thought it was a pretty good show overall, even with some awkwardness like the LE pins not being present, and hope to be back for my eleventh East next year!

    Pins? Pins!
    PAX East Attendee since 2011
  • TransGirlMagicTransGirlMagic Registered User new member
    So hi this was my first pax and while I had a lot of fun and will definitely be returning I do have a major criticism that Mostly falls on the venue but needs to be said anyway. As a trans woman the fact that all the all gender restrooms were on the first floor was very inconvenient. Especially if the con is trying to be a space where trans and non-binary people can feel safe and welcome.

  • millerm277millerm277 Registered User regular
    edited March 2020
    Been going since 2012.

    Overall, definitely a good year.

    To focus on organizational things in PA/Reedpop's control rather than how specific exhibitors are:

    - Security. You know what there has been every year since we got security? At least one day of meltdown with massive waits at some or all entrances for substantial portions of the day. You know what there wasn't this year? That. Great work. Side doors had more detectors and things actually seemed to move properly all around. I follow a lot of subreddits, discords, etc related to PAX, and I don't think I've seen a single big complaint about security waits. Seriously, I can't emphasize enough how much nicer it is to be able to enter and leave the place without having to think about how frustrating it will be to get back in. Please don't forget whatever you did differently this year when PAX East 2021 comes around.

    - On this note - It made the food trucks much more reasonable to use, and I appreciated the large number of them present. I also appreciated bringing some of the food vendors indoors as well.

    - Beer! As I think was obvious to anyone walking by, the "Voodoo Lounge" was clearly a huge success with many. I understand the issues with re-opening the main bar in terms of control, this is certainly a decent compromise. Given how crowded it was, consider making it a bit larger, or opening up a similar one somewhere else in the venue for next year to split the demand. I also wonder if the hours of operation could be bumped an hour or two later, I think it closed at 6? Lots of people would have stopped by post-expo hall if it was open.

    - Panels - Not the best year ever, but a decent one from my perspective, with a bunch of the sort that interest me: Interesting discussion from knowledgeable people with solid credentials, on topics in gaming. And at the other end of the spectrum some of the evening humorous ones were pretty solid, I'll give "The Improvised Postmortem" credit for being one of the most amusing and absurd things I've seen at a PAX stage, definitely keep that one coming back. The "Morality Lessons" one was also entertaining. Topics were also pretty decently spread out, which was nice. All the panels I like on one day, or at conflicting times, is never ideal.

    - Show floor - As usual, I wound up with adding at least a dozen games to my Steam wishlist (or buying) that weren't even on my radar before. Good selection of indies, good variety of titles. I can't really fault the con for what happened with Sony, but it was a somewhat noticeable absence. I wish there was more space in the side aisles, particularly the furthest edges. The main part of the show floor flowed quite well.

    - Side stuff - I didn't go and I'm not even sure how affiliated with PAX they are, but I appreciated having Bethesda Game Days, the Red Bull Arcade thing, etc. Many people did appear to go and enjoy them. More things for people to see and do is always good, and it makes the event feel even bigger. I also wonder about potential for expanding into the spaces in the Westin in general.

    A few specific complaints/suggestions:

    - While again, not a bad year, panels could still be a stronger lineup. I don't need all AAA panels, but getting a few more substantial devs (not that I don't appreciate the indies) to give some panels or show up on panels with a bigger cross-section of devs would be nice. Ex: I recall once seeing a panel with guys from multiple major RPG studios (Bioware, Bethesda, etc) talking about some element of RPGs and how they handle those things in their games, and that kind of discussion is fascinating.

    - While security to get in was good, I heard plenty of complaints regarding the way the show floor opened and who got in first. And changing policy halfway through the con is a very odd way to manage things.... Seems like that element of operations needs some review.

    - Parking - Seemed even more chaotic than ever and seemed to generate complaints I overheard a number of times. Even as someone not dealing with it personally, looking at the massive line of barely moving cars from my Westin window snaking around the BCEC and certain streets (and not due to general Boston traffic), makes me wonder if this can be managed better. Why is PAX perpetually unable to put up any sort of parking map? Plenty of people would go directly to the overflow lots and not fight for the closest one if they knew what lots were actually available for con attendees at the event rates.

    - Some of the interesting things scattered around seem to get lost, especially for new attendees. I don't feel like a lot of people are realizing things like the Kickstarter room are even there until/if they stumble across them. I don't know how to highlight them more, but it's worth thinking about.

    millerm277 on
  • imPokerFaceimPokerFace Registered User regular
    Not a long post, but so glad there was no wasted space with silly streaming booths dedicated to....streamers.

  • StericaSterica Yes Registered User, Moderator mod
    The Good
    • It was good seeing aggressive action to avoid sickness. Lots of hand-sanitizer, enforcers telling people to wash their hands, etc. Not all of this would make a difference with the covid-19, but I think it's good practice to avoid general pax pox
    • Food Trucks area was real nice with a nice selection of trucks. Really helps to keep lines shorter during mealtime.
    • I love the preview tables for Tabletop! Being able to play games in progress, even if their components aren't finished, is really neat.
    • Major panels were real easy to get into. I dunno if attendance was down due to fear of the virus, but we didn't have to arrive stupid early to see stuff.
    • Supergiant Concert was great, and I'd love more things like this from developers
    • Maybe this is because I'm older and don't feel like getting to the BCEC at 7am, but it was nice not having to sit in line for hours and just instantly getting inside. The last time that happened it was like single digit temps out.
    • BCEC didn't gouge us on parking like we were fearing.

