SOE Live (called SOE Fan Faire back in the day) is the place to be starting tomorrow. If you canÂt make it, keep your eyes peeled on this page so you can stay up to date with everything going on. IÂve been to more than one SOE fan gathering, and if youÂre going to be there this year youÂre in for a treat. The SOE Live vibe is like nothing else IÂve experienced in the industry. The fans are always excited, the developers are always excited, and the combination of the two makes for an awesome extended weekend. I encourage everyone who can to attend at least once.
While we canÂt say anything about what we saw, I will clearly state here that I predict EverQuest Next will be as much of a game changer as the original EverQuest was. Feel free to quote me on that.
If you happened to have picked this year as the year to hit SOE Live, be prepared for an epic four days the likes of which you can hardly imagine. At the top of many peopleÂs list of reasons to make the pilgrimage to Vegas this year is the infamous official unveiling of EverQuest Next, scheduled at 11AM Pacific on day two of SOE Live, August 2nd. I had the great fortune to be part of a closed door showing of the game at E3 this year along with my convention partner in crime (and our Editor-in-Chief), Reuben, aka Sardu. I donÂt care how hung over, sick, tired, blue and tattooed you are that morning; you have to be there for that announcement. If youÂre not, youÂre going to wonder why everyone else at the convention is walking around in a daze with a slack-jawed look on their face for the next few days. Yes, the shock really will be that great. While we canÂt say anything about what we saw, I will clearly state here that I predict EverQuest Next will be as much of a game changer as the original EverQuest was. Feel free to quote me on that any time.
Just like PAX is a huge convention that focuses more on the players than the industry as a whole, SOE Live has that same vibe and believe me, itÂs awesome. The sole purpose of people being there is to celebrate the games they love and to meet up with those theyÂve played those games with for years. There really is no other event out there that has the same level of camaraderie and developer access.
Whether youÂre going to SOE Live as a fan of EverQuest, EverQuest II, Planetside 2, or because youÂre aching to discover the secrets of EverQuest Next, be sure to check the schedule and make a plan to get to your favorite panels. If you can, be sure to show up early because youÂll be amazed at how quickly seats can fill up.
For those who donÂt know, there are tons of various panels about every SOE game you can think of, hosted by the development team currently involved on that product. The panels are scheduled, timed, and people will be able to get some questions in. The real magic of SOE Live though is the after parties and gatherings. There is no other convention in the world where you will get more genuinely open access to game industry developers than SOE Live. If youÂve ever had a question you wanted to ask an artist, programmer, systems engineer, this is the place to do it.
Sitting at breakfast (speaking of, join the Ten Ton Hammer crew for a FREE breakfast!), walking in the hallway, hanging out at the pool party Â no matter where they were, in the numerous times IÂve gone to the event, IÂve never seen a developer turn down a fan when they wanted to ask a question Â ever. And while I certainly canÂt condone this, I even witnessed one overly enthusiastic player ask a developer a question in the menÂs roomÂ while he, uhÂ had his hands full. It was definitely uncomfortable to overhear, but the developer in question took it like a champ and proceeded to answer mid-stream.
ThatÂs hardcore love for your fans and no company does it better year after year than SOE. I canÂt encourage anyone enough to go check this event out one year, though I admit itÂs going to be hard to top the epic awesomeness that is planned for fans this year. While youÂre there, be sure to keep your eyes out for inflatable Ten Ton Hammer hammers. I canÂt tell you why, but you really, *really* want to be sure you get a hold of one. LikeÂ seriously. [Ed. - T-shirts, too! Hit us up for t-shirts.]
With that, IÂm off! Be safe, have fun, try not to drink too much, and if youÂre not able to attend this year, be sure to keep your eyes peeled here to catch all our coverage of SOE Live this year!