Saturday, March 12, 2011

PAX East: Day 2

Following is a long narrative account on my final day at PAXE. Included are some tidbits on Guild Wars 2, Portal 2, and Gears of War 3. Read on if you dare.

As I said yesterday, I don't like lines. But today, I made myself endure the wait on three occasions, and each one was worth it. I arrived just after noon to a very busy expo floor. The people above are maybe a third of the people in the Video Games portion of the expo. I'm told there were just as many in the Tabletop Games section, and another group, probably the same size, in panels when I took that photo. So a rough estimation puts that crowded crowd as one-twelfth of today's PAXE population.

I had one objective when I arrived - play Guild Wars 2. I found a booth where I would have to wait roughly an hour and a half to play the game, as each demo lasts for 45 minutes. So I waited. And it was worth it. I took some footage of the demo, and that will appear in its own post later on.

After I played the demo, I was off to the Arenanet panel. I showed up five minutes before, and had to wait in a line to get in. That line, though, apparently formed an hour before. I somehow managed to make it into the panel, and sat near the very back. The panel was great, although I didn't hear too much new stuff. The most interesting tidbit was about the Xunlai Marketplace (I don't know if it's called Xunlai, but I figure it makes the most sense for a name):
  • When asked about the trade system in GW2, game designer Jon Peters responded talking about the Xunlai Marketplace. This isn't just an auction house, where people put items up for sale. It also works in reverse, where people can request items at certain prices, and sellers can scroll through a list looking who to sell to. (After he said this, he got real quiet and put his hand over his mouth - said too much, maybe?)
Someone asked a question about how long a Norn lived; ironically, I'd asked that and had it answered last night. Jeff provided the same answer he provided me. There were certainly other cool things I'm just too tired to remember. However, GWInsiders has posted a tweetscript here.

After the panel, I decided there was one last thing I wanted to do before I head home: Portal 2. And so I waited in line for near an hour to watch less than ten minutes of video. But I dare say it was worth it. The footage was the first six minutes of the single player campaign followed by a collection of short clips. The footage was hilarious, showing off two of the characters you'll meet in the game. I can't wait until the game comes out at the end of April.

There were a few things I didn't get to that I wish I had. I never got to play Gears 3 or Duke Nukem Forever, but both of those games looked fabulous. Gears of War 3 was doing a multiplayer demo. While there didn't appear to be any special innovations on that front (it seemed to play very similar to its prequels), the graphics looked quite good. And DNF...I've never played the first Duke Nukem, but any game involving corny jokes and blowing stuff up has to be great.

And a third game was Battlefield 3. It's prequel was a AAA first-person multiplayer shooter, and this sequel hopefully will follow in those footsteps. The only presence B3 had at PAXE was a 20 minute (I think) video of the game, preceded by a long line. For me, it was Portal2 or B3, and I went with Valve. Though I plan on getting Battlefield 3 as soon as it comes out.

To end this massive wrapup, I will state that Crysis 2 looks unbelievably epic in 3D, and really makes me wish I had a 3D monitor to play it on. Even better, I wish I had that gigantic Panasonic 3D television Nvidia was showing off the game with.

PAX East 2011 was fun, and it's sad to be going home (I have to miss the third day, regrettably). But it makes me look forward to the next expo I'm off to attend, whenever that might be.