Tales from SOE Live 2014

By Reuben Waters -
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Lifetap Volume 1, Issue 7 - Tales from SOE Live 2014

Team Hammer made another foray to Las Vegas this past weekend for SOE Live 2014. While many folks in the industry may cite that PAX Prime (the next stop on my event schedule for this year) is their favorite event, my personal pick would have to be SOE Live. PAX may pretend to be a “fan event”, but we all know it’s just another marketing platform intended to drive sales during the fall shopping and release frenzy.

When it comes to true fan events, SOE Live is the real deal.

While we work on rolling out our ongoing coverage post-event, I thought it would be a good opportunity to deviate a bit from my regular high level pondering to share some stories from the past weekend. Mind you, there are loads of stories I could share, but many will have to remain in Vegas (along with my voice and luggage – neither of which were with me when I stepped off my returning flight earlier today).

Getting Ready

We had already been planning to sponsor something fun for fans again this year, similar to the Recovery Breakfast we hosted during SOE Live 2013. Once we learned that there originally wasn’t going to be a pool party this year, we thought it would be fun to step in and play host so that's exactly what we did. Since this is also our 10th anniversary, we thought it would also be fun to share some birthday cake with fans, friends, and the awesome communities of the various SOE titles being showcased this year.

I have to give props to Jeff Woleslagle and Skylatron for helping coordinate the pool party. While it may seem like a fairly simple thing on the surface, a lot of planning and effort is definitely involved behind the scenes.

It also helps give some additional perspective on how much work is involved in putting SOE Live together for fans each year. Having arrived early in the day on Tuesday, it was amazing to watch a massive wall of pallets very rapidly evolve into what would become the event.

As I marveled at how many pallets were being loaded into the mezzanine at Planet Hollywood, I picked up the massive parcel containing the inflatable Zombie Smashers we had made up for the pool party this year. After inflating hundreds of the things (with some assistance from Skylatron) my hotel room was somewhat crowded for a few days.

I’m sure housekeeping had fun wading through the sea of yellow hammers that took up most of the available floor space. 

Press Briefings, Panels, and Parties

While SOE Live didn't officially kick off until Thursday evening, members of the press were invited to attend a number of briefings that ran most of the day on Wednesday and Thursday. You could think of these briefings as the Cliff Note version of the main keynotes for the event. From there we’d also get the opportunity to conduct interviews for each.

Here is a quick rundown of the video interviews we’ve posted so far, with more to follow this week:

I’ve also got some amazing footage of Veluux cutting up the dance floor during the pool party that I’ll be uploading momentarily…

As much as we love getting to hear about our favorite SOE games during the event, it's also great to meet up with our friends in the community and make plenty of new ones along the way. At first we weren't really sure how it would work to have two parties running at the same time on Friday, but it ended up working out incredibly well as attendees and devs bounced between the pool and the zombie prom throughout the evening.

Among other things I got to hang out with some very dapper dark elves (who also entered the costume contest that I had the honor of being one of the judges for this year) and cheer from the sidelines while Skylatron sang Happy Birthday and we rolled out the anniversary cake we had made for the awesome folks who joined us that evening.

The zombie prom was also a blast. It was like getting to attend a Halloween party in the middle of the summer, and I even got to hear Smed belt out Welcome to the Jungle. I’m admittedly a terrible dancer, but it was also loads of fun to meet up and stumble around the dance floor while pretending to know how to dance with awesome people like Domino and Super Fancy Unicorn among others.

More from the Highlight Reel

Another highlight for me this year was being invited to help judge the costume contest. There was some serious creativity involved as always, and I really enjoyed hearing stories about how each costume was created.

Before I wrap things up (and dive into prepping a massive onslaught of post-event coverage) I also wanted to say a quick thank you to the folks at SOE for being such amazing hosts, and even letting my team slip into the dev brunch on Sunday.

As good as the food was, it was even better getting to see fans get a chance to sit down and chat with the devs from their favorite games. It was an epic raid, and everyone there walked away with some great verbal loot.

Last, but certainly not least, I got to experience another SOE Live first for me by attending the wedding of two of the fans who were there for the event.

Have some of your own stories to share from SOE Live 2014? Do the chatty thing below, or you can also find me on Twitter (now that I’m finally back in the habit of actively engaging in discussions there!)

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About The Author

Reuben "Sardu" Waters
Reuben "Sardu" Waters has been writing professionally about the MMOG industry for eight years, and is the current Editor-in-Chief of Ten Ton Hammer. Sardu also finds it infinitely amusing to write author bios in third-person.

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