Help me decide, East vs. South. pros/cons of each

DanQDanQ Registered User regular
So I've gone to PAX East the last 3 years since I live in New Jersey (and have family in Massachusetts). I'll soon be moving to Arizona though, so PAX South will be the closest to me. I'm wondering though how it compares to East. Honestly I spend the most time roaming around interacting with people, I go to maybe 1 panel the whole weekend if I go to any at all, and I won't wait in line for more than 10 minutes for anything in the expo hall. So I'm not concerned with demoing new unreleased stuff. There is so much released stuff I have never tried in the console/tabletop freeplay areas. So would South be just as enjoyable if I'm mostly looking for large crowds to interact with, finding lots of games in freeplay, and generally trying to avoid lines, or is it so much smaller in scale that people watching and interacting with cosplayers and such won't be nearly as fun as the much bigger East? And not that I plan on going to Prime (if I fly to one it will be where friends/family are) but how does that compare?

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  • digitalghost445digitalghost445 North CarolinaRegistered User regular
    South was about 1/3 the size of East (for better or worse). Personally, I felt that South was more intimate and less daunting than east. Lines on the Expo floor were still long but it wasn't unbearable. It was still a full blown PAX. Tabletop was full, Expo hall was full, panels were full, etc. The city is also baller. So many good places to eat and cool stuff to see. Obviously since South was a success, it's only going to get bigger and bigger. I recommend you check it out next year. I'm on the fence about going back to East but I'm down for South for pretty much ever.

    LazorzjoshofalltradesYoungFreyIncreaseBlueBombClancy
  • LazorzLazorz Tokyo, JPRegistered User regular
    edited March 2015
    Definitely hit up South before it grows big. The smaller, more intimate community thing will only last so long; if you're mainly looking for people to interact with, South will be a much better experience than East. Personally, I think East in general has just gotten too big. Even before Expo closes I have trouble finding a spot in Tabletop Freeplay because it's so packed all the time. From what I've heard, South is currently at the right size where it's relaxed and considerably less crowded than other PAXes, so just sitting down in CFP and playing a game with a random person is super easy and comfortable.

    Lazorz on
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  • DanQDanQ Registered User regular
    true, I think I would appreciate a more intimate environment. Finding a table to play in tabletop was noticeably harder this year and console freeplay had a longer line than I remembered last year.

  • Josh5890Josh5890 ChicagoRegistered User regular
    I was at South and it felt less chaotic by far. I loved it more than my one trip to East in 2013. There are a decent amount of cheap hotels right by the convention as well and the convention is in the middle of an expansion so that will help South. There were fewer AAA developers but that will come with time.

    The only downside with San Antonio is that the city practically closes down at midnight so if you are looking to pick up some late snacks you better plan ahead. Can't beat the weather in January though.

    This space for rent
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  • MalgarasMalgaras Registered User regular
    edited March 2015
    Honestly, I enjoyed South a lot, but sometimes it absolutely did feel a little "empty" to me, to the extent that a building with thousands of people in it can feel empty. Having been to seven PAXes now, including all of the US ones, my favorite is still East and that doesn't seem likely to change. The free play areas in South however, are quite good, and tabletop perhaps even better than at East now that East's appears to have been shrunk down a bit. The only PAX that I have historically had issues with the freeplay areas in is Prime as the layout of the WSCC has everything off in little side rooms so the "giant sea of people" that makes finding games to join at East and South relatively easy isn't there.

    Besides that:

    East
    + The BCEC is still the gold standard for PAX venues. It's not even close. It's huge, and relatively simple to navigate. South isn't anywhere near the nightmare that Prime is for navigation, but it's still not as good as East.
    + Size. It's weird to to think of any PAX as "small", but South definitely felt kinda small in comparison. Whether this is good or bad is subjective, but for me, I still love the sheer number of people of PAX East.
    + Handheld lounge. Again, not that the lounge at South is "bad" per say, but I'd definitely give East the nod.

    South
    + Tabletop. Until this year's East, I probably would have given them a tie on this as they both have phenomenal tabletop areas, but with the size changes at East, I think I'd give South the slight edge.
    + Area. The riverwalk is beautiful, and has tons of places to get good food. On top of that, the hotel situation is much better as there are tons of close options for relatively cheap.

    Malgaras on
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  • orthancstoneorthancstone TexasRegistered User regular
    Malgaras wrote: »
    South isn't anywhere near the nightmare that Prime is for navigation, but it's still not as good as East.

    Keep in mind that the South layout will change with the expansion.

    PAX South 2018 - Jan 12-14!
    Pins!
  • DanQDanQ Registered User regular
    When is the expansion supposed to be done/usable?

  • zerzhulzerzhul Registered User, Moderator mod
    Initial estimates that I read pegged it for January 2016, but those sorts of things are always wrong. I wouldn't expect it to be ready for South 2016, but you never know!