    The Bad
    • The expo floor is still way too congested. I assume there's a pecking order for specific spots, as you'd rather be the first booth people see when they descend upon the holy floor, but having a bunch of major publishers/games all next to each other let to just crushes of bodies. I recall being asked if I was in a line when I was sandwiched between FFVII and FFXIV booths because it was just that crowded. And this is with one of the three major console makers, Sony, having pulled out! I can't imagine how cramped and horrible it would have been if ANOTHER super popular booth had been there.
    • The Hub used to have a wider variety of food, and now it's just...chicken tenders and fries? Seems insulting to call that space "Boston Faves." Where are my fried clams?
    • It'd be really nice if the food truck area was, I dunno, part of the convention center? This is likely unfeasible, but having to go through security again while juggling food is annoying and I saw at least one person literally lose their lunch trying to handle food and their bags. Perhaps larger tables or something for those checkpoints, as a imagine you can't just fence that food truck area off or whatever.
    • This was the ten-year anniversary for East, and there was nothing to acknowledge that. No pin, shirt, or even a mention as far as I can remember. I didn't expect a big to-do over it, but something would have been nice.

  • zerzhulzerzhul Registered User, Moderator mod
    Sterica wrote: »
    • This was the ten-year anniversary for East, and there was nothing to acknowledge that. No pin, shirt, or even a mention as far as I can remember. I didn't expect a big to-do over it, but something would have been nice.
    I was more bummed out by this than I thought I would be.

  • Joedel263Joedel263 Registered User regular
    zerzhul wrote: »
    Sterica wrote: »
    • This was the ten-year anniversary for East, and there was nothing to acknowledge that. No pin, shirt, or even a mention as far as I can remember. I didn't expect a big to-do over it, but something would have been nice.
    I was more bummed out by this than I thought I would be.

    Isn't this the 11th East? (10th at the BCEC - comment is still valid, as nothing last year either.)

  • zerzhulzerzhul Registered User, Moderator mod
    11th show is 10th anniversary of the 1st show.

  • KrepoortKrepoort Registered User new member
    The crokinole tables were such a good idea! There was always a table available every time I walked by so it was great to just get a few rounds in while waiting for a tourney to start. I'm curious if there were any complaints of taking up too much table space. I'd love to see something like that every year. Maybe add klask to the mix if possible? Alternating tables of crokinole and klask would be amazing!

  • TopherRocksTopherRocks Rockstar Beard Grower Kent, OH or Long Island, NYRegistered User regular
    edited March 2020
    The good:
    • For the first time ever, it felt like security wasn't just theater. Somehow they were all on their game and actually working.
    • The extra walkway space on the floor was amazing.
    • Supergiant in concert was incredible.
    • Thursday attendance is a dream for navigation.
    • The stepped up sanitation measures were nice to see.
    • The Nintendo pin line was great...after Friday.

    The bad:
    • The Nintendo pin line Thursday was a trainwreck.
    • I'm going to keep saying it until it changes. GIVE US AISLE NUMBER BANNERS! What's the point of numbering booths if there's zero signage anywhere to indicate it. Hang banners saying at least the blocks. 32000s, 19000s, 18000s, ect.
    • The PAX App sucked. Hardly worked, no way to change the alert time, inaccurate info at times (At one point it listed Gearbox being 30 minutes shorter than it really was), should have just stuck with guidebook.
    • The Hotel booking site is still trash.
    • Thursday being a concert night rather than Saturday. I'm not sure if this is more of an effort to quietly kill off the concert by pushing it to the low traffic day or what but it's just not working with the already lacking Thursday crowds. Frontalot is always welcome in my book but it wasn't a great lineup either. As talented as he is, bringing on a solo pianist is really not much of a show. That's more of a night at the orchestra and just doesn't feel like a fit. Could use more energy like Bit Brigade, Freezepop Anamanaguchi and The Protomen brought. Swap the Thursday concert slot and Acq Inc on Saturday.
    • Panels did seem a bit lacking this year. I think I only went to 2 panels all weekend? I usually see at least 2 every day most years. Hardly anything jumped out.
    • The army having a booth is still one of the most disgusting pieces of child recruitment propaganda I've ever seen.
    • The redbull banners on the skybridge were a bummer to see blocking the view for half of it.
    • "Content creators" were problematic guests. I encountered one guy with a big selfie stick, a posse of about 5 or 6 assistants and deciding he was more important than the barbershop quartet performing in a hall that he was trying to stream. What's the point of trying to show something if you're going to basically shout over the actual performance like a self-absorbed prick?
    • Not PAX directly but if you're doing an outside event, maybe make policies clear ahead of time or post near the door? Bethesda had TSA level checks and dumped all the food I had in my backpack and my water bottles, not to mention had the Doom demo capped and none of the freebies besides the fallout hats left by about 6:30 the second night. If I knew it was going to be that much of a bust I wouldn't have wasted the time in line.
    • Redbull arcade should have posted no bags before you get through the security at the door too. Guy never said anything only for me to get yelled at by a guard inside. Saw a ton of people ditching their backpacks outside on the street which...yeah no.
    • TLOU/Sony fiasco. There's no way you can tell me that Sony wasn't even considering pulling out by the time TLOU demo was announced. It was a 6 day gap. Someone should have thought to pump the brakes and maybe not make a huge announcement if there was ANY chance of backing out. I'm not going to feed the tinfoil hats thinking it was a stunt for last minute ticket sales but it seemed irresponsible.

    For all that said, it honestly felt like one of the better years I've had in awhile. I had intended to join the Enforcers but unless I'm blind it seems like there was no public call this year? Hopefully next year.

    TopherRocks on
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