PAX Day 2 Recap – Civ, Hawken, HoN, SOE, and Even More Cosplay!
By Darren Henderson (DizzyPW), OnRPG Editor-in-Chief
If there is a must-go day for PAX East, It’s without question Saturday. The cosplayers were out in force. The devs were only slightly hung over and could still coherently answer questions about their games. And the swag was flowing like milk and honey with giveaways and events going on at every corner. While I hung back to write-up our day 1 recap, Bowen and James hit the floor early to get some updated coverage on the MOBA Smashmuck Champions!
To say this game has come a long way since its earlier beta tests last year would be a gross understatement. It’s almost unrecognizable now compared to before and the animations and gameplay have been smoothed out immensely. But luckily you don’t have to take my word for it and can see for yourself in one of the many upcoming videos we’ll be pumping out this week so be sure to subscribe to MMOHut’s Youtube channel (http://www.youtube.com/user/MMOHut) to be the first to know.
Next up James and Bowen were set to jump across the sky bridge to the Westin Hotel for a meeting with Linda “Brasse” Carlson, SOE’s Global Community Director, Dave Georgeson, Director of Development, and Ben Conrad, PR Manager. But not before stopping for some refreshment from none other than James’ favorite title:
If you want the goods, you got to fight past this guy first.
Finally after a grueling battle James got to get a preview of what’s coming ahead for SOE in 2013 and while Linda was notably tight lipped on anything related to Everquest Next, she promised that SOE Live was going to be the best show they’ve ever put on so fans might want to start booking their tickets while they still can.
If Linda looked familiar to you, here’s why!
Meanwhile our OnRPG editorial team was in for quite the surprise when they landed a spot in Wargaming’s Future of Esports panel only to find that Wargaming wasn’t there! The Belarus based military MMO company is certainly known for their intense love of partying so this wasn’t a huge surprise to the fans and thankfully some representatives working with Wargaming stepped in to cover the event. Then OnRPG’s Team Doyle was off to check out the FF Reborn Panel which I have yet to ask them about to keep an eye out for the write-up on that!
With some downtime at last James and Bowen took a wide sweep around the outskirts of the convention to meet up with some of the most popular Youtube commentators for Happy Wheels as well as one of the best Mr T impersonators (or at least the most animated) we’ve ever seen.
Finally I arrived on the scene to go hands-on with S2Games’ new bot mode and wow they might not have been first to doing co-op vs AI in the MOBA genre but hands down I can attest they’ve done it the best. Currently they have 16 Heroes represented as bots from Heroes of Newerth and one of the sixteen was programmed by the community members and ported into the game by S2Games!
This is because not only has S2Games developed one of the most masterful bot systems in the MOBA genre but they have made the dev tools available to the public for testing and programming. There is even a European professor that is so enamored by the system that he has begun testing his students’ ability to program Heroes of Newerth bots as a class final. Keep an eye out for our upcoming interview with one of HoN’s greatest players to learn all the details on their fast evolving bot mode.
While we were in the MOBA region of the convention center we made sure to swing by Riot’s booth for their official cosplay showdown competition and Bowen made sure to snag you all the best the League of Legends fans had to offer:
It’s not a fulfilling day at PAX until I get to play with Ahri’s tails!
Requesting Pic of Riot IronStylus meeting this Leona
My Personal Favorite of the Show. So Much Detail!
Ultimate Power Couple. I sense Fanfics incoming.
Hard to believe this still isn’t all of our League of Legends cosplay pics. Don’t miss our Day 3 recap for even more!
Next up we hit the business section of the show to get an early look at the newest regions to be added to Hawken by Meteor Entertainment. The demo room was rather cramped so I left James and Bowen to handle it while the Doyles and I met with their PR rep Shannon who was kind enough to offer some just revealed previews of their newest map, Valkyrie:
On an unrelated note I caught the world’s largest Pikachu.
Afterwards it was on to Gazilion Entertainment’s booth where James and I received a preview of Marvel Heroes’ Savage Lands chapter from Leo Olebe, VP of Marketing. The demo included yet another cutscene proving why Cyclops is a terrible candidate for flying air ships. I can’t think of a super hero driver with more crash landings than him (maybe Batman has him beat).
The zone was awesome with plenty of savages and dinosaurs and savage dinosaurs to battle and we learned plenty about the dynamic way in which this game takes instance zoning out of the equation while still maintaining that crisp world feel that the Creative Director David Brevik is known for in the Diablo franchise. We’ll also be showing off a bit of the character customization and why Wolverine is OP in James’ hands in our upcoming video.
At this point the PAX fatigue was starting to show as everywhere you looked, gamers were flat on their backs exhausted from a full day of lines, panels, swag collecting, and picture taking. But with 5 Hour Energy in hand I pushed on to catch a spot at the back of the Firaxis panel where I witnessed Dennis Shirk reveal a number of features coming in Civilization 5’s Brave New World expansion.
Cultural victories are getting a huge overhaul with world wonders and other lesser buildings allowing room for Great Works that can be created by Great People and allow you to lure tourists from various nations to see them. This offers a source of revenue as well as a way to gain influence over other nations for your ultimate cultural victory once you become influential enough in the world. You’ll be able to track your level of influence with various civilizations ranging from unknown to popular, exotic and other levels. Various political factors like open borders also offer ways to increase your tourism.
Trade Routes are also being introduced to allow you to perform various new strategic decisions such as transferring food or production between cities in your empire, trading excess resources to other nations, and embarking on overseas trade which involves protecting an actual cargo ship unit as they travel to their destination. It’s a simple system but provides some fun features and I liked that you have to be smart about resource trading and identify areas in the world where certain resources are lacking to maximize your profit with City-State trade. It also gives further power to commercial buildings by giving trade route bonuses to them.
We also saw what may have been an elaborate joke but I think is certainly going to be included in the game: The Xcom Squad. This is course is a reference to Firaxis other wildly popular strategy game Xcom and offers a future era paratrooper that can offer a combat option to tackle the Giant Death Robot.
The expansion will also feature 9 new civilizations of which we’ve seen Poland, Brazil, and Assyria revealed already. Poland’s leader Casimir will be bringing the interesting trait Solidarity to give your nation one free social policy for each era you progress through. They also have a unique unit called the Winged Hussar that is a 5 movement mounted unit that can push enemy units back a space to break enemy’s defensive line. This has great synergy with their unique building, the Ducal Stable, that provides additional gold from building the stable.
We ran out of the Firaxis panel just in time to hijack the Bethesda bus to their Elder Scrolls Online party (avoiding the 500 person line that would have been waiting for us otherwise) and off we went to an incredible PAX party that was literally held inside of a castle. Bethesda had devised a currency within the castle that allowed you to purchase food and beer, gamble with other party goers, purchase green screen pictures, purchase lottery tickets, and even buy gaming gear and authentic Elder Scrolls gear replicas in the shop. In all the years I’ve been doing this, that was the most creative community party I’ve ever seen throw and Matt Firor knew it as he proudly looked over the Elder Scrolls Online monitors that never had empty seats throughout the duration of the 7 hour party.
All in all this was a great day and we have plenty of video and editorial coverage on the way so now I leave you with our final page of PAX Day 2 pics!
JamesBl0nde Livin’ the Dream
Don’t miss our Day 3 recap or this guy will find you!