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Day 2 PAX Prime 2011 Report: Expo Hall Adventures, Interviews, and Artificers

Day 2: Expo Hall, Uber Mice, Interviews and Boardgames!

In the morning we left to have brunch at the Hurricane Café at Keith Baker’s Eberron meet’n’greet along with Marcy Rockwell and her hubby, Alex.  I’m really a shy person, so I didn’t talk much and Sig was far more interested in food! Marcy formally introduced us to Keith, who is a really nice guy and very talented. I’m very glad to have met him; maybe I’ll have more courage to talk next time.  We set up an appointment with Keith to interview him later that day, and then quickly left to take Marcy to her book signing at the Turbine/WB booth.


We wandered the Expo Hall looking for new games and boy did we find games! After all, we had to make up for lost time due to yesterday’s camera machinations.

  • Desus Ex, which is now on sale on Steam
  • Borderlands 2
  • Fire Fall
  • Orcs Must Die
  • Batman Arkham City
  • Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. SKYRIM! OMG SKYRIM!
  • Guild Wars 2
  • Gotham City Impostors
  • Bioshock Infinity
  • Prey 2

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Sig also walked away with an Uber gaming mouse that looks like it could double as a futuristic death weapon. This one is called Cyborg R.A.T. 9 gaming mouse by MadCatz. This mouse is rated the best mouse by Maximum PC magazine because of its highly customizable body and programmable buttons. Sig got it for that same reason why MaxPC loved it.

Following that, we had a quick interview with Keith Baker who was just fresh from viewing Artificers and the Lord of Blades raid in the DDO section of the WB/Turbine Booth with Fernando.  We also caught Marcy Rockwell signing her new book, The Shard Axe. While at the Turbine boot we saw a few people running the Crystal Cove test to win a DDO Lifetime Membership prize. It’s a 4 Player contest and the winners all get the Lifetime Membership. After Marcy was done signing her books at the booth, we met up again to do a quick interview with her.

We got to touring more of PAX areas, which took longer because it’s spread out over all floors of the convention center, the convention annex across the street, the Sharaton hotel to the west, and the Paramount Theater to the north.

Most notable area was the Paramount Theater: this year PAX did a smart thing for its main attraction events and took over the whole theater. The city actually blocked out a whole street just for the line for events at the theater. A freaking whole street just for A LINE! People tell me that the wait was up to 2 hours just to get in for these crazy super popular events.

The Convention center’s Annex is actually another building across the street and was taken over by Halo Fest and Table Top games run by Wizards of the Coast. Halo Fest is amazing! They turned a single floor into a museum of Halo and mini lecture hall. And of course there were kiosks where you could play all versions and variations of Halo.  Wizards took over 2 floors and dedicated one to Magic: The Gathering and the other to D&D. In the afternoon, we played a D&D encounter and The Legend of Drizzt Boardgame.

Floor Six of the convention center is where we found PC-Consoles-Tourny-Freeplay in addition to Mini-Dealers/Expo Hall and the PAX 10 indie games booth. I was really looking forward to trying out all the PAX 10 games, but I twisted my ankle trying to avoid crashing into other people. We did find a strange booth called “Church Games,” which I think is a religious gaming group (I think I’ll leave this one to Sig to explain).

Somewhere along the way I sprained my ankle, and decided to call it early and head home to play some video games.  I was kind of sad to miss my friends I had planned to see at PAX, and I really wanted to take a look at the Guild Wars 2 panels and attend the party.  There’s always next year though!

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Artificers & Update 11 Dungeons and Dragons Online News

By now you’ve probably heard that Artificers will not be free nor “earnable” through favor for VIP account holders. This is true and Fernando did tell us this during our interview with him.  I can totally see why people would be pretty annoyed by this and feel like they are being strong armed into paying for something they would otherwise expected to get for free (such as the Monk class or Favored Soul). Now if you are budget minded, then waiting 3 or more months for a new toy while others play for it will suck a lot of the fun out of the thing and leave you feeling cheated.

Sig himself didn’t like this idea, and he too knew fans would be up in arms about it. Design wise, it makes sense that Cannith favor would unlock the class, but making it unavailable when the class comes out is not a good call in his opinion – at least not long term.

I have to be honest with you though, I will be buying the Artificer when it comes out and had planned so before I won my Lifetime membership. When I heard the news, I wasn’t annoyed personally, but I knew many DDO fans would be. Both Sig and I have Turbine points saved up and the 1K points that we’ve gotten for a couple months have been great. We’ve easily gotten our money’s worth in points and it’s nice to unlock on all servers.

I also have to say that knowing both Tolero and Jerry now works for Turbine really changes things for me. There are fans of DDO working as employees of Turbine.  Jerry and his wife are expecting a new baby. Knowing that the money I spend on DDO will go to them in some way and that makes me really happy. Also meeting the talented developers makes me want to give money to them, so I can see what new stuff they can come up with. Heck, if I had enough capital I would invest in Turbine.

There’s a saying: “Its OK to not like things, just don’t be a jerk about it.”

Overall, I would say if you don’t like it let them know and why, but don’t be a douche bag about it.  Tell them what you were expecting as a DDO VIP player. Heck, tell them what you were expecting as premium or free player. But don’t forget to tell them what you did like about what they’ve done in the past and why you liked it. Perhaps if you ask nicely enough, they’ll do it again.

Stay Tuned for Day 3 Report!

Okay I think I’m done for now. I’ll do another write up tomorrow on PAX, for now I have to take some meds and put ice on my ankle.