It's no surprise that a lot of what was shown off, at least in regards to what I checked out, was not news to the general public. Well, mostly because a lot of it had been shown off at Gamescom. However, there were still some pretty amazing things at PAX, as well as events going on that were just outstanding and really fun.
I think it goes without saying that the Firefall booth was definitely one that was hard to miss. Last year it was their extreme amount of banner placement, but this time around it was their ginormous booth, amazing statue, and of course their paid cosplayers. Every time I had to go through that hall to get to the other, I had to walk through their booth. I will admit they definitely made a smart placement decision.
That's not to say the gameplay they were showing off wasn't amazing, but as someone who has been in the beta for quite awhile now, pretty much none of what they were showing was necessarily new. I guess I basically felt this way about a lot of games at PAX, at least a lot of the "bigger" games. I had been keeping up with their updates and changes in gameplay, so none of it really surprised me.
I suppose if we're talking about booths and surprises, however, how small the World of Warplanes booth was did kind of surprise me. I say this simply because at the previous conventions their booths had basically engulfed the rest surrounding them, but this time it was smaller and a little more modest. It was still a decent sized booth and there were tons of people excited about the game, but I did hear they had quite the show at Gamescom (LMFAO performed at their party), so that may be another reason as to why.
The Riot booth, or should I say "floor", was pretty much astounding. I'd say it was as large as maybe 3-4 ballrooms. They were showing off their new champion and new map mode (The Proving Grounds) to the right, had a merchandise stand to the left, and in the center was tons of seating because, of course, the NA Regionals were going on right there at PAX.
There's just something about seeing video game tournaments like this live. In my opinion, it really does increase the amount at which you get into the game. I got the similar feeling when watching the arena tournaments at Blizzcon last year. It was just amazing; the crowds were extremely into the matches, and there's just something about the roar from the audience that gives you chills when a player dies. That being said, anyone in the Riot area during the matches can vouch when I say there was literally no walking room. People were standing, and there were quite a few folks who couldn't even get into the area to watch the finals. If I had to pick one thing that surprised me the most, it'd probably be this simply because it was pretty amazing to take part in and I really hope they do this again next year.
Overall, I had an amazing time at PAX and it is still one of my favorite conventions to go to. I'm sad that it has already come and gone, but I really look forward to next year's conventions and can't wait to see what the industry has in store for us gamers.
Hillary "Pokket" Nicole