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The Best of PAX East 2011

William Murphy Posted:
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This week, in place of the normal “All Bill All the Time” List, we thought we’d put together a tally of what Garrett, Jon, and Mr. Murphy all found to be the most engaging sights to see at PAX East 2011.  They wrote each of their answers separate from one another and we crammed them all together for your reading enjoyment in today’s List: The Best of PAX East 2011. 


Star Wars - Taral V Demo

I always keep an eye on what games I find myself thinking about long after the shows end.  This is usually a good indicator of what I'm excited to play at launch as a player, and not just a writer.  Last year it was DCUO at E3, and this year it's The Old Republic.  I went in with somewhat lower expectations, and left drooling over the fun that awaits me whenever BioWare gets around to releasing the game.  It was just one of many Flashpoints, and I’m still uncertain of how the whole game will pan out but I'm really anxious to see if it can keep me this interested for hours on end when it launches.

Firefall – Scott Youngblood and Deathmatch Demo

It’s no secret here that I enjoy the heck out of Global Agenda.  I’m anxious to see more games tackle the notion of an MMOFPS.  Red 5 Studios is looking to up the ante with a wide-open persistent world campaign, and a heavy slew of competitive team-based PVP.  I got to geek out and meet Scott Youngblood (of Tribes fame) and try my hand at what’s promising to be a very fun blend of MMO and shooter. 

Guild Wars 2 – Character Creation

A lot of talk for GW2 revolves around the classes, the dynamic events, and so forth… but I was made giddy by the character creation this past weekend.  Sure we didn’t get to see the actual way in which we change the looks, but the questionnaire to help us sort out our personal story tells me that ArenaNet is serious about giving players their own personal story that changes depending on their choices.  I can’t wait to see how it shakes out.


Kingdom of Amalur: Reckoning

This is the first we have seen of game play footage for 38 Studios and Big Huge Games action RPG. The crowd was cheering as spell effects and special moves blazed across the big screen. The game and the world have an amazing design and everyone was surprised by the work being done. The game play demo of Reckoning should be online by now so you can see it for yourself. If the RPG is any indicator of what the MMO will be like, then we are in for an amazing game.

Dragon Nest

This game surprised me. I have to be honest it was much better than I expected. When you see an anime style game you immediately think it is another grind fest coming over to North America. That is not the case with Dragon Nest. The game play was great fun and the story line had some cool elements that made me want to know more. Overall, for a FTP game Dragon Nest delivered much more than I was expecting. Nexon is definitely stepping up their games with more action and deeper content. Coming off the heels of Vindictus, Dragon Nest has a bright future.


Lord of the Rings Online & DDO 

I know some of you are going to be surprised that these games are showing up on a PAX 2011 best of list, but I’ve got to tell you, the Turbine booth was a highlight to me. DDO launched in 2006, LotRO in 2007. They’re five and four years old, respectively. So the last thing you’d really expect to see at a fan gathering like PAX East is going to be lines, and yet there they were, people lined up to play the games. I personally think this is a testament to the folks at Turbine and really should be recognized here.

Guild Wars 2

Every now and again, the hype builds up enough for a game that competition breaks out among our staff as far as who gets to take appointments and see the game. Being the kind and attractive editor that I am, I’ve always sent others to take a look at ArenaNet’s newest baby. This time, I went myself. I was immediately impressed by the fact that these guys are building an MMO like I’ve never seen before, from their dynamic content to their unique death system, and yet it doesn’t look too foreign (not nationally, but in terms of difference). When innovation fails, it usually fails because either a) it was a crappy innovation anyway or b) it was too different to be comfortable and recognizable to the player. I don’t think GW2 is going to have that problem.


William Murphy

Bill is the former Managing Editor of MMORPG.com, RTSGuru.com, and lover of all things gaming. He's been playing and writing about MMOs and geekery since 2002, and you can harass him and his views on Twitter @thebillmurphy.