    IncreaseBlueBombClancy
  • flasheflashe Craft Beer Aficionado US - East CoastRegistered User regular
    IMHO, South was like a lite east, till they finish the expansions; But also hotels AND (more) restaurants are within closer walking distance than compared to some of the places at east.

    It's still very much is a PAX regardless!

    Josh5890
  • KeitreKeitre Registered User regular
    We found South far, far easier to navigate than East. I've been to East a few times now and still check the map sometimes. Half a day into South and I knew where everything was by memory.

    To reiterate what other people are saying, South really feels like East Lite, and that can be both a good thing and a bad thing.

  • spool32spool32 Contrary Library Registered User regular
    edited August 2015
    It's worth noting that at the CLub PA party, there were several PA folks who said they love dealing with the venue people for South, and they expect it to grow quickly. 2016 will definitely be larger. Also, 2015 had a timing issue where East was only 5 weeks after South, and that won't happen this year. Vendors and presenters will have more opportunity to make the timing work for both...

    spool32 on
  • YoungFreyYoungFrey Registered User regular
    spool32 wrote: »
    It's worth noting that at the CLub PA party, there were several PA folks who said they love dealing with the venue people for South, and they expect it to grow quickly. 2016 will definitely be larger. Also, 2015 had a timing issue where East was only 5 weeks after South, and that won't happen this year. Vendors and presenters will have more opportunity to make the timing work for both...
    And South will have a history so vendors/presenters will consider it a safer prospect.

  • TektonikkTektonikk PAX South/West Console Tournament Manager Registered User regular
    @DanQ, I know you do tourneys, it's hype at East! Lots more classic/current we can squish in. =)

  • Moe FwackyMoe Fwacky Moderator mod
    zerzhul wrote: »
    Initial estimates that I read pegged it for January 2016, but those sorts of things are always wrong. I wouldn't expect it to be ready for South 2016, but you never know!

    Depending on how it's built, it could be partially ready in time if they can open the finished areas for use.

    E6LkoFK.png

  • gunadicgunadic Registered User regular
    Moe Fwacky wrote: »
    zerzhul wrote: »
    Initial estimates that I read pegged it for January 2016, but those sorts of things are always wrong. I wouldn't expect it to be ready for South 2016, but you never know!

    Depending on how it's built, it could be partially ready in time if they can open the finished areas for use.

    Everything I've heard has said it's been on time and under budget. Theres an update available here.

    Honestly, San Antonio has always impressed me with getting its projects done when they say they will.

    emarecksaykay
  • emarecksaykayemarecksaykay Registered User regular
    I've been to every US PAX. At this point I can say that PAX East is my favorite of the three, but the first PAX South was awesome, and in many ways I think it's overtaken Prime as the number two PAX. I am also prepared to say that PAX South was the best PAX of 2015, and the PAX I am most looking forward to in 2016.

    East is great, don't get me wrong, and I expect it'll still be the number one PAX for many years to come, especially if the expansion happens and they can get the hotels built that they need to. What East lacks, though, is local stuff. As horribly cramped and small as Hynes was the first East, at least it was local to great food, a Green Line subway stop, and basically the whole city of Boston plus Cambridge in easy walking or T distance. When East moved to the BCEC, which is clearly the best facility PAX has ever been housed in (though admittedly I don't really know what PAX Australia is like), it also basically left Boston. It's not near a T stop, it's not near many restaurants, and it's a long distance away from everything else you might want to do or see in Boston. Since that second PAX East, things have improved in the South Boston Waterfront area, but when you go to PAX East, you're basically just going to PAX East, not Boston.

    What's fantastic about PAX South is San Antonio. San Antonio, as I quickly learned, is a truly wonderful city. What's more, the convention center there is right near everything. It's a short walk from the Alamo, all the great restaurants along the incredible Riverwalk, and there's lots to do and see all over. PAX South, the convention proper, is still in its infancy, of course, and it's not as big a show by any means, but I had a blast at South anyway, and it had its own unique offerings that I really enjoyed. I expect, as the years go by, PAX South will get just as big as PAX Prime or PAX East. When it does, it will truly be something, because it's right there in the heart of a fantastic city, with fantastic food, great sights, and very friendly people.

    Should you go to PAX South right away? Well, I think it's worth it. It's more intimate, much like Prime was when it first moved to WSCC, with less crowds and not as many booths as you're used to from East. That said, it's still thousands upon thousands of people, I'm sure it's going to be bigger this next year, and it will continue to grow quickly. Especially if you're going to be more local, you should absolutely go to the next South you can, and I'm sure you'll find it's the same PAX experience you've known elsewhere, pretty much.

    -mrxak, OMEGANAUT '09
    (You just say the letters)
    Gethspool32
  • DanQDanQ Registered User regular
    In case anybody was wondering, I decided on South, bought my ticket. Now to decide if I'm going to go to East as well, or just the one. We'll see what my bank account looks like in a couple months.

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