The column last week would have been my best yet, but I got Fireflied!
From left to right: David Piner, Reuben Waters, John Hoskin, Skyla Grimes
David Piner and Reuben Waters conspired to post my columns out of order in order to give me the Josh Whedon treatment. These two miscreants posted HCTB EP:4 after I posted HCTB EP:9. In fact, they posted it about 30 minutes after I posted the correct column. I believe a public apology to you, my readers is in order.
For those of you keeping score, HCTB EP:4 was written during the World Cup. At that time it was deemed too poor to be posted at all, even by my standards. Apparently, like fine wine and mouldy cheese and the jokes of Gilbert Godfried it improved with age and hence… was posted, albeit out of order where it would make no sense to anyone. Well played gentlemen. Well played.
On with the show.
SOE Live – The Real Story
To paraphrase the immortal words of the imaginary character Forest Gump…
“Gaming Events are like a box of chocolates. You never know what you will get.”
It seems like a silly statement, and perhaps it is, but it is also incredibly powerful. Gaming events are a lot like that; silly excursions into the hobby that we love, that also touch us in powerful ways and I'm not talking about Skyla tackling and old lady at Planet Hollywood or later a waiter flattening her to the ground. No matter how much you read about games (or play them) the core of the experience is the human element.
Gameplay, graphics, etc. all have their place, but what makes a game great is the human interaction. SOE excels at dealing with their communities. They are all special snowflakes, to steal a term from Reuben Waters; each with its own identity and SOE treats them that way.
What did I like about SOE Live?
What a great question…, but first,
Vin Diesel Fact: Vin Diesel doesn’t call the wrong number. You answer the wrong phone.
Know Your Audience
Much like I know that you are a good-looking, intelligent specimen of humanity, SOE knows the demographics of their game communities. The Planetside 2 crew is much different from the EverQuest community and likewise they are both different from the players who make DCUO their main game.
The developers’ personalities reflect their audience. Matt Higby is a boisterous gentleman who suits the Planetside 2 community perfectly. Dave Georgeson and Emily Taylor have permanent smiles etched on their faces, much like the fans of Landmark.
Know your audience is a rule in development and SOE does its best to do just that. I enjoyed how SOE ran a casual, fan-centric event that focused on having an open door for the fans to talk to the devs. As I walked from panel to panel it was rare not to see a developer surrounded by fans who were eagerly asking questions and making suggestions.
From a developer’s point of view it is both exciting and exhausting. There are few joys as uplifting as talking to the people who love what you have created. There are also few lows as soul-devouring as talking to the people who are derogative towards what you have put your heart and soul into.
Las Vegas is an excellent place to hold an event like this. Most fans can get cheap, direct flights to Vegas and there is plenty of entertainment outside of the event for them to enjoy.
Planet Hollywood wouldn’t be my first choice as a hotel in Las Vegas, but it does have an excellent Mezzanine conference area that suits SOE Live well. It is close to the front door of the hotel (unlike most conference areas in Vegas) and it is separated from the casino. It’s a superb setup for something like SOE Live.
Entertain, Then Entertain Some More
Every panel and keynote that I watched with the exception of one that will remain nameless was entertaining in some way or another. Planetside 2 was entertaining in a kick in the groin kind of way. DCUO was entertaining in a wooden spoon across your knuckles kind of way (if you were there the joke makes sense, otherwise, move along). Landmark was entertaining in a “did the crowd just ooooh and aaaaaah over that?” kind of way. They were all different, yet all entertaining, much like the games in the SOE stable.
The parties were entertaining. I didn’t get to visit the Zombie Prom since I was working hard at our own Pool Party, but players were bouncing between parties, eating cupcakes, swimming and having a great time. Cost to them…. Zero. It was part of the package. Come for the game panels and as a bonus you had admission to some free parties with thousands of people who like the same things that you do. It was a beautiful thing.
Thanks SOE for having TenTonHammer as part of your yearly shindig. Thanks to the TenTonHammer.com team for putting on such great performances of their own.
TenTonHammer.com celebrated its 10th birthday. My wife and I celebrated our 22nd anniversary. We got married when we were 10.
Now on to something more entertaining.
MMO news that matters usually sits here with me quipping at Kotaku. Today, I’ll just give you the goods…
EQ2 Altar of Malice Expansion
H1Z1 Devs Chat with Skylatron
EQ’s Thom Terrazas on The Next Expansion: The Darkened Sea
Dave Georgeson on Tricks, Traps and Combat in EQNext and Landmark
And because the real world is usually more humorous than the virtual one. Here are some real world stories to put a smile on your face.
From the Good-Night-In-Ferguson-Dept. -- Only Six Arrests
From the Canada-Invades-Chick-Fil-A-Dept. – Maple Syrup Stuffed Chicken
From the Book-Burning-Wait-Blam!-Blam!-Blam!-Dept. – My Parents Open Carry
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