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Fan Faire Blog, Part Three

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SOE Fan Faire Blog - Part Three

News Editor Jon Wood files another report from Atlanta

Editor's Note: Be sure to read part one and part two of Jon's trip to SOE's Fan Faire.

Well, day three of my trip to Atlanta for the SOE Community Summit / Fan Faire was an interesting one, although once again, it was a departure from the previous day’s activities. Yesterday, we sat in seminar sessions and discussed the game in small groups. Today, we had the chance to really hit the Fan Faire floor.

SOE had taken over the entire lower level of the Atlanta Marriott Marquis, filling it with a number of things. When you first walked in the doors, you had the standard information booth, beyond that, there was a table displaying artwork. The first thing that I saw was EverQuest art, nothing very surprising there. Then I took a look at some of the other pieces that the artist had displayed, and noticed some very familiar novel cover art. It was about then that I started to make the connection between EverQuest and the Dungeons and Dragons original Dragonlance novel covers. Sitting behind that particular table was Larry Elmore whose art I and many gamers had grown up seeing. Needless to say, it was a thrill to meet the man who was very friendly took time to talk with anyone who came by.

There was also a silent auction for a number of items, not the least of which was a nicely crafted EverQuest quilt. There were a number of other vendors there that gave the entire room a bit of a carnival-like atmosphere. Beyond that, there was a large lounging space with tables and chairs, both regular and beanbag-style, for players to sit in, but the real attraction was the huge bank of computers that filled the last third of the room. They were used for the in-game competitions. I actually managed to experience one of them. Not being a strong player of EverQuest myself, I didn’t dare to enter the PvP tournament, but there sure were a lot of people who weren’t as nervous as I was. Lots of people competed. What surprised me was the number of people who, like me, had settled in to watch the action. They had set up a huge screen and the event was commentated upon. Very entertaining.

The night was capped off by one of the biggest parties that you had ever seen. Held at a huge club in Atlanta, it was rented out exclusively for Fan Faire attendees. On the second level, there were live bands playing all night, while in the basement, there was live band karaoke. I won’t name names, but there was more than one SOE employee up on that stage. All in all, it was a great day. I had the opportunity to watch people mingle with friends who are usually toons and words on a screen.

More tomorrow!

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Jon Wood