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Michael Bitton: PAX East 2013 Postmortem

Column By Michael Bitton on March 27, 2013

And that’s a wrap! PAX East, the first major game con of 2013, is now in the books! It was an interesting show all around, but it also served as a major platform for some of the most anticipated MMO launches coming this year. Last week, we opined on some of the things we were looking forward to seeing on the show floor and today we’re following up.

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Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn

Boy, was this one a dud at PAX East 2013! Square Enix’s Final Fantasy panel spent only a short amount of time on Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn and didn’t really show much new in the process. We saw a couple of concept art pieces for new cities, summons, weapons, and armor, but that’s really about it.

I was honestly expecting quite a bit more, but I guess the team is just heads-down trying to get the game to the finish line as FFXIV’s Naoki Yoshida couldn’t even get out to the show in person.

Marvel Heroes

As we expected, PAX East 2013 was an extremely significant event for Gazillion Entertainment’s Marvel Heroes. With one of the largest booths at the show (and likely strategically placed just a few short feet from Riot’s booth for maximum foot traffic), it was pretty clear that Gazillion was setting up for something. They had the game playable on the floor as they did at previous shows, but they also used PAX East 2013 to make some major announcements.

Probably the most significant bit of news was the announcement of the game’s release date. We learned that Marvel Heroes will launch on May 28 (for Founder’s Pack customers) and June 4 for everyone else. Additionally, Gazillion announced that PvP will be ready for launch and even shared some details on the end game content (Boss Runs and other challenges) as well as Ultimate Powers for each of the game’s heroes.

When I first saw Marvel Heroes at PAX Prime last year, I wasn’t really impressed. However, the game did look much improved at PAX East and the inclusion of PvP at launch and some tangible endgame plans bode well for the game’s future.

WildStar

PAX wasn’t as significant in terms of new announcements for WildStar, but it did serve as the game’s first real fan showing. WildStar was essentially introduced to the larger gaming populace at the show and it looks to have made a pretty big splash by our count. The game was available for all to play on the show floor and Carbine even put on a panel where they took fan questions and demoed some of the more unique and nuanced features of the game, with a special focus on housing.

WildStar looks gorgeous every time we see it and I find myself impressed with it in new ways each time Carbine gives us a closer look at the game’s fairly nuanced design. If you play the game for a couple of minutes, you might get the idea that WildStar is just a quirky “me too” MMO, but there is a whole lot going on under the surface. Barring any surprises, this is my title to watch in 2013.

Elder Scrolls Online

Finally! After hearing folks on our team go on about how awesome Elder Scrolls Online is (they’ve played it), I had a chance to check it out for myself at PAX East. I spent roughly two hours playing the game and I can honestly say that Zenimax Online is on track to deliver a solid MMO version of the Elder Scrolls experience. ESO isn’t just some themepark MMO with an Elder Scrolls skin. The game really felt like playing an Elder Scrolls title. Just take off in any direction and do just about whatever you want!

MMORPG.com Future of Online Games Panel

Every year I look forward to the next lineup of game developers to join us on our Future of Online Games panel and this year was no different. We really had a star-studded panel this year and there were some great conversations and insight coming from our panelists. Unfortunately, there weren’t as many differences of opinion as I may have expected to see with our diverse lineup this year, but the different perspectives offered were educational nonetheless. We hope you had a great time at the panel if you were able to join us. If you weren’t able to join us at PAX East, you can check out the full VOD of the panel here.

Did you attend PAX East 2013? What were your highlights? Share 'em with us in the comments  below!


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