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The List: PAX East Cometh!

Column By Michael Bitton on March 18, 2013

The lull following New York Comic-Con offers a much needed break from a typically hectic show season. But the machine roars into full-force once again this week with the first major gaming show of the New Year, PAX East. The PAX shows are my favorite shows of the year, as they offer both a chance to see all the hottest upcoming games as well as the opportunity to share all that awesomeness among fellow gamers. It’s a bit of a different tone from the all business atmosphere of GDC or the glitz and excess of E3.

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With PAX East so close now, we’re going to use this week’s The List to break down some of the things we’re hoping to see at the show:

Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn

After a few years of development, Final Fantasy XIV is inching ever closer to being ‘reborn’, hopefully as a much better game than what was originally introduced to fans in 2010. At PAX East, Square Enix will be hosting a panel where they’ll be offering gamers an “inside scoop on new details”. What’s Square Enix got in store for us this time? Who knows? But I’m certainly eager to find out!

Marvel Heroes

Gazillion Entertainment has been fairly low-key, all things considered, when it comes to hyping up the upcoming free-to-play ARPG MMO, Marvel Heroes. However, it looks like all that may be changing with this year’s PAX East. Gazillion has one of the biggest booths on the expo hall floor, which should definitely give you a hint as far as the kind of splash they’re looking to make at this show. Expect cosplay competitions, Marvel trivia, and of course, an opportunity to get some hands-on time with the game itself.

Additionally, David Brevik and Co. are set to discuss the game and give gamers a “whole host of new details” on the project during the Marvel Heroes panel. I’ve been slowly warming up to the game over the past couple of months, so I’m eager to learn what changes and additions Gazillion will be showing off at the show.

WildStar

The folks at Carbine Studios have been making a bit more noise about WildStar over the past couple of months and it’s got many of us here at MMORPG.com pretty excited. WildStar will be playable at the show and I’m really hoping to get some hands-on time with the game and finally check it out myself. The videos Carbine has put out since the game’s announcement have done a great job at displaying the artistic style and personality the team is looking to convey with the game, but does the game itself stack up? Hopefully we’ll have a better idea on that after we take it for a spin during PAX East.

The Elder Scrolls Online

The Elder Scrolls Online is an interesting project. When the title was first announced, I, like many of you, wasn’t completely sold on what Zenimax Online were saying about the game. It all sounded very “me too”, and more importantly, more MMO than Elder Scrolls. Getting people to try the game out by having a strong IP behind it is one thing, but getting them to stick around is another. And anyone who has ever looked forward to an Elder Scrolls MMO probably wants to see one because they can easily imagine the existing Elder Scrolls experience extended as an MMO. The gameplay and structure of Elder Scrolls games are just such a great fit for the MMO genre.  Why undermine that and seemingly go for the easier route of skinning The Elder Scrolls over your standard-fare MMO design tropes?

Thankfully, I’ve been getting the feeling that Zenimax Online has heard the fan feedback loud-and-clear over the past year, and the game has been looking and sounding more like The Elder Scrolls we know and love every time I see or hear anything about it. Unfortunately, I still haven’t actually had a chance to get some hands-on time with the game after all this time, but that all changes at this year’s PAX East. I’ve seen all the videos, the E3 demo presentation, and I’ve read the interviews and other comments from the developers, but I really need to get some time with the game to find out for myself if The Elder Scrolls Online is worth looking forward to this year. I’d peg myself as cautiously optimistic at this point. Hopefully I’ll have something positive to report after the show!

Future of Online Games Panel

I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention our Future of Online Games panel. We’ve got a star-studded lineup of the genre’s best and brightest, including Matt Firor (Zenimax Online), Dave Georgeson (SOE), Jon Peters (ArenaNet), Jeremy Gaffney (Carbine Studios), Jack Emmert (Perfect World), and Chris Roberts (Star Citizen).

Seriously, this is going to be an amazing panel! The MMO genre has experienced some interesting twists and turns over the last couple of years and is almost certainly going to see even more dramatic shifts over the coming years. Where will the genre end up? I’m sure the aforementioned folks have some different ideas here, so expect some healthy debate!

Be sure to stop by the Naga Theatre on Friday, March 22 at 5:30PM. You won’t want to miss this one!

 

Are you going to PAX East? What are you looking forward to seeing at the show?

